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Solomon’s Wise Sayings

10 Here are some proverbs
    of Solomon:
Children with good sense
    make their parents happy,
    but foolish children
    make them sad.
What you gain by doing evil
    won’t help you at all,
    but being good[a]
    can save you from death.

If you obey the Lord,
    you won’t go hungry;
if you are wicked,
    God won’t let you have
    what you want.
Laziness leads to poverty;
    hard work makes you rich.
At harvest season
it’s smart to work hard,
    but stupid to sleep.

Everyone praises good people,
    but evil hides behind
    the words of the wicked.
Good people are remembered
    long after they are gone,
    but the wicked
    are soon forgotten.

If you have good sense,
    you will listen and obey;
    if all you do is talk,
    you will destroy yourself.
You will be safe,
    if you always do right,
    but you will get caught,
    if you are dishonest.
10 Deceit causes trouble,
    and foolish talk
    will bring you to ruin.[b]
11 The words of good people
    are a source of life,
    but evil hides behind
    the words of the wicked.

12 Hatred stirs up trouble;
    love overlooks the wrongs
    that others do.
13 If you have good sense,
    it will show when you speak.
    But if you are stupid,
you will be beaten
    with a stick.
14 If you have good sense,
    you will learn all you can,
    but foolish talk
    will soon destroy you.

15 Great wealth can be a fortress,
    but poverty
    is no protection at all.
16 If you live right,
    the reward is a good life;
    if you are evil,
    all you have is sin.

17 Accept correction,
    and you will find life;
    reject correction,
    and you will miss the road.
18 You can hide your hatred
    by telling lies,
    but you are a fool
    to spread lies.
19 You will say the wrong thing
    if you talk too much—
    so be sensible and watch
    what you say.
20 The words of a good person
    are like pure silver,
    but the thoughts
of an evil person
    are almost worthless.
21 Many are helped
    by useful instruction,
    but fools are killed
    by their own stupidity.

22 When the Lord blesses you
with riches,
    you have nothing to regret.[c]
23 Fools enjoy doing wrong,
    but anyone with good sense
    enjoys acting wisely.
24 What evil people dread most
    will happen to them,
    but good people will get
    what they want most.
25 Those crooks will disappear
    when a storm strikes,
    but God will keep safe
    all who obey him.
26 Having a lazy person on the job
    is like a mouth full of vinegar
    or smoke in your eyes.

27 If you respect the Lord,
    you will live longer;
    if you keep doing wrong,
    your life will be cut short.
28 If you obey the Lord,
    you will be happy,
    but there is no future
    for the wicked.
29 The Lord protects everyone
    who lives right,
    but he destroys anyone
    who does wrong.
30 Good people will stand firm,
    but the wicked
    will lose their land.
31 Honest people speak sensibly,
    but deceitful liars
    will be silenced.
32 If you obey the Lord,
    you will always know
    the right thing to say.
But no one will trust you
    if you tell lies.

Watch What You Say and Do

11 The Lord hates anyone
    who cheats,
    but he likes everyone
    who is honest.
Too much pride
can put you to shame.
    It’s wiser to be humble.
If you do the right thing,
    honesty will be your guide.
But if you are crooked,
    you will be trapped
    by your own dishonesty.

When God is angry,
    money won’t help you.
    Obeying God is the only way
    to be saved from death.
If you are truly good,
    you will do right;
if you are wicked,
    you will be destroyed
    by your own sin.
Honesty can keep you safe,
    but if you can’t be trusted,
    you trap yourself.
When the wicked die,
    their hopes die with them.
Trouble goes right past
the Lord’s people
    and strikes the wicked.

Dishonest people use gossip
    to destroy their neighbors;
    good people are protected
    by their own good sense.
10 When honest people prosper
and the wicked disappear,
    the whole city celebrates.
11 When God blesses his people,
    their city prospers,
    but deceitful liars
    can destroy a city.

12 It’s stupid to say bad things
    about your neighbors.
    If you are sensible,
    you will keep quiet.
13 A gossip tells everything,
    but a true friend
    will keep a secret.
14 A city without wise leaders
    will end up in ruin;
    a city with many wise leaders
    will be kept safe.

15 It’s a dangerous thing
    to guarantee payment
for someone’s debts.
    Don’t do it!
16 A gracious woman
    will be respected,
    but a man must work hard
    to get rich.[d]
17 Kindness is rewarded—
    but if you are cruel,
    you hurt yourself.
18 Meanness gets you nowhere,
    but goodness is rewarded.
19 Always do the right thing,
    and you will live;
    keep on doing wrong,
    and you will die.

