Like snow in summer or rain in harvest,
honor is not fitting for a fool.
“The ‘fool’ is the stupid person who is worthless and vain (just the kind of person popular culture seems to honor).”
–Allen P. Ross
2 Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow,
an undeserved curse does not come to rest.
3 A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey,
and a rod for the backs of fools!
4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
or you yourself will be just like him.
5 Answer a fool according to his folly,
or he will be wise in his own eyes.
These two verses present an apparent contradiction. The first says not to answer a fool, the second says to answer him. What is the explanation? The latter part of each verse holds the key.
Do not answer a fool in such a manner that you become a fool in the process. Don’t lose your temper, or behave rudely, or speak unadvisedly.
But answer a fool. Don’t let him off with his folly altogether. Reprove and rebuke him, as his folly deserves, so that he will not be wise in his own eyes.
6 Sending a message by the hands of a fool
is like cutting off one’s feet or drinking poison.
7 Like the useless legs of one who is lame
is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.
8 Like tying a stone in a sling
is the giving of honor to a fool.
A sling is useless as a weapon if a stone is tied into it, so it would be absurd to prevent the stone from leaving the sling. It is just as absurd to give honor to a fool.
9 Like a thornbush in a drunkard’s hand
is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.
10 Like an archer who wounds at random
is one who hires a fool or any passer-by.
11 As a dog returns to its vomit,
so fools repeat their folly.
Do you know dogs like this? We had a certain dog for a short time when my kids were little which would lick up their spit-up as well as any of its own. Oh, yuck. But I did appreciate that the floor under the kitchen table was clean at all times!
12 Do you see a person wise in their own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for them.
13 A sluggard says, “There’s a lion in the road,
a fierce lion roaming the streets!”
14 As a door turns on its hinges,
so a sluggard turns on his bed.
15 A sluggard buries his hand in the dish;
he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth.
16 A sluggard is wiser in his own eyes
than seven people who answer discreetly.
17 Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears
is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own.
I grabbed a dog by its tail when I was in kindergarten. The dog turned and snapped in my face. I was afraid of dogs for many years after. So I can attest to the truth of this proverb!
18 Like a maniac shooting
flaming arrows of death
19 is one who deceives their neighbor
and says, “I was only joking!”
20 Without wood a fire goes out;
without a gossip a quarrel dies down.
21 As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire,
so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife.
22 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
they go down to the inmost parts.
I am more deadly than the screaming shell of a howitzer. I win without killing. I tear down homes, break hearts, and wreck lives. I travel on the wings of the wind. No innocence is strong enough to intimidate me, no purity pure enough to daunt me. I have no regard for truth, no respect for justice, no mercy for the defenseless. My victims are as numerous as the sand of the sea, and often as innocent. I never forget and seldom forgive. My name is Gossip!
23 Like a coating of silver dross on earthenware
are fervent lips with an evil heart.
24 Enemies disguise themselves with their lips,
but in their hearts they harbor deceit.
25 Though their speech is charming, do not believe them,
for seven abominations fill their hearts.
26 Their malice may be concealed by deception,
but their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
27 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it;
if someone rolls a stone, it will roll back on them.
28 A lying tongue hates those it hurts,
and a flattering mouth works ruin.
“Pray for wisdom to discover the snare, for gracious principles to raise us up above vain praises, for self-denial, for the capacity to be content and even thankful without such flatteries. This will be our security.”
Several animals mentioned in this chapter, but dogs get double billing! So in honor of man’s best friend, I have a dog song for you! HERE is Kenny Rogers and “Ol’ Red.”