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21 The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord;
    he turns it wherever he will.
All deeds are right in the sight of the doer,
    but the Lord weighs the heart.
To do righteousness and justice
    is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
Haughty eyes and a proud heart—
    the lamp of the wicked—are sin.
The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance,
    but everyone who is hasty comes only to want.
The getting of treasures by a lying tongue
    is a fleeting vapor and a snare[a] of death.
The violence of the wicked will sweep them away,
    because they refuse to do what is just.
The way of the guilty is crooked,
    but the conduct of the pure is right.
It is better to live in a corner of the housetop
    than in a house shared with a contentious wife.
10 The souls of the wicked desire evil;
    their neighbors find no mercy in their eyes.
11 When a scoffer is punished, the simple become wiser;
    when the wise are instructed, they increase in knowledge.
12 The Righteous One observes the house of the wicked;
    he casts the wicked down to ruin.
13 If you close your ear to the cry of the poor,
    you will cry out and not be heard.
14 A gift in secret averts anger;
    and a concealed bribe in the bosom, strong wrath.
15 When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous,
    but dismay to evildoers.
16 Whoever wanders from the way of understanding
    will rest in the assembly of the dead.
17 Whoever loves pleasure will suffer want;
    whoever loves wine and oil will not be rich.
18 The wicked is a ransom for the righteous,
    and the faithless for the upright.
19 It is better to live in a desert land
    than with a contentious and fretful wife.
20 Precious treasure remains[b] in the house of the wise,
    but the fool devours it.
21 Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness
    will find life[c] and honor.
22 One wise person went up against a city of warriors
    and brought down the stronghold in which they trusted.
23 To watch over mouth and tongue
    is to keep out of trouble.
24 The proud, haughty person, named “Scoffer,”
    acts with arrogant pride.
25 The craving of the lazy person is fatal,
    for lazy hands refuse to labor.
26 All day long the wicked covet,[d]
    but the righteous give and do not hold back.
27 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination;
    how much more when brought with evil intent.
28 A false witness will perish,
    but a good listener will testify successfully.
29 The wicked put on a bold face,
    but the upright give thought to[e] their ways.
30 No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel,
    can avail against the Lord.
31 The horse is made ready for the day of battle,
    but the victory belongs to the Lord.
22 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
    and favor is better than silver or gold.
The rich and the poor have this in common:
    the Lord is the maker of them all.
The clever see danger and hide;
    but the simple go on, and suffer for it.
The reward for humility and fear of the Lord
    is riches and honor and life.
Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse;
    the cautious will keep far from them.
Train children in the right way,
    and when old, they will not stray.
The rich rule over the poor,
    and the borrower is the slave of the lender.
Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity,
    and the rod of anger will fail.
Those who are generous are blessed,
    for they share their bread with the poor.
10 Drive out a scoffer, and strife goes out;
    quarreling and abuse will cease.
11 Those who love a pure heart and are gracious in speech
    will have the king as a friend.
12 The eyes of the Lord keep watch over knowledge,
    but he overthrows the words of the faithless.
13 The lazy person says, “There is a lion outside!
    I shall be killed in the streets!”
14 The mouth of a loose[f] woman is a deep pit;
    he with whom the Lord is angry falls into it.
15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a boy,
    but the rod of discipline drives it far away.
16 Oppressing the poor in order to enrich oneself,
    and giving to the rich, will lead only to loss.

Sayings of the Wise

17     The words of the wise:

Incline your ear and hear my words,[g]
    and apply your mind to my teaching;
18 for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you,
    if all of them are ready on your lips.
19 So that your trust may be in the Lord,
    I have made them known to you today—yes, to you.
20 Have I not written for you thirty sayings
    of admonition and knowledge,
21 to show you what is right and true,
    so that you may give a true answer to those who sent you?

