Don't Be a Fool
1 Expecting snow in summer
and rain in the dry season
makes more sense
than honoring a fool.
2 A curse you don't deserve
will take wings and fly away
like a sparrow or a swallow.
3 Horses and donkeys
must be beaten and bridled—
and so must fools.
4 Don't make a fool of yourself
by answering a fool.
5 But if you answer any fools,
show how foolish they are,
so they won't feel smart.

6 Sending a message by a fool
is like chopping off your foot
just to spite yourself.
7 A fool with words of wisdom
is like an athlete
with legs that can't move.
8 Are you going to honor a fool?
Why not shoot a slingshot
with the rock tied tight?
9 A thornbush waved around
in the hand of a drunkard
is no worse than a proverb
in the mouth of a fool.

10 It's no smarter to shoot arrows
at every passerby
than it is to hire a bunch
of worthless nobodies.
11 Dogs return to eat their vomit,
just as fools repeat
their foolishness.
12 There is more hope for a fool
than for someone who says,
“I'm really smart!”

13 Don't be lazy and keep saying,
“There's a lion outside!”
14 A door turns on its hinges,
but a lazy person
just turns over in bed.
15 Some of us are so lazy
that we won't lift a hand
to feed ourselves.
16 A lazy person says,
“I am smarter
than everyone else.”

17 It's better to take hold
of a mad dog by the ears
than to take part
in someone else's argument.
18 It's no crazier to shoot
sharp and flaming arrows
19 than to cheat someone and say,
“I was only fooling!”

20 Where there is no fuel
a fire goes out;
where there is no gossip
arguments come to an end.
21 Troublemakers start trouble,
just as sparks and fuel
start a fire.
22 There is nothing so delicious
as the taste of gossip!
It melts in your mouth.

23 Hiding hateful thoughts
behind smooth talk
is like coating a clay pot
with a cheap glaze.
24 The pleasant talk
of an enemy
hides more evil plans
25 than can be counted—
so don't believe a word!
26 Everyone 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.
28 Watch out for anyone
who tells lies and flatters—
they are out to get you.