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Proverbs 17 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Better a bite of dry bread eaten in peace
    than a family feast filled with strife.
A wise slave will become master over a son who acts shamefully,
    and he will share the inheritance with the brothers.
The crucible is for refining silver and the smelter for gold,
    but the one who purifies hearts by fire is the Lord.
An evildoer pays attention to wicked lips.
A liar opens his ears to a slanderous tongue.
    Whoever makes fun of a poor person insults his maker.
    Whoever is happy to see someone’s distress will not escape punishment.
Grandchildren are the crown of grandparents,
    and parents are the glory of their children.

The Consequences of Being a Fool

Refined speech is not fitting for a godless fool.
    How much less does lying fit a noble person!
A bribe seems like a jewel to the one who gives it.[a]
    Wherever he turns, he prospers.
Whoever forgives an offense seeks love,
    but whoever keeps bringing up the issue separates the closest of friends.

10 A reprimand impresses a person who has understanding
    more than a hundred lashes impress a fool.
11 A rebel looks for nothing but evil.
    Therefore, a cruel messenger will be sent to punish him.
12 Better to meet a bear robbed of its cubs
    than a fool carried away with his stupidity.
13 Whoever pays back evil for good—
    evil will never leave his home.
14 Starting a quarrel is like opening a floodgate,
    so stop before the argument gets out of control.
15 Whoever approves of wicked people
    and whoever condemns righteous people
        is disgusting to the Lord.

16 Why should a fool have money in his hand to buy wisdom
    when he doesn’t have a mind to grasp anything?
17 A friend always loves,
    and a brother is born to share trouble.
18 A person without good sense closes a deal with a handshake.
    He guarantees a loan in the presence of his friend.
19 Whoever loves sin loves a quarrel.
Whoever builds his city gate high invites destruction.
20     A twisted mind never finds happiness,
        and one with a devious tongue repeatedly gets into trouble.
21 The parent of a fool has grief,
    and the father of a godless fool has no joy.
22 A joyful heart is good medicine,
    but depression drains one’s strength.
23 A wicked person secretly accepts a bribe to corrupt the ways of justice.
24 Wisdom is directly in front of an understanding person,
    but the eyes of a fool are looking around all over the world.

How Fools Live

25 A foolish son is a heartache to his father
    and bitter grief to his mother.

26 To punish an innocent person is not good.
To strike down noble people is not right.
27     Whoever has knowledge controls his words,
        and a person who has understanding is even-tempered.

28 Even a stubborn fool is thought to be wise if he keeps silent.
He is considered intelligent if he keeps his lips sealed.


  1. Proverbs 17:8 Or “who receives it.”
GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Copyright © 1995 by God's Word to the Nations. Used by permission of God's Word Mission Society.

Proverbs 17 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Our Thoughts Are Tested by the Lord

17 A dry crust of bread eaten
    in peace and quiet
    is better than a feast eaten
    where everyone argues.
A hard-working slave
    will be placed in charge
    of a no-good child,
and that slave will be given
the same inheritance
    that each child receives.
Silver and gold are tested
    by flames of fire;
    our thoughts are tested
    by the Lord.
Troublemakers listen
to troublemakers,
    and liars listen to liars.
By insulting the poor,
    you insult your Creator.
You will be punished
    if you make fun
    of someone in trouble.
Grandparents are proud
    of their grandchildren,
    and children should be proud
    of their parents.

It sounds strange for a fool
    to talk sensibly,
    but it’s even worse
    for a ruler to tell lies.
A bribe works miracles
like a magic charm
    that brings good luck.
You will keep your friends
    if you forgive them,
but you will lose your friends
    if you keep talking about
    what they did wrong.
10 A sensible person
    accepts correction,
    but you can’t beat sense
    into a fool.

11 Cruel people want to rebel,
    and so vicious attackers
    will be sent against them.
12 A bear robbed of her cubs
is far less dangerous
    than a stubborn fool.
13 You will always have trouble
    if you are mean to those
    who are good to you.
14 The start of an argument
    is like a water leak—
    so stop it before
    real trouble breaks out.
15 The Lord doesn’t like those
who defend the guilty
    or condemn the innocent.
16 Why should fools have money
for an education
    when they refuse to learn?

17 A friend is always a friend,
    and relatives are born
    to share our troubles.
18 It’s stupid to guarantee
    someone else’s loan.
19 The wicked and the proud
love trouble
    and keep begging
    to be hurt.
20 Dishonesty does you no good,
    and telling lies
    will get you in trouble.
21 It’s never pleasant
to be the parent of a fool
    and have nothing but pain.
22 If you are cheerful,
    you feel good;
    if you are sad,
    you hurt all over.

23 Crooks accept secret bribes
    to keep justice
    from being done.
24 Anyone with wisdom knows
    what makes good sense,
    but fools can never
    make up their minds.
25 Foolish children bring sorrow
to their father
    and pain to their mother.
26 It isn’t fair
to punish the innocent
    and those who do right.
27 It makes a lot of sense
to be a person of few words
    and to stay calm.
28 Even fools seem smart
    when they are quiet.

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