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Proverbs 18-31New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

18 The one who lives alone is self-indulgent,
    showing contempt for all who have sound judgment.[a]
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
    but only in expressing personal opinion.
When wickedness comes, contempt comes also;
    and with dishonor comes disgrace.
The words of the mouth are deep waters;
    the fountain of wisdom is a gushing stream.
It is not right to be partial to the guilty,
    or to subvert the innocent in judgment.
A fool’s lips bring strife,
    and a fool’s mouth invites a flogging.
The mouths of fools are their ruin,
    and their lips a snare to themselves.
The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;
    they go down into the inner parts of the body.
One who is slack in work
    is close kin to a vandal.
10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
    the righteous run into it and are safe.
11 The wealth of the rich is their strong city;
    in their imagination it is like a high wall.
12 Before destruction one’s heart is haughty,
    but humility goes before honor.
13 If one gives answer before hearing,
    it is folly and shame.
14 The human spirit will endure sickness;
    but a broken spirit—who can bear?
15 An intelligent mind acquires knowledge,
    and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
16 A gift opens doors;
    it gives access to the great.
17 The one who first states a case seems right,
    until the other comes and cross-examines.
18 Casting the lot puts an end to disputes
    and decides between powerful contenders.
19 An ally offended is stronger than a city;[b]
    such quarreling is like the bars of a castle.
20 From the fruit of the mouth one’s stomach is satisfied;
    the yield of the lips brings satisfaction.
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
    and those who love it will eat its fruits.
22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
    and obtains favor from the Lord.
23 The poor use entreaties,
    but the rich answer roughly.
24 Some[c] friends play at friendship[d]
    but a true friend sticks closer than one’s nearest kin.
19 Better the poor walking in integrity
    than one perverse of speech who is a fool.
Desire without knowledge is not good,
    and one who moves too hurriedly misses the way.
One’s own folly leads to ruin,
    yet the heart rages against the Lord.
Wealth brings many friends,
    but the poor are left friendless.
A false witness will not go unpunished,
    and a liar will not escape.
Many seek the favor of the generous,
    and everyone is a friend to a giver of gifts.
If the poor are hated even by their kin,
    how much more are they shunned by their friends!
When they call after them, they are not there.[e]
To get wisdom is to love oneself;
    to keep understanding is to prosper.
A false witness will not go unpunished,
    and the liar will perish.
10 It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury,
    much less for a slave to rule over princes.
11 Those with good sense are slow to anger,
    and it is their glory to overlook an offense.
12 A king’s anger is like the growling of a lion,
    but his favor is like dew on the grass.
13 A stupid child is ruin to a father,
    and a wife’s quarreling is a continual dripping of rain.
14 House and wealth are inherited from parents,
    but a prudent wife is from the Lord.
15 Laziness brings on deep sleep;
    an idle person will suffer hunger.
16 Those who keep the commandment will live;
    those who are heedless of their ways will die.
17 Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord,
    and will be repaid in full.
18 Discipline your children while there is hope;
    do not set your heart on their destruction.
19 A violent tempered person will pay the penalty;
    if you effect a rescue, you will only have to do it again.[f]
20 Listen to advice and accept instruction,
    that you may gain wisdom for the future.
21 The human mind may devise many plans,
    but it is the purpose of the Lord that will be established.
22 What is desirable in a person is loyalty,
    and it is better to be poor than a liar.
23 The fear of the Lord is life indeed;
    filled with it one rests secure
    and suffers no harm.
24 The lazy person buries a hand in the dish,
    and will not even bring it back to the mouth.
25 Strike a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence;
    reprove the intelligent, and they will gain knowledge.
26 Those who do violence to their father and chase away their mother
    are children who cause shame and bring reproach.
27 Cease straying, my child, from the words of knowledge,
    in order that you may hear instruction.
28 A worthless witness mocks at justice,
    and the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity.
29 Condemnation is ready for scoffers,
    and flogging for the backs of fools.
20 Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler,
    and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
The dread anger of a king is like the growling of a lion;
    anyone who provokes him to anger forfeits life itself.
It is honorable to refrain from strife,
    but every fool is quick to quarrel.
The lazy person does not plow in season;
    harvest comes, and there is nothing to be found.
The purposes in the human mind are like deep water,
    but the intelligent will draw them out.
Many proclaim themselves loyal,
    but who can find one worthy of trust?
The righteous walk in integrity—
    happy are the children who follow them!
A king who sits on the throne of judgment
    winnows all evil with his eyes.
Who can say, “I have made my heart clean;
    I am pure from my sin”?
10 Diverse weights and diverse measures
    are both alike an abomination to the Lord.
11 Even children make themselves known by their acts,
    by whether what they do is pure and right.
