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Proverbs 23-24 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

23 When you sit down to eat with a ruler,
    observe carefully what[a] is before you,
and put a knife to your throat
    if you have a big appetite.
Do not desire the ruler’s[b] 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.[c]
    “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[d] my ways.
27 For a prostitute is a deep pit;
    an adulteress[e] 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.[f]
35 “They struck me,” you will say,[g] “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,[h]
    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;[i]
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.

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 23:1 Or who
  2. Proverbs 23:3 Heb his
  3. Proverbs 23:7 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  4. Proverbs 23:26 Another reading is delight in
  5. Proverbs 23:27 Heb an alien woman
  6. Proverbs 23:34 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  7. Proverbs 23:35 Gk Syr Vg Tg: Heb lacks you will say
  8. Proverbs 24:5 Gk Compare Syr Tg: Heb A wise man is strength
  9. Proverbs 24:21 Gk: Heb do not associate with those who change
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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