1 The proverbs (truths obscurely expressed, maxims) of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
2 To know [skillful and godly] wisdom and instruction; To discern and comprehend the words of understanding and insight, 3 To receive instruction in wise behavior and the discipline of wise thoughtfulness, Righteousness, justice, and integrity; 4 That prudence (good judgment, astute common sense) may be given to the naive or inexperienced [who are easily misled], And knowledge and discretion (intelligent discernment) to the youth, 5 The wise will hear and increase their learning, And the person of understanding will acquire wise counsel and the skill [to steer his course wisely and lead others to the truth], 6 To understand a proverb and a figure [of speech] or an enigma with its interpretation, And the words of the wise and their riddles [that require reflection].
7 The [reverent] fear of the Lord [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome] is the beginning and the preeminent part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; But arrogant[a]fools despise [skillful and godly] wisdom and instruction and self-discipline.
The Enticement of Sinners
8 My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not reject the teaching of your mother. 9 For they are a garland of grace on your head, And chains and ornaments [of gold] around your neck. 10 My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent. 11 If they say, “Come with us; Let us lie in wait to shed blood, Let us ambush the innocent without cause; 12 Let us swallow them alive like Sheol (the place of the dead), Even whole, as those who go down to the pit [of death]; 13 We will find and take all kinds of precious possessions, We will fill our houses with spoil; 14 Throw in your lot with us [they insist]; We will all have one money bag [in common],” 15 My son, do not walk on the road with them; Keep your foot [far] away from their path, 16 For their feet run to evil, And they hurry to shed blood. 17 Indeed, it is useless to spread the baited net In the sight of any bird; 18 But [when these people set a trap for others] they lie in wait for their own blood; They set an ambush for their own lives [and rush to their destruction]. 19 So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; Greed takes away the lives of its possessors.
20 [b]Wisdom shouts in the street, She raises her voice in the markets; 21 She calls out at the head of the noisy streets [where large crowds gather]; At the entrance of the city gates she speaks her words: 22 “How long, O naive ones [you who are easily misled], will you love being simple-minded and undiscerning? How long will scoffers [who ridicule and deride] delight in scoffing, How long will fools [who obstinately mock truth] hate knowledge? 23 “If you will turn and pay attention to my rebuke, Behold, I [Wisdom] will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. 24 “Because I called and you refused [to answer], I stretched out my hand and no one has paid attention [to my offer]; 25 And you treated all my counsel as nothing And would not accept my reprimand, 26 I also will laugh at your disaster; I will mock when your dread and panic come, 27 When your dread and panic come like a storm, And your disaster comes like a whirlwind, When anxiety and distress come upon you [as retribution]. 28 “Then they will call upon me (Wisdom), but I will not answer; They will seek me eagerly but they will not find me, 29 Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the Lord [that is, obeying Him with reverence and awe-filled respect], 30 They would not accept my counsel, And they spurned all my rebuke. 31 “Therefore they shall eat of the fruit of their own [wicked] way And be satiated with [the penalty of] their own devices. 32 “For the turning away of the [c]naive will kill them, And the careless ease of [self-righteous] fools will destroy them. 33 “But whoever listens to me (Wisdom) will live securely and in confident trust And will be at ease, without fear or dread of evil.”
The Pursuit of Wisdom Brings Security
2 My son, if you will receive my words And treasure my commandments within you, 2 So that your ear is attentive to [skillful and godly] wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding [seeking it conscientiously and striving for it eagerly]; 3 Yes, if you cry out for insight, And lift up your voice for understanding; 4 If you seek skillful and godly wisdom as you would silver And search for her as you would hidden treasures; 5 Then you will understand the [reverent] fear of the Lord [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome] And discover the knowledge of God. 6 For the Lord gives [skillful and godly] wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7 He stores away sound wisdom for the righteous [those who are in right standing with Him]; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity [those of honorable character and moral courage], 8 He guards the paths of justice; And He preserves the way of His saints (believers). 9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice [in every circumstance] And integrity and every good path. 10 For [skillful and godly] wisdom will enter your heart And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. 11 Discretion will watch over you, Understanding and discernment will guard you, 12 To keep you from the way of evil and the evil man, From the man who speaks perverse things; 13 From those who leave the paths of uprightness To walk in the ways of darkness; 14 Who find joy in doing evil And delight in the perversity of evil, 15 Whose paths are crooked, And who are devious in their ways; 16 To keep you from the immoral woman; From the seductress with her flattering words, 17 Who leaves the companion (husband) of her youth, And forgets the covenant of her God. 18 For her house leads down to death And her paths lead to the dead; 19 None who go to her return again, Nor do they regain the paths of life— 20 So you will walk in the way of good men [that is, those of personal integrity, moral courage and honorable character], And keep to the paths of the righteous. 21 For the upright [those who are in right standing with God] will live in the land And those [of integrity] who are blameless [in God’s sight] will remain in it; 22 But the wicked will be cut off from the land And the treacherous shall be [forcibly] uprooted and removed from it.
The Rewards of Wisdom
3 My son, do not forget my [d]teaching, But let your heart keep my commandments; 2 For length of days and years of life [worth living] And tranquility and prosperity [the wholeness of life’s blessings] they will add to you. 3 Do not let mercy and kindness and truth leave you [instead let these qualities define you]; Bind them [securely] around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 So find favor and high esteem In the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart And do not rely on your own insight or understanding. 6 [e]In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way]. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord [with reverent awe and obedience] and turn [entirely] away from evil. 8 It will be health to your body [your marrow, your nerves, your sinews, your muscles—all your inner parts] And refreshment (physical well-being) to your bones. 9 Honor the Lord with your wealth And with the first fruits of all your crops (income); 10 Then your barns will be abundantly filled And your vats will overflow with new wine. 11 My son, do not reject or take lightly the discipline of the Lord [learn from your mistakes and the testing that comes from His correction through discipline]; Nor despise His rebuke, 12 For those whom the Lord loves He corrects, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.
13 Happy [blessed, considered fortunate, to be admired] is the man who finds [skillful and godly] wisdom, And the man who gains understanding and insight [learning from God’s word and life’s experiences], 14 For wisdom’s profit is better than the profit of silver, And her gain is better than fine gold. 15 She is more precious than rubies; And nothing you can wish for compares with her [in value]. 16 Long life is in her right hand; In her left hand are riches and honor. 17 Her ways are highways of pleasantness and favor, And all her paths are peace. 18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, And happy [blessed, considered fortunate, to be admired] is everyone who holds her tightly. 19 The Lord by His wisdom has founded the earth; By His understanding He has established the heavens. 20 By His knowledge the deeps were broken up And the clouds drip with dew. 21 My son, let them not escape from your sight, But keep sound wisdom and discretion, 22 And they will be life to your soul (your inner self) And a gracious adornment to your neck (your outer self). 23 Then you will walk on your way [of life] securely And your foot will not stumble. 24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid; When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. 25 Do not be afraid of sudden fear Nor of the storm of the wicked when it comes [since you will be blameless]; 26 For the Lord will be your confidence, firm and strong, And will keep your foot from being caught [in a trap].
27 [f]Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due [its rightful recipients], When it is in your power to do it. 28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back, And tomorrow I will give it,” When you have it with you. 29 Do not devise evil against your neighbor, Who lives securely beside you. 30 Do not quarrel with a man without cause, If he has done you no harm. 31 Do not envy a man of violence And do not choose any of his ways. 32 For the devious are repulsive to the Lord; But His private counsel is with the upright [those with spiritual integrity and moral courage]. 33 The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked, But He blesses the home of the just and righteous. 34 Though He scoffs at the scoffers and scorns the scorners, Yet He gives His grace [His undeserved favor] to the humble [those who give up self-importance]. 35 The wise will inherit honor and glory, But dishonor and shame is conferred on fools.
A Father’s Instruction
4 Hear, O children, the instruction of a father, And pay attention [and be willing to learn] so that you may gain understanding and intelligent discernment. 2 For I give you good doctrine; Do not [g]turn away from my instruction. 3 When I was a son with my father (David), Tender and the only son in the sight of my mother (Bathsheba), 4 He taught me and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words; Keep my commandments and live. 5 “Get [skillful and godly] wisdom! Acquire understanding [actively seek spiritual discernment, mature comprehension, and logical interpretation]! Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth. 6 “Do not [h]turn away from her (Wisdom) and she will guard and protect you; Love her, and she will watch over you. 7 “The beginning of wisdom is: Get [skillful and godly] wisdom [it is preeminent]! And with all your acquiring, get understanding [actively seek spiritual discernment, mature comprehension, and logical interpretation]. 8 “Prize wisdom [and exalt her], and she will exalt you; She will honor you if you embrace her. 9 “She will place on your head a garland of grace; She will present you with a crown of beauty and glory.”
10 Hear, my son, and accept my sayings, And the years of your life will be many. 11 I have instructed you in the way of [skillful and godly] wisdom; I have led you in upright paths. 12 When you walk, your steps will not be impeded [for your path will be clear and open]; And when you run, you will not stumble. 13 Take hold of instruction; [actively seek it, grip it firmly and] do not let go. Guard her, for she is your life. 14 Do not enter the path of the wicked, And do not go the way of evil men. 15 Avoid it, do not travel on it; Turn away from it and pass on. 16 For the wicked cannot sleep unless they do evil; And they are deprived of sleep unless they make someone stumble and fall. 17 For they eat the bread of wickedness And drink the wine of violence. 18 But the path of the just (righteous) is like the light of dawn, That shines brighter and brighter until [it reaches its full strength and glory in] the perfect day. 19 The way of the wicked is like [deep] darkness; They do not know over what they stumble.
20 My son, pay attention to my words and be willing to learn; Open your ears to my sayings. 21 Do not let them escape from your sight; Keep them in the center of your heart. 22 For they are life to those who find them, And healing and health to all their flesh. 23 Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. 24 Put away from you a deceitful (lying, misleading) mouth, And put devious lips far from you. 25 Let your eyes look directly ahead [toward the path of moral courage] And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you [toward the path of integrity]. 26 Consider well and watch carefully the path of your feet, And all your ways will be steadfast and sure. 27 Do not turn away to the right nor to the left [where evil may lurk]; Turn your foot from [the path of] evil.
Pitfalls of Immorality
5 My son, be attentive to my wisdom [godly wisdom learned by costly experience], Incline your ear to my understanding; 2 That you may exercise discrimination and discretion (good judgment), And your lips may reserve knowledge and answer wisely [to temptation]. 3 For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey [like a honeycomb] And her speech is smoother than oil; 4 But in the end she is bitter like [the extract of] wormwood, Sharp as a two-edged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death; Her steps take hold of Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead), 6 So that she does not think [seriously] about the path of life; Her ways are aimless and unstable; you cannot know where her path leads.
7 Now then, my sons, listen to me And do not depart from (forget) the words of my mouth. 8 Let your way [in life] be far from her, And do not go near the door of her house [avoid even being near the places of temptation], 9 Or you will give your honor to others, And your years to the cruel one, 10 And strangers will be filled with your strength And your hard-earned wealth will go to the house of a foreigner [who does not know God]; 11 And you will groan when your life is ending, When your flesh and your body are consumed; 12 And you say, “How I hated instruction and discipline, And my heart despised correction and reproof! 13 “I have not listened to the voice of my teachers, Nor have I inclined my ear to those who instructed me. 14 “I was almost in total ruin In the midst of the assembly and congregation.”