12 The hearing ear and the seeing eye—
    the Lord has made them both.
13 Do not love sleep, or else you will come to poverty;
    open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread.
14 “Bad, bad,” says the buyer,
    then goes away and boasts.
15 There is gold, and abundance of costly stones;
    but the lips informed by knowledge are a precious jewel.
16 Take the garment of one who has given surety for a stranger;
    seize the pledge given as surety for foreigners.
17 Bread gained by deceit is sweet,
    but afterward the mouth will be full of gravel.
18 Plans are established by taking advice;
    wage war by following wise guidance.
19 A gossip reveals secrets;
    therefore do not associate with a babbler.
20 If you curse father or mother,
    your lamp will go out in utter darkness.
21 An estate quickly acquired in the beginning
    will not be blessed in the end.
22 Do not say, “I will repay evil”;
    wait for the Lord, and he will help you.
23 Differing weights are an abomination to the Lord,
    and false scales are not good.
24 All our steps are ordered by the Lord;
    how then can we understand our own ways?
25 It is a snare for one to say rashly, “It is holy,”
    and begin to reflect only after making a vow.
26 A wise king winnows the wicked,
    and drives the wheel over them.
27 The human spirit is the lamp of the Lord,
    searching every inmost part.
28 Loyalty and faithfulness preserve the king,
    and his throne is upheld by righteousness.[g]
29 The glory of youths is their strength,
    but the beauty of the aged is their gray hair.
30 Blows that wound cleanse away evil;
    beatings make clean the innermost parts.
21 The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord;
    he turns it wherever he will.
All deeds are right in the sight of the doer,
    but the Lord weighs the heart.
To do righteousness and justice
    is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
Haughty eyes and a proud heart—
    the lamp of the wicked—are sin.
The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance,
    but everyone who is hasty comes only to want.
The getting of treasures by a lying tongue
    is a fleeting vapor and a snare[h] of death.
The violence of the wicked will sweep them away,
    because they refuse to do what is just.
The way of the guilty is crooked,
    but the conduct of the pure is right.
It is better to live in a corner of the housetop
    than in a house shared with a contentious wife.
10 The souls of the wicked desire evil;
    their neighbors find no mercy in their eyes.
11 When a scoffer is punished, the simple become wiser;
    when the wise are instructed, they increase in knowledge.
12 The Righteous One observes the house of the wicked;
    he casts the wicked down to ruin.
13 If you close your ear to the cry of the poor,
    you will cry out and not be heard.
14 A gift in secret averts anger;
    and a concealed bribe in the bosom, strong wrath.
15 When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous,
    but dismay to evildoers.
16 Whoever wanders from the way of understanding
    will rest in the assembly of the dead.
17 Whoever loves pleasure will suffer want;
    whoever loves wine and oil will not be rich.
18 The wicked is a ransom for the righteous,
    and the faithless for the upright.
19 It is better to live in a desert land
    than with a contentious and fretful wife.
20 Precious treasure remains[i] in the house of the wise,
    but the fool devours it.
21 Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness
    will find life[j] and honor.
22 One wise person went up against a city of warriors
    and brought down the stronghold in which they trusted.
23 To watch over mouth and tongue
    is to keep out of trouble.
24 The proud, haughty person, named “Scoffer,”
    acts with arrogant pride.
25 The craving of the lazy person is fatal,
    for lazy hands refuse to labor.
26 All day long the wicked covet,[k]
    but the righteous give and do not hold back.
27 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination;
    how much more when brought with evil intent.
28 A false witness will perish,
    but a good listener will testify successfully.
29 The wicked put on a bold face,
    but the upright give thought to[l] their ways.
30 No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel,
    can avail against the Lord.
31 The horse is made ready for the day of battle,
    but the victory belongs to the Lord.
22 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
    and favor is better than silver or gold.
The rich and the poor have this in common:
    the Lord is the maker of them all.
The clever see danger and hide;
    but the simple go on, and suffer for it.
The reward for humility and fear of the Lord
    is riches and honor and life.
Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse;
    the cautious will keep far from them.
Train children in the right way,
    and when old, they will not stray.
The rich rule over the poor,
    and the borrower is the slave of the lender.
Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity,
    and the rod of anger will fail.
Those who are generous are blessed,
    for they share their bread with the poor.
10 Drive out a scoffer, and strife goes out;
    quarreling and abuse will cease.
11 Those who love a pure heart and are gracious in speech
    will have the king as a friend.
12 The eyes of the Lord keep watch over knowledge,
    but he overthrows the words of the faithless.
13 The lazy person says, “There is a lion outside!
    I shall be killed in the streets!”
14 The mouth of a loose[m] woman is a deep pit;
    he with whom the Lord is angry falls into it.
15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a boy,
    but the rod of discipline drives it far away.
16 Oppressing the poor in order to enrich oneself,
    and giving to the rich, will lead only to loss.

