Like snow in summer or rain in harvest,

so honor is not fitting for a fool.

Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying,

a curse that is causeless does not alight.

A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass,

and a rod for the back of fools.

Answer not a fool according to his folly,

lest you be like him yourself.

Answer a fool according to his folly,

lest he be wise in his own eyes.

He who sends a message by the hand of a fool

cuts off his own feet and drinks violence.

Like a lame man’s legs, which hang useless,

is a proverb in the mouth of fools.

Like one who binds the stone in the sling

is he who gives honor to a fool.

Like a thorn that goes up into the hand of a drunkard

is a proverb in the mouth of fools.

10 Like an archer who wounds everybody

is he who hires a passing fool or drunkard.[a]

11 Like a dog that returns to his vomit

is a fool that repeats his folly.

12 Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes?

There is more hope for a fool than for him.

13 The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road!

There is a lion in the streets!”

14 As a door turns on its hinges,

so does a sluggard on his bed.

15 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish;

it wears him out to bring it back to his mouth.

16 The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes

than seven men who can answer discreetly.

17 He who meddles in a quarrel not his own

is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears.

18 Like a madman who throws firebrands,

arrows, and death,

19 is the man who deceives his neighbor

and says, “I am only joking!”

20 For lack of wood the fire goes out;

and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.

21 As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire,

so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.

22 The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;

they go down into the inner parts of the body.

23 Like the glaze[b] covering an earthen vessel

are smooth[c] lips with an evil heart.

24 He who hates, dissembles with his lips

and harbors deceit in his heart;

25 when he speaks graciously, believe him not,

for there are seven abominations in his heart;

26 though his hatred be covered with guile,

his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.

27 He who digs a pit will fall into it,

and a stone will come back upon him who starts it rolling.

28 A lying tongue hates its victims,

and a flattering mouth works ruin.


  1. Proverbs 26:10 The Hebrew text of this verse is uncertain
  2. Proverbs 26:23 Cn: Heb silver of dross
  3. Proverbs 26:23 Gk: Heb burning