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Wisdom Far Better than Wickedness

15 Respond gently when you are confronted
    and you’ll defuse the rage of another.
    Responding with sharp, cutting words[a] will only make it worse.
    Don’t you know that being angry
    can ruin the testimony of even the wisest of men?[b]
When wisdom speaks, understanding becomes attractive.
    But the words of the fool make their ignorance look laughable.[c]
The eyes of the Lord[d] are everywhere
    and he takes note of everything that happens.
    He watches over his lovers,
    and he also sees the wickedness of the wicked.
When you speak healing words,
    you offer others fruit from the tree of life.
    But unhealthy, negative words do nothing but crush their hopes.[e]
You’re stupid to mock the instruction of a father,
    but welcoming correction will make you brilliant.[f]
There is prosperity in the house of the righteous,[g]
    but the house of the wicked is filled with trouble,
    no matter how much money they have.
When wisdom speaks, revelation-knowledge is released,[h]
    but finding true wisdom in the word of a fool is futile.
It is despicable to the Lord
    when people use the worship of the Almighty
    as a cloak for their sin,[i]
    but every prayer of the righteous is pleasing to his heart.
The Lord detests the lifestyle of the wicked,
    but he loves those who pursue purity.[j]
10 Severe punishment awaits the one
    who turns away from the truth,
    and those who rebel against correction will die.
11 Even hell itself holds no secrets from the Lord God,
    for before his eyes, all is exposed—
    and so much more the heart of every human being.
12 The know-it-all never esteems the one who tries to correct him.
    He refuses to seek good advice from the wise.[k]

Living an Ascended Life

13 A cheerful heart puts a smile on your face,
    but a broken heart leads to depression.
14 Lovers of God[l] hunger after truth,
    but those without understanding
    feast on foolishness and don’t even realize it.
15 Everything seems to go wrong
    when you feel weak and depressed.
    But when you choose to be cheerful,
    every day will bring you more and more joy and fullness.[m]
16 It’s much better to live simply,
    surrounded in holy awe and worship of God,
    than to have great wealth with a home full of trouble.
17 It’s much better to have a meal of vegetables surrounded with love and grace
    than a steak where there is hate.
18 A touchy, hot-tempered man picks a fight,
    but the calm, patient man knows how to silence strife.
19 Nothing seems to work right[n] for the lazy man,
    but life seems smooth and easy when your heart is virtuous.
20 When a son learns wisdom,
    a father’s heart is glad.
    But the man who shames[o] his mother is a foolish son.
21 The senseless fool treats life like a joke,
    but the one with living-understanding makes good choices.
22 Your plans will fall apart right in front of you
    if you fail to get good advice.
    But if you first seek out multiple counselors,
    you’ll watch your plans succeed.
23 Everyone enjoys giving great advice.
    But how delightful it is to say the right thing at the right time!
24 The life-paths of the prudent lift them progressively heavenward,
    delivering them from the death spirals
    that keep tugging them downward.
25 The Lord champions the widow’s cause,[p]
    but watch him as he smashes down the houses of the haughty!
26 The Lord detests wicked ways of thinking,[q]
    but he enjoys lovely and delightful words.
27 The one who puts earning money above his family
    will have trouble at home,
    but those who refuse to exploit others
    will live in peace.
28 Lovers of God think before they speak,
    but the careless blurt out wicked words meant to cause harm.
29 The Lord doesn’t respond to the wicked,
    but he’s moved to answer the prayers of the righteous.
30 Eyes that focus on what is beautiful bring joy to the heart,[r]
    and hearing a good report
    refreshes and strengthens the inner being.[s]
31 Accepting constructive criticism
    opens your heart to the path of life,
    making you right at home among the wise.
32 Refusing constructive criticism shows
    you have no interest in improving your life,
    for revelation-insight only comes as you accept correction
    and the wisdom that it brings.
33 The source of revelation-knowledge is found
    as you fall down in surrender before the Lord.
    Don’t expect to see Shekinah glory
    until the Lord sees your sincere humility.[t]

Footnotes

  1. 15:1 Or “painful words.”
  2. 15:1 This sentence is found only in the Septuagint.
  3. 15:2 The Aramaic reads “The mouths of fools vomit a curse.”
  4. 15:3 “The eyes of the Lord” can also be a metaphor for his prophets.
  5. 15:4 Or “perverse words are the crushing of the spirit.”
  6. 15:5 The Septuagint adds a verse that is not found in the Hebrew: “In great righteousness there is great strength. But the ungodly will one day perish from the earth.”
  7. 15:6 The Septuagint and the Aramaic read “There is power in the house of the righteous.” Both concepts are valid.
  8. 15:7 Or “is scattered like seed.”
  9. 15:8 Or “the sacrifice of the wicked”; that is, worshiping God with a wicked heart, only to hide sin. Our yielded hearts must be the sacrifice we offer to God.
  10. 15:9 The Aramaic reads “he shows mercy to the one who practices righteousness.”
  11. 15:12 Another way to say this is “The one who hates authority has no love for being taught.”
  12. 15:14 Or “The upright” (Aramaic).
  13. 15:15 The Septuagint reads quite differently: “And the good [heart] is always calm.”
  14. 15:19 Or “The way is blocked with thorns.”
  15. 15:20 Or “despises.”
  16. 15:25 Or “The Lord maintains the boundaries of the widow.”
  17. 15:26 Or “the thoughts of the wicked.”
  18. 15:30 As translated from the Septuagint. The Hebrew is “The light of the eyes brings joy.”
  19. 15:30 The Hebrew here literally means “makes fat your bones.” Bones picture our inner being.
  20. 15:33 Or “Before honor is humility.” The Hebrew uses the word kabod, which is translated as “glory” 156 times in the Old Testament.

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