15 [i]Drink water from your own [j]cistern [of a pure marriage relationship] And fresh running water from your own well. 16 Should your [k]springs (children) be dispersed, As streams of water in the streets? 17 [Confine yourself to your own wife.] Let your children be yours alone, And not the children of strangers with you. 18 Let your fountain (wife) be blessed [with the rewards of fidelity], And rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19 Let her be as a loving hind and graceful doe, Let her breasts refresh and satisfy you at all times; Always be [l]exhilarated and delight in her love. 20 Why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an immoral woman And embrace the bosom of an outsider (pagan)? 21 For the ways of man are directly before the eyes of the Lord, And He carefully watches all of his paths [all of his comings and goings]. 22 The iniquities done by a wicked man will trap him, And he will be held with the cords of his sin. 23 He will die for lack of instruction (discipline), And in the greatness of his foolishness he will go astray and be lost.
6 My son, if you have become surety (guaranteed a debt or obligation) for your neighbor, If you have given your pledge for [the debt of] a stranger or another [outside your family], 2 If you have been snared with the words of your lips, If you have been trapped by the speech of your mouth, 3 Do this now, my son, and release yourself [from the obligation]; [m]Since you have come into the hand of your neighbor, Go humble yourself, and plead with your neighbor [to pay his debt and release you]. 4 Give no [unnecessary] sleep to your eyes, Nor slumber to your eyelids; 5 Tear yourself away like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter And like a bird from the hand of the fowler.
6 Go to the ant, O lazy one; Observe her ways and be wise, 7 Which, having no chief, Overseer or ruler, 8 She prepares her food in the summer And brings in her provisions [of food for the winter] in the harvest. 9 How long will you lie down, O lazy one? When will you arise from your sleep [and learn self-discipline]? 10 “Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to lie down and rest”— 11 So your poverty will come like an approaching prowler who walks [slowly, but surely] And your need [will come] like an armed man [making you helpless].
12 A worthless person, a wicked man, Is one who walks with a perverse (corrupt, vulgar) mouth. 13 Who winks with his eyes [in mockery], who shuffles his feet [to signal], Who points with his fingers [to give subversive instruction]; 14 Who perversely in his heart plots trouble and evil continually; Who spreads discord and strife. 15 Therefore [the crushing weight of] his disaster will come suddenly upon him; Instantly he will be broken, and there will be no healing or remedy [because he has no heart for God].
16 These six things the Lord hates; Indeed, seven are repulsive to Him: 17 A proud look [the attitude that makes one overestimate oneself and discount others], a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that creates wicked plans, Feet that run swiftly to evil, 19 A false witness who breathes out lies [even half-truths], And one who spreads discord (rumors) among brothers.
20 My son, be guided by your father’s [God-given] commandment (instruction) And do not [n]reject the teaching of your mother; 21 Bind them continually upon your heart (in your thoughts), And tie them around your neck. 22 When you walk about, they (the godly teachings of your parents) will guide you; When you sleep, they will keep watch over you; And when you awake, they will talk to you. 23 For the commandment is a lamp, and the teaching [of the law] is light, And reproofs (rebukes) for discipline are the way of life, 24 To keep you from the evil woman, From [the flattery of] the smooth tongue of an immoral woman. 25 Do not desire (lust after) her beauty in your heart, Nor let her capture you with her eyelashes. 26 For on account of a prostitute one is reduced to a piece of bread [to be eaten up], And the immoral woman hunts [with a hook] the precious life [of a man]. 27 Can a man take fire to his chest And his clothes not be burned? 28 Or can a man walk on hot coals And his feet not be scorched? 29 So is the one who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; Whoever touches her will not be found innocent or go unpunished. 30 People do not despise a thief if he steals To satisfy himself when he is hungry; 31 But when he is found, he must repay seven times [what he stole]; He must give all the property of his house [if necessary to meet his fine]. 32 But whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks common sense and sound judgment and an understanding [of moral principles]; He who would destroy his soul does it. 33 Wounds and disgrace he will find, And his reproach (blame) will not be blotted out. 34 For jealousy enrages the [wronged] husband; He will not spare [the guilty one] on the day of vengeance. 35 He will not accept any ransom [offered to buy him off from demanding full punishment]; Nor will he be satisfied though you offer him many gifts (bribes).
The Wiles of the Prostitute
7 My son, keep my words And treasure my commandments within you [so they are readily available to guide you]. 2 Keep my commandments and live, And keep my teaching and law as the apple of your eye. 3 Bind them [securely] on your fingers; Write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Say to [skillful and godly] wisdom, “You are my sister,” And regard understanding and intelligent insight as your intimate friends; 5 That they may keep you from the immoral woman, From the foreigner [who does not observe God’s laws and] who flatters with her [smooth] words.
6 For at the window of my house I looked out through my lattice. 7 And among the naive [the inexperienced and gullible], I saw among the youths A young man lacking [good] sense, 8 Passing through the street near her corner; And he took the path to her house 9 In the twilight, in the evening; In the black and dark night. 10 And there a woman met him, Dressed as a prostitute and sly and cunning of heart. 11 She was boisterous and rebellious; [o]She would not stay at home. 12 At times she was in the streets, at times in the market places, Lurking and setting her ambush at every corner. 13 So she caught him and kissed him And with a brazen and impudent face she said to him: 14 “I have peace offerings with me; Today I have paid my vows. 15 “So I came out to meet you [that you might share with me the feast of my offering], Diligently I sought your face and I have found you. 16 “I have spread my couch with coverings and cushions of tapestry, With colored fine linen of Egypt. 17 “I have perfumed my bed With myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18 “Come, let us drink our fill of love until morning; Let us console and delight ourselves with love. 19 “For my husband is not at home. He has gone on a long journey; 20 He has taken a bag of money with him, And he will come home on the appointed day.” 21 With her many persuasions she caused him to yield; With her flattering lips she seduced him. 22 Suddenly he went after her, as an ox goes to the slaughter [not knowing the outcome], Or as one in stocks going to the correction [to be given] to a fool, 23 Until an arrow pierced his liver [with a mortal wound]; Like a bird fluttering straight into the net, He did not know that it would cost him his life.
24 Now therefore, my sons, listen to me, And pay attention to the words of my mouth. 25 Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, Do not stray into her [evil, immoral] paths. 26 For she has cast down many [mortally] wounded; Indeed, all who were killed by her were strong. 27 Her house is the way to [p]Sheol, Descending to the chambers of death.
The Commendation of Wisdom
8 Does not wisdom call, And understanding lift up her voice? 2 On the top of the heights beside the way, Where the paths meet, wisdom takes her stand; 3 Beside the gates, at the entrance to the city, At the entrance of the doors, she cries out: 4 “To you, O men, I call, And my voice is directed to the sons of men. 5 “O you naive or inexperienced [who are easily misled], understand prudence and seek astute common sense; And, O you [closed-minded, self-confident] fools, understand wisdom [seek the insight and self-discipline that leads to godly living]. 6 “Listen, for I will speak excellent and noble things; And the opening of my lips will reveal right things. 7 “For my mouth will utter truth, And wickedness is repulsive and loathsome to my lips. 8 “All the words of my mouth are in righteousness (upright, in right standing with God); There is nothing contrary to truth or perverted (crooked) in them. 9 “They are all straightforward to him who understands [with an open and willing mind], And right to those who find knowledge and live by it. 10 “Take my instruction rather than [seeking] silver, And take knowledge rather than choicest gold, 11 “For wisdom is better than rubies; And all desirable things cannot compare with her.
12 “I, [godly] wisdom, reside with prudence [good judgment, moral courage and astute common sense], And I find knowledge and discretion. 13 “The [reverent] fear and worshipful awe of the Lordincludes the hatred of evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way, And the perverted mouth, I hate. 14 “Counsel is mine and sound wisdom; I am understanding, power and strength are mine. 15 “By me kings reign And rulers decide and decree justice. 16 “By me princes rule, and nobles, All who judge and govern rightly. 17 “I love those who love me; And those who seek me early and diligently will find me. 18 “Riches and honor are with me, Enduring wealth and righteousness (right standing with God). 19 “My fruit is better than gold, even pure gold, And my yield is better than choicest silver. 20 “I, [Wisdom, continuously] walk in the way of righteousness, In the midst of the paths of justice, 21 That I may cause those who love me to inherit wealth and true riches, And that I may fill their treasuries.
22 “The Lord created and possessed me at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old [were accomplished]. 23 “From everlasting I was established and ordained, From the beginning, before the earth existed, [I, godly wisdom, existed]. 24 “When there were no ocean depths I was born, When there were no fountains and springs overflowing with water. 25 “Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills, I was born; 26 While He had not yet made the earth and the fields, Or the first of the dust of the earth. 27 “When He established the heavens, I [Wisdom] was there; When He drew a circle upon the face of the deep, 28 When He made firm the skies above, When the fountains and springs of the deep became fixed and strong, 29 When He set for the sea its boundary So that the waters would not transgress [the boundaries set by] His command, When He marked out the foundations of the earth— 30 Then I was beside Him, as a master craftsman; And I was daily His delight; Rejoicing before Him always, 31 Rejoicing in the world, His inhabited earth, And having my delight in the sons of men.
32 “Now therefore, O sons, listen to me, For blessed [happy, prosperous, to be admired] are they who keep my ways. 33 “Heed (pay attention to) instruction and be wise, And do not ignore or neglect it. 34 “Blessed [happy, prosperous, to be admired] is the man who listens to me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at my doorposts. 35 “For whoever finds me (Wisdom) finds life And obtains favor and grace from the Lord. 36 “But he who fails to find me or sins against me injures himself; All those who hate me love and court death.”
9 Wisdom has built her [spacious and sufficient] house; She has hewn out and set up her seven pillars. 2 She has prepared her food, she has mixed her wine; She has also set her table. 3 She has sent out her maidens, she calls From the highest places of the city: 4 “Whoever is naive or inexperienced, let him turn in here!” As for him who lacks understanding, she says, 5 “Come, eat my food And drink the wine I have mixed [and accept my gifts]. 6 “Leave [behind] your foolishness [and the foolish] and live, And walk in the way of insight and understanding.”
7 He who corrects and instructs a scoffer gets dishonor for himself, And he who rebukes a wicked man gets insults for himself. 8 [q]Do not correct a scoffer [who foolishly ridicules and takes no responsibility for his error] or he will hate you; Correct a wise man [who learns from his error], and he will love you. 9 Give instruction to a wise man and he will become even wiser; Teach a righteous man and he will increase his learning. 10 The [reverent] fear of the Lord [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome] is the beginning and the preeminent part of wisdom [its starting point and its essence], And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding and spiritual insight. 11 For by me (wisdom from God) your days will be multiplied, And years of life shall be increased. 12 If you are wise, you are wise for yourself [for your own benefit]; If you scoff [thoughtlessly ridicule and disdain], you alone will pay the penalty.
13 The foolish woman is restless and noisy; She is naive and easily misled and thoughtless, and knows nothing at all [of eternal value]. 14 She sits at the doorway of her house, On a seat by the high and conspicuous places of the city, 15 Calling to those who pass by, Who are making their paths straight: 16 “Whoever is naive or inexperienced, let him turn in here!” And to him who lacks understanding (common sense), she says, 17 “Stolen waters (pleasures) are sweet [because they are forbidden]; And bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” 18 But he does not know that the spirits of the dead are there, And that her guests are [already] in the depths of Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead).
