Old Testament

Proverbs 26
Assorted Fools
261Like snow during summer and rain during the harvest,
so honor is not appropriate for a fool.
2Like a migrating bird or a flying swallow,
so an undeserved curse does not come to rest.
3A whip is for horses, a bridle for donkeys,
and a rod for the backs of fools.
4Do not answer a fool according to his folly.
If you do, you yourself will become like him.
5Answer a fool according to his folly.
If you do not, he will consider himself wise.
6It is like cutting off your own feet or drinking violence[]
when a person sends messages in the hand of a fool.
7The legs of a lame person dangle.
So does a proverb in the mouth of fools.
8Giving honor to a fool is
like tying a stone in a slingshot.
9A proverb in the mouth of a fool
is like a thorn in a drunkard's hand.
10One who hires a fool or someone just passing by
is like an archer who wounds at random.[]
11As a dog returns to his vomit,
so a fool repeats his stupidity.
12Have you seen a person who is wise in his own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.
13A lazy person says, “There's a ferocious lion in the street.
There's a lion in the public square!”
14A door turns on its hinges,
and a lazy person turns on his bed.
15A lazy person buries his hand in a dish,
but he is too tired to return it to his mouth.
16A lazy person considers himself wiser
than seven people who answer sensibly.
17A passerby who meddles in a quarrel that is not his
is like a person who grabs a dog by the ears.
18A person who deceives his neighbor and then says, “I was only joking,”
19is like a madman who shoots firebrands and deadly arrows.[]
20When there is no more wood, a fire goes out,
and without gossip, a quarrel dies down.
21As charcoal is to hot embers and as wood is to fire,
so a quarrelsome person is to igniting a fight.
22Words of a gossip are like food that is easy to swallow.
They go down to the depths of one's heart.[]
23Fervent[] lips and an evil heart
are like a glaze[] covering a clay pot.
24With his lips a person hides his hatred,
but he hides deceit inside.
25When his voice sounds gracious, do not believe him,
because seven abominations are in his heart.
26His hatred covers itself with deceit,
but his evil will be revealed in the assembly.
27The person who digs a pit will fall into it.
The person who rolls away a stone—it will roll back over him.
28A lying tongue hates those it crushes,
and a smooth mouth causes ruin.


  • 26:6 Or poison
  • 26:10 The meaning of this verse is uncertain.
  • 26:19 Elements of verses 18 and 19 were rearranged to get smooth English word order.
  • 26:22 Literally the innermost rooms of the belly
  • 26:23 The translation follows the Hebrew. The Greek Old Testament reads smooth.
  • 26:23 The Hebrew text reads silver dross. Combining two Hebrew words into one word yields the translation glaze.