Sayings of the Wise

17     The words of the wise:

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

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

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

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

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

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

29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
    Who has strife? Who has complaining?
Who has wounds without cause?
    Who has redness of eyes?
30 Those who linger late over wine,
    those who keep trying mixed wines.
31 Do not look at wine when it is red,
    when it sparkles in the cup
    and goes down smoothly.
32 At the last it bites like a serpent,
    and stings like an adder.
33 Your eyes will see strange things,
    and your mind utter perverse things.
34 You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea,
    like one who lies on the top of a mast.[t]
35 “They struck me,” you will say,[u] “but I was not hurt;
    they beat me, but I did not feel it.
When shall I awake?
    I will seek another drink.”
24 Do not envy the wicked,
    nor desire to be with them;
for their minds devise violence,
    and their lips talk of mischief.

By wisdom a house is built,
    and by understanding it is established;
by knowledge the rooms are filled
    with all precious and pleasant riches.
Wise warriors are mightier than strong ones,[v]
    and those who have knowledge than those who have strength;
for by wise guidance you can wage your war,
    and in abundance of counselors there is victory.
Wisdom is too high for fools;
    in the gate they do not open their mouths.

Whoever plans to do evil
    will be called a mischief-maker.
The devising of folly is sin,
    and the scoffer is an abomination to all.

10 If you faint in the day of adversity,
    your strength being small;
11 if you hold back from rescuing those taken away to death,
    those who go staggering to the slaughter;
12 if you say, “Look, we did not know this”—
    does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it?
    And will he not repay all according to their deeds?

13 My child, eat honey, for it is good,
    and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.
14 Know that wisdom is such to your soul;
    if you find it, you will find a future,
    and your hope will not be cut off.

15 Do not lie in wait like an outlaw against the home of the righteous;
    do no violence to the place where the righteous live;
16 for though they fall seven times, they will rise again;
    but the wicked are overthrown by calamity.

17 Do not rejoice when your enemies fall,
    and do not let your heart be glad when they stumble,
18 or else the Lord will see it and be displeased,
    and turn away his anger from them.

19 Do not fret because of evildoers.
    Do not envy the wicked;
20 for the evil have no future;
    the lamp of the wicked will go out.

21 My child, fear the Lord and the king,
    and do not disobey either of them;[w]
22 for disaster comes from them suddenly,
    and who knows the ruin that both can bring?

Further Sayings of the Wise

23     These also are sayings of the wise:

Partiality in judging is not good.
24 Whoever says to the wicked, “You are innocent,”
    will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations;
25 but those who rebuke the wicked will have delight,
    and a good blessing will come upon them.
26 One who gives an honest answer
    gives a kiss on the lips.

27 Prepare your work outside,
    get everything ready for you in the field;
    and after that build your house.

28 Do not be a witness against your neighbor without cause,
    and do not deceive with your lips.
29 Do not say, “I will do to others as they have done to me;
    I will pay them back for what they have done.”

30 I passed by the field of one who was lazy,
    by the vineyard of a stupid person;
31 and see, it was all overgrown with thorns;
    the ground was covered with nettles,
    and its stone wall was broken down.
32 Then I saw and considered it;
    I looked and received instruction.
33 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest,
34 and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
    and want, like an armed warrior.

Further Wise Sayings of Solomon

25 These are other proverbs of Solomon that the officials of King Hezekiah of Judah copied.

It is the glory of God to conceal things,
    but the glory of kings is to search things out.
Like the heavens for height, like the earth for depth,
    so the mind of kings is unsearchable.
Take away the dross from the silver,
    and the smith has material for a vessel;
take away the wicked from the presence of the king,
    and his throne will be established in righteousness.
Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence
    or stand in the place of the great;
for it is better to be told, “Come up here,”
    than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.

