28 (A)The wicked flee when no one pursues,
    but (B)the righteous are bold as a lion.
When a land transgresses, (C)it has many rulers,
    but with a man of understanding and knowledge,
    its stability will long continue.
(D)A poor man who oppresses the poor
    is a beating rain that leaves no food.
Those who forsake the law (E)praise the wicked,
    but those who keep the law (F)strive against them.
Evil men (G)do not understand justice,
    but those who seek the Lord (H)understand it completely.
(I)Better is a poor man who (J)walks in his integrity
    than a rich man who is (K)crooked in his ways.
The one who keeps the law is a son with understanding,
    but (L)a companion of gluttons shames his father.
Whoever multiplies his wealth (M)by interest and profit[a]
    (N)gathers it for him who is (O)generous to the poor.
If one turns away his ear from hearing the law,
    even his (P)prayer is an abomination.
10 Whoever misleads the upright into an evil way
    (Q)will fall into his own pit,
    but the blameless (R)will have a goodly inheritance.
11 A rich man is wise in his (S)own eyes,
    but a poor man who has understanding (T)will find him out.
12 When (U)the righteous triumph, there is great glory,
    but when (V)the wicked rise, people hide themselves.
13 Whoever (W)conceals his transgressions will not prosper,
    but he who (X)confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
14 Blessed is the one who (Y)fears the Lord[b] always,
    but whoever (Z)hardens his heart will fall into calamity.
15 Like (AA)a roaring lion or (AB)a charging bear
    is (AC)a wicked ruler over a poor people.
16 A ruler who (AD)lacks understanding is a cruel oppressor,
    but he who hates unjust gain will prolong his days.
17 If one is burdened with (AE)the blood of another,
    he will be a fugitive until death;[c]
    let no one help him.
18 (AF)Whoever (AG)walks in integrity will be delivered,
    but he who is crooked in his ways will suddenly fall.
19 (AH)Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread,
    but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty.
20 A faithful man will abound with blessings,
    but whoever hastens to be rich (AI)will not go unpunished.
21 To show (AJ)partiality is not good,
    but for (AK)a piece of bread a man will do wrong.
22 A (AL)stingy man[d] (AM)hastens after wealth
    and does not know that (AN)poverty will come upon him.
23 Whoever (AO)rebukes a man will afterward find more favor
    than (AP)he who flatters with his tongue.
24 Whoever robs his father or his mother
    and says, “That is no transgression,”
    is (AQ)a companion to a man who destroys.
25 A greedy man (AR)stirs up strife,
    but the one who trusts in the Lord will (AS)be enriched.
26 Whoever (AT)trusts in his own mind is a fool,
    but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.
27 Whoever (AU)gives to the poor will not want,
    but he who (AV)hides his eyes will get many a curse.
28 When (AW)the wicked rise, (AX)people hide themselves,
    but when they perish, the righteous increase.
29 (AY)He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck,
    will suddenly be (AZ)broken (BA)beyond healing.
When (BB)the righteous increase, the people rejoice,
    but when (BC)the wicked rule, the people groan.
He who (BD)loves wisdom makes his father glad,
    but (BE)a companion of prostitutes (BF)squanders his wealth.
By justice a king (BG)builds up the land,
    but he who exacts gifts[e] tears it down.
(BH)A man who flatters his neighbor
    spreads (BI)a net for his feet.
An evil man is (BJ)ensnared in his transgression,
    but a righteous man (BK)sings and rejoices.
A righteous man (BL)knows the rights of the poor;
    a wicked man does not (BM)understand such knowledge.
(BN)Scoffers set a city aflame,
    but the wise turn away wrath.
If a wise man has an argument with a fool,
    the fool only rages and laughs, and there is (BO)no quiet.
10 Bloodthirsty men (BP)hate one who is blameless
    and seek the life of the upright.[f]
11 A fool gives full vent to his spirit,
    but a wise man quietly holds it back.
12 If a ruler listens to falsehood,
    all his officials will be wicked.
13 The poor man and the oppressor (BQ)meet together;
    the Lord (BR)gives light to the eyes of both.
14 If a king (BS)faithfully judges the poor,
    his throne will (BT)be established forever.
15 (BU)The rod and reproof give wisdom,
    but a child left to himself (BV)brings shame to his mother.
16 When the wicked increase, transgression increases,
    but (BW)the righteous will look upon their downfall.
17 (BX)Discipline your son, and he will give you rest;
    he will give delight to your heart.
18 Where (BY)there is no prophetic vision the people (BZ)cast off restraint,[g]
    but blessed is he who (CA)keeps the law.
19 By mere words a servant is not disciplined,
    for though he understands, he will not respond.
20 Do you see a man who is hasty in his words?
    (CB)There is more hope for a fool than for him.
21 Whoever pampers his servant from childhood
    will in the end find him his heir.[h]
22 (CC)A man of wrath stirs up strife,
    and one given to anger causes much transgression.
23 (CD)One's pride will bring him low,
    (CE)but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.
24 The partner of a thief (CF)hates his own life;
    (CG)he hears the curse, but discloses nothing.
25 (CH)The fear of man lays a snare,
    but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.
26 Many (CI)seek the face of a ruler,
    but it is from the Lord that a man (CJ)gets justice.
27 (CK)An unjust man is an abomination to the righteous,
    but one whose way is straight is an abomination to the wicked.