22 Do not rob the poor because they are poor,
    or crush the afflicted at the gate;
23 for the Lord pleads their cause
    and despoils of life those who despoil them.
24 Make no friends with those given to anger,
    and do not associate with hotheads,
25 or you may learn their ways
    and entangle yourself in a snare.
26 Do not be one of those who give pledges,
    who become surety for debts.
27 If you have nothing with which to pay,
    why should your bed be taken from under you?
28 Do not remove the ancient landmark
    that your ancestors set up.
29 Do you see those who are skillful in their work?
    They will serve kings;
    they will not serve common people.

23 When you sit down to eat with a ruler,
    observe carefully what[h] is before you,
and put a knife to your throat
    if you have a big appetite.
Do not desire the ruler’s[i] delicacies,
    for they are deceptive food.
Do not wear yourself out to get rich;
    be wise enough to desist.
When your eyes light upon it, it is gone;
    for suddenly it takes wings to itself,
    flying like an eagle toward heaven.
Do not eat the bread of the stingy;
    do not desire their delicacies;
for like a hair in the throat, so are they.[j]
    “Eat and drink!” they say to you;
    but they do not mean it.
You will vomit up the little you have eaten,
    and you will waste your pleasant words.
Do not speak in the hearing of a fool,
    who will only despise the wisdom of your words.
10 Do not remove an ancient landmark
    or encroach on the fields of orphans,
11 for their redeemer is strong;
    he will plead their cause against you.
12 Apply your mind to instruction
    and your ear to words of knowledge.
13 Do not withhold discipline from your children;
    if you beat them with a rod, they will not die.
14 If you beat them with the rod,
    you will save their lives from Sheol.
15 My child, if your heart is wise,
    my heart too will be glad.
16 My soul will rejoice
    when your lips speak what is right.
17 Do not let your heart envy sinners,
    but always continue in the fear of the Lord.
18 Surely there is a future,
    and your hope will not be cut off.

19 Hear, my child, and be wise,
    and direct your mind in the way.
20 Do not be among winebibbers,
    or among gluttonous eaters of meat;
21 for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty,
    and drowsiness will clothe them with rags.

22 Listen to your father who begot you,
    and do not despise your mother when she is old.
23 Buy truth, and do not sell it;
    buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.
24 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice;
    he who begets a wise son will be glad in him.
25 Let your father and mother be glad;
    let her who bore you rejoice.

26 My child, give me your heart,
    and let your eyes observe[k] my ways.
27 For a prostitute is a deep pit;
    an adulteress[l] is a narrow well.
28 She lies in wait like a robber
    and increases the number of the faithless.

29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
    Who has strife? Who has complaining?
Who has wounds without cause?
    Who has redness of eyes?
30 Those who linger late over wine,
    those who keep trying mixed wines.
31 Do not look at wine when it is red,
    when it sparkles in the cup
    and goes down smoothly.
32 At the last it bites like a serpent,
    and stings like an adder.
33 Your eyes will see strange things,
    and your mind utter perverse things.
34 You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea,
    like one who lies on the top of a mast.[m]
35 “They struck me,” you will say,[n] “but I was not hurt;
    they beat me, but I did not feel it.
When shall I awake?
    I will seek another drink.”

Footnotes

  1. Proverbs 21:6 Gk: Heb seekers
  2. Proverbs 21:20 Gk: Heb and oil
  3. Proverbs 21:21 Gk: Heb life and righteousness
  4. Proverbs 21:26 Gk: Heb all day long one covets covetously
  5. Proverbs 21:29 Another reading is establish
  6. Proverbs 22:14 Heb strange
  7. Proverbs 22:17 Cn Compare Gk: Heb Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise
  8. Proverbs 23:1 Or who
  9. Proverbs 23:3 Heb his
  10. Proverbs 23:7 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  11. Proverbs 23:26 Another reading is delight in
  12. Proverbs 23:27 Heb an alien woman
  13. Proverbs 23:34 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  14. Proverbs 23:35 Gk Syr Vg Tg: Heb lacks you will say

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