24 Do not be envious of evil men, Nor desire to be with them; 2 For their minds plot violence, And their lips talk of trouble [for the innocent].
3 Through [skillful and godly] wisdom a house [a life, a home, a family] is built, And by understanding it is established [on a sound and good foundation], 4 And by knowledge its rooms are filled With all precious and pleasant riches.
5 A wise man is strong, And a man of knowledge strengthens his power; 6 For by wise guidance you can wage your war, And in an abundance of [wise] counselors there is victory and safety.
7 Wisdom is too exalted for a [hardened, arrogant] [a]fool; He does not open his mouth in the gate [where the city’s rulers sit in judgment].
8 He who plans to do evil Will be called a schemer or deviser of evil. 9 The devising of folly is sin, And the scoffer is repulsive to men.
10 If you are slack (careless) in the day of distress, Your strength is limited.
11 Rescue those who are being taken away to death, And those who stagger to the slaughter, Oh hold them back [from their doom]! 12 If you [claim ignorance and] say, “See, we did not know this,” Does He not consider it who weighs and examines the hearts and their motives? And does He not know it who guards your life and keeps your soul? And will He not repay [you and] every man according to his works?
13 My son, eat honey, because it is good, And the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste. 14 Know that [skillful and godly] wisdom is [so very good] for your life and soul; If you find wisdom, then there will be a future and a reward, And your hope and expectation will not be cut off.
15 Do not lie in wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; Do not destroy his resting place; 16 For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, But the wicked stumble in time of disaster and collapse.
17 Do not rejoice and gloat when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad [in self-righteousness] when he stumbles, 18 Or the Lord will see your gloating and be displeased, And turn His anger away from your enemy.
19 Do not get upset because of evildoers, Or be envious of the wicked, 20 For there will be no future for the evil man; The lamp of the wicked will be put out.
21 My son, fear the Lord and the king; And do not associate with those who are given to change [of allegiance, and are revolutionary], 22 For their tragedy will rise suddenly, And who knows the punishment that both [the Lord and the king] will bring on the rebellious?
23 These also are sayings of the wise: To show partiality in judgment is not good. 24 He who says to the wicked, “You are righteous,” Peoples will curse him, nations will denounce him; 25 But to those [honorable judges] who rebuke the wicked, it will go well with them and they will find delight, And a good blessing will come upon them. 26 He kisses the lips [and wins the hearts of people] Who gives a right and straightforward answer.
27 Prepare your work outside And get it ready for yourself in the field; [b]Afterward build your house and establish a home.
28 Do not be a witness against your [c]neighbor without cause, And do not deceive with your lips [speak neither lies nor half-truths]. 29 Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me; I will pay the man back for his deed.”
30 I went by the field of the lazy man, And by the vineyard of the man lacking understanding and common sense; 31 And, behold, it was all overgrown with thorns, And nettles were covering its surface, And its stone wall was broken down. 32 When I saw, I considered it well; I looked and received instruction. 33 “Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest [and daydream],” 34 Then your poverty will come as a robber, And your want like an armed man.
25 These are also the proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied:
2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter. 3 As the heavens for height and the earth for depth, So the hearts and minds of kings are [d]unsearchable. 4 Take away the dross from the silver, And there comes out [the pure metal for] a vessel for the silversmith [to shape]. 5 Take away the wicked from before the king, And his throne will be established in righteousness. 6 Do not be boastfully ambitious and claim honor in the presence of the king, And do not stand in the place of great men; 7 For it is better that it be said to you, “Come up here,” Than for you to be placed lower in the presence of the prince, Whom your eyes have seen.
8 Do not rush out to argue your case [before magistrates or judges]; Otherwise what will you do in the end [when your case is lost and] When your neighbor (opponent) humiliates you? 9 Argue your case with your neighbor himself [before you go to court]; And do not reveal another’s secret, 10 Or he who hears it will shame you And the rumor about you [and your action in court] will have no end.
