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28 The wicked run when no one is chasing them, but an honest person is as brave as a lion.

When a nation sins, it will have one ruler after another. But a nation will be strong and endure when it has intelligent, sensible leaders.

Someone in authority who oppresses poor people is like a driving rain that destroys the crops.

If you have no regard for the law, you are on the side of the wicked; but if you obey it, you are against them.

Evil people do not know what justice is, but those who worship the Lord understand it well.

Better to be poor and honest than rich and dishonest.

Young people who obey the law are intelligent. Those who make friends with good-for-nothings are a disgrace to their parents.

If you get rich by charging interest and taking advantage of people, your wealth will go to someone who is kind to the poor.

If you do not obey the law, God will find your prayers too hateful to hear.

10 If you trick an honest person into doing evil, you will fall into your own trap.

The innocent will be well rewarded.

11 Rich people always think they are wise, but a poor person who has insight into character knows better.

12 When good people come to power, everybody celebrates, but when bad people rule, people stay in hiding.

13 You will never succeed in life if you try to hide your sins. Confess them and give them up; then God will show mercy to you.

14 Always obey the Lord and you will be happy. If you are stubborn, you will be ruined.

15 Poor people are helpless against a wicked ruler; he is as dangerous as a growling lion or a prowling bear.

16 A ruler without good sense will be a cruel tyrant. One who hates dishonesty will rule a long time.

17 Someone guilty of murder is digging his own grave as fast as he can. Don't try to stop him.

18 Be honest and you will be safe. If you are dishonest, you will suddenly fall.

19 A hard-working farmer has plenty to eat. People who waste time will always be poor.

20 Honest people will lead a full, happy life. But if you are in a hurry to get rich, you are going to be punished.

21 Prejudice is wrong. But some judges will do wrong to get even the smallest bribe.

22 Selfish people are in such a hurry to get rich that they do not know when poverty is about to strike.

23 Correct someone, and afterward he will appreciate it more than flattery.

24 Anyone who thinks it isn't wrong to steal from his parents is no better than a common thief.

25 Selfishness only causes trouble. You are much better off to trust the Lord.

26 It is foolish to follow your own opinions. Be safe, and follow the teachings of wiser people.

27 Give to the poor and you will never be in need. If you close your eyes to the poor, many people will curse you.

28 People stay in hiding when the wicked come to power. But when they fall from power, the righteous will rule again.

28 The wicked flee when no one pursues,
    but the righteous are as bold as a lion.
When a land rebels
    it has many rulers;
but with an intelligent ruler
    there is lasting order.[a]
A ruler[b] who oppresses the poor
    is a beating rain that leaves no food.
Those who forsake the law praise the wicked,
    but those who keep the law struggle against them.
The evil do not understand justice,
    but those who seek the Lord understand it completely.
Better to be poor and walk in integrity
    than to be crooked in one’s ways even though rich.
Those who keep the law are wise children,
    but companions of gluttons shame their parents.
One who augments wealth by exorbitant interest
    gathers it for another who is kind to the poor.
When one will not listen to the law,
    even one’s prayers are an abomination.
10 Those who mislead the upright into evil ways
    will fall into pits of their own making,
    but the blameless will have a goodly inheritance.
11 The rich is wise in self-esteem,
    but an intelligent poor person sees through the pose.
12 When the righteous triumph, there is great glory,
    but when the wicked prevail, people go into hiding.
13 No one who conceals transgressions will prosper,
    but one who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
14 Happy is the one who is never without fear,
    but one who is hard-hearted will fall into calamity.
15 Like a roaring lion or a charging bear
    is a wicked ruler over a poor people.
16 A ruler who lacks understanding is a cruel oppressor;
    but one who hates unjust gain will enjoy a long life.
17 If someone is burdened with the blood of another,
    let that killer be a fugitive until death;
    let no one offer assistance.
18 One who walks in integrity will be safe,
    but whoever follows crooked ways will fall into the Pit.[c]
19 Anyone who tills the land will have plenty of bread,
    but one who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty.
20 The faithful will abound with blessings,
    but one who is in a hurry to be rich will not go unpunished.
21 To show partiality is not good—
    yet for a piece of bread a person may do wrong.
22 The miser is in a hurry to get rich
    and does not know that loss is sure to come.
23 Whoever rebukes a person will afterward find more favor
    than one who flatters with the tongue.
24 Anyone who robs father or mother
    and says, “That is no crime,”
    is partner to a thug.
25 The greedy person stirs up strife,
    but whoever trusts in the Lord will be enriched.
26 Those who trust in their own wits are fools;
    but those who walk in wisdom come through safely.
27 Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing,
    but one who turns a blind eye will get many a curse.
28 When the wicked prevail, people go into hiding;
    but when they perish, the righteous increase.


  1. Proverbs 28:2 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  2. Proverbs 28:3 Cn: Heb A poor person
  3. Proverbs 28:18 Syr: Heb fall all at once

28 The wicked flee when no one pursues them;
    but the righteous, like lions, feel sure of themselves.

A land which transgresses [is punished by] having many rulers;
    but with a man of understanding and knowledge, stability is prolonged.