Contrast of the Righteous and the Wicked
10 The proverbs of Solomon:
A wise son makes a father glad, But a foolish [stubborn] son [who refuses to learn] is a grief to his mother. 2 Treasures of wickedness and ill-gotten gains do not profit, But righteousness and moral integrity in daily life rescues from death. 3 The Lord will not allow the [r]righteous to hunger [God will meet all his needs], But He will reject and cast away the craving of the wicked. 4 Poor is he who works with a negligent and idle hand, But the hand of the diligent makes him rich. 5 He who gathers during summer and takes advantage of his opportunities is a son who acts wisely, But he who sleeps during harvest and ignores the moment of opportunity is a son who acts shamefully. 6 Blessings are on the head of the righteous [the upright, those in right standing with God], But the mouth of the wicked conceals violence. 7 The [s]memory of the righteous [person] is a [source of] blessing, But the name of the wicked will [be forgotten and] rot [like a corpse]. 8 The wise in heart [are willing to learn so they] will accept and obey commands (instruction), But the babbling fool [who is arrogant and thinks himself wise] will come to ruin. 9 He who walks in integrity and with moral character walks securely, But he who takes a crooked way will be discovered and punished. 10 He who [maliciously] winks the eye [of evil intent] causes trouble; And the babbling fool [who is arrogant and thinks himself wise] will come to ruin. 11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life and his words of wisdom are a source of blessing, But the mouth of the wicked conceals violence and evil. 12 Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers and overwhelms all transgressions [forgiving and overlooking another’s faults]. 13 On the lips of the discerning, [skillful and godly] wisdom is found, But discipline and the rod are for the back of the one who is without common sense and understanding. 14 Wise men store up and treasure knowledge [in mind and heart], But with the mouth of the foolish, ruin is at hand. 15 The rich man’s wealth is his fortress; The ruin of the poor is their poverty. 16 The wages of the righteous [the upright, those in right standing with God] is [a worthwhile, meaningful] life, The income of the wicked, punishment. 17 He who learns from instruction and correction is on the [right] path of life [and for others his example is a path toward wisdom and blessing], But he who ignores and refuses correction goes off course [and for others his example is a path toward sin and ruin]. 18 He who hides hatred has lying lips, And he who spreads slander is a fool. 19 When there are many words, transgression and offense are unavoidable, But he who controls his lips and keeps thoughtful silence is wise. 20 The tongue of the righteous is like precious silver (greatly valued); The heart of the wicked is worth little. 21 The lips of the righteous feed and guide many, But fools [who reject God and His wisdom] die for lack of understanding. 22 The blessing of the Lord brings [true] riches, And He adds no sorrow to it [for it comes as a blessing from God]. 23 Engaging in evil is like sport to the fool [who refuses wisdom and chases sin], But to a man of understanding [skillful and godly] wisdom brings joy. 24 What the wicked fears will come upon him, But the desire of the righteous [for the blessings of God] will be granted. 25 When the whirlwind passes, the wicked is no more, But the righteous has an everlasting foundation. 26 Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, So is the lazy one to those who send him to work. 27 The [reverent] fear of the Lord [worshiping, obeying, serving, and trusting Him with awe-filled respect] prolongs one’s life, But the years of the wicked will be shortened. 28 The hope of the righteous [those of honorable character and integrity] is joy, But the expectation of the wicked [those who oppose God and ignore His wisdom] comes to nothing. 29 The way of the Lord is a stronghold to the upright, But it is ruin to those who do evil. 30 The [consistently] righteous will never be shaken, But the wicked will not inhabit the earth. 31 The mouth of the righteous flows with [skillful and godly] wisdom, But the perverted tongue will be cut out. 32 The lips of the righteous know (speak) what is acceptable, But the mouth of the wicked knows (speaks) what is perverted (twisted).
Contrast the Upright and the Wicked
11 A false balance and dishonest business practices are extremely offensive to the Lord, But an accurate scale is His delight. 2 When pride comes [boiling up with an arrogant attitude of self-importance], then come dishonor and shame, But with the humble [the teachable who have been chiseled by trial and who have learned to walk humbly with God] there is wisdom and soundness of mind. 3 The integrity and moral courage of the upright will guide them, But the crookedness of the treacherous will destroy them. 4 Riches will not provide security in the day of wrath and judgment, But righteousness rescues from death. 5 The righteousness of the blameless will smooth their way and keep it straight, But the wicked will fall by his own wickedness. 6 The righteousness of the upright will rescue them, But the treacherous will be caught by their own greed. 7 When the wicked man dies, his expectation will perish; And the hope of [godless] strong men perishes. 8 [t]The righteous is rescued from trouble, And the wicked takes his place. 9 With his mouth the godless man destroys his neighbor, But through knowledge and discernment the righteous will be rescued. 10 When it goes well for the righteous, the city rejoices, And when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy. 11 By the blessing [of the influence] of the upright the city is exalted, But by the mouth of the wicked it is torn down. 12 He who despises his neighbor lacks sense, But a man of understanding keeps silent. 13 He who goes about as a gossip reveals secrets, But he who is trustworthy and faithful keeps a matter hidden. 14 Where there is no [wise, intelligent] guidance, the people fall [and go off course like a ship without a helm], But in the abundance of [wise and godly] counselors there is victory. 15 He who puts up security and guarantees a debt for an outsider will surely suffer [for his foolishness], But he who hates (declines) being a guarantor is secure [from its penalties]. 16 A gracious and good woman attains honor, And ruthless men attain riches [but not respect]. 17 The merciful and generous man benefits his soul [for his behavior returns to bless him], But the cruel and callous man does himself harm. 18 The wicked man earns deceptive wages, But he who sows righteousness and lives his life with integrity will have a true reward [that is both permanent and satisfying]. 19 He who is steadfast in righteousness attains life, But he who pursues evil attains his own death. 20 The perverse in heart are repulsive and shamefully vile to the Lord, But those who are blameless and above reproach in their walk are His delight! 21 Assuredly, the evil man will not go unpunished, But the descendants of the righteous will be freed. 22 As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, So is a beautiful woman who is without discretion [her lack of character mocks her beauty]. 23 The desire of the righteous brings only good, But the expectation of the wicked brings wrath. 24 There is the one who [generously] scatters [abroad], and yet increases all the more; And there is the one who withholds what is justly due, but it results only in want and poverty. 25 The generous man [is a source of blessing and] shall be prosperous and enriched, And he who waters will himself be watered [reaping the generosity he has sown]. 26 The people curse him who holds back grain [when the public needs it], But a blessing [from God and man] is upon the head of him who sells it. 27 He who diligently seeks good seeks favor and grace, But he who seeks evil, evil will come to him. 28 He who leans on and trusts in and is confident in his riches will fall, But the righteous [who trust in God’s provision] will flourish like a green leaf. 29 He who troubles (mismanages) his own house will inherit the wind (nothing), And the foolish will be a servant to the wise-hearted. 30 The fruit of the [consistently] righteous is a tree of life, And he who is wise captures and wins souls [for God—he gathers them for eternity]. 31 If the righteous will be rewarded on the earth [with godly blessings], How much more [will] the wicked and the sinner [be repaid with punishment]!
Contrast the Upright and the Wicked
12 Whoever loves instruction and discipline loves knowledge, But he who hates reproof and correction is stupid. 2 A good man will obtain favor from the Lord, But He will condemn a man who devises evil. 3 A man will not be established by wickedness, But the root of the [consistently] righteous will not be moved. 4 A virtuous and excellent wife [worthy of honor] is the crown of her husband, But she who shames him [with her foolishness] is like rottenness in his bones. 5 The thoughts and purposes of the [consistently] righteous are just (honest, reliable), But the counsels and schemes of the wicked are deceitful. 6 The [malevolent] words of the wicked lie in wait for [innocent] blood [to slander], But the mouth of the upright will rescue and protect them. 7 The wicked are overthrown [by their evil] and are no more, But the house of the [consistently] righteous will stand [securely]. 8 A man will be commended according to his insight and sound judgment, But the one who is of a perverse mind will be despised. 9 [u]Better is he who is lightly esteemed and has a servant, Than he who [boastfully] honors himself [pretending to be what he is not] and lacks bread. 10 A righteous man has kind regard for the life of his animal, But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel. 11 He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, But he who follows worthless things lacks common sense and good judgment. 12 The wicked desire the plunder of evil men, But the root of the righteous yields richer fruit. 13 An evil man is [dangerously] ensnared by the transgression of his lips, But the righteous will escape from trouble. 14 A man will be satisfied with good from the fruit of his words, And the deeds of a man’s hands will return to him [as a harvest]. 15 The way of the [arrogant] fool [who rejects God’s wisdom] is right in his own eyes, But a wise and prudent man is he who listens to counsel. 16 The [arrogant] fool’s anger is quickly known [because he lacks self-control and common sense], But a prudent man ignores an insult. 17 He who speaks truth [when he testifies] tells what is right, But a false witness utters deceit [in court]. 18 There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, But the tongue of the wise brings healing. 19 Truthful lips will be established forever, But a lying tongue is [credited] only for a moment. 20 Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, But counselors of peace have joy. 21 No harm befalls the righteous, But the wicked are filled with trouble. 22 Lying lips are extremely disgusting to the Lord, But those who deal faithfully are His delight. 23 A shrewd man is reluctant to display his knowledge [until the proper time], But the heart of [over-confident] fools proclaims foolishness. 24 The hand of the diligent will rule, But the negligent and lazy will be put to forced labor. 25 Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, But a good (encouraging) word makes it glad. 26 The righteous man is a guide to his neighbor, But the way of the wicked leads them astray. 27 The lazy man does not catch and roast his prey, But the precious possession of a [wise] man is diligence [because he recognizes opportunities and seizes them]. 28 In the way of righteousness is life, And in its pathway there is no death [but immortality—eternal life].
Contrast the Upright and the Wicked
13 A wise son heeds and accepts [and is the result of] his father’s discipline and instruction, But a scoffer does not listen to reprimand and does not learn from his errors. 2 From the fruit of his mouth a [wise] man enjoys good, But the desire of the treacherous is for violence. 3 The one who guards his mouth [thinking before he speaks] protects his life; The one who opens his lips wide [and chatters without thinking] comes to ruin. 4 The soul (appetite) of the lazy person craves and gets nothing [for lethargy overcomes ambition], But the soul (appetite) of the diligent [who works willingly] is rich and abundantly supplied. 5 A righteous man hates lies, But a wicked man is loathsome, and he acts shamefully. 6 Righteousness (being in right standing with God) guards the one whose way is blameless, But wickedness undermines and overthrows the sinner. 7 There is one who pretends to be rich, yet has nothing at all; Another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth. 8 The ransom for a man’s life is his wealth, But the poor man does not even have to listen to a rebuke or threats [from the envious]. 9 The light of the righteous [within him—grows brighter and] rejoices, But the lamp of the wicked [is a temporary light and] goes out. 10 Through pride and presumption come nothing but strife, But [skillful and godly] wisdom is with those who welcome [well-advised] counsel. 11 Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles, But he who gathers gradually by [honest] labor will increase [his riches]. 12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life. 13 Whoever despises the word and counsel [of God] brings destruction upon himself, But he who [reverently] fears and respects the commandment [of God] will be rewarded. 14 The teaching of the wise is a fountain and source of life, So that one may avoid the snares of death. 15 Good understanding wins favor [from others], But the way of the unfaithful is hard [like barren, dry soil]. 16 Every prudent and self-disciplined man acts with knowledge, But a [closed-minded] fool [who refuses to learn] displays his foolishness [for all to see]. 17 A wicked messenger falls into hardship, But a faithful ambassador brings healing. 18 Poverty and shame will come to him who refuses instruction and discipline, But he who accepts and learns from reproof or censure is honored. 19 Desire realized is sweet to the soul; But it is detestable to fools to turn away from evil [which they have planned]. 20 He who walks [as a companion] with wise men will be wise, But the companions of [conceited, dull-witted] fools [are fools themselves and] will experience harm. 21 Adversity pursues sinners, But the [consistently] upright will be rewarded with prosperity. 22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, And the wealth of the sinner is stored up for [the hands of] the righteous. 23 Abundant food is in the fallow (uncultivated) ground of the poor, But [without protection] it is swept away by injustice. 24 He who withholds the rod [of discipline] hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines and trains him diligently and appropriately [with wisdom and love]. 25 The [consistently] righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite, But the stomach of the wicked is in need [of bread].