What your eyes have seen
    do not hastily bring into court;
for[x] what will you do in the end,
    when your neighbor puts you to shame?
Argue your case with your neighbor directly,
    and do not disclose another’s secret;
10 or else someone who hears you will bring shame upon you,
    and your ill repute will have no end.

11 A word fitly spoken
    is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.
12 Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold
    is a wise rebuke to a listening ear.
13 Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest
    are faithful messengers to those who send them;
    they refresh the spirit of their masters.
14 Like clouds and wind without rain
    is one who boasts of a gift never given.
15 With patience a ruler may be persuaded,
    and a soft tongue can break bones.
16 If you have found honey, eat only enough for you,
    or else, having too much, you will vomit it.
17 Let your foot be seldom in your neighbor’s house,
    otherwise the neighbor will become weary of you and hate you.
18 Like a war club, a sword, or a sharp arrow
    is one who bears false witness against a neighbor.
19 Like a bad tooth or a lame foot
    is trust in a faithless person in time of trouble.
20 Like vinegar on a wound[y]
    is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.
Like a moth in clothing or a worm in wood,
    sorrow gnaws at the human heart.[z]
21 If your enemies are hungry, give them bread to eat;
    and if they are thirsty, give them water to drink;
22 for you will heap coals of fire on their heads,
    and the Lord will reward you.
23 The north wind produces rain,
    and a backbiting tongue, angry looks.
24 It is better to live in a corner of the housetop
    than in a house shared with a contentious wife.
25 Like cold water to a thirsty soul,
    so is good news from a far country.
26 Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain
    are the righteous who give way before the wicked.
27 It is not good to eat much honey,
    or to seek honor on top of honor.
28 Like a city breached, without walls,
    is one who lacks self-control.
26 Like snow in summer or rain in harvest,
    so honor is not fitting for a fool.
Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying,
    an undeserved curse goes nowhere.
A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey,
    and a rod for the back of fools.
Do not answer fools according to their folly,
    or you will be a fool yourself.
Answer fools according to their folly,
    or they will be wise in their own eyes.
It is like cutting off one’s foot and drinking down violence,
    to send a message by a fool.
The legs of a disabled person hang limp;
    so does a proverb in the mouth of a fool.
It is like binding a stone in a sling
    to give honor to a fool.
Like a thornbush brandished by the hand of a drunkard
    is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.
10 Like an archer who wounds everybody
    is one who hires a passing fool or drunkard.[aa]
11 Like a dog that returns to its vomit
    is a fool who reverts to his folly.
12 Do you see persons wise in their own eyes?
    There is more hope for fools than for them.
13 The lazy person says, “There is a lion in the road!
    There is a lion in the streets!”
14 As a door turns on its hinges,
    so does a lazy person in bed.
15 The lazy person buries a hand in the dish,
    and is too tired to bring it back to the mouth.
16 The lazy person is wiser in self-esteem
    than seven who can answer discreetly.
17 Like somebody who takes a passing dog by the ears
    is one who meddles in the quarrel of another.
18 Like a maniac who shoots deadly firebrands and arrows,
19 so is one who deceives a neighbor
    and says, “I am only joking!”
20 For lack of wood the fire goes out,
    and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.
21 As charcoal is to hot embers and wood to fire,
    so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife.
22 The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;
    they go down into the inner parts of the body.
23 Like the glaze[ab] covering an earthen vessel
    are smooth[ac] lips with an evil heart.
24 An enemy dissembles in speaking
    while harboring deceit within;
25 when an enemy speaks graciously, do not believe it,
    for there are seven abominations concealed within;
26 though hatred is covered with guile,
    the enemy’s wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
27 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it,
    and a stone will come back on the one who starts it rolling.
28 A lying tongue hates its victims,
    and a flattering mouth works ruin.
27 Do not boast about tomorrow,
    for you do not know what a day may bring.
Let another praise you, and not your own mouth—
    a stranger, and not your own lips.
A stone is heavy, and sand is weighty,
    but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both.
Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming,
    but who is able to stand before jealousy?
Better is open rebuke
    than hidden love.
Well meant are the wounds a friend inflicts,
    but profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
The sated appetite spurns honey,
    but to a ravenous appetite even the bitter is sweet.
Like a bird that strays from its nest
    is one who strays from home.
Perfume and incense make the heart glad,
    but the soul is torn by trouble.[ad]
10 Do not forsake your friend or the friend of your parent;
    do not go to the house of your kindred in the day of your calamity.
Better is a neighbor who is nearby
    than kindred who are far away.
11 Be wise, my child, and make my heart glad,
    so that I may answer whoever reproaches me.
12 The clever see danger and hide;
    but the simple go on, and suffer for it.
13 Take the garment of one who has given surety for a stranger;
    seize the pledge given as surety for foreigners.[ae]
14 Whoever blesses a neighbor with a loud voice,
    rising early in the morning,
    will be counted as cursing.
15 A continual dripping on a rainy day
    and a contentious wife are alike;
16 to restrain her is to restrain the wind
    or to grasp oil in the right hand.[af]
17 Iron sharpens iron,
    and one person sharpens the wits[ag] of another.
18 Anyone who tends a fig tree will eat its fruit,
    and anyone who takes care of a master will be honored.
19 Just as water reflects the face,
    so one human heart reflects another.
20 Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied,
    and human eyes are never satisfied.
21 The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold,
    so a person is tested[ah] by being praised.
22 Crush a fool in a mortar with a pestle
    along with crushed grain,
    but the folly will not be driven out.