A poor man who oppresses the weak
    is like a downpour that sweeps away all the food.

Those who abandon Torah praise the wicked,
    but those who keep Torah fight them.

Evil people don’t understand justice,
    but those who seek Adonai understand everything.

Better to be poor and live an honest life
    than be crooked in one’s ways, though rich.

A wise son observes Torah,
    but a friend of those lacking restraint shames his father.

He who increases his wealth by charging exorbitant interest
    amasses it for someone who will bestow it on the poor.
If a person will not listen to Torah,
    even his prayer is an abomination.

10 Whoever causes the honest to pursue evil ways
will himself fall into his own pit,
    but the pure-hearted will inherit good.

11 The rich man is wise in his own view,
    but the poor who has discernment sees through him.

12 When the just are triumphant, there is great rejoicing,
    but when the wicked rise up, people hide.

13 He who conceals his sins will not succeed;
    he who confesses and abandons them will gain mercy.

14 Happy the person who is never without fear,
    but he who hardens his heart will fall into misfortune.

15 Like a roaring lion or a bear prowling for food
    is a wicked ruler over a poor people.

16 A prince without discernment is a cruel oppressor,
    but one who hates greed will prolong his life.

17 Let a man weighed down with anyone’s blood
    flee to a pit; give him no support.

18 Whoever lives blamelessly will be saved,
    but he whose ways are crooked will fall in one [of those ways].

19 He who farms his land will have plenty of food,
    but he who follows futilities will have plenty of poverty.
20 A trustworthy person will receive many blessings,
    but one rushing to get rich will not go unpunished.

21 To show partiality is not good,
    though a person may do wrong for a crust of bread.

22 He who is greedy rushes after riches,
    not knowing that want will overtake him.

23 He who rebukes another person
    in the end gets more thanks than the flatterer.

24 Whoever robs mother or father and says, “That’s not a crime!”
    is comrade to the destroyer.
25 A grasping disposition stirs up strife,
    but he who trusts in Adonai will prosper.

26 He who trusts in himself is a fool,
    but he who lives by wisdom will escape.

27 He who gives to the poor will lack nothing,
    but he who hides his eyes will get curses in plenty.

28 When the wicked rise up, people hide;
    but when they perish, the righteous flourish.

If You Desert God’s Law

28 The wicked are edgy with guilt, ready to run off
    even when no one’s after them;
Honest people are relaxed and confident,
    bold as lions.

When the country is in chaos,
    everybody has a plan to fix it—
But it takes a leader of real understanding
    to straighten things out.

The wicked who oppress the poor
    are like a hailstorm that beats down the harvest.

If you desert God’s law, you’re free to embrace depravity;
    if you love God’s law, you fight for it tooth and nail.

Justice makes no sense to the evilminded;
    those who seek God know it inside and out.

It’s better to be poor and direct
    than rich and crooked.

Practice God’s law—get a reputation for wisdom;
    hang out with a loose crowd—embarrass your family.

Get as rich as you want
    through cheating and extortion,
But eventually some friend of the poor
    is going to give it all back to them.

God has no use for the prayers
    of the people who won’t listen to him.

10 Lead good people down a wrong path
    and you’ll come to a bad end;
    do good and you’ll be rewarded for it.

11 The rich think they know it all,
    but the poor can see right through them.

12 When good people are promoted, everything is great,
    but when the bad are in charge, watch out!

13 You can’t whitewash your sins and get by with it;
    you find mercy by admitting and leaving them.

14 A tenderhearted person lives a blessed life;
    a hardhearted person lives a hard life.

15 Lions roar and bears charge—
    and the wicked lord it over the poor.

16 Among leaders who lack insight, abuse abounds,
    but for one who hates corruption, the future is bright.

17 A murderer haunted by guilt
    is doomed—there’s no helping him.

18 Walk straight—live well and be saved;
    a devious life is a doomed life.

Doing Great Harm in Seemingly Harmless Ways

19 Work your garden—you’ll end up with plenty of food;
    play and party—you’ll end up with an empty plate.

20 Committed and persistent work pays off;
    get-rich-quick schemes are ripoffs.

21 Playing favorites is always a bad thing;
    you can do great harm in seemingly harmless ways.

22 A miser in a hurry to get rich
    doesn’t know that he’ll end up broke.

23 In the end, serious reprimand is appreciated
    far more than bootlicking flattery.

24 Anyone who robs father and mother
    and says, “So, what’s wrong with that?”
    is worse than a pirate.

25 A grasping person stirs up trouble,
    but trust in God brings a sense of well-being.

26 If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure;
    real survivors learn wisdom from others.

27 Be generous to the poor—you’ll never go hungry;
    shut your eyes to their needs, and run a gauntlet of curses.

28 When corruption takes over, good people go underground,
    but when the crooks are thrown out, it’s safe to come out.