Contrast the Upright and the Wicked
14 The wise woman builds her house [on a foundation of godly precepts, and her household thrives], But the foolish one [who lacks spiritual insight] tears it down with her own hands [by ignoring godly principles]. 2 He who walks in uprightness [reverently] fears the Lord [and obeys and worships Him with profound respect], But he who is devious in his ways despises Him. 3 In the mouth of the [arrogant] [v]fool [who rejects God] is a rod for his back, But the lips of the wise [when they speak with godly wisdom] will protect them. 4 Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, But much revenue [because of good crops] comes by the strength of the ox. 5 A faithful and trustworthy witness will not lie, But a false witness speaks lies. 6 A scoffer seeks wisdom and finds none [for his ears are closed to wisdom], But knowledge is easy for one who understands [because he is willing to learn]. 7 Leave the presence of a [shortsighted] fool, For you will not find knowledge or hear godly wisdom from his lips. 8 The wisdom of the sensible is to understand his way, But the foolishness of [shortsighted] fools is deceit. 9 Fools mock sin [but sin mocks the fools], But among the upright there is good will and the favor and blessing of God. 10 The heart knows its own bitterness, And no stranger shares its joy. 11 The house of the wicked will be overthrown, But the tent of the upright will thrive. 12 There is a way which seems right to a man and appears straight before him, But its end is the way of death. 13 Even in laughter the heart may be in pain, And the end of joy may be grief. 14 The backslider in heart will have his fill with his own [rotten] ways, But a good man will be satisfied with his ways [the godly thought and action which his heart pursues and in which he delights]. 15 The naive or inexperienced person [is easily misled and] believes every word he hears, But the prudent man [is discreet and astute and] considers well where he is going. 16 A wise man suspects danger and cautiously avoids evil, But the fool is arrogant and careless. 17 A quick-tempered man acts foolishly and without self-control, And a man of wicked schemes is hated. 18 The naive [are unsophisticated and easy to exploit and] inherit foolishness, But the sensible [are thoughtful and far-sighted and] are crowned with knowledge. 19 The evil will bow down before the good, And the wicked [will bow down] at the gates of the righteous. 20 The poor man is hated even by his neighbor, But those who love the rich are many. 21 He who despises his neighbor sins [against God and his fellow man], But happy [blessed and favored by God] is he who is gracious and merciful to the poor. 22 Do they not go astray who devise evil and wander from the way of righteousness? But kindness and truth will be to those who devise good. 23 In all labor there is profit, But mere talk leads only to poverty. 24 The crown of the wise is their wealth [of wisdom], But the foolishness of [closed-minded] fools is [nothing but] folly. 25 A truthful witness saves lives, But he who speaks lies is treacherous. 26 In the [reverent] fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, And His children will [always] have a place of refuge. 27 The [reverent] fear of the Lord [that leads to obedience and worship] is a fountain of life, So that one may avoid the snares of death. 28 In a multitude of people is a king’s glory, But in a lack of people is a [pretentious] prince’s ruin. 29 He who is slow to anger has great understanding [and profits from his self-control], But he who is quick-tempered exposes and exalts his foolishness [for all to see]. 30 A calm and peaceful and tranquil heart is life and health to the body, But passion and envy are like rottenness to the bones. 31 He who oppresses the poor taunts and insults his Maker, But he who is kind and merciful and gracious to the needy honors Him. 32 The wicked is overthrown through his wrongdoing, But the righteous has hope and confidence and a refuge [with God] even in death. 33 Wisdom rests [silently] in the heart of one who has understanding, But what is in the heart of [shortsighted] fools is made known. 34 Righteousness [moral and spiritual integrity and virtuous character] exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to any people. 35 The king’s favor and good will are toward a servant who acts wisely and discreetly, But his anger and wrath are toward him who acts shamefully.
Contrast the Upright and the Wicked
15 A soft and gentle and thoughtful answer turns away wrath, But harsh and painful and careless words stir up anger. 2 The tongue of the wise speaks knowledge that is pleasing and acceptable, But the [babbling] mouth of fools spouts folly. 3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place, Watching the evil and the good [in all their endeavors]. 4 A soothing tongue [speaking words that build up and encourage] is a tree of life, But a perversive tongue [speaking words that overwhelm and depress] crushes the spirit. 5 A [flippant, arrogant] fool rejects his father’s instruction and correction, But he who [is willing to learn and] regards and keeps in mind a reprimand acquires good sense. 6 Great and priceless treasure is in the house of the [consistently] righteous one [who seeks godly instruction and grows in wisdom], But trouble is in the income of the wicked one [who rejects the laws of God]. 7 The lips of the wise spread knowledge [sifting it as chaff from the grain]; But the hearts of [shortsighted] fools are not so. 8 The sacrifice of the wicked is hateful and exceedingly offensive to the Lord, But the prayer of the upright is His delight! 9 The way [of life] of the wicked is hateful and exceedingly offensive to the Lord, But He loves one who pursues righteousness [personal integrity, moral courage and honorable character]. 10 There is severe discipline for him who [w]turns from the way [of righteousness]; And he who hates correction will die. 11 Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead) and Abaddon (the abyss, the place of eternal punishment) lie open before the Lord— How much more the hearts and inner motives of the children of men. 12 A scoffer [unlike a wise man] resents one who rebukes him and tries to teach him; Nor will he go to the wise [for counsel and instruction]. 13 A heart full of joy and goodness makes a cheerful face, But when a heart is full of sadness the spirit is crushed. 14 The mind of the intelligent and discerning seeks knowledge and eagerly inquires after it, But the mouth of the [stubborn] fool feeds on foolishness. 15 All the days of the afflicted are bad, But a glad heart has a continual feast [regardless of the circumstances]. 16 Better is a little with the [reverent, worshipful] fear of the Lord Than great treasure and trouble with it. 17 Better is a dinner of vegetables and herbs where love is present Than a fattened ox served with hatred. 18 A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, But he who is slow to anger and patient calms disputes. 19 The way of the lazy is like a hedge of thorns [it pricks, lacerates, and entangles him], But the way [of life] of the upright is smooth and open like a highway. 20 A wise son makes a father glad, But a foolish man despises his mother. 21 Foolishness is joy to him who is without heart and lacks [intelligent, common] sense, But a man of understanding walks uprightly [making his course straight]. 22 Without consultation and wise advice, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors they are established and succeed. 23 A man has joy in giving an appropriate answer, And how good and delightful is a word spoken at the right moment—how good it is! 24 The [chosen] path of life leads upward for the wise, That he may keep away from Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead) below. 25 The Lord will tear down the house of the proud and arrogant (self-righteous), But He will establish and protect the boundaries [of the land] of the [godly] widow. 26 Evil plans and thoughts of the wicked are exceedingly vile and offensive to the Lord, But pure words are pleasant words to Him. 27 He who profits unlawfully brings suffering to his own house, But he who hates bribes [and does not receive nor pay them] will live. 28 The heart of the righteous thinks carefully about how to answer [in a wise and appropriate and timely way], But the [babbling] mouth of the wicked pours out malevolent things. 29 The Lord is far from the wicked [and distances Himself from them], But He hears the prayer of the [consistently] righteous [that is, those with spiritual integrity and moral courage]. 30 The light of the eyes rejoices the hearts of others, And good news puts fat on the bones. 31 The ear that listens to and learns from the life-giving rebuke (reprimand, censure) Will remain among the wise. 32 He who neglects and ignores instruction and discipline despises himself, But he who learns from rebuke acquires understanding [and grows in wisdom]. 33 The [reverent] fear of the Lord [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome] is the instruction for wisdom [its starting point and its essence]; And before honor comes humility.
Contrast the Upright and the Wicked
16 The plans and reflections of the heart belong to man, But the [wise] answer of the tongue is from the Lord. 2 All the ways of a man are clean and innocent in his own eyes [and he may see nothing wrong with his actions], But the Lord weighs and examines the motives and intents [of the heart and knows the truth]. 3 [x]Commit your works to the Lord [submit and trust them to Him], And your plans will succeed [if you respond to His will and guidance]. 4 The Lord has made everything for its own purpose, Even the wicked [according to their role] for the day of evil. 5 Everyone who is proud and arrogant in heart is disgusting and exceedingly offensive to the Lord; Be assured he will not go unpunished. 6 By mercy and lovingkindness and truth [not superficial ritual] wickedness is cleansed from the heart, And by the fear of the Lord one avoids evil. 7 When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. 8 Better is a little with righteousness Than great income [gained] with injustice. 9 A man’s mind plans his way [as he journeys through life], But the Lord directs his steps and establishes them. 10 A divine decision [given by God] is on the lips of the king [as His representative]; His mouth should not be unfaithful or unjust in judgment. 11 A just balance and [honest] scales are the Lord’s; All the weights of the bag are His concern [established by His eternal principles]. 12 It is repulsive [to God and man] for kings to behave wickedly, For a throne is established on righteousness (right standing with God). 13 Righteous lips are the delight of kings, And he who speaks right is loved. 14 The wrath of a king is like a messenger of death, But a wise man will appease it. 15 In the light of the king’s face is life, And his favor is like a cloud bringing the spring rain. 16 How much better it is to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver. 17 The highway of the upright turns away and departs from evil; He who guards his way protects his life (soul). 18 Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. 19 It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly Than to divide the spoil with the proud (haughty, arrogant). 20 He who pays attention to the word [of God] will find good, And blessed (happy, prosperous, to be admired) is he who trusts [confidently] in the Lord. 21 The wise in heart will be called understanding, And sweet speech increases persuasiveness and learning [in both speaker and listener]. 22 Understanding (spiritual insight) is a [refreshing and boundless] wellspring of life to those who have it, But to give instruction and correction to fools is foolishness. 23 The heart of the wise instructs his mouth [in wisdom] And adds persuasiveness to his lips. 24 Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweet and delightful to the soul and healing to the body. 25 There is a way which seems right to a man and appears straight before him, But its end is the way of death. 26 The appetite of a worker works for him, For his hunger urges him on. 27 A worthless man devises and digs up evil, And the words on his lips are like a scorching fire. 28 A perverse man spreads strife, And one who gossips separates intimate friends. 29 A violent and exceedingly covetous man entices his neighbor [to sin], And leads him in a way that is not good. 30 He who [slyly] winks his eyes does so to plot perverse things; And he who compresses his lips [as if in a secret signal] brings evil to pass. 31 The silver-haired head is a crown of splendor and glory; It is found in the way of righteousness. 32 He who is slow to anger is better and more honorable than the mighty [soldier], And he who rules and controls his own spirit, than he who captures a city. 33 The lot is cast into the lap, [y]But its every decision is from the Lord.
