Thirty Sayings of the Wise

Saying 1

17 Pay attention(A) and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise;(B)
    apply your heart to what I teach,(C)
18 for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart
    and have all of them ready on your lips.
19 So that your trust may be in the Lord,
    I teach you today, even you.
20 Have I not written thirty sayings for you,
    sayings of counsel and knowledge,
21 teaching you to be honest and to speak the truth,(D)
    so that you bring back truthful reports
    to those you serve?

Saying 2

22 Do not exploit the poor(E) because they are poor
    and do not crush the needy in court,(F)
23 for the Lord will take up their case(G)
    and will exact life for life.(H)

Saying 3

24 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person,
    do not associate with one easily angered,
25 or you may learn their ways
    and get yourself ensnared.(I)

Saying 4

26 Do not be one who shakes hands in pledge(J)
    or puts up security for debts;
27 if you lack the means to pay,
    your very bed will be snatched from under you.(K)

Saying 5

28 Do not move an ancient boundary stone(L)
    set up by your ancestors.

Saying 6

29 Do you see someone skilled(M) in their work?
    They will serve(N) before kings;(O)
    they will not serve before officials of low rank.

Saying 7

23 When you sit to dine with a ruler,
    note well what[a] is before you,
and put a knife to your throat
    if you are given to gluttony.
Do not crave his delicacies,(P)
    for that food is deceptive.

Saying 8

Do not wear yourself out to get rich;
    do not trust your own cleverness.
Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone,(Q)
    for they will surely sprout wings
    and fly off to the sky like an eagle.(R)

Saying 9

Do not eat the food of a begrudging host,
    do not crave his delicacies;(S)
for he is the kind of person
    who is always thinking about the cost.[b]
“Eat and drink,” he says to you,
    but his heart is not with you.
You will vomit up the little you have eaten
    and will have wasted your compliments.

Saying 10

Do not speak to fools,
    for they will scorn your prudent words.(T)

Saying 11

10 Do not move an ancient boundary stone(U)
    or encroach on the fields of the fatherless,
11 for their Defender(V) is strong;(W)
    he will take up their case against you.(X)

Saying 12

12 Apply your heart to instruction(Y)
    and your ears to words of knowledge.

Saying 13

13 Do not withhold discipline from a child;
    if you punish them with the rod, they will not die.
14 Punish them with the rod
    and save them from death.(Z)

Saying 14

15 My son, if your heart is wise,
    then my heart will be glad indeed;
16 my inmost being will rejoice
    when your lips speak what is right.(AA)

Saying 15

17 Do not let your heart envy(AB) sinners,
    but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.
18 There is surely a future hope for you,
    and your hope will not be cut off.(AC)

Saying 16

19 Listen, my son,(AD) and be wise,
    and set your heart on the right path:
20 Do not join those who drink too much wine(AE)
    or gorge themselves on meat,
21 for drunkards and gluttons become poor,(AF)
    and drowsiness clothes them in rags.

Saying 17

22 Listen to your father, who gave you life,
    and do not despise your mother when she is old.(AG)
23 Buy the truth and do not sell it—
    wisdom, instruction and insight as well.(AH)
24 The father of a righteous child has great joy;
    a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.(AI)
25 May your father and mother rejoice;
    may she who gave you birth be joyful!(AJ)

Saying 18

26 My son,(AK) give me your heart
    and let your eyes delight in my ways,(AL)
27 for an adulterous woman is a deep pit,(AM)
    and a wayward wife is a narrow well.
28 Like a bandit she lies in wait(AN)
    and multiplies the unfaithful among men.

Saying 19

29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
    Who has strife? Who has complaints?
    Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes?
30 Those who linger over wine,(AO)
    who go to sample bowls of mixed wine.
31 Do not gaze at wine when it is red,
    when it sparkles in the cup,
    when it goes down smoothly!
32 In the end it bites like a snake
    and poisons like a viper.
33 Your eyes will see strange sights,
    and your mind will imagine confusing things.
34 You will be like one sleeping on the high seas,
    lying on top of the rigging.
35 “They hit me,” you will say, “but I’m not hurt!
    They beat me, but I don’t feel it!
When will I wake up
    so I can find another drink?”(AP)

Saying 20

24 Do not envy(AQ) the wicked,
    do not desire their company;
for their hearts plot violence,(AR)
    and their lips talk about making trouble.(AS)

Saying 21

By wisdom a house is built,(AT)
    and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled
    with rare and beautiful treasures.(AU)

Saying 22

The wise prevail through great power,
    and those who have knowledge muster their strength.
Surely you need guidance to wage war,
    and victory is won through many advisers.(AV)

Saying 23

Wisdom is too high for fools;
    in the assembly at the gate they must not open their mouths.

Saying 24

Whoever plots evil
    will be known as a schemer.
The schemes of folly are sin,
    and people detest a mocker.

Saying 25

10 If you falter in a time of trouble,
    how small is your strength!(AW)
11 Rescue those being led away to death;
    hold back those staggering toward slaughter.(AX)
12 If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,”
    does not he who weighs(AY) the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it?
    Will he not repay(AZ) everyone according to what they have done?(BA)

Saying 26

13 Eat honey, my son, for it is good;
    honey from the comb is sweet to your taste.
14 Know also that wisdom is like honey for you:
    If you find it, there is a future hope for you,
    and your hope will not be cut off.(BB)

Saying 27

15 Do not lurk like a thief near the house of the righteous,
    do not plunder their dwelling place;
16 for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again,
    but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.(BC)

Saying 28

17 Do not gloat(BD) when your enemy falls;
    when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice,(BE)
18 or the Lord will see and disapprove
    and turn his wrath away from them.(BF)

Saying 29

19 Do not fret(BG) because of evildoers
    or be envious of the wicked,
20 for the evildoer has no future hope,
    and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out.(BH)

Saying 30

21 Fear the Lord and the king,(BI) my son,
    and do not join with rebellious officials,
22 for those two will send sudden destruction(BJ) on them,
    and who knows what calamities they can bring?

Footnotes

  1. Proverbs 23:1 Or who
  2. Proverbs 23:7 Or for as he thinks within himself, / so he is; or for as he puts on a feast, / so he is