22 A good name [earned by honorable behavior, godly wisdom, moral courage, and personal integrity] is more desirable than great riches; And favor is better than silver and gold. 2 The rich and poor have a common bond; The Lord is the Maker of them all. 3 A prudent and far-sighted person sees the evil [of sin] and hides himself [from it], But the naive continue on and are punished [by suffering the consequences of sin]. 4 The reward of humility [that is, having a realistic view of one’s importance] and the [reverent, worshipful] fear of the Lord Is riches, honor, and life. 5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the obstinate [for their lack of honor and their wrong-doing traps them]; He who guards himself [with godly wisdom] will be far from them and avoid the consequences they suffer. 6 Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents], Even when he is old he will not depart from it. 7 The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender. 8 He who sows injustice will reap [a harvest of] trouble, And the rod of his wrath [with which he oppresses others] will fail. 9 He who is generous will be blessed, For he gives some of his food to the poor. 10 Drive out the scoffer, and contention will go away; Even strife and dishonor will cease. 11 He who loves purity of heart And whose speech is gracious will have the king as his friend. 12 The eyes of the Lord keep guard over knowledge and the one who has it, But He overthrows the words of the treacherous. 13 The lazy one [manufactures excuses and] says, “There is a lion outside! I will be killed in the streets [if I go out to work]!” 14 The mouth of an immoral woman is a deep pit [deep and inescapable]; He who is cursed by the Lord [because of his adulterous sin] will fall into it. 15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline [correction administered with godly wisdom and lovingkindness] will remove it far from him. 16 He who oppresses or exploits the poor to get more for himself Or who gives to the rich [to gain influence and favor], will only come to poverty.
17 Listen carefully and hear the [a]words of the wise, And apply your mind to my knowledge; 18 For it will be pleasant if you keep them in mind [incorporating them as guiding principles]; Let them be ready on your lips [to guide and strengthen yourself and others]. 19 So that your trust and reliance and confidence may be in the Lord, I have taught these things to you today, even to you. 20 Have I not written to you excellent things In counsels and knowledge, 21 To let you know the certainty of the words of truth, That you may give a correct answer to him who sent you?
22 Do not rob the poor because he is poor [and defenseless], Nor crush the afflicted [by legal proceedings] at the gate [where the city court is held], 23 For the Lord will plead their case And take the life of those who rob them.
24 Do not even associate with a man given to angry outbursts; Or go [along] with a hot-tempered man, 25 Or you will learn his [undisciplined] ways And get yourself trapped [in a situation from which it is hard to escape].
26 Do not be among those who give pledges [involving themselves in others’ finances], Or among those who become guarantors for others’ debts. 27 If you have nothing with which to pay [another’s debt when he defaults], Why should his creditor take your bed from under you?
28 Do not move the ancient landmark [at the boundary of the property] Which your fathers have set.
29 Do you see a man skillful and experienced in his work? He will stand [in honor] before kings; He will not stand before obscure men.
On Life and Conduct
23 When you sit down to dine with a ruler, Consider carefully what is [set] before you; 2 For you will put a knife to your throat If you are a man of great appetite. 3 Do not desire his delicacies, For it is deceptive food [offered to you with questionable motives].
4 Do not weary yourself [with the overwhelming desire] to gain wealth; Cease from your own understanding of it. 5 When you set your eyes on wealth, it is [suddenly] gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings Like an eagle that flies to the heavens.
6 Do not eat the bread of a selfish man, Or desire his delicacies; 7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he [in behavior—one who manipulates]. He says to you, “Eat and drink,” Yet his heart is not with you [but it is begrudging the cost]. 8 The morsel which you have eaten you will vomit up, And you will waste your compliments.
9 Do not speak in the ears of a fool, For he will despise the [godly] wisdom of your words.
10 Do not move the ancient landmark [at the boundary of the property] And do not go into the fields of the fatherless [to take what is theirs], 11 For their Redeemer is strong and mighty; He will plead their case against you. 12 Apply your heart to discipline And your ears to words of knowledge.
13 Do not withhold discipline from the child; If you [b]swat him with a reed-like rod [applied with godly wisdom], he will not die. 14 You shall [c]swat him with the reed-like rod And rescue his life from Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead).
15 My son, if your heart is wise, My heart will also be glad; 16 Yes, my heart will rejoice When your lips speak right things.
17 Do not let your heart envy sinners [who live godless lives and have no hope of salvation], But [continue to] live in the [reverent, worshipful] fear of the Lord day by day. 18 Surely there is a future [and a reward], And your hope and expectation will not be cut off. 19 Listen, my son, and be wise, And direct your heart in the way [of the Lord]. 20 Do not associate with heavy drinkers of wine, Or with gluttonous eaters of meat, 21 For the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty, And the drowsiness [of overindulgence] will clothe one with rags.
22 Listen to your father, who sired you, And do not despise your mother when she is old. 23 [d]Buy truth, and do not sell it; Get wisdom and instruction and understanding.
24 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, And he who sires a wise child will have joy in him. 25 Let your father and your mother be glad, And let her who gave birth to you rejoice [in your wise and godly choices].
26 My son, give me your heart And let your eyes delight in my ways, 27 For a prostitute is a deep pit, And an immoral woman is a narrow well. 28 She lurks and lies in wait like a robber [who waits for prey], And she increases the faithless among men.
29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Whose eyes are red and dim? 30 Those who linger long over wine, Those who go to taste mixed wine. 31 Do not look at wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the glass, When it goes down smoothly. 32 At the last it bites like a serpent And stings like a viper. 33 Your [drunken] eyes will see strange things And your mind will utter perverse things [untrue things, twisted things]. 34 And you will be [as unsteady] as one who lies down in the middle of the sea, And [as vulnerable to disaster] as one who lies down on the top of a ship’s mast, saying, 35 “They struck me, but I was not hurt! They beat me, but I did not feel it! When will I wake up? I will seek more wine.”
Proverbs 22:17These verses (17-21) introduce a special collection of wisdom sayings compiled by Solomon.
Proverbs 23:23The ancient rabbis routinely assumed “truth” to refer to the Torah (Law), and they interpreted the first part of this command to mean that a student should pay a teacher to teach him the Torah if he can find no one to teach him for free. As for the second part, they said that if the student had to pay to learn, he should not view this as grounds to charge for teaching others, but should teach the Torah for free.
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