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How to Live a Life of Wisdom

22 A beautiful reputation is more to be desired than great riches,[a]
    and to be esteemed by others is more honorable
    than to own immense investments.[b]
The rich and the poor have one thing in common:
    the Lord God created each one.
A prudent person with insight foresees danger coming
    and prepares himself for it.[c]
    But the senseless rush blindly forward
    and suffer the consequences.
Laying your life down in tender surrender before the Lord
    will bring life, prosperity, and honor as your reward.
Twisted and perverse lives are surrounded by demonic influence.[d]
    If you value your soul, stay far away from them.
Dedicate your children to God
    and point them in the way that they should go,[e]
    and the values they’ve learned from you will be with them for life.
If you borrow money with interest,
    you’ll end up serving the interests of your creditors,[f]
    for the rich rule over the poor.
Sin is a seed that brings a harvest;
    you’ll reap a heap of trouble with every seed you plant.
    For your investment in sins pays a full return—
    the full punishment you deserve![g]
When you are generous[h] to the poor,
    you are enriched with blessings in return.
10 Say goodbye to a troublemaker and you’ll say goodbye
    to quarrels, strife, tension, and arguments,
    for a troublemaker traffics in shame.[i]
11 The Lord loves those whose hearts are holy,
    and he is the friend of those whose ways are pure.[j]
12 God passionately watches[k] over
    his deep reservoir[l] of revelation-knowledge,
    but he subverts the lies of those who pervert the truth.
13 A slacker always has an excuse for not working—
    like “I can’t go to work. There’s a lion outside!
    And murderers too![m]
14 Sex with an adulteress is like falling into the abyss.
    Those under God’s curse jump right in to their own destruction.
15 Although rebellion[n] is woven into a young man’s heart,
    tough discipline can make him into a man.
16 There are two kinds of people headed toward poverty:
    those who exploit the poor
    and those who bribe the rich.[o]

Sayings of the Wise Sages

17 Listen carefully and open your heart.[p]
    Drink in the wise revelation that I impart.
18 You’ll become winsome and wise
    when you treasure the beauty of my words.
    And always be prepared to share them at the appropriate time.
19 For I’m releasing these words to you this day,
    yes, even to you, so that your living hope
    will be found in God alone,
    for he is the only one who is always true.
20–21 Pay attention to these excellent sayings of three-fold things.[q]
    For within my words you will discover true and reliable revelation.
    They will give you serenity[r] so that you can reveal
    the truth of the word of the one who sends you.
22 Never oppress the poor
    or pass laws with the motive of crushing the weak.
23 For the Lord will rise to plead their case
    and humiliate the one who humiliates the poor.[s]
24–25 Walk away from an angry man
    or you’ll embrace a snare in your soul[t]
    by becoming bad-tempered just like him.
26 Why would you ever guarantee a loan for someone else
    or promise to be responsible for someone’s debts?
27 For if you fail to pay you could lose your shirt![u]
28 The previous generation has set boundaries in place.
    Don’t you dare move them just to benefit yourself.[v]
29 If you are uniquely gifted in your work,
    you will rise and be promoted.
    You won’t be held back—
    you’ll stand before kings!


  1. 22:1 The Hebrew is simply “name preferred to wealth.” The Aramaic indicates it could be “the name [of God].”
  2. 22:1 Or “silver and gold.” Remember, it is Solomon, one of the richest men to ever live, who penned these words.
  3. 22:3 Wise people solve problems before they happen.
  4. 22:5 Or “thorns and snares.” This becomes a metaphor for demonic curses and troubles. Thorns are associated with the fall of Adam. Jesus wore a crown of thorns and took away our curse. The snares picture the temptations of evil that the devil places in our path.
  5. 22:6 Or “train them in the direction they are best suited to go.” Some Jewish scholars teach this means understanding your children’s talents and then seeing that they go into that field.
  6. 22:7 The Septuagint reads “the servant will lend to his own master.”
  7. 22:8 As translated from the Septuagint.
  8. 22:9 The Hebrew word translated here as “generous” actually means “to have a bountiful eye.” It is a figure of speech for generosity, a life of helping others.
  9. 22:10 As translated from the Aramaic.
  10. 22:11 As translated from the Septuagint. Followers of Jesus enjoy a relationship with our holy King as we live in the light and love to please him.
  11. 22:12 Or “the eyes of the Lord [watch].” In the church today, prophets become eyes in the body of Christ. They see and reveal God’s heart for his people.
  12. 22:12 Although the concept of a reservoir is not found in the Hebrew, this translation adds it for poetic nuance.
  13. 22:13 This humorous verse uses both satire and a metaphor. There’s always an excuse for not working hard. The Aramaic text adds “And murderers too!”
  14. 22:15 The Aramaic word used here means “senseless.”
  15. 22:16 The Hebrew is literally “Oppressing the poor is gain; giving to the rich is loss. Both end up only in poverty.”
  16. 22:17 From this verse to 24:22 we have a collection of proverbs that lead to virtue. They are especially designed for the young person about to enter a career and start a family.
  17. 22:20–21 As translated from the Aramaic. Most translators find this verse difficult to convey. The Hebrew can be “I have written excellent things,” “I have written three times,” “I write thirty sayings [proverbs],” “I have written you previously,” or “I have written you generals.” The Septuagint reads “You should copy these things three times.” If the Proverbs contain keys to understanding riddles and mysteries (see Prov. 1:2–6), then we have one of those keys given to us here. God speaks in threes, for he is a triune God. We have a body, soul, and spirit. God lived in a three-room house (the outer court, the Holy Place, and the chamber of the Most Holy Place). These three-fold dimensions are throughout the Bible.
  18. 22:20–21 Serenity is only found in the Aramaic.
  19. 22:23 As translated from the Aramaic. The Hebrew is “he will rob the soul of the one who robs the poor.”
  20. 22:24–25 As translated from the Aramaic.
  21. 22:27 Or “bed.”
  22. 22:28 This refers to moving property lines of your neighbors to take more land, or it could mean moving landmarks and memorials placed there by ancestors. It also speaks to the moral boundaries that the previous generation modeled—they are to be upheld.

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