Proverbs 26:14–28 (NKJV)
14 As a door turns on its hinges,
So does the lazy man on his bed.
15 The lazy man buries his hand in the bowl;
It wearies him to bring it back to his mouth.
16 The lazy man is wiser in his own eyes
Than seven men who can answer sensibly.
17 He who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own
Is like one who takes a 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 was only joking!”
20 Where there is no wood, the fire goes out;
And where there is no talebearer, strife ceases.
21 As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire,
So is a contentious man to kindle strife.
22 The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles,
And they go down into the inmost body.
23 Fervent lips with a wicked heart
Are like earthenware covered with silver dross.
24 He who hates, disguises it with his lips,
And lays up deceit within himself;
25 When he speaks kindly, do not believe him,
For there are seven abominations in his heart;
26 Though his hatred is covered by deceit,
His wickedness will be revealed before the assembly.
27 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it,
And he who rolls a stone will have it roll back on him.
28 A lying tongue hates those who are crushed by it,
And a flattering mouth works ruin.
The passage begins with a warning to the lazy man. Don’t stay in bed all day, don’t eat all the time, and don’t think you know more than everyone else in the room. The lazy man does all these things and is headed for demise. The writer then warns against getting involved in someone else’s quarrel, and not to be insulting or sarcastic. The writer moves to a discussion of gossip and contention. He uses vivid images of a fire going out if it is not fueled and how contention fuels a fire while gossip seems like a piece of candy. Don’t gossip and keep the peace!
Other advice includes being genuine, not like a gold-plated item, but rather like a solid gold plate. Hatred may be disguised, but it will show itself at inopportune times. Don’t hate! Those who set a trap for others will have it snap on them. Lies destroy others and ruins good people. The bottom line: watch your actions and your words, for they can bring harm to you and to others. Your lives depend on it!