Don't Be a Fool 26 1Expecting snow in summer and rain in the dry season makes more sense than honoring a fool. 2A curse you don't deserve will take wings and fly away like a sparrow or a swallow. 3Horses and donkeys must be beaten and bridled— and so must fools. 4Don't make a fool of yourself by answering a fool. 5But if you answer any fools, show how foolish they are, so they won't feel smart.   6Sending a message by a fool is like chopping off your foot just to spite yourself. 7A fool with words of wisdom is like an athlete with legs that can't move.[V] 8Are you going to honor a fool? Why not shoot a slingshot with the rock tied tight? 9A thornbush waved around in the hand of a drunkard is no worse than a proverb in the mouth of a fool.   10It's no smarter to shoot arrows at every passerby than it is to hire a bunch of worthless nobodies.[W] 11 Dogs return to eat their vomit, just as fools repeat their foolishness. 12There is more hope for a fool than for someone who says, “I'm really smart!”   13Don't be lazy and keep saying, “There's a lion outside!” 14A door turns on its hinges, but a lazy person just turns over in bed. 15Some of us are so lazy that we won't lift a hand to feed ourselves. 16A lazy person says, “I am smarter than everyone else.”   17It's better to take hold of a mad dog by the ears than to take part in someone else's argument. 18It's no crazier to shoot sharp and flaming arrows 19than to cheat someone and say, “I was only fooling!”   20Where there is no fuel a fire goes out; where there is no gossip arguments come to an end. 21Troublemakers start trouble, just as sparks and fuel start a fire. 22There is nothing so delicious as the taste of gossip! It melts in your mouth.   23Hiding hateful thoughts behind smooth[X] talk is like coating a clay pot with a cheap glaze. 24The pleasant talk of an enemy hides more evil plans 25than can be counted— so don't believe a word! 26Everyone will see through those evil plans. 27 If you dig a pit, you will fall in; if you start a stone rolling, it will roll back on you. 28Watch out for anyone who tells lies and flatters— they are out to get you.
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