What to make of a fool, the tutorial
Swift kick for a fool1 It’s not right:
Snow in the summer,
Rain at harvest,
Honor for a fool.
2 Like tiny birds flittering and big birds flying,
Not one agreeing to light,
Undeserved attempts to diss you won’t stick the landing.
3 A horse needs a whip and a donkey needs a bridle,
But a jackass needs a kick in the butt.
4 Don’t answer a fool’s question about something foolish
Unless you want to join that club.
5 Answer a fool’s foolish question as it deserves.
Show that the fool is foolish.
6 If you ask a fool to deliver a message,
Why don’t you cut off your feet and drink poison, too?
7 Dead legs to the paralyzed
Are proverbs to a fool.
8 A person who ties a stone into a slingshot
Is a person who would honor a fool.
Don’t waste wisdom on a fool9 Proverbs in the mouth of a fool
Are like a thorn stuck in the hand of a drunk.
10 An archer who can’t hit anything but what he’s supposed to miss
Is like a person who hires a fool or any other who-knows-what passing by.
11 A dog returns to its vomit
Like a fool gets a do-over wrong again.
12 Fools have more hope
Than folks who say they’re smart, but aren’t.
Tough love for the lazy13 A lazy person makes wild excuses for not working.
“There’s a lion on the loose.
Someone saw it downtown.”
14 A door turns on its hinges
Like a lazy person turns over in bed.
15 Some people are too lazy to lift a hand to feed themselves.
It’s too much trouble shoveling food into their mouths.
16 Lazy people say they’re smarter
Than seven others who make perfect sense when they open their mouths.
Wisdom from the ear of a stray dog17 Getting mixed up in someone else’s argument
Is dumber than yanking on a stray dog’s ears.
18 A crazy person shoots deadly flaming arrows.
19 Just as crazy are crooks who cheat someone and say, “Hey, I was just joking.”
Gossip feeds a fire20 If you run out of wood, the fire dies.
If you stop the gossip, the argument dies.
21 As charcoal and wood feed the fire,
An angry person feeds a fight.
22 Gossip tastes delicious.
We absorb it all, until it becomes part of us.
Shiny words of dirt23 Passionate words of a bad human being
Are like a shiny silver glaze over a dirt pot.
24 Some people who hate you hide their feelings behind their words.
But it’s a sham, and a secret they’re keeping.
25 When people like that talk kindly, don’t believe it.
Behind those words are heads full of disgusting thoughts.
26 These people hide hatred.
But it won’t last. The public will discover what these haters really are.
Setting traps for yourself27 If you dig a pit to trap someone, you’ll end up down there.
If you roll a boulder, it’ll come rolling back on you.
28 Liars hate the targets they attack.
Fake flattery can ruin the target’s life.
For those not into gymnastics, “stick the landing” describes a gymnast landing solidly and flawlessly on his or her feet at the end of a routine or an exercise.
The Hebrew word is more literally translated, “fool.” But “jackass” perhaps does a better job conveying the passion of the proverb.
This proverb is repeated in 18:8.
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