20 The Lord hates sneaky people,
    but he likes everyone
    who lives right.
21 You can be sure of this:
    All crooks will be punished,
    but God’s people won’t.
22 A beautiful woman
    who acts foolishly
    is like a gold ring
    on the snout of a pig.
23 Good people want what is best,
    but troublemakers
    hope to stir up trouble.[e]

24 Sometimes you can become rich
by being generous
    or poor by being greedy.
25 Generosity will be rewarded:
    Give a cup of water,
    and you will receive
    a cup of water in return.
26 Charge too much for grain,
    and you will be cursed;
    sell it at a fair price,
    and you will be praised.
27 Try hard to do right,
    and you will win friends;
    go looking for trouble,
    and you will find it.
28 Trust in your wealth,
    and you will be a failure,
    but God’s people will prosper
    like healthy plants.

29 Fools who cause trouble
in the family
    won’t inherit a thing.
    They will end up as slaves
    of someone with good sense.
30 Live right, and you will eat
    from the life-giving tree.
    And if you act wisely,
    others will follow.[f]
31 If good people are rewarded[g]
    here on this earth,
    all who are cruel and mean
    will surely be punished.

You Can’t Hide behind Evil

12 To accept correction is wise,
    to reject it is stupid.
The Lord likes everyone
    who lives right,
    but he punishes everyone
    who makes evil plans.
Sin cannot offer security!
    But if you live right,
    you will be as secure
    as a tree with deep roots.
A helpful wife is a jewel
    for her husband,
    but a shameless wife
    will make his bones rot.

Good people have kind thoughts,
    but you should never trust
    the advice of someone evil.
Bad advice is a deadly trap,
    but good advice
    is like a shield.
Once the wicked are defeated,
    they are gone forever,
    but no one who obeys God
    will ever be thrown down.
Good sense is worthy of praise,
    but stupidity is a curse.
It’s better to be ordinary
    and have only one servant[h]
    than to think you are somebody
    and starve to death.
10 Good people are kind
to their animals,
    but a mean person is cruel.

11 Hard working farmers have more
    than enough food;
    daydreamers are nothing more
    than stupid fools.
12 An evil person tries to hide
    behind evil;[i]
    good people are like trees
    with deep roots.
13 We trap ourselves
    by telling lies,
    but we stay out of trouble
    by living right.
14 We are rewarded or punished
    for what we say and do.
15 Fools think they know
    what is best,
    but a sensible person
    listens to advice.

16 Losing your temper is foolish;
    ignoring an insult is smart.
17 An honest person
    tells the truth in court,
    but a dishonest person
    tells nothing but lies.
18 Sharp words cut like a sword,
    but words of wisdom heal.
19 Truth will last forever;
    lies are soon found out.
20 An evil mind is deceitful,
    but gentle thoughts
    bring happiness.
21 Good people never have trouble,
    but troublemakers
    have more than enough.
22 The Lord hates every liar,
    but he is the friend of all
    who can be trusted.
23 Be sensible and don’t tell
    everything you know—
    only fools spread
    foolishness everywhere.

24 Work hard, and you
    will be a leader;
    be lazy, and you
    will end up a slave.
25 Worry is a heavy burden,
    but a kind word
    always brings cheer.
26 You are better off to do right,
    than to lose your way
    by doing wrong.[j]
27 Anyone too lazy to cook
    will starve,
    but a hard worker
    is a valuable treasure.[k]
28 Follow the road to life,
    and you won’t be bothered
    by death.


  1. 10.2 good: Or “generous.”
  2. 10.10 and foolish. . . ruin: One ancient translation “but you can help people by correcting them.”
  3. 10.22 When. . . regret: Or “No matter how hard you work, your riches really come From the Lord.”
  4. 11.16 but. . . rich: Or “a ruthless man will only get rich.”
  5. 11.23 Good people. . . trouble: Or “Good people do what is best, but troublemakers just stir up trouble.”
  6. 11.30 act. . . follow: Hebrew; one ancient translation “but violence leads to death.”
  7. 11.31 rewarded: Or “punished.”
  8. 12.9 It’s. . . servant: Or “It is better just to have an ordinary job.”
  9. 12.12 An evil. . . evil: Or “Evil people love what they get from being evil.”
  10. 12.26 wrong: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 26.
  11. 12.27 but. . . treasure: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

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