New International Reader's Version

Proverbs 26

1It isn’t proper to honor a foolish person.
    That’s like having snow in summer or rain at harvest time.

A curse given for no reason is like a wandering bird or a flying sparrow.
    It doesn’t go anywhere.

A whip is for a horse, and a harness is for a donkey.
    And a beating is for the backs of foolish people.

Don’t answer a foolish person in keeping with their foolish acts.
    If you do, you yourself will be just like them.

Answer a foolish person in keeping with their foolish acts.
    If you do not, they will be wise in their own eyes.

Sending a message in the hand of a foolish person
    is like cutting off your feet or drinking poison.

A proverb in the mouth of a foolish person
    is like disabled legs that are useless.

Giving honor to a foolish person
    is like tying a stone in a slingshot.

A proverb in the mouth of a foolish person
    is like a thorn in the hand of someone who is drunk.

10 Anyone who hires a foolish person or someone who is passing by
    is like a person who shoots arrows at just anybody.

11 Foolish people who do the same foolish things again
    are like a dog that returns to where it has thrown up.

12 Do you see a person who is wise in their own eyes?
    There is more hope for a foolish person than for them.

13 A person who doesn’t want to work says, “There’s a lion in the road!
    There’s an angry lion wandering in the streets!”

14 A person who doesn’t want to work turns over in bed
    just like a door that swings back and forth.

15 A person who doesn’t want to work leaves his hand in his plate.
    He acts as if he is too tired to bring his hand back up to his mouth.

16 A person who doesn’t want to work is wiser in his own eyes
    than seven people who give careful answers.

17 Don’t be quick to get mixed up in someone else’s fight.
    That’s like grabbing a stray dog by its ears.

18 Suppose a crazy person shoots
    flaming arrows that can kill.
19 Someone who lies to their neighbor
    and says, “I was only joking!” is just like that crazy person.

20 If you don’t have wood, your fire goes out.
    If you don’t talk about others, arguing dies down.

21 Coal glows, and wood burns.
    And a person who argues stirs up conflict.

22 The words of anyone who talks about others are like tasty bites of food.
    They go deep down inside you.

23 Warm words that come from an evil heart
    are like a shiny coating on a clay pot.

24 Enemies use their words as a mask.
    They hide their evil plans in their hearts.
25 Even though what they say can be charming, don’t believe them.
    That’s because seven things God hates fill that person’s heart.
26 Their hatred can be hidden by lies.
    But their evil plans will be shown to everyone.

27 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it.
    If someone rolls a big stone, it will roll back on them.

28 A tongue that tells lies hates the people it hurts.
    And words that seem to praise you destroy you.

The Message

Proverbs 26

Fools Recycle Silliness

1We no more give honors to fools
    than pray for snow in summer or rain during harvest.

You have as little to fear from an undeserved curse
    as from the dart of a wren or the swoop of a swallow.

A whip for the racehorse, a tiller for the sailboat—
and a stick for the back of fools!

Don’t respond to the stupidity of a fool;
you’ll only look foolish yourself.

Answer a fool in simple terms
so he doesn’t get a swelled head.

You’re only asking for trouble
when you send a message by a fool.

A proverb quoted by fools
is limp as a wet noodle.

Putting a fool in a place of honor
is like setting a mud brick on a marble column.

To ask a moron to quote a proverb
is like putting a scalpel in the hands of a drunk.

10 Hire a fool or a drunk
and you shoot yourself in the foot.

11 As a dog eats its own vomit,
    so fools recycle silliness.

12 See that man who thinks he’s so smart?
    You can expect far more from a fool than from him.

13 Loafers say, “It’s dangerous out there!
    Tigers are prowling the streets!”
    and then pull the covers back over their heads.

14 Just as a door turns on its hinges,
    so a lazybones turns back over in bed.

15 A shiftless sluggard puts his fork in the pie,
    but is too lazy to lift it to his mouth.

Like Glaze on Cracked Pottery

16 Dreamers fantasize their self-importance;
    they think they are smarter
    than a whole college faculty.

17 You grab a mad dog by the ears
    when you butt into a quarrel that’s none of your business.

18-19 People who shrug off deliberate deceptions,
    saying, “I didn’t mean it, I was only joking,”
Are worse than careless campers
    who walk away from smoldering campfires.

20 When you run out of wood, the fire goes out;
    when the gossip ends, the quarrel dies down.

21 A quarrelsome person in a dispute
    is like kerosene thrown on a fire.

22 Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy;
    do you want junk like that in your belly?

23 Smooth talk from an evil heart
    is like glaze on cracked pottery.

24-26 Your enemy shakes hands and greets you like an old friend,
    all the while conniving against you.
When he speaks warmly to you, don’t believe him for a minute;
    he’s just waiting for the chance to rip you off.
No matter how cunningly he conceals his malice,
    eventually his evil will be exposed in public.

27 Malice backfires;
    spite boomerangs.

28 Liars hate their victims;
    flatterers sabotage trust.