Contrast the Upright and the Wicked
17 Better is a dry morsel [of food served] with quietness and peace Than a house full of feasting [served] with strife and contention. 2 A wise servant will rule over the [unworthy] son who acts shamefully and brings disgrace [to the family] And [the worthy servant] will share in the inheritance among the brothers. 3 The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the Lord tests hearts. 4 An evildoer listens closely to wicked lips; And a liar pays attention to a destructive and malicious tongue. 5 Whoever mocks the poor taunts his Maker, And he who rejoices at [another’s] disaster will not go unpunished. 6 Grandchildren are the crown of aged men, And the glory of children is their fathers [who live godly lives]. 7 Excellent speech does not benefit a fool [who is spiritually blind], Much less do lying lips benefit a prince. 8 A bribe is like a bright, precious stone in the eyes of its owner; Wherever he turns, he prospers. 9 He who covers and forgives an offense seeks love, But he who repeats or gossips about a matter separates intimate friends. 10 A reprimand goes deeper into one who has understanding and a teachable spirit Than a hundred lashes into a fool. 11 A rebellious man seeks only evil; Therefore a cruel messenger will be sent against him. 12 Let a man meet a [ferocious] bear robbed of her cubs Rather than the [angry, narcissistic] fool in his folly. 13 Whoever returns evil for good, Evil will not depart from his house. 14 The beginning of strife is like letting out water [as from a small break in a dam; first it trickles and then it gushes]; Therefore [z]abandon the quarrel before it breaks out and tempers explode. 15 He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the righteous Are both repulsive to the Lord. 16 Why is there money in the hand of a fool to buy wisdom, When he has no common sense or even a heart for it? 17 A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity. 18 A man lacking common sense gives a pledge And becomes guarantor [for the debt of another] in the presence of his neighbor. 19 He who loves transgression loves strife and is quarrelsome; He who [proudly] raises his gate seeks destruction [because of his arrogant pride]. 20 He who has a crooked mind finds no good, And he who is perverted in his language falls into evil. 21 He who becomes the parent of a fool [who is spiritually blind] does so to his sorrow, And the father of a fool [who is spiritually blind] has no joy. 22 A happy heart is good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing, But a broken spirit dries up the bones. 23 A wicked man receives a bribe from the [hidden] pocket To pervert the ways of justice. 24 [Skillful and godly] wisdom is in the presence of a person of understanding [and he recognizes it], But the eyes of a [thickheaded] fool are on the ends of the earth. 25 A foolish son is a grief and anguish to his father And bitterness to her who gave birth to him. 26 It is also not good to fine the righteous, Nor to strike the noble for their uprightness. 27 He who has knowledge restrains and is careful with his words, And a man of understanding and wisdom has a cool spirit (self-control, an even temper). 28 Even a [callous, arrogant] fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; When he closes his lips he is regarded as sensible (prudent, discreet) and a man of understanding.
Contrast the Upright and the Wicked
18 He who [willfully] separates himself [from God and man] seeks his own desire, He quarrels against all sound wisdom. 2 A [closed-minded] fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his personal opinions [unwittingly displaying his self-indulgence and his stupidity]. 3 When the wicked man comes [to the depth of evil], contempt [of all that is pure and good] also comes, And with inner baseness (dishonor) comes outer shame (scorn). 4 The words of a man’s mouth are like deep waters [copious and difficult to fathom]; The fountain of [mature, godly] wisdom is like a bubbling stream [sparkling, fresh, pure, and life-giving]. 5 To show respect to the wicked person is not good, Nor to push aside and deprive the righteous of justice. 6 A fool’s lips bring contention and strife, And his mouth invites a beating. 7 A fool’s mouth is his ruin, And his lips are the snare of his soul. 8 The words of a whisperer (gossip) are like dainty morsels [to be greedily eaten]; They go down into the innermost chambers of the body [to be remembered and mused upon]. 9 He who is careless in his work Is a brother to him who destroys. 10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous runs to it and is safe and set on high [far above evil]. 11 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, And like a high wall [of protection] in his own imagination and conceit. 12 Before disaster the heart of a man is haughty and filled with self-importance, But humility comes before honor. 13 He who answers before he hears [the facts]— It is folly and shame to him. 14 The spirit of a man sustains him in sickness, But as for a broken spirit, who can bear it? 15 The mind of the prudent [always] acquires knowledge, And the ear of the wise [always] seeks knowledge. 16 A man’s gift [given in love or courtesy] makes room for him And brings him before great men. 17 The first one to plead his case seems right, Until another comes and cross-examines him. 18 [aa]To cast lots puts an end to quarrels And decides between powerful contenders. 19 A brother offended is harder to win over than a fortified city, And contentions [separating families] are like the bars of a castle. 20 A man’s stomach will be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; He will be satisfied with the consequence of his words. 21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words. 22 He who finds a [[ab]true and faithful] wife finds a good thing And obtains favor and approval from the Lord. 23 The poor man pleads, But the rich man answers roughly. 24 The man of too many friends [chosen indiscriminately] will be broken in pieces and come to ruin, But there is a [true, loving] friend who [is reliable and] sticks closer than a brother.
On Life and Conduct
19 Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity Than a [rich] man who is twisted in his speech and is a [shortsighted] fool. 2 Also it is not good for a person to be without knowledge, And he who hurries with his feet [acting impulsively and proceeding without caution or analyzing the consequences] sins (misses the mark). 3 The foolishness of man undermines his way [ruining whatever he undertakes]; Then his heart is resentful and rages against the Lord [for, being a fool, he blames the Lord instead of himself]. 4 Wealth makes many friends, But a poor man is separated from his friend. 5 A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who breathes out lies will not escape. 6 Many will seek the favor of a generous and noble man, And everyone is a friend to him who gives gifts. 7 All the brothers of a poor man hate him; How much more do his friends abandon him! He pursues them with words, but they are gone. 8 He who gains wisdom and good sense loves (preserves) his own soul; He who keeps understanding will find good and prosper. 9 A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who breathes lies will perish. 10 Luxury is not fitting for a fool; Much less for a slave to rule over princes. 11 Good sense and discretion make a man slow to anger, And it is his honor and glory to overlook a transgression or an offense [without seeking revenge and harboring resentment]. 12 The king’s wrath terrifies like the roaring of a lion, But his favor is as [refreshing and nourishing as] dew on the grass. 13 A foolish (ungodly) son is destruction to his father, And the contentions of a [quarrelsome] wife are like a constant dripping [of water]. 14 House and wealth are the inheritance from fathers, But a wise, understanding, and sensible wife is [a gift and blessing] from the Lord. 15 Laziness casts one into a deep sleep [unmindful of lost opportunity], And the idle person will suffer hunger. 16 He who keeps and obeys the commandment [of the Lord] keeps (guards) his own life, But he who is careless of his ways and conduct will die. 17 He who is gracious and lends a hand to the poor lends to the Lord, And the Lord will repay him for his good deed. 18 Discipline and teach your son while there is hope, And do not [indulge your anger or resentment by imposing inappropriate punishment nor] desire his destruction. 19 A man of great anger will bear the penalty [for his quick temper and lack of self-control]; For if you rescue him [and do not let him learn from the consequences of his action], you will only have to rescue him over and over again. 20 Listen to counsel, receive instruction, and accept correction, That you may be wise in the time to come. 21 Many plans are in a man’s mind, But it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand (be carried out). 22 That which is desirable in a man is his loyalty and unfailing love, But it is better to be a poor man than a [wealthy] liar. 23 The fear of the Lordleads to life, So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil. 24 The lazy man buries his hand in the [food] dish, But will not even bring it to his mouth again. 25 Strike a scoffer [for refusing to learn], and the naive may [be warned and] become prudent; Reprimand one who has understanding and a teachable spirit, and he will gain knowledge and insight. 26 He who assaults his father and chases away his mother Is a son who brings shame and disgrace. 27 Cease listening, my son, to instruction and discipline And you will stray from the words of knowledge. 28 A wicked and worthless witness mocks justice, And the mouth of the wicked spreads iniquity. 29 Judgments are prepared for scoffers, And beatings for the backs of [thickheaded] fools.
On Life and Conduct
20 Wine is a mocker, strong drink a riotous brawler; And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise. 2 The terror of a king is like the roaring of a lion; Whoever provokes him to anger forfeits his own life. 3 It is an honor for a man to keep away from strife [by handling situations with thoughtful foresight], But any fool will [start a] quarrel [without regard for the consequences]. 4 The lazy man does not plow when the winter [planting] season arrives; So he begs at the [next] harvest and has nothing [to reap]. 5 A plan (motive, wise counsel) in the heart of a man is like water in a deep well, But a man of understanding draws it out. 6 Many a man proclaims his own loyalty and goodness, But who can find a faithful and trustworthy man? 7 The righteous man who walks in integrity and lives life in accord with his [godly] beliefs— How blessed [happy and spiritually secure] are his children after him [who have his example to follow]. 8 A [discerning] king who sits on the throne of judgment Sifts all evil [like chaff] with his eyes [and cannot be easily fooled]. 9 Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin?” 10 Differing weights [one for buying and another for selling] and differing measures, Both of them are detestable and offensive to the Lord. 11 Even a boy is known and distinguished by his acts, Whether his conduct is pure and right. 12 The hearing ear and the seeing eye, The [omnipotent] Lord has made both of them. 13 Do not love [excessive] sleep, or you will become poor; Open your eyes [so that you can do your work] and you will be satisfied with bread. 14 “It is [almost] worthless, it is [almost] worthless,” says the buyer [as he negotiates the price]; But when he goes his way, then he boasts [about his bargain]. 15 There is gold, and an abundance of pearls, But the lips of knowledge are a vessel of preciousness [the most precious of all]. 16 [The judge tells the creditor], “Take the clothes of one who is surety for a stranger; And hold him in pledge [when he guarantees a loan] for foreigners.” 17 Food gained by deceit is sweet to a man, But afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel [just as sin may be sweet at first, but later its consequences bring despair]. 18 Plans are established by counsel; So make war [only] with wise guidance. 19 He who goes about as a gossip reveals secrets; Therefore do not associate with a gossip [who talks freely or flatters]. 20 Whoever curses his father or his mother, His lamp [of life] will be extinguished in time of darkness. 21 An inheritance hastily gained [by greedy, unjust means] at the beginning Will not be blessed in the end. 22 Do not say, “I will repay evil”; Wait [expectantly] for the Lord, and He will rescue and save you. 23 Differing weights are detestable and offensive to the Lord, And fraudulent scales are not good. 24 Man’s steps are ordered and ordained by the Lord. How then can a man [fully] understand his way? 25 It is a trap for a man to [[ac]speak a vow of consecration and] say rashly, “It is holy!” And [not until] afterward consider [whether he can fulfill it]. 26 A wise king sifts out the wicked [from among the good] And drives the [threshing] wheel over them [to separate the chaff from the grain]. 27 The [ad]spirit (conscience) of man is the lamp of the Lord, Searching and examining all the innermost parts of his being. 28 Loyalty and mercy, truth and faithfulness, protect the king, And he upholds his throne by lovingkindness. 29 The glory of young men is their [physical] strength, And the honor of aged men is their gray head [representing wisdom and experience]. 30 Blows that wound cleanse away evil, And strokes reach to the innermost parts.