The Words of Agur

30 The words of Agur son of Jakeh. The oracle.[i]

The man declares, I am weary, O God;
    I am weary, O God, and worn out.[j]
Surely I am too (CL)stupid to be a man.
    I have not the understanding of a man.
I have not learned wisdom,
    nor have I knowledge of (CM)the Holy One.
Who has (CN)ascended to heaven and come down?
    Who has (CO)gathered the wind in his fists?
Who has (CP)wrapped up the waters in a garment?
    Who has established all (CQ)the ends of the earth?
(CR)What is his name, and what is his son's name?
    Surely you know!

(CS)Every word of God proves true;
    he is (CT)a shield to those who take refuge in him.
(CU)Do not add to his words,
    lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.

Two things I ask of you;
    deny them not to me (CV)before I die:
Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
    give me neither poverty nor riches;
    feed me with the food that is (CW)needful for me,
lest I be (CX)full and (CY)deny you
    and say, (CZ)“Who is the Lord?”
or lest I be poor and steal
    (DA)and profane the name of my God.

10 (DB)Do not slander a servant to his master,
    (DC)lest he curse you, and you be held guilty.

11 There are those[k] who (DD)curse their fathers
    and do not bless their mothers.
12 There are those who are (DE)clean in their own eyes
    but are not washed of their filth.
13 There are those—how (DF)lofty are their eyes,
    how high their eyelids lift!
14 There are those whose teeth are (DG)swords,
    whose (DH)fangs are knives,
to (DI)devour the poor from off the earth,
    the needy from among mankind.

15 The leech has two daughters:
    Give and Give.[l]
(DJ)Three things are never satisfied;
    (DK)four never say, “Enough”:
16 (DL)Sheol, (DM)the barren womb,
    the land never satisfied with water,
    and the fire that never says, “Enough.”

17 The eye that (DN)mocks a father
    and (DO)scorns to obey a mother
will (DP)be picked out by (DQ)the ravens of the valley
    and eaten by the vultures.

18 (DR)Three things are (DS)too wonderful for me;
    (DT)four I do not understand:
19 the way of an eagle in the sky,
    the way of a serpent on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas,
    and the way of a man with a virgin.

20 This is the way of an adulteress:
    she eats and wipes her mouth
    and says, “I have done no wrong.”

21 Under (DU)three things (DV)the earth trembles;
    under (DW)four it cannot bear up:
22 (DX)a slave when he becomes king,
    and a fool when he is (DY)filled with food;
23 (DZ)an unloved woman when she (EA)gets a husband,
    and a maidservant when she displaces her mistress.

