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Proverbs 27 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 27

Do not boast about tomorrow,
    for you do not know what any day may bring forth.
Let another praise you, not your own mouth;
    a stranger, not your own lips.
Stone is heavy, and sand a burden,
    but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both.
Anger is cruel, and wrath overwhelming,
    but before jealousy who can stand?[a]
[b]Better is an open rebuke
    than a love that remains hidden.
Trustworthy are the blows of a friend,
    dangerous, the kisses of an enemy.[c]
One who is full spurns honey;
    but to the hungry, any bitter thing is sweet.
Like a bird far from the nest
    so is anyone far from home.[d]
Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart,
    but by grief the soul is torn asunder.
10 Do not give up your own friend and your father’s friend;
    do not resort to the house of your kindred when trouble strikes.
Better a neighbor near than kin far away.[e]
11 Be wise, my son, and bring joy to my heart,
    so that I can answer whoever taunts me.[f]
12 The astute see an evil and hide;
    the naive continue on and pay the penalty.
13 Take the garment of the one who became surety for a stranger;
    if for a foreign woman, exact the pledge![g]
14 Those who greet their neighbor with a loud voice[h] in the early morning,
    a curse can be laid to their charge.
15 For a persistent leak on a rainy day
    the match is a quarrelsome wife;
16 Whoever would hide her hides a stormwind
    and cannot tell north from south.
17 Iron is sharpened by iron;
    one person sharpens another.[i]
18 Those who tend a fig tree eat its fruit;
    so those attentive to their master will be honored.
19 As face mirrors face in water,
    so the heart reflects the person.
20 Sheol and Abaddon can never be satisfied;
    so the eyes of mortals can never be satisfied.[j]
21 The crucible for silver, the furnace for gold,
    so you must assay the praise you receive.
22 Though you pound fools with a pestle,
    their folly never leaves them.
23 [k]Take good care of your flocks,
    give careful attention to your herds;
24 For wealth does not last forever,
    nor even a crown from age to age.
25 When the grass comes up and the new growth appears,
    and the mountain greens are gathered in,
26 The lambs will provide you with clothing,
    and the goats, the price of a field,
27 And there will be ample goat’s milk for your food,
    food for your house, sustenance for your maidens.


  1. 27:4 Anger generally subsides with time but jealousy coolly calculates and plots revenge.
  2. 27:5–6 Verses 5 and 6 are concerned with true friendship. “Better than” sayings often declare one thing superior to another in view of some value, e.g., 15:17, vegetables are better than meat in view of a milieu of love. In v. 5, a rebuke is better than an act of affection in view of discipline that imparts wisdom.
  3. 27:6 The present translation is conjectural. The meaning seems to be that a friend’s rebuke can be life-giving and an enemy’s kiss can be deadly (like the kiss of Judas in Mt 26:48).
  4. 27:8 The bird symbolizes vulnerability as it flees before danger as in Is 10:14; 16:2; and Ps 11:1. For the importance of place in human life, see Jb 20:8–9. People are defined by their place, but, tragically, war, poverty, or illness can force them from it.
  5. 27:10 The adage is about the difference between friends and kin in a crisis. Two admonitions are grounded in one maxim (colon C). The same Hebrew word means both “one who is near” and “friend.” The whole proverb urges the reader to cultivate old family friends and neighbors and not to rely exclusively on kin in times of trouble, for kin may not be there for us.
  6. 27:11 A father’s command to a son to be wise, another way of saying that sons or daughters bring joy or shame to their parents.
  7. 27:13 See note on 20:16.
  8. 27:14 One interpretation takes the proverb as humorous and the other takes it as serious: (1) an overly loud and ill-timed greeting (lit., “blessing”) invites the response of a curse rather than a “blessing” (greeting); (2) the loud voice suggests hypocrisy in the greeting.
  9. 27:17 Iron sharpens the “face” (panim = surface, edge) of iron, and a human being sharpens the “face” (panim = face, words) of another. Human beings learn from each other and grow in wisdom by conversing.
  10. 27:20 Sheol, the underworld abode of the dead, is personified as a force that is never satisfied and always desires more. Cf. Is 5:14 and Hos 13:14. The saying is applicable to modern consumerism.
  11. 27:23–27 A little treatise on farming in the form of admonitions. It proposes the advantages of field and flock over other forms of wealth. Herds are the most productive wealth, for their value does not diminish; they are a source of money, clothing, and food. The thought is conservative and traditional but the development is vivid and concrete.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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