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 [a]swat him with a reed-like rod [applied with godly wisdom], he will not die. 14 You shall [b]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 [c]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] [d]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; [e]Afterward build your house and establish a home.
28 Do not be a witness against your [f]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.
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.
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