24 (EB)Four things on earth are small,
    but they are exceedingly wise:
25 (EC)the ants are a people not strong,
    yet they provide their food in the summer;
26 (ED)the rock badgers are a people not mighty,
    yet they make their homes in the cliffs;
27 the locusts have no (EE)king,
    yet all of them march in (EF)rank;
28 the lizard you can take in your hands,
    yet it is in kings' palaces.

29 (EG)Three things are stately in their tread;
    (EH)four are stately in their stride:
30 the lion, which is mightiest among beasts
    and (EI)does not turn back before any;
31 the (EJ)strutting rooster,[m] the he-goat,
    and a king whose army is with him.[n]

32 If you have been foolish, exalting yourself,
    or if you have been devising evil,
    (EK)put your hand on your mouth.
33 For pressing milk produces curds,
    pressing the nose produces blood,
    and pressing anger produces strife.

The Words of King Lemuel

31 The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him:

What are you doing, my son?[o] What are you doing, (EL)son of my womb?
    What are you doing, (EM)son of my vows?
Do (EN)not give your strength to women,
    your ways to those (EO)who destroy kings.
(EP)It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
    it is not for kings (EQ)to drink wine,
    or for rulers to take (ER)strong drink,
lest they drink and forget what has been decreed
    and (ES)pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
Give strong drink to the one who (ET)is perishing,
    and wine to (EU)those in bitter distress;[p]
(EV)let them drink and forget their poverty
    and remember their misery no more.
(EW)Open your mouth for the mute,
    for the rights of all who are destitute.[q]
Open your mouth, (EX)judge righteously,
    (EY)defend the rights of (EZ)the poor and needy.

The Woman Who Fears the Lord

10 [r] (FA)An excellent wife who can find?
    She is far more precious than (FB)jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
    and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She (FC)seeks wool and flax,
    and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
    she brings her food from afar.
15 She (FD)rises while it is yet night
    and (FE)provides food for her household
    and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She (FF)dresses herself[s] with strength
    and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
    Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
    and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She (FG)opens her hand to (FH)the poor
    and reaches out her hands to (FI)the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
    for all her household are clothed in (FJ)scarlet.[t]
22 She makes (FK)bed coverings for herself;
    her clothing is (FL)fine linen and (FM)purple.
23 Her husband is known in (FN)the gates
    when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes (FO)linen garments and sells them;
    she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 (FP)Strength and dignity are her clothing,
    and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
    and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many (FQ)women have done (FR)excellently,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 (FS)Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
    and let her works praise her in the gates.


  1. Proverbs 28:8 That is, profit that comes from charging interest to the poor
  2. Proverbs 28:14 Hebrew lacks the Lord
  3. Proverbs 28:17 Hebrew until the pit
  4. Proverbs 28:22 Hebrew A man whose eye is evil
  5. Proverbs 29:4 Or who taxes heavily
  6. Proverbs 29:10 Or but the upright seek his soul
  7. Proverbs 29:18 Or the people are discouraged
  8. Proverbs 29:21 The meaning of the Hebrew word rendered his heir is uncertain
  9. Proverbs 30:1 Or Jakeh, the man of Massa
  10. Proverbs 30:1 Revocalization; Hebrew The man declares to Ithiel, to Ithiel and Ucal
  11. Proverbs 30:11 Hebrew There is a generation; also verses 12, 13, 14
  12. Proverbs 30:15 Or “Give, give,” they cry
  13. Proverbs 30:31 Or the magpie, or the greyhound; Hebrew girt-of-loins
  14. Proverbs 30:31 Or against whom there is no rising up
  15. Proverbs 31:2 Hebrew What, my son?
  16. Proverbs 31:6 Hebrew those bitter in soul
  17. Proverbs 31:8 Hebrew are sons of passing away
  18. Proverbs 31:10 Verses 10–31 are an acrostic poem, each verse beginning with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet
  19. Proverbs 31:17 Hebrew She girds her loins
  20. Proverbs 31:21 Or in double thickness

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