Swift kick for a fool
- 26:1 It’s not right:
Snow in the summer,
Rain at harvest,
Honor for a fool.
- 26:2 Like tiny birds flittering and big birds flying,
Not one agreeing to light,
Undeserved attempts to diss you won’t stick the landing.1
- 26:3 A horse needs a whip and a donkey needs a bridle,
But a jackass2 needs a kick in the butt.
- 26:4 Don’t answer a fool’s question about something foolish
Unless you want to join that club.
- 26:5 Answer a fool’s foolish question as it deserves.
Show that the fool is foolish.
- 26:6 If you ask a fool to deliver a message,
Why don’t you cut off your feet and drink poison, too?
- 26:7 Dead legs to the paralyzed
Are proverbs to a fool.
- 26:8 A person who ties a stone into a slingshot
Is a person who would honor a fool.
Don’t waste wisdom on a fool
- 26:9 Proverbs in the mouth of a fool
Are like a thorn stuck in the hand of a drunk.
- 26:10 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.
- 26:11 A dog returns to its vomit
Like a fool gets a do-over wrong again.
- 26:12 Fools have more hope
Than folks who say they’re smart, but aren’t.
Tough love for the lazy
- 26:13 A lazy person makes wild excuses for not working.
“There’s a lion on the loose.
Someone saw it downtown.”
- 26:14 A door turns on its hinges
Like a lazy person turns over in bed.
- 26:15 Some people are too lazy to lift a hand to feed themselves.
It’s too much trouble shoveling food into their mouths.
- 26:16 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 dog
- 26:17 Getting mixed up in someone else’s argument
Is dumber than yanking on a stray dog’s ears.
- 26:18 A crazy person shoots deadly flaming arrows.
- 26:19 Just as crazy are crooks who cheat someone and say, “Hey, I was just joking.”
Gossip feeds a fire
- 26:20 If you run out of wood, the fire dies.
If you stop the gossip, the argument dies.
- 26:21 As charcoal and wood feed the fire,
An angry person feeds a fight.
- 26:22 Gossip tastes delicious.
We absorb it all, until it becomes part of us.3
Shiny words of dirt
- 26:23 Passionate words of a bad human being
Are like a shiny silver glaze over a dirt pot.
- 26:24 Some people who hate you hide their feelings behind their words.
But it’s a sham, and a secret they’re keeping.
- 26:25 When people like that talk kindly, don’t believe it.
Behind those words are heads full of disgusting thoughts.
- 26:26 These people hide hatred.
But it won’t last. The public will discover what these haters really are.
Setting traps for yourself
- 26:27 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.
- 26:28 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.