23 Know well the condition of your flocks,
    and give attention to your herds;
24 for riches do not last forever,
    nor a crown for all generations.
25 When the grass is gone, and new growth appears,
    and the herbage of the mountains is gathered,
26 the lambs will provide your clothing,
    and the goats the price of a field;
27 there will be enough goats’ milk for your food,
    for the food of your household
    and nourishment for your servant-girls.
28 The wicked flee when no one pursues,
    but the righteous are as bold as a lion.
When a land rebels
    it has many rulers;
but with an intelligent ruler
    there is lasting order.[ai]
A ruler[aj] who oppresses the poor
    is a beating rain that leaves no food.
Those who forsake the law praise the wicked,
    but those who keep the law struggle against them.
The evil do not understand justice,
    but those who seek the Lord understand it completely.
Better to be poor and walk in integrity
    than to be crooked in one’s ways even though rich.
Those who keep the law are wise children,
    but companions of gluttons shame their parents.
One who augments wealth by exorbitant interest
    gathers it for another who is kind to the poor.
When one will not listen to the law,
    even one’s prayers are an abomination.
10 Those who mislead the upright into evil ways
    will fall into pits of their own making,
    but the blameless will have a goodly inheritance.
11 The rich is wise in self-esteem,
    but an intelligent poor person sees through the pose.
12 When the righteous triumph, there is great glory,
    but when the wicked prevail, people go into hiding.
13 No one who conceals transgressions will prosper,
    but one who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
14 Happy is the one who is never without fear,
    but one who is hard-hearted will fall into calamity.
15 Like a roaring lion or a charging bear
    is a wicked ruler over a poor people.
16 A ruler who lacks understanding is a cruel oppressor;
    but one who hates unjust gain will enjoy a long life.
17 If someone is burdened with the blood of another,
    let that killer be a fugitive until death;
    let no one offer assistance.
18 One who walks in integrity will be safe,
    but whoever follows crooked ways will fall into the Pit.[ak]
19 Anyone who tills the land will have plenty of bread,
    but one who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty.
20 The faithful will abound with blessings,
    but one who is in a hurry to be rich will not go unpunished.
21 To show partiality is not good—
    yet for a piece of bread a person may do wrong.
22 The miser is in a hurry to get rich
    and does not know that loss is sure to come.
23 Whoever rebukes a person will afterward find more favor
    than one who flatters with the tongue.
24 Anyone who robs father or mother
    and says, “That is no crime,”
    is partner to a thug.
25 The greedy person stirs up strife,
    but whoever trusts in the Lord will be enriched.
26 Those who trust in their own wits are fools;
    but those who walk in wisdom come through safely.
27 Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing,
    but one who turns a blind eye will get many a curse.
28 When the wicked prevail, people go into hiding;
    but when they perish, the righteous increase.
29 One who is often reproved, yet remains stubborn,
    will suddenly be broken beyond healing.
When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice;
    but when the wicked rule, the people groan.
A child who loves wisdom makes a parent glad,
    but to keep company with prostitutes is to squander one’s substance.
By justice a king gives stability to the land,
    but one who makes heavy exactions ruins it.
Whoever flatters a neighbor
    is spreading a net for the neighbor’s feet.
In the transgression of the evil there is a snare,
    but the righteous sing and rejoice.
The righteous know the rights of the poor;
    the wicked have no such understanding.
Scoffers set a city aflame,
    but the wise turn away wrath.
If the wise go to law with fools,
    there is ranting and ridicule without relief.
10 The bloodthirsty hate the blameless,
    and they seek the life of the upright.
11 A fool gives full vent to anger,
    but the wise quietly holds it back.
12 If a ruler listens to falsehood,
    all his officials will be wicked.
13 The poor and the oppressor have this in common:
    the Lord gives light to the eyes of both.
14 If a king judges the poor with equity,
    his throne will be established forever.
15 The rod and reproof give wisdom,
    but a mother is disgraced by a neglected child.
16 When the wicked are in authority, transgression increases,
    but the righteous will look upon their downfall.
17 Discipline your children, and they will give you rest;
    they will give delight to your heart.
18 Where there is no prophecy, the people cast off restraint,
    but happy are those who keep the law.
19 By mere words servants are not disciplined,
    for though they understand, they will not give heed.
20 Do you see someone who is hasty in speech?
    There is more hope for a fool than for anyone like that.
21 A slave pampered from childhood
    will come to a bad end.[al]
22 One given to anger stirs up strife,
    and the hothead causes much transgression.
23 A person’s pride will bring humiliation,
    but one who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.
24 To be a partner of a thief is to hate one’s own life;
    one hears the victim’s curse, but discloses nothing.[am]
25 The fear of others[an] lays a snare,
    but one who trusts in the Lord is secure.
26 Many seek the favor of a ruler,
    but it is from the Lord that one gets justice.
27 The unjust are an abomination to the righteous,
    but the upright are an abomination to the wicked.

