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The Message (MSG)
11 God hates cheating in the marketplace;
he loves it when business is aboveboard.
2 The stuck-up fall flat on their faces,
but down-to-earth people stand firm.
3 The integrity of the honest keeps them on track;
the deviousness of crooks brings them to ruin.
4 A thick bankroll is no help when life falls apart,
but a principled life can stand up to the worst.
5 Moral character makes for smooth traveling;
an evil life is a hard life.
6 Good character is the best insurance;
crooks get trapped in their sinful lust.
7 When the wicked die, that’s it—
the story’s over, end of hope.
8 A good person is saved from much trouble;
a bad person runs straight into it.
9 The loose tongue of the godless spreads destruction;
the common sense of the godly preserves them.
10 When it goes well for good people, the whole town cheers;
when it goes badly for bad people, the town celebrates.
11 When right-living people bless the city, it flourishes;
evil talk turns it into a ghost town in no time.
12 Mean-spirited slander is heartless;
quiet discretion accompanies good sense.
13 A gadabout gossip can’t be trusted with a secret,
but someone of integrity won’t violate a confidence.
14 Without good direction, people lose their way;
the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances.
15 Whoever makes deals with strangers is sure to get burned;
if you keep a cool head, you’ll avoid rash bargains.
16 A woman of gentle grace gets respect,
but men of rough violence grab for loot.
17 When you’re kind to others, you help yourself;
when you’re cruel to others, you hurt yourself.
18 Bad work gets paid with a bad check;
good work gets solid pay.
19 Take your stand with God’s loyal community and live,
or chase after phantoms of evil and die.
20 God can’t stand deceivers,
but oh how he relishes integrity.
21 Count on this: The wicked won’t get off scot-free,
and God’s loyal people will triumph.
22 Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout
is a beautiful face on an empty head.
23 The desires of good people lead straight to the best,
but wicked ambition ends in angry frustration.
24 The world of the generous gets larger and larger;
the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.
25 The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed;
those who help others are helped.
26 Curses on those who drive a hard bargain!
Blessings on all who play fair and square!
27 The one who seeks good finds delight;
the student of evil becomes evil.
28 A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump;
a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree.
29 Exploit or abuse your family, and end up with a fistful of air;
common sense tells you it’s a stupid way to live.
30 A good life is a fruit-bearing tree;
a violent life destroys souls.
31 If good people barely make it,
what’s in store for the bad!