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Chapter 5

Against Presumption[a]

Do not rely on your wealth,
    or say, “I have the power.”(A)
Do not rely on your strength
    in following the desires of your heart.
Do not say, “Who can prevail against me?”
    for the Lord will exact punishment.
Do not say, “I have sinned, yet what has happened to me?”
    for the Lord is slow to anger!
Do not be so confident of forgiveness
    that you add sin upon sin.
Do not say, “His mercy is great;
    my many sins he will forgive.”
For mercy and anger alike are with him;
    his wrath comes to rest on the wicked.
Do not delay turning back to the Lord,
    do not put it off day after day.
For suddenly his wrath will come forth;
    at the time of vengeance, you will perish.
Do not rely on deceitful wealth,
    for it will be no help on the day of wrath.(B)

Use and Abuse of the Tongue[b]

Do not winnow in every wind,
    nor walk in every path.[c]
10 Be steadfast regarding your knowledge,
    and let your speech be consistent.
11 Be swift to hear,
    but slow to answer.(C)
12 If you can, answer your neighbor;
    if not, place your hand over your mouth!
13 Honor and dishonor through speaking!
    The tongue can be your downfall.
14 Do not be called double-tongued;
    and with your tongue do not slander a neighbor.
For shame has been created for the thief,
    and sore disgrace for the double-tongued.
15 In little or in much, do not act corruptly;


  1. 5:1–8 The vices of the rich are pride and independence (vv. 1–2), presumption (v. 3), false security (vv. 4–6), and impenitence (v. 7), which cannot escape the divine wrath (vv. 7–8). Cf. Prv 18:23; 19:1; 28:6.
  2. 5:9–6:1 Proper use of the tongue requires constancy in speech (v. 10), prudence (vv. 11–12), good judgment (v. 13), charity (5:15; 6:1); detraction, calumny (v. 14), and double-talk bring shame and disgrace (5:14; 6:1).
  3. 5:9 The metaphors indicate careless behavior.