Sayings of Agur

30 The words of Agur son of Jakeh. An oracle.

Thus says the man: I am weary, O God,
    I am weary, O God. How can I prevail?[ao]
Surely I am too stupid to be human;
    I do not have human understanding.
I have not learned wisdom,
    nor have I knowledge of the holy ones.[ap]
Who has ascended to heaven and come down?
    Who has gathered the wind in the hollow of the hand?
Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment?
    Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is the person’s name?
    And what is the name of the person’s child?
    Surely you know!

Every word of God proves true;
    he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Do not add to his words,
    or else he will rebuke you, and you will be found a liar.

Two things I ask of you;
    do not deny them to me before I die:
Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
    give me neither poverty nor riches;
    feed me with the food that I need,
or I shall be full, and deny you,
    and say, “Who is the Lord?”
or I shall be poor, and steal,
    and profane the name of my God.

10 Do not slander a servant to a master,
    or the servant will curse you, and you will be held guilty.

11 There are those who curse their fathers
    and do not bless their mothers.
12 There are those who are pure in their own eyes
    yet are not cleansed of their filthiness.
13 There are those—how lofty are their eyes,
    how high their eyelids lift!—
14 there are those whose teeth are swords,
    whose teeth are knives,
to devour the poor from off the earth,
    the needy from among mortals.

15 The leech[aq] has two daughters;
    “Give, give,” they cry.
Three things are never satisfied;
    four never say, “Enough”:
16 Sheol, the barren womb,
    the earth ever thirsty for water,
    and the fire that never says, “Enough.”[ar]

17 The eye that mocks a father
    and scorns to obey a mother
will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley
    and eaten by the vultures.

18 Three things are too wonderful for me;
    four I do not understand:
19 the way of an eagle in the sky,
    the way of a snake on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas,
    and the way of a man with a girl.

20 This is the way of an adulteress:
    she eats, and wipes her mouth,
    and says, “I have done no wrong.”

21 Under three things the earth trembles;
    under four it cannot bear up:
22 a slave when he becomes king,
    and a fool when glutted with food;
23 an unloved woman when she gets a husband,
    and a maid when she succeeds her mistress.

24 Four things on earth are small,
    yet they are exceedingly wise:
25 the ants are a people without strength,
    yet they provide their food in the summer;
26 the badgers are a people without power,
    yet they make their homes in the rocks;
27 the locusts have no king,
    yet all of them march in rank;
28 the lizard[as] can be grasped in the hand,
    yet it is found in kings’ palaces.

