Words Kill, Words Give Life
18 Loners who care only for themselves
spit on the common good.
2 Fools care nothing for thoughtful discourse;
all they do is run off at the mouth.
3 When wickedness arrives, shame’s not far behind;
contempt for life is contemptible.
4 Many words rush along like rivers in flood,
but deep wisdom flows up from artesian springs.
5 It’s not right to go easy on the guilty,
or come down hard on the innocent.
6 The words of a fool start fights;
do him a favor and gag him.
7 Fools are undone by their big mouths;
their souls are crushed by their words.
8 Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy;
do you really want junk like that in your belly?
9 Slack habits and sloppy work
are as bad as vandalism.
10 God’s name is a place of protection—
good people can run there and be safe.
11 The rich think their wealth protects them;
they imagine themselves safe behind it.
12 Pride first, then the crash,
but humility is precursor to honor.
13 Answering before listening
is both stupid and rude.
14 A healthy spirit conquers adversity,
but what can you do when the spirit is crushed?
15 Wise men and women are always learning,
always listening for fresh insights.
16 A gift gets attention;
it buys the attention of eminent people.
17 The first speech in a court case is always convincing—
until the cross-examination starts!
18 You may have to draw straws
when faced with a tough decision.
19 Do a favor and win a friend forever;
nothing can untie that bond.
20 Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach;
good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest.
21 Words kill, words give life;
they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.
22 Find a good spouse, you find a good life—
and even more: the favor of God!
23 The poor speak in soft supplications;
the rich bark out answers.
24 Friends come and friends go,
but a true friend sticks by you like family.
If You Quit Listening
19 Better to be poor and honest
than a rich person no one can trust.
2 Ignorant zeal is worthless;
haste makes waste.
3 People ruin their lives by their own stupidity,
so why does God always get blamed?
4 Wealth attracts friends as honey draws flies,
but poor people are avoided like a plague.
5 Perjury won’t go unpunished.
Would you let a liar go free?
6 Lots of people flock around a generous person;
everyone’s a friend to the philanthropist.
7 When you’re down on your luck, even your family avoids you—
yes, even your best friends wish you’d get lost.
If they see you coming, they look the other way—
out of sight, out of mind.
8 Grow a wise heart—you’ll do yourself a favor;
keep a clear head—you’ll find a good life.
9 The person who tells lies gets caught;
the person who spreads rumors is ruined.
10 Blockheads shouldn’t live on easy street
any more than workers should give orders to their boss.
11 Smart people know how to hold their tongue;
their grandeur is to forgive and forget.
12 Mean-tempered leaders are like mad dogs;
the good-natured are like fresh morning dew.
13 A parent is worn to a frazzle by an irresponsible child;
a nagging spouse is a leaky faucet.
14 House and land are handed down from parents,
but a congenial spouse comes straight from God.
15 Life collapses on loafers;
lazybones go hungry.
16 Keep the rules and keep your life;
careless living kills.
17 Mercy to the needy is a loan to God,
and God pays back those loans in full.
18 Discipline your children while you still have the chance;
indulging them destroys them.
19 Let angry people endure the backlash of their own anger;
if you try to make it better, you’ll only make it worse.
20 Take good counsel and accept correction—
that’s the way to live wisely and well.
21 We humans keep brainstorming options and plans,
but God’s purpose prevails.
22 It’s only human to want to make a buck,
but it’s better to be poor than a liar.
23 Fear-of-God is life itself,
a full life, and serene—no nasty surprises.
24 Some people dig a fork into the pie
but are too lazy to raise it to their mouth.
25 Punish the insolent—make an example of them.
Who knows? Somebody might learn a good lesson.
26 Kids who lash out against their parents
are an embarrassment and disgrace.
27 If you quit listening, dear child, and strike off on your own,
you’ll soon be out of your depth.
28 An unprincipled witness desecrates justice;
the mouths of the wicked spew malice.
29 The irreverent have to learn reverence the hard way;
only a slap in the face brings fools to attention.
Deep Water in the Heart
20 Wine makes you mean, beer makes you quarrelsome—
a staggering drunk is not much fun.
2 Quick-tempered leaders are like mad dogs—
cross them and they bite your head off.
3 It’s a mark of good character to avert quarrels,
but fools love to pick fights.
4 A farmer too lazy to plant in the spring
has nothing to harvest in the fall.
5 Knowing what is right is like deep water in the heart;
a wise person draws from the well within.
6 Lots of people claim to be loyal and loving,
but where on earth can you find one?
7 God-loyal people, living honest lives,
make it much easier for their children.
8-9 Leaders who know their business and care
keep a sharp eye out for the shoddy and cheap,
For who among us can be trusted
to be always diligent and honest?
10 Switching price tags and padding the expense account
are two things God hates.
11 Young people eventually reveal by their actions
if their motives are on the up and up.
Drinking from the Chalice of Knowledge
12 Ears that hear and eyes that see—
we get our basic equipment from God!
13 Don’t be too fond of sleep; you’ll end up in the poorhouse.
Wake up and get up; then there’ll be food on the table.
14 The shopper says, “That’s junk—I’ll take it off your hands,”
then goes off boasting of the bargain.
15 Drinking from the beautiful chalice of knowledge
is better than adorning oneself with gold and rare gems.
16 Hold tight to collateral on any loan to a stranger;
beware of accepting what a transient has pawned.
17 Stolen bread tastes sweet,
but soon your mouth is full of gravel.
18 Form your purpose by asking for counsel,
then carry it out using all the help you can get.
19 Gossips can’t keep secrets,
so never confide in blabbermouths.
20 Anyone who curses father and mother
extinguishes light and exists benighted.
The Very Steps We Take
21 A bonanza at the beginning
is no guarantee of blessing at the end.
22 Don’t ever say, “I’ll get you for that!”
Wait for God; he’ll settle the score.
23 God hates cheating in the marketplace;
rigged scales are an outrage.
24 The very steps we take come from God;
otherwise how would we know where we’re going?
25 An impulsive vow is a trap;
later you’ll wish you could get out of it.
26 After careful scrutiny, a wise leader
makes a clean sweep of rebels and dolts.
27 God is in charge of human life,
watching and examining us inside and out.
28 Love and truth form a good leader;
sound leadership is founded on loving integrity.
29 Youth may be admired for vigor,
but gray hair gives prestige to old age.
30 A good thrashing purges evil;
punishment goes deep within us.