On Life and Conduct
22 The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it whichever way He wishes. 2 Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs and examines the hearts [of people and their motives]. 3 To do righteousness and justice Is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice [for wrongs repeatedly committed]. 4 Haughty and arrogant eyes and a proud heart, The lamp of the wicked [their self-centered pride], is sin [in the eyes of God]. 5 The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance and advantage, But everyone who acts in haste comes surely to poverty. 6 Acquiring treasures by a lying tongue Is a fleeting vapor, the seeking and pursuit of death. 7 The violence of the wicked will [return to them and] drag them away [like fish caught in a net], Because they refuse to act with justice. 8 The way of the guilty is [exceedingly] crooked, But as for the pure, his conduct is upright. 9 It is better to live in a corner of the housetop [on the flat roof, exposed to the weather] Than in a house shared with a quarrelsome (contentious) woman. 10 The soul of the wicked desires evil [like an addictive substance]; His neighbor finds no compassion in his eyes. 11 When the scoffer is punished, the naive [observes the lesson and] becomes wise; But when the wise and teachable person is instructed, he receives knowledge. 12 The righteous one keeps an eye on the house of the wicked— How the wicked are cast down to ruin. 13 Whoever shuts his ears at the cry of the poor Will cry out himself and not be answered. 14 A gift in secret subdues anger, And a bribe [hidden] in the pocket, strong wrath. 15 When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous (the upright, the one in right standing with God), But to the evildoers it is disaster. 16 A man who wanders from the way of understanding (godly wisdom) Will remain in the assembly of the dead. 17 He who loves [only selfish] pleasure will become a poor man; He who loves and is devoted to [ae]wine and [olive] oil will not become rich. 18 The wicked become a ransom for the righteous, And the treacherous in the place of the upright [for they fall into their own traps]. 19 It is better to dwell in a desert land Than with a contentious and troublesome woman. 20 There is precious treasure and oil in the house of the wise [who prepare for the future], But a short-sighted and foolish man swallows it up and wastes it. 21 He who earnestly seeks righteousness and loyalty Finds life, righteousness, and honor. 22 A wise man scales the city [walls] of the mighty And brings down the stronghold in which they trust. 23 He who guards his mouth and his tongue Guards himself from troubles. 24 “Proud,” “Haughty,” “Scoffer,” are his names Who acts with overbearing and insolent pride. 25 The desire of the lazy kills him, For his hands refuse to labor; 26 He craves all the day long [and does no work], But the righteous [willingly] gives and does not withhold [what he has]. 27 The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable and offensive [to the Lord]. How much more [unacceptable and insulting can it be] when he brings it with evil intention? 28 A false witness will perish, But a man who listens to the truth will speak forever and go unchallenged. 29 A wicked man puts on a bold face, But as for the upright, he considers, directs, and establishes his way [with the confidence of integrity]. 30 There is no [human] wisdom or understanding Or counsel [that can prevail] against the Lord. 31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But deliverance and victory belong to the Lord.
On Life and Conduct
22 A good name [earned by honorable behavior, godly wisdom, moral courage, and personal integrity] is more desirable than great riches; And favor is better than silver and gold. 2 The rich and poor have a common bond; The Lord is the Maker of them all. 3 A prudent and far-sighted person sees the evil [of sin] and hides himself [from it], But the naive continue on and are punished [by suffering the consequences of sin]. 4 The reward of humility [that is, having a realistic view of one’s importance] and the [reverent, worshipful] fear of the Lord Is riches, honor, and life. 5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the obstinate [for their lack of honor and their wrong-doing traps them]; He who guards himself [with godly wisdom] will be far from them and avoid the consequences they suffer. 6 Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents], Even when he is old he will not depart from it. 7 The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender. 8 He who sows injustice will reap [a harvest of] trouble, And the rod of his wrath [with which he oppresses others] will fail. 9 He who is generous will be blessed, For he gives some of his food to the poor. 10 Drive out the scoffer, and contention will go away; Even strife and dishonor will cease. 11 He who loves purity of heart And whose speech is gracious will have the king as his friend. 12 The eyes of the Lord keep guard over knowledge and the one who has it, But He overthrows the words of the treacherous. 13 The lazy one [manufactures excuses and] says, “There is a lion outside! I will be killed in the streets [if I go out to work]!” 14 The mouth of an immoral woman is a deep pit [deep and inescapable]; He who is cursed by the Lord [because of his adulterous sin] will fall into it. 15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline [correction administered with godly wisdom and lovingkindness] will remove it far from him. 16 He who oppresses or exploits the poor to get more for himself Or who gives to the rich [to gain influence and favor], will only come to poverty.
17 Listen carefully and hear the [af]words of the wise, And apply your mind to my knowledge; 18 For it will be pleasant if you keep them in mind [incorporating them as guiding principles]; Let them be ready on your lips [to guide and strengthen yourself and others]. 19 So that your trust and reliance and confidence may be in the Lord, I have taught these things to you today, even to you. 20 Have I not written to you excellent things In counsels and knowledge, 21 To let you know the certainty of the words of truth, That you may give a correct answer to him who sent you?
22 Do not rob the poor because he is poor [and defenseless], Nor crush the afflicted [by legal proceedings] at the gate [where the city court is held], 23 For the Lord will plead their case And take the life of those who rob them.
24 Do not even associate with a man given to angry outbursts; Or go [along] with a hot-tempered man, 25 Or you will learn his [undisciplined] ways And get yourself trapped [in a situation from which it is hard to escape].
26 Do not be among those who give pledges [involving themselves in others’ finances], Or among those who become guarantors for others’ debts. 27 If you have nothing with which to pay [another’s debt when he defaults], Why should his creditor take your bed from under you?
28 Do not move the ancient landmark [at the boundary of the property] Which your fathers have set.
29 Do you see a man skillful and experienced in his work? He will stand [in honor] before kings; He will not stand before obscure men.
On Life and Conduct
23 When you sit down to dine with a ruler, Consider carefully what is [set] before you; 2 For you will put a knife to your throat If you are a man of great appetite. 3 Do not desire his delicacies, For it is deceptive food [offered to you with questionable motives].
4 Do not weary yourself [with the overwhelming desire] to gain wealth; Cease from your own understanding of it. 5 When you set your eyes on wealth, it is [suddenly] gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings Like an eagle that flies to the heavens.
6 Do not eat the bread of a selfish man, Or desire his delicacies; 7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he [in behavior—one who manipulates]. He says to you, “Eat and drink,” Yet his heart is not with you [but it is begrudging the cost]. 8 The morsel which you have eaten you will vomit up, And you will waste your compliments.
9 Do not speak in the ears of a fool, For he will despise the [godly] wisdom of your words.
10 Do not move the ancient landmark [at the boundary of the property] And do not go into the fields of the fatherless [to take what is theirs], 11 For their Redeemer is strong and mighty; He will plead their case against you. 12 Apply your heart to discipline And your ears to words of knowledge.
13 Do not withhold discipline from the child; If you [ag]swat him with a reed-like rod [applied with godly wisdom], he will not die. 14 You shall [ah]swat him with the reed-like rod And rescue his life from Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead).
15 My son, if your heart is wise, My heart will also be glad; 16 Yes, my heart will rejoice When your lips speak right things.
17 Do not let your heart envy sinners [who live godless lives and have no hope of salvation], But [continue to] live in the [reverent, worshipful] fear of the Lord day by day. 18 Surely there is a future [and a reward], And your hope and expectation will not be cut off. 19 Listen, my son, and be wise, And direct your heart in the way [of the Lord]. 20 Do not associate with heavy drinkers of wine, Or with gluttonous eaters of meat, 21 For the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty, And the drowsiness [of overindulgence] will clothe one with rags.
22 Listen to your father, who sired you, And do not despise your mother when she is old. 23 [ai]Buy truth, and do not sell it; Get wisdom and instruction and understanding.
24 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, And he who sires a wise child will have joy in him. 25 Let your father and your mother be glad, And let her who gave birth to you rejoice [in your wise and godly choices].
26 My son, give me your heart And let your eyes delight in my ways, 27 For a prostitute is a deep pit, And an immoral woman is a narrow well. 28 She lurks and lies in wait like a robber [who waits for prey], And she increases the faithless among men.
29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Whose eyes are red and dim? 30 Those who linger long over wine, Those who go to taste mixed wine. 31 Do not look at wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the glass, When it goes down smoothly. 32 At the last it bites like a serpent And stings like a viper. 33 Your [drunken] eyes will see strange things And your mind will utter perverse things [untrue things, twisted things]. 34 And you will be [as unsteady] as one who lies down in the middle of the sea, And [as vulnerable to disaster] as one who lies down on the top of a ship’s mast, saying, 35 “They struck me, but I was not hurt! They beat me, but I did not feel it! When will I wake up? I will seek more wine.”
Precepts and Warnings
24 Do not be envious of evil men, Nor desire to be with them; 2 For their minds plot violence, And their lips talk of trouble [for the innocent].
3 Through [skillful and godly] wisdom a house [a life, a home, a family] is built, And by understanding it is established [on a sound and good foundation], 4 And by knowledge its rooms are filled With all precious and pleasant riches.
5 A wise man is strong, And a man of knowledge strengthens his power; 6 For by wise guidance you can wage your war, And in an abundance of [wise] counselors there is victory and safety.
7 Wisdom is too exalted for a [hardened, arrogant] [aj]fool; He does not open his mouth in the gate [where the city’s rulers sit in judgment].
8 He who plans to do evil Will be called a schemer or deviser of evil. 9 The devising of folly is sin, And the scoffer is repulsive to men.
10 If you are slack (careless) in the day of distress, Your strength is limited.
11 Rescue those who are being taken away to death, And those who stagger to the slaughter, Oh hold them back [from their doom]! 12 If you [claim ignorance and] say, “See, we did not know this,” Does He not consider it who weighs and examines the hearts and their motives? And does He not know it who guards your life and keeps your soul? And will He not repay [you and] every man according to his works?
13 My son, eat honey, because it is good, And the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste. 14 Know that [skillful and godly] wisdom is [so very good] for your life and soul; If you find wisdom, then there will be a future and a reward, And your hope and expectation will not be cut off.
15 Do not lie in wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; Do not destroy his resting place; 16 For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, But the wicked stumble in time of disaster and collapse.
17 Do not rejoice and gloat when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad [in self-righteousness] when he stumbles, 18 Or the Lord will see your gloating and be displeased, And turn His anger away from your enemy.
19 Do not get upset because of evildoers, Or be envious of the wicked, 20 For there will be no future for the evil man; The lamp of the wicked will be put out.
21 My son, fear the Lord and the king; And do not associate with those who are given to change [of allegiance, and are revolutionary], 22 For their tragedy will rise suddenly, And who knows the punishment that both [the Lord and the king] will bring on the rebellious?
23 These also are sayings of the wise: To show partiality in judgment is not good. 24 He who says to the wicked, “You are righteous,” Peoples will curse him, nations will denounce him; 25 But to those [honorable judges] who rebuke the wicked, it will go well with them and they will find delight, And a good blessing will come upon them. 26 He kisses the lips [and wins the hearts of people] Who gives a right and straightforward answer.
27 Prepare your work outside And get it ready for yourself in the field; [ak]Afterward build your house and establish a home.
28 Do not be a witness against your [al]neighbor without cause, And do not deceive with your lips [speak neither lies nor half-truths]. 29 Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me; I will pay the man back for his deed.”
30 I went by the field of the lazy man, And by the vineyard of the man lacking understanding and common sense; 31 And, behold, it was all overgrown with thorns, And nettles were covering its surface, And its stone wall was broken down. 32 When I saw, I considered it well; I looked and received instruction. 33 “Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest [and daydream],” 34 Then your poverty will come as a robber, And your want like an armed man.
25 These are also the proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied:
2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter. 3 As the heavens for height and the earth for depth, So the hearts and minds of kings are [am]unsearchable. 4 Take away the dross from the silver, And there comes out [the pure metal for] a vessel for the silversmith [to shape]. 5 Take away the wicked from before the king, And his throne will be established in righteousness. 6 Do not be boastfully ambitious and claim honor in the presence of the king, And do not stand in the place of great men; 7 For it is better that it be said to you, “Come up here,” Than for you to be placed lower in the presence of the prince, Whom your eyes have seen.
8 Do not rush out to argue your case [before magistrates or judges]; Otherwise what will you do in the end [when your case is lost and] When your neighbor (opponent) humiliates you? 9 Argue your case with your neighbor himself [before you go to court]; And do not reveal another’s secret, 10 Or he who hears it will shame you And the rumor about you [and your action in court] will have no end.