29 Three things are stately in their stride;
    four are stately in their gait:
30 the lion, which is mightiest among wild animals
    and does not turn back before any;
31 the strutting rooster,[at] the he-goat,
    and a king striding before[au] his people.

32 If you have been foolish, exalting yourself,
    or if you have been devising evil,
    put your hand on your mouth.
33 For as pressing milk produces curds,
    and pressing the nose produces blood,
    so pressing anger produces strife.

The Teaching of King Lemuel’s Mother

31 The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him:

No, my son! No, son of my womb!
    No, son of my vows!
Do not give your strength to women,
    your ways to those who destroy kings.
It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
    it is not for kings to drink wine,
    or for rulers to desire[av] strong drink;
or else they will drink and forget what has been decreed,
    and will pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
Give strong drink to one who is perishing,
    and wine to those in bitter distress;
let them drink and forget their poverty,
    and remember their misery no more.
Speak out for those who cannot speak,
    for the rights of all the destitute.[aw]
Speak out, judge righteously,
    defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Ode to a Capable Wife

10 A capable wife who can find?
    She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
    and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
    and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant,
    she brings her food from far away.
15 She rises while it is still night
    and provides food for her household
    and tasks for her servant-girls.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength,
    and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
    Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
    and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor,
    and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid for her household when it snows,
    for all her household are clothed in crimson.
22 She makes herself coverings;
    her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the city gates,
    taking his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
    she supplies the merchant with sashes.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
    and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
    and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household,
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her happy;
    her husband too, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her a share in the fruit of her hands,
    and let her works praise her in the city gates.

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 18:1 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  2. Proverbs 18:19 Gk Syr Vg Tg: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  3. Proverbs 18:24 Syr Tg: Heb A man of
  4. Proverbs 18:24 Cn Compare Syr Vg Tg: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  5. Proverbs 19:7 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  6. Proverbs 19:19 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  7. Proverbs 20:28 Gk: Heb loyalty
  8. Proverbs 21:6 Gk: Heb seekers
  9. Proverbs 21:20 Gk: Heb and oil
  10. Proverbs 21:21 Gk: Heb life and righteousness
  11. Proverbs 21:26 Gk: Heb all day long one covets covetously
  12. Proverbs 21:29 Another reading is establish
  13. Proverbs 22:14 Heb strange
  14. Proverbs 22:17 Cn Compare Gk: Heb Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise
  15. Proverbs 23:1 Or who
  16. Proverbs 23:3 Heb his
  17. Proverbs 23:7 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  18. Proverbs 23:26 Another reading is delight in
  19. Proverbs 23:27 Heb an alien woman
  20. Proverbs 23:34 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  21. Proverbs 23:35 Gk Syr Vg Tg: Heb lacks you will say
  22. Proverbs 24:5 Gk Compare Syr Tg: Heb A wise man is strength
  23. Proverbs 24:21 Gk: Heb do not associate with those who change
  24. Proverbs 25:8 Cn: Heb or else
  25. Proverbs 25:20 Gk: Heb Like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, like vinegar on lye
  26. Proverbs 25:20 Gk Syr Tg: Heb lacks Like a moth . . . human heart
  27. Proverbs 26:10 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  28. Proverbs 26:23 Cn: Heb silver of dross
  29. Proverbs 26:23 Gk: Heb burning
  30. Proverbs 27:9 Gk: Heb the sweetness of a friend is better than one’s own counsel
  31. Proverbs 27:13 Vg and 20.16: Heb for a foreign woman
  32. Proverbs 27:16 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  33. Proverbs 27:17 Heb face
  34. Proverbs 27:21 Heb lacks is tested
  35. Proverbs 28:2 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  36. Proverbs 28:3 Cn: Heb A poor person
  37. Proverbs 28:18 Syr: Heb fall all at once
  38. Proverbs 29:21 Vg: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  39. Proverbs 29:24 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  40. Proverbs 29:25 Or human fear
  41. Proverbs 30:1 Or I am spent. Meaning of Heb uncertain
  42. Proverbs 30:3 Or Holy One
  43. Proverbs 30:15 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  44. Proverbs 30:16 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  45. Proverbs 30:28 Or spider
  46. Proverbs 30:31 Gk Syr Tg Compare Vg: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  47. Proverbs 30:31 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  48. Proverbs 31:4 Cn: Heb where
  49. Proverbs 31:8 Heb all children of passing away
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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