December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 1 Like snow in summer, or rain in harvest, honor for a fool is out of place.
- Like the sparrow in its flitting, like the swallow in its flight, a curse uncalled-for arrives nowhere.
- The whip for the horse, the bridle for the ass, and the rod for the back of fools.
- 2 Answer not the fool according to his folly, lest you too become like him.
- Answer the fool according to his folly, lest he become wise in his own eyes.
- He cuts off his feet, he drinks down violence, who sends messages by a fool.
- 3 A proverb in the mouth of a fool hangs limp, like crippled legs.
- Like one who entangles the stone in the sling is he who gives honor to a fool.
- Like a thorn stick brandished by the hand of a drunkard is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
- Like an archer wounding all who pass by is he who hires a drunken fool.
- As the dog returns to his vomit, so the fool repeats his folly.
- You see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
- The sluggard says, "There is a lion in the street, a lion in the middle of the square!"
- The door turns on its hinges, the sluggard, on his bed!
- The sluggard loses his hand in the dish; he is too weary to lift it to his mouth.
- The sluggard imagines himself wiser than seven men who answer with good sense.
- Like the man who seizes a passing dog by the ears is he who meddles in a quarrel not his own.
- Like a crazed archer scattering firebrands and deadly arrows
- Is the man who deceives his neighbor, and then says, "I was only joking."
- For lack of wood, the fire dies out; and when there is no talebearer, strife subsides.
- What a bellows is to live coals, what wood is to fire, such is a contentious man in enkindling strife.
- The words of a talebearer are like dainty morsels that sink into one's inmost being.
- Like a glazed finish on earthenware are smooth lips with a wicked heart.
- With his lips an enemy pretends, but in his inmost being he maintains deceit;
- 4 When he speaks graciously, trust him not, for seven abominations are in his heart.
- A man may conceal hatred under dissimulation, but his malice will be revealed in the assembly.
- He who digs a pit falls into it; and a stone comes back upon him who rolls it.
- The lying tongue is its owner's enemy, and the flattering mouth works ruin.
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1 [1-28] Concrete images describe the vices of fools (Proverb 26:1-12), of sluggards (Proverb 26:13-16), of meddlers (Proverb 26:17-19), of talebearers (Proverb 26:20-22), and of flatterers (Proverb 26:23-28).
2 [4-5] There is no contradiction between these two proverbs. In any answer the wise man gives he must protect his own interest against the fool.
3 [7-9] The fool abuses whatever knowledge he possesses.
4  Seven abominations: many evil intentions.
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