11 Like apples of gold in settings of silver Is a word spoken at the right time. 12 Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold Is a wise reprover to an ear that listens and learns. 13 Like the cold of snow [brought from the mountains] in the time of harvest, So is a faithful messenger to those who send him; For he refreshes the life of his masters. 14 Like clouds and wind without rain Is a man who boasts falsely of gifts [he does not give]. 15 By patience and a calm spirit a ruler may be persuaded, And a soft and gentle tongue breaks the bone [of resistance]. 16 Have you found [pleasure sweet like] honey? Eat only as much as you need, Otherwise, being filled excessively, you vomit it. 17 Let your foot seldom be in your neighbor’s house, Or he will become tired of you and hate you. 18 Like a club and a sword and a piercing arrow Is a man who testifies falsely against his neighbor (acquaintance). 19 Like a broken tooth or an unsteady foot Is confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble. 20 Like one who takes off a garment in cold weather, or like [a reactive, useless mixture of] vinegar on soda, Is he who [thoughtlessly] sings [joyful] songs to a heavy heart. 21 If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; 22 For in doing so, you will [an]heap coals of fire upon his head, And the Lord will reward you. 23 The north wind brings forth rain; And a backbiting tongue, an angry countenance. 24 It is better to live in a corner of the housetop [on the flat roof, exposed to the weather] Than in a house shared with a quarrelsome (contentious) woman. 25 Like cold water to a thirsty soul, So is good news from a distant land. 26 Like a muddied fountain and a polluted spring Is a righteous man who yields and compromises his integrity before the wicked. 27 It is not good to eat much honey, Nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory. 28 Like a city that is broken down and without walls [leaving it unprotected] Is a man who has no self-control over his spirit [and sets himself up for trouble].
26 Like snow in summer and like rain in harvest, So honor is not fitting for a [shortsighted] [ao]fool. 2 Like the sparrow in her wandering, like the swallow in her flying, So the curse without cause does not come and alight [on the undeserving]. 3 A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, And a rod for the backs of fools [who refuse to learn]. 4 Do not answer [nor pretend to agree with the frivolous comments of] a [closed-minded] fool according to his folly, Otherwise you, even you, will be like him. 5 Answer [and correct the erroneous concepts of] a fool according to his folly, Otherwise he will be wise in his own eyes [if he thinks you agree with him]. 6 He who sends a message by the hand of a fool Cuts off his own feet (sabotages himself) and drinks the violence [it brings on himself as a consequence]. 7 Like the legs which are useless to the lame, So is a proverb in the mouth of a fool [who cannot learn from its wisdom]. 8 Like one who [absurdly] binds a stone in a sling [making it impossible to throw], So is he who [absurdly] gives honor to a fool. 9 Like a thorn that goes [without being felt] into the hand of a drunken man, So is a proverb in the mouth of a fool [who remains unaffected by its wisdom]. 10 Like a [careless] archer who [shoots arrows wildly and] wounds everyone, So is he who hires a fool or those who [by chance just] pass by. 11 Like a dog that returns to his vomit Is a fool who repeats his foolishness. 12 Do you see a man [who is unteachable and] wise in his own eyes and full of self-conceit? There is more hope for a fool than for him. 13 The lazy person [who is self-indulgent and relies on lame excuses] says, “There is a lion in the road! A lion is in the open square [and if I go outside to work I will be killed]!” 14 As the door turns on its hinges, So does the lazy person on his bed [never getting out of it]. 15 The lazy person buries his hand in the dish [losing opportunity after opportunity]; It wearies him to bring it back to his mouth. 16 The lazy person is wiser in his own eyes Than seven [sensible] men who can give a discreet answer. 17 Like one who grabs a dog by the ears [and is likely to be bitten] Is he who, passing by, stops to meddle with a dispute that is none of his business. 18 Like a madman who throws Firebrands, arrows, and death, 19 So is the man who deceives his neighbor (acquaintance, friend) And then says, “Was I not joking?” 20 For lack of wood the fire goes out, And where there is no whisperer [who gossips], contention quiets down. 21 Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, So is a contentious man to kindle strife. 22 The words of a whisperer (gossip) are like dainty morsels [to be greedily eaten]; They go down into the innermost chambers of the body [to be remembered and mused upon]. 23 Like a [common] clay vessel covered with the silver dross [making it appear silver when it has no real value] Are burning lips [murmuring manipulative words] and a wicked heart. 24 He who hates, disguises it with his lips, But he stores up deceit in his heart. 25 When he speaks graciously and kindly [to conceal his malice], do not trust him, For seven abominations are in his heart. 26 Though his hatred covers itself with guile and deceit, His malevolence will be revealed openly before the assembly. 27 Whoever digs a pit [for another man’s feet] will fall into it, And he who rolls a stone [up a hill to do mischief], it will come back on him. 28 A lying tongue hates those it wounds and crushes, And a flattering mouth works ruin.
Warnings and Instructions
27 Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring. 2 Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips. 3 Stone is heavy and the sand weighty, But a fool’s [unreasonable] wrath is heavier and more burdensome than both of them. 4 Wrath is cruel and anger is an overwhelming flood, But who is able to endure and stand before [the sin of] jealousy? 5 Better is an open reprimand [of loving correction] Than love that is hidden. 6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend [who corrects out of love and concern], But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful [because they serve his hidden agenda]. 7 He who is satisfied loathes honey, But to the hungry soul any bitter thing is sweet. 8 Like a bird that wanders from her nest [with its comfort and safety], So is a man who wanders from his home. 9 Oil and perfume make the heart glad; So does the sweetness of a friend’s counsel that comes from the heart. 10 Do not abandon your own friend and your father’s friend, And do not go to your brother’s house in the day of your disaster. Better is a neighbor who is near than a brother who is far away. 11 My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, That I may reply to him who reproaches (reprimands, criticizes) me. 12 A prudent man sees evil and hides himself and avoids it, But the naive [who are easily misled] continue on and are punished [by suffering the consequences of sin]. 13 [The judge tells the creditor,] “Take the garment of one who is surety (guarantees a loan) for a stranger; And hold him in pledge when he is surety for an immoral woman [for it is unlikely the debt will be repaid].” 14 He who blesses his neighbor with a loud voice early in the morning, It will be counted as a curse to him [for it will either be annoying or his purpose will be suspect]. 15 A constant dripping on a day of steady rain And a contentious (quarrelsome) woman are alike; 16 Whoever attempts to restrain her [criticism] might as well try to stop the wind, And grasps oil with his right hand. 17 As iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens [and influences] another [through discussion]. 18 He who tends the fig tree will eat its fruit, And he who faithfully protects and cares for his master will be honored. 19 As in water face reflects face, So the heart of man reflects man. 20 Sheol (the place of the dead) and Abaddon (the underworld) are never satisfied; Nor are the eyes of man ever satisfied. 21 The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold [to separate the impurities of the metal], And each is tested by the praise given to him [and his response to it, whether humble or proud]. 22 Even though you pound a [hardened, arrogant] fool [who rejects wisdom] in a mortar with a pestle like grain, Yet his foolishness will not leave him.
23 Be diligent to know the condition of your flocks, And pay attention to your herds; 24 For riches are not forever, Nor does a crown endure to all generations. 25 When the grass is gone, the new growth is seen, And herbs of the mountain are gathered in, 26 The lambs will supply wool for your clothing, And the goats will bring the price of a field. 27 And there will be enough goats’ milk for your food, For the food of your household, And for the maintenance of your maids.
Warnings and Instructions
28 The wicked flee when no one pursues them, But the righteous are as bold as a lion. 2 When a land does wrong, it has many princes, But when the ruler is a man of understanding and knowledge, its stability endures. 3 A poor man who oppresses and exploits the lowly Is like a sweeping rain which leaves no food. 4 Those who [ap]set aside the law [of God and man] praise the wicked, But those who keep the law [of God and man] struggle with them. 5 Evil men do not understand justice, But they who long for and seek the Lord understand it fully. 6 Better is the poor who walks in his integrity Than he who is crooked and two-faced though he is rich. 7 He who keeps the law [of God and man] is a wise and discerning son, But he who is a companion of gluttons humiliates his father [and himself]. 8 He who increases his wealth by interest and usury (excessive interest) Gathers it for him who is gracious to the poor. 9 He who turns his ear away from listening to the law [of God and man], Even his prayer is repulsive [to God]. 10 He who leads the upright astray on an evil path Will himself fall into his own pit, But the blameless will inherit good. 11 The rich man [who is conceited and relies on his wealth instead of God] is wise in his own eyes, But the poor man who has understanding [because he relies on God] is able to see through him. 12 When the righteous triumph, there is great glory and celebration; But when the wicked rise [to prominence], men hide themselves. 13 He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But whoever confesses and [aq]turns away from his sins will find compassion and mercy. 14 Blessed and favored by God is the man who fears [sin and its consequence] at all times, But he who hardens his heart [and is determined to sin] will fall into disaster. 15 Like a roaring lion and a charging bear Is a wicked ruler over a poor people. 16 A leader who is a great oppressor lacks understanding and common sense [and his wickedness shortens his days], But he who hates unjust gain will [be blessed and] prolong his days. 17 A man who is burdened with the guilt of human blood (murder) Will be a fugitive until death; let no one support him or give him refuge. 18 He who walks blamelessly and uprightly will be kept safe, But he who is crooked (perverse) will suddenly fall. 19 He who cultivates his land will have plenty of bread, But he who follows worthless people and frivolous pursuits will have plenty of poverty. 20 A faithful (right-minded) man will abound with blessings, But he who hurries to be rich will not go unpunished. 21 To have regard for one person over another and to show favoritism is not good, Because for a piece of bread a man will transgress. 22 He who has an evil and envious eye hurries to be rich And does not know that poverty will come upon him. 23 He who [appropriately] reprimands a [wise] man will afterward find more favor Than he who flatters with the tongue. 24 He who robs his father or his mother And says, “This is no sin,” Is [not only a thief but also] the companion of a man who destroys. 25 An arrogant and greedy man stirs up strife, But he who trusts in the Lord will be blessed and prosper. 26 He who trusts confidently in his own heart is a [dull, thickheaded] fool, But he who walks in [skillful and godly] wisdom will be rescued. 27 He who gives to the poor will never want, But he who shuts his eyes [from their need] will have many curses. 28 When the wicked rise [to power], men hide themselves; But when the wicked perish, the [consistently] righteous increase and become great.
Warnings and Instructions
29 He who hardens his neck and refuses instruction after being often reproved (corrected, criticized), Will suddenly be broken beyond repair. 2 When the righteous are in authority and become great, the people rejoice; But when the wicked man rules, the people groan and sigh. 3 A man who loves [skillful and godly] wisdom makes his father joyful, But he who associates with prostitutes wastes his wealth. 4 The king establishes (stabilizes) the land by justice, But a man who takes bribes overthrows it. 5 A man who flatters his neighbor [with smooth words intending to do harm] Is spreading a net for his own feet. 6 By his wicked plan an evil man is trapped, But the righteous man sings and rejoices [for his plan brings good things to him]. 7 The righteous man cares for the rights of the poor, But the wicked man has no interest in such knowledge. 8 Scoffers set a city afire [by stirring up trouble], But wise men turn away anger [and restore order with their good judgment]. 9 If a wise man has a controversy with a foolish and arrogant man, The foolish man [ignores logic and fairness and] only rages or laughs, and there is no peace (rest, agreement). 10 The bloodthirsty hate the blameless [because of his integrity], But the upright are concerned for his life. 11 A [shortsighted] fool always loses his temper and displays his anger, But a wise man [uses self-control and] holds it back. 12 If a ruler pays attention to lies [and encourages corruption], All his officials will become wicked. 13 The poor man and the oppressor have this in common: The Lord gives light to the eyes of both. 14 If a king faithfully and truthfully judges the poor, His throne shall be established forever. 15 The rod and reproof (godly instruction) give wisdom, But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother. 16 When the wicked are in authority, transgression increases, But the righteous will see the downfall of the wicked. 17 Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; Yes, he will delight your soul. 18 Where there is no vision [no revelation of God and His word], the people are unrestrained; But happy and blessed is he who keeps the law [of God]. 19 A servant will not be corrected by words alone; For though he understands, he will not respond [nor pay attention]. 20 Do you see a [conceited] man who speaks quickly [offering his opinions or answering without thinking]? There is more hope for a [thickheaded] [ar]fool than for him. 21 He who pampers his slave from childhood Will find him to be a son in the end. 22 An angry man stirs up strife, And a hot-tempered and undisciplined man commits many transgressions. 23 A man’s pride and sense of self-importance will bring him down, But he who has a humble spirit will obtain honor. 24 Whoever is partner with a thief hates his own life; He hears the curse [when swearing an oath to testify], but discloses nothing [and commits perjury by omission]. 25 The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in and puts his confidence in the Lord will be exalted and safe. 26 Many seek the ruler’s favor, But justice for man comes from the Lord. 27 An unjust man is repulsive to the righteous, And he who is upright in the way [of the Lord] is repulsive to the wicked.
