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Proverbs 23-24 Common English Bible (CEB)

23 When you sit down to dine with a ruler,
    carefully consider what is in front of you.
Place a knife at your throat
    to control your appetite.
Don’t long for the ruler’s delicacies;
    the food misleads.

Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich;
    be smart enough to stop.
When your eyes fly to wealth
    it is gone; it grows wings
    like an eagle and flies heavenward.

Don’t eat food with stingy people;
    don’t long for their delicacies,
    because they are like a hair in the throat.[a]
They say to you, “Eat and drink!”
    but they don’t mean it.
You will eat scraps and vomit them out.
    You will waste your pleasant words.
Don’t speak in the ears of fools,
    for they will scorn your insightful words.

10 Don’t remove an ancient boundary marker;
    don’t invade the fields of orphans,
11     for their redeemer is strong.
    He will bring charges against you.

12 Bring your mind to instruction,
    your ear to knowledgeable sayings.

13 Don’t withhold instruction from children;
    if you strike them with a rod, they won’t die.
14 Strike them with a rod,
    and you will save their lives from the grave.[b]

15 My child, if your heart is wise,
    then my heart too will be happy.
16 My inner being will rejoice
    when your lips speak with integrity.

17 Don’t let your heart envy sinners,
    but fear the Lord constantly;
18         then you will have a future,
        and your hope won’t be cut off.

19 Listen, my child, and be wise!
    Keep your mind straight on the path.
20 Don’t hang out with those who get drunk on wine
    or those who eat too much meat,
21     because drunks and gluttons will be impoverished;
    their stupor will clothe them in rags.

22 Listen to your father, who gave you life;
    don’t despise your elderly mother.
23 Buy truth and don’t sell it;
    buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.
24 The father of the righteous will be very happy;
    the one who gives life to the wise will rejoice.
25 Your father and your mother will rejoice;
    she who gave you birth will be happy.

26 My child, give your mind to me
    and let your eyes keep to my path.
27 A prostitute is a deep pit,
    and a foreign woman is a narrow well.
28 Indeed, she ambushes like a robber
    and increases the number of the faithless.

29 Who is suffering?
    Who is uneasy?
    Who has arguments?
    Who has complaints?
    Who has unnecessary wounds?
    Who has glazed eyes?—
30         those who linger over wine;
        those who go looking for mixed wine.
31 Don’t look at wine when it is red,
    when it sparkles in the cup,
    going down smoothly.
32 In the end, it bites like a snake
    and poisons like a viper.
33 Your eyes will see strange things,
    and your heart will speak distorted words.
34 You will be like one who lies down while out on the sea[c]
    or one who lies on top of a mast.
35 “Though hit, I feel no pain;
    though beaten up, I don’t know anything about it.
When I wake up,
    I’ll look for wine again!”

24 Don’t envy evil people,
    and don’t long to be with them.
Their hearts are focused on violence,
    and their lips speak of trouble.

By wisdom a house is built;
    by understanding it is established.
By knowledge rooms are filled
    with all precious and pleasant wealth.
A wise person is mightier than a strong one;[d]
    a knowledgeable person than a powerful one.
You should make war with guidance;
    victory comes with many counselors.

Wisdom is beyond foolish people.
    They don’t open their mouths in the gate.
Those who plot evil
    will be called master schemers.
The scheming of fools is sin;
    people detest mockers.

10 If you show yourself weak on a day of distress,
    your strength is too small.
11 Rescue those being taken off to death;
    and from those staggering to the slaughter, don’t hold back.
12 If you say, “Look, we didn’t know about it,”
    the one who weighs hearts—doesn’t he understand?
    The one who protects your life—he knows.
    He makes people pay for their actions.

13 My child, eat honey, for it is good.
    The honeycomb is sweet in your mouth.
14 Know that wisdom is like that for your whole being.
    If you find it, there is a future.
    Your hope won’t be cut off.

15 Wicked one, don’t wait secretly at the home of the righteous.
    Don’t destroy their dwelling.
16 The righteous may fall seven times but still get up,
    but the wicked will stumble into trouble.

17 When your enemies fall, don’t rejoice.
    When they stumble, don’t let your heart be glad,
18 or the Lord will see it and be displeased,
    and he will turn his anger from them.
19 Don’t get fighting mad at evil people;
    don’t be envious of the wicked.
20 Indeed, there is no future for the evil;
    the lamp of the wicked will be put out.

21 Fear the Lord, my child, as well as the king.
    Don’t associate with those who are rebellious.
22 Disaster comes suddenly from them.
    Who can know the ruin that both can bring?

More sayings of the wise

23 These are also the sayings of the wise:

Partiality in judgment isn’t good.

24 Those who say to the guilty, “You are innocent”—
    the people will curse them.
    Nations will condemn them.
25 But it will go well for those who rebuke them.
    A rich blessing will come to them.
26 Those who speak honestly
    are like those who kiss on the lips.

27 Get your outside work done;
    make preparations in the field;
    then you can build your house.

28 Don’t be a witness against your neighbor without reason;
    don’t deceive with your lips.
29 Don’t say, “I’ll do to them what they did to me.
    I’ll pay them back for their actions.”

30 I happened upon the field of a lazy person,
    by the vineyard of one with no sense.
31 Thorns grew all over it;
    weeds covered the ground,
    and the stone wall was falling down.
32 I observed this and took it to heart;
    I saw it and learned a lesson.
33 “A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little lying down with folded arms”—
34     and poverty will come on you like a prowler,
    deprivation like a man with a shield.


  1. Proverbs 23:7 LXX; Heb uncertain
  2. Proverbs 23:14 Heb Sheol
  3. Proverbs 23:34 Or in the heart of the sea
  4. Proverbs 24:5 LXX; MT A wise man is strong.
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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