11 Like apples of gold in settings of silver Is a word spoken at the right time. 12 Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold Is a wise reprover to an ear that listens and learns. 13 Like the cold of snow [brought from the mountains] in the time of harvest, So is a faithful messenger to those who send him; For he refreshes the life of his masters. 14 Like clouds and wind without rain Is a man who boasts falsely of gifts [he does not give]. 15 By patience and a calm spirit a ruler may be persuaded, And a soft and gentle tongue breaks the bone [of resistance]. 16 Have you found [pleasure sweet like] honey? Eat only as much as you need, Otherwise, being filled excessively, you vomit it. 17 Let your foot seldom be in your neighbor’s house, Or he will become tired of you and hate you. 18 Like a club and a sword and a piercing arrow Is a man who testifies falsely against his neighbor (acquaintance). 19 Like a broken tooth or an unsteady foot Is confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble. 20 Like one who takes off a garment in cold weather, or like [a reactive, useless mixture of] vinegar on soda, Is he who [thoughtlessly] sings [joyful] songs to a heavy heart. 21 If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; 22 For in doing so, you will [e]heap coals of fire upon his head, And the Lord will reward you. 23 The north wind brings forth rain; And a backbiting tongue, an angry countenance. 24 It is better to live in a corner of the housetop [on the flat roof, exposed to the weather] Than in a house shared with a quarrelsome (contentious) woman. 25 Like cold water to a thirsty soul, So is good news from a distant land. 26 Like a muddied fountain and a polluted spring Is a righteous man who yields and compromises his integrity before the wicked. 27 It is not good to eat much honey, Nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory. 28 Like a city that is broken down and without walls [leaving it unprotected] Is a man who has no self-control over his spirit [and sets himself up for trouble].
26 Like snow in summer and like rain in harvest, So honor is not fitting for a [shortsighted] [f]fool. 2 Like the sparrow in her wandering, like the swallow in her flying, So the curse without cause does not come and alight [on the undeserving]. 3 A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, And a rod for the backs of fools [who refuse to learn]. 4 Do not answer [nor pretend to agree with the frivolous comments of] a [closed-minded] fool according to his folly, Otherwise you, even you, will be like him. 5 Answer [and correct the erroneous concepts of] a fool according to his folly, Otherwise he will be wise in his own eyes [if he thinks you agree with him]. 6 He who sends a message by the hand of a fool Cuts off his own feet (sabotages himself) and drinks the violence [it brings on himself as a consequence]. 7 Like the legs which are useless to the lame, So is a proverb in the mouth of a fool [who cannot learn from its wisdom]. 8 Like one who [absurdly] binds a stone in a sling [making it impossible to throw], So is he who [absurdly] gives honor to a fool. 9 Like a thorn that goes [without being felt] into the hand of a drunken man, So is a proverb in the mouth of a fool [who remains unaffected by its wisdom]. 10 Like a [careless] archer who [shoots arrows wildly and] wounds everyone, So is he who hires a fool or those who [by chance just] pass by. 11 Like a dog that returns to his vomit Is a fool who repeats his foolishness. 12 Do you see a man [who is unteachable and] wise in his own eyes and full of self-conceit? There is more hope for a fool than for him. 13 The lazy person [who is self-indulgent and relies on lame excuses] says, “There is a lion in the road! A lion is in the open square [and if I go outside to work I will be killed]!” 14 As the door turns on its hinges, So does the lazy person on his bed [never getting out of it]. 15 The lazy person buries his hand in the dish [losing opportunity after opportunity]; It wearies him to bring it back to his mouth. 16 The lazy person is wiser in his own eyes Than seven [sensible] men who can give a discreet answer. 17 Like one who grabs a dog by the ears [and is likely to be bitten] Is he who, passing by, stops to meddle with a dispute that is none of his business. 18 Like a madman who throws Firebrands, arrows, and death, 19 So is the man who deceives his neighbor (acquaintance, friend) And then says, “Was I not joking?” 20 For lack of wood the fire goes out, And where there is no whisperer [who gossips], contention quiets down. 21 Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, So is a contentious man to kindle strife. 22 The words of a whisperer (gossip) are like dainty morsels [to be greedily eaten]; They go down into the innermost chambers of the body [to be remembered and mused upon]. 23 Like a [common] clay vessel covered with the silver dross [making it appear silver when it has no real value] Are burning lips [murmuring manipulative words] and a wicked heart. 24 He who hates, disguises it with his lips, But he stores up deceit in his heart. 25 When he speaks graciously and kindly [to conceal his malice], do not trust him, For seven abominations are in his heart. 26 Though his hatred covers itself with guile and deceit, His malevolence will be revealed openly before the assembly. 27 Whoever digs a pit [for another man’s feet] will fall into it, And he who rolls a stone [up a hill to do mischief], it will come back on him. 28 A lying tongue hates those it wounds and crushes, And a flattering mouth works ruin.
Proverbs 24:27Establishing your priorities and proceeding in an orderly manner brings its own reward.
Proverbs 24:28I.e. anyone who comes into your life, not necessarily one who lives nearby.
Proverbs 25:3The ancient rabbis explained this as a reference to the countless details of government that are a king’s responsibility.
Proverbs 25:22This expression may refer to an Egyptian custom in which a penitent man carried a pan of coals on his head as a sign of repentance. The message of these verses is the admonition to return good for evil in the hope that your enemy will be moved to repentance.
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