You Don’t Know Tomorrow
27 Don’t brashly announce what you’re going to do tomorrow;
you don’t know the first thing about tomorrow.
2 Don’t call attention to yourself;
let others do that for you.
3 Carrying a log across your shoulders
while you’re hefting a boulder with your arms
Is nothing compared to the burden
of putting up with a fool.
4 We’re blasted by anger and swamped by rage,
but who can survive jealousy?
5 A spoken reprimand is better
than approval that’s never expressed.
6 The wounds from a lover are worth it;
kisses from an enemy do you in.
7 When you’ve stuffed yourself, you refuse dessert;
when you’re starved, you could eat a horse.
8 People who won’t settle down, wandering hither and yon,
are like restless birds, flitting to and fro.
9 Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight,
a sweet friendship refreshes the soul.
10 Don’t leave your friends or your parents’ friends
and run home to your family when things get rough;
Better a nearby friend
than a distant family.
11 Become wise, dear child, and make me happy;
then nothing the world throws my way will upset me.
12 A prudent person sees trouble coming and ducks;
a simpleton walks in blindly and is clobbered.
13 Hold tight to collateral on any loan to a stranger;
be wary of accepting what a transient has pawned.
14 If you wake your friend in the early morning
by shouting “Rise and shine!”
It will sound to him
more like a curse than a blessing.
15-16 A nagging spouse is like
the drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet;
You can’t turn it off,
and you can’t get away from it.
Your Face Mirrors Your Heart
17 You use steel to sharpen steel,
and one friend sharpens another.
18 If you care for your orchard, you’ll enjoy its fruit;
if you honor your boss, you’ll be honored.
19 Just as water mirrors your face,
so your face mirrors your heart.
20 Hell has a voracious appetite,
and lust just never quits.
21 The purity of silver and gold is tested
by putting them in the fire;
The purity of human hearts is tested
by giving them a little fame.
22 Pound on a fool all you like—
you can’t pound out foolishness.
23-27 Know your sheep by name;
carefully attend to your flocks;
(Don’t take them for granted;
possessions don’t last forever, you know.)
And then, when the crops are in
and the harvest is stored in the barns,
You can knit sweaters from lambs’ wool,
and sell your goats for a profit;
There will be plenty of milk and meat
to last your family through the winter.
If You Desert God’s Law
28 The wicked are edgy with guilt, ready to run off
even when no one’s after them;
Honest people are relaxed and confident,
bold as lions.
2 When the country is in chaos,
everybody has a plan to fix it—
But it takes a leader of real understanding
to straighten things out.
3 The wicked who oppress the poor
are like a hailstorm that beats down the harvest.
4 If you desert God’s law, you’re free to embrace depravity;
if you love God’s law, you fight for it tooth and nail.
5 Justice makes no sense to the evilminded;
those who seek God know it inside and out.
6 It’s better to be poor and direct
than rich and crooked.
7 Practice God’s law—get a reputation for wisdom;
hang out with a loose crowd—embarrass your family.
8 Get as rich as you want
through cheating and extortion,
But eventually some friend of the poor
is going to give it all back to them.
9 God has no use for the prayers
of the people who won’t listen to him.
10 Lead good people down a wrong path
and you’ll come to a bad end;
do good and you’ll be rewarded for it.
11 The rich think they know it all,
but the poor can see right through them.
12 When good people are promoted, everything is great,
but when the bad are in charge, watch out!
13 You can’t whitewash your sins and get by with it;
you find mercy by admitting and leaving them.
14 A tenderhearted person lives a blessed life;
a hardhearted person lives a hard life.
15 Lions roar and bears charge—
and the wicked lord it over the poor.
16 Among leaders who lack insight, abuse abounds,
but for one who hates corruption, the future is bright.
17 A murderer haunted by guilt
is doomed—there’s no helping him.
18 Walk straight—live well and be saved;
a devious life is a doomed life.
Doing Great Harm in Seemingly Harmless Ways
19 Work your garden—you’ll end up with plenty of food;
play and party—you’ll end up with an empty plate.
20 Committed and persistent work pays off;
get-rich-quick schemes are ripoffs.
21 Playing favorites is always a bad thing;
you can do great harm in seemingly harmless ways.
22 A miser in a hurry to get rich
doesn’t know that he’ll end up broke.
23 In the end, serious reprimand is appreciated
far more than bootlicking flattery.
24 Anyone who robs father and mother
and says, “So, what’s wrong with that?”
is worse than a pirate.
25 A grasping person stirs up trouble,
but trust in God brings a sense of well-being.
26 If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure;
real survivors learn wisdom from others.
27 Be generous to the poor—you’ll never go hungry;
shut your eyes to their needs, and run a gauntlet of curses.
28 When corruption takes over, good people go underground,
but when the crooks are thrown out, it’s safe to come out.
If People Can’t See What God Is Doing
29 For people who hate discipline
and only get more stubborn,
There’ll come a day when life tumbles in and they break,
but by then it’ll be too late to help them.
2 When good people run things, everyone is glad,
but when the ruler is bad, everyone groans.
3 If you love wisdom, you’ll delight your parents,
but you’ll destroy their trust if you run with prostitutes.
4 A leader of good judgment gives stability;
an exploiting leader leaves a trail of waste.
5 A flattering neighbor is up to no good;
he’s probably planning to take advantage of you.
6 Evil people fall into their own traps;
good people run the other way, glad to escape.
7 The good-hearted understand what it’s like to be poor;
the hardhearted haven’t the faintest idea.
8 A gang of cynics can upset a whole city;
a group of sages can calm everyone down.
9 A sage trying to work things out with a fool
gets only scorn and sarcasm for his trouble.
10 Murderers hate honest people;
moral folks encourage them.
11 A fool lets it all hang out;
a sage quietly mulls it over.
12 When a leader listens to malicious gossip,
all the workers get infected with evil.
13 The poor and their abusers have at least something in common:
they can both see—their sight, God’s gift!
14 Leadership gains authority and respect
when the voiceless poor are treated fairly.
15 Wise discipline imparts wisdom;
spoiled adolescents embarrass their parents.
16 When degenerates take charge, crime runs wild,
but the righteous will eventually observe their collapse.
17 Discipline your children; you’ll be glad you did—
they’ll turn out delightful to live with.
18 If people can’t see what God is doing,
they stumble all over themselves;
But when they attend to what he reveals,
they are most blessed.
19 It takes more than talk to keep workers in line;
mere words go in one ear and out the other.
20 Observe the people who always talk before they think—
even simpletons are better off than they are.
21 If you let people treat you like a doormat,
you’ll be quite forgotten in the end.
22 Angry people stir up a lot of discord;
the intemperate stir up trouble.
23 Pride lands you flat on your face;
humility prepares you for honors.
24 Befriend an outlaw
and become an enemy to yourself.
When the victims cry out,
you’ll be included in their curses
if you’re a coward to their cause in court.
25 The fear of human opinion disables;
trusting in God protects you from that.
26 Everyone tries to get help from the leader,
but only God will give us justice.
27 Good people can’t stand the sight of deliberate evil;
the wicked can’t stand the sight of well-chosen goodness.