The Words of Agur
30 The words of [as]Agur the son of Jakeh, the oracle:
The man says to Ithiel, to Ithiel and to Ucal:
2 Surely [at]I am more brutish and stupid than any man, And I do not have the understanding of a man [for I do not know what I do not know]. 3 I have not learned [skillful and godly] wisdom, Nor do I have knowledge of the Holy One [who is the source of wisdom]. 4 Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has bound the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His Son’s name? Certainly you know!
5 Every word of God is tested and refined [like silver]; He is a shield to those who trust and take refuge in Him. 6 Do not add to His words, Or He will reprove you, and you will be found a liar.
7 Two things I have asked of You; Do not deny them to me before I die: 8 Keep deception and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion, 9 So that I will not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the Lord?” Or that I will not be poor and steal, And so profane the name of my God.
10 Do not slander or malign a servant before his master [stay out of another’s personal life], Or he will curse you [for your interference], and you will be found guilty.
11 There is a generation (class of people) that curses its father And does not bless its mother. 12 There is a generation (class of people) that is pure in its own eyes, Yet is not washed from its filthiness. 13 There is a generation (class of people)—oh, how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are raised in arrogance. 14 There is a generation (class of people) whose teeth are like swords And whose jaw teeth are like knives, To devour the afflicted from the earth And the needy from among men.
15 The leech has two daughters, “Give, give!” There are three things that are never satisfied, Four that do not say, “It is enough”: 16 [au]Sheol, and the barren womb, Earth that is never satisfied with water, And fire that never says, “It is enough.” 17 The eye that mocks a father And scorns a mother, The ravens of the valley will pick it out, And the young vultures will devour it.
18 There are three things which are too astounding and unexpectedly wonderful for me, Four which I do not understand: 19 The way of an eagle in the air, The way of a serpent on a rock, The way of a ship in the middle of the sea, And the way of a man with a maid. 20 This is the way of an adulterous woman: She eats and wipes her mouth And says, “I have done no wrong.”
21 Under three things the earth is disquieted and quakes, And under four it cannot bear up: 22 Under a servant when he reigns, Under a [spiritually blind] fool when he is filled with food, 23 Under an unloved woman when she gets married, And under a maidservant when she supplants her mistress.
24 There are four things that are small on the earth, But they are exceedingly wise: 25 The ants are not a strong people, Yet they prepare their food in the summer; 26 The [av]shephanim are not a mighty folk, Yet they make their houses in the rocks; 27 The locusts have no king, Yet all of them go out in groups; 28 You may grasp the lizard with your hands, Yet it is in kings’ palaces.
29 There are three things which are stately in step, Even four which are stately in their stride: 30 The lion, which is mighty among beasts And does not turn back before any; 31 The [aw]strutting rooster, the male goat also, And the king when his army is with him.
32 If you have foolishly exalted yourself, Or if you have plotted evil, put your hand on your mouth. 33 Surely the churning of milk produces butter, And wringing the nose produces blood; So the churning of anger produces strife.
The Words of Lemuel
31 The words of [ax]King Lemuel, the oracle, which his mother taught him:
2 What, O my [ay]son? And what, O son of my womb? And what [shall I advise you], O son of my vows? 3 Do not give your [generative] strength to women [neither foreign wives in marriages of alliances, nor [az]concubines], Nor your ways to that which destroys kings. 4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Or for rulers to desire strong drink, 5 Otherwise they drink and forget the law and its decrees, And pervert the rights and justice of all the afflicted. 6 Give strong drink [as medicine] to him who is ready to pass away, And wine to him whose life is bitter. 7 Let him drink and forget his poverty And no longer remember his trouble. 8 Open your mouth for the mute, For the rights of all who are unfortunate and defenseless; 9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, And administer justice for the afflicted and needy.
Description of a Worthy Woman
10 [ba]An excellent woman [one who is spiritual, capable, intelligent, and virtuous], who is he who can find her? Her value is more precious than jewels and her worth is far above rubies or pearls. 11 The heart of her husband trusts in her [with secure confidence], And he will have no lack of gain. 12 She comforts, encourages, and does him only good and not evil All the days of her life. 13 She looks for wool and flax And works with willing hands in delight. 14 She is like the merchant ships [abounding with treasure]; She brings her [household’s] food from far away. 15 She rises also while it is still night And gives food to her household And assigns tasks to her maids. 16 She considers a field before she buys or accepts it [expanding her business prudently]; With her profits she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard. 17 She equips herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] And makes her arms strong. 18 She sees that her gain is good; Her lamp does not go out, but it burns continually through the night [she is prepared for whatever lies ahead]. 19 She stretches out her hands to the [bb]distaff, And her hands hold the spindle [as she spins wool into thread for clothing]. 20 She opens and extends her hand to the poor, And she reaches out her filled hands to the needy. 21 She does not fear the snow for her household, For all in her household are clothed in [expensive] scarlet [wool]. 22 She makes for herself coverlets, cushions, and rugs of tapestry. Her clothing is linen, pure and fine, and purple [wool]. 23 Her husband is known in the [city’s] gates, When he sits among the elders of the land. 24 She makes [fine] linen garments and sells them; And supplies sashes to the merchants. 25 Strength and dignity are her clothing and her position is strong and secure; And she smiles at the future [knowing that she and her family are prepared]. 26 She opens her mouth in [skillful and godly] wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue [giving counsel and instruction]. 27 She looks well to how things go in her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children rise up and call her blessed (happy, prosperous, to be admired); Her husband also, and he praises her, saying, 29 “Many daughters have done nobly, and well [with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness], [bc]But you excel them all.” 30 Charm and grace are deceptive, and [superficial] beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord [reverently worshiping, obeying, serving, and trusting Him with awe-filled respect], she shall be praised. 31 Give her of the product of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates [of the city].
Proverbs 1:7In Proverbs various kinds of fools are discussed including those who are closed-minded, over-confident, and reject instruction and correction—the unteachable; those who lack spiritual insight—the spiritually blind; and those who are flippant, hardened, and who deliberately choose to reject God and wisdom—the arrogant.
Proverbs 1:20Wisdom is personified as a woman in vv 20-33 and speaks, in the first person, of godly wisdom. Read the word “wisdom” as “the wisdom of God” and see the wonderful power of this book.
Proverbs 3:6One of the ancient rabbis said that all the essence of the Torah (Law) depends on this verse.
Proverbs 3:27Using this verse as a proof text, the ancient rabbis offered the example of an employer who tells his foreman to hire workers at four zuz (small silver coins) each to do a job, and the foreman hires them at three instead. Even though they accepted the terms, the rabbis rule that they have the right to complain. Compare this with the parable of the landowner who hires workers for a denarius each. The difference there is that the first group receives a fair wage, while the last is overpaid as a matter of generosity (Matt 20:15).
Proverbs 6:3Under the ancient laws governing debt, a man obligated for another’s debt could lose his money, land, bed, and clothing; and if these were not sufficient, he and his wife and children could be sold as slaves, not to be released until the next Year of Jubilee—fifty years after the previous one.
Proverbs 10:7Lit mention. In Jewish tradition, “memory” is not just a recollection but implies speaking of the one remembered.
Proverbs 11:8The famous eleventh-century rabbi known as Rashi told a fable illustrating this verse. He said that a fox once told a wolf to come with him and he would give him abundant food. It was night, and the fox led the wolf to a well with a bucket at each end of the rope. The fox got into the bucket at the top of the well and rode down to the bottom. When the wolf asked him what he was doing, the fox pointed to the reflection of the moon in the water and said, “There is plenty of cheese and meat down here. Get in the other bucket and come down right away!” The wolf did, and as he went down the fox was pulled up in the first bucket. When the fox got to the top, the wolf said, “How am I supposed to get out?” Thereupon the fox quoted this verse to him.
Proverbs 12:9This is the first of many verses in Proverbs that use the “better...than” construction to emphasize contrasting positions.
Proverbs 16:33This is the reason why the casting of lots was sanctioned in Israel for certain cases of decision-making (e.g. Lev 16:8; Josh 18:6, 8; 1 Chr 25:8, etc.). It was understood that the outcomes were controlled by God, and the seemingly random procedure eliminated human influence. The last time the ritual is mentioned in the Bible is in the choice of Matthias to replace Judas (Acts 1:26). Many believe that the filling of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost in Acts 2 officially put an end to the ritual because it was then replaced by the direct guidance of the Spirit. It was never sanctioned or recommended as a way to determine God’s will in personal decision-making.
Proverbs 17:14The ancient rabbis derived from this statement the principle of seeking a settlement before a case comes to court (cf Matt 5:25; Luke 12:58).
Proverbs 18:22In Jewish tradition it is said that in Israel, they used to ask a man who had married, “Matsa or motse?” “Matsa” is the Hebrew for “finds” here, where a good wife is in view, and “motse” is the word for “found” (NASB “discovered”) in Eccl 7:26.
Proverbs 20:25Such a vow would single out an item for sacrifice or for the use of the temple or the priests. The classic example of a careless vow was Jephthah’s promise to sacrifice to the Lord whatever came out of his house to meet him on his return from a successful battle (Judg 11:30-35).
Proverbs 23:23The ancient rabbis routinely assumed “truth” to refer to the Torah (Law), and they interpreted the first part of this command to mean that a student should pay a teacher to teach him the Torah if he can find no one to teach him for free. As for the second part, they said that if the student had to pay to learn, he should not view this as grounds to charge for teaching others, but should teach the Torah for free.
Proverbs 24:27Establishing your priorities and proceeding in an orderly manner brings its own reward.
Proverbs 24:28I.e. anyone who comes into your life, not necessarily one who lives nearby.
Proverbs 25:3The ancient rabbis explained this as a reference to the countless details of government that are a king’s responsibility.
Proverbs 25:22This expression may refer to an Egyptian custom in which a penitent man carried a pan of coals on his head as a sign of repentance. The message of these verses is the admonition to return good for evil in the hope that your enemy will be moved to repentance.
Proverbs 31:10The following verses are written as an acrostic poem (each of the twenty-two verses begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet). Aside from the artistry, the acrostic structure also aided memorization.
Proverbs 31:19I.e. the staff that holds the textile fibers for spinning.
Proverbs 31:29The source of this remarkable woman’s success and competence is revealed in v 30, and it is a source available to everyone. She is wise because she understands and puts into practice the message contained in 9:10.
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