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Wise Friends Make You Wise

13 Children with good sense
    accept correction
    from their parents,
    but stubborn children
    ignore it completely.
You will be well rewarded
    for saying something kind,
but all some people think about
    is how to be cruel and mean.
Keep what you know to yourself,
    and you will be safe;
    talk too much,
    and you are done for.
No matter how much you want,
    laziness won’t help a bit,
    but hard work will reward you
    with more than enough.
A good person hates deceit,
    but those who are evil
    cause shame and disgrace.
Live right, and you are safe!
    But sin will destroy you.

Some who have nothing
    may pretend to be rich,
    and some who have everything
    may pretend to be poor.
The rich may have
    to pay a ransom,
    but the poor don’t have
    that problem.
The lamp of a good person
    keeps on shining;
    the lamp of an evil person
    soon goes out.
10 Too much pride causes trouble.
    Be sensible and take advice.

11 Money wrongly gotten
    will disappear bit by bit;
    money earned little by little
    will grow and grow.
12 Not getting what you want
    can make you feel sick,
    but a wish that comes true
    is a life-giving tree.
13 If you reject God’s teaching,
    you will pay the price;
    if you obey his commands,
    you will be rewarded.

14 Sensible instruction
    is a life-giving fountain
    that helps you escape
    all deadly traps.
15 Sound judgment is praised,
    but people without good sense
    are on the way to disaster.[a]
16 If you have good sense,
you will act sensibly,
    but fools act like fools.
17 Whoever delivers your message
    can make things better
    or worse for you.

18 All who refuse correction
    will be poor and disgraced;
    all who accept correction
    will be praised.
19 It’s a good feeling
    to get what you want,
    but only a stupid fool
    hates to turn from evil.
20 Wise friends make you wise,
    but you hurt yourself
    by going around with fools.
21 You are in for trouble
    if you sin,
    but you will be rewarded
    if you live right.
22 If you obey God,
    you will have something
    to leave your grandchildren.
If you don’t obey God,
    those who live right
    will get what you leave.

23 Even when the land of the poor
    produces good crops,
    they get cheated
    out of what they grow.[b]
24 If you love your children,
    you will correct them;
    if you don’t love them,
    you won’t correct them.
25 If you live right,
    you will have plenty to eat;
    if you don’t live right,
    you will go away empty.

Wisdom Makes Good Sense

14 A woman’s family
is held together
    by her wisdom,
    but it can be destroyed
    by her foolishness.
By living right, you show
    that you respect the Lord;
    by being deceitful, you show
    that you despise him.
Proud fools are punished
    for their stupid talk,
    but sensible talk
    can save your life.
Without the help of an ox
    there can be no crop,
    but with a strong ox
    a big crop is possible.
An honest witness
    tells the truth;
    a dishonest witness
    tells nothing but lies.

Make fun of wisdom,
    and you will never find it.
    But if you have understanding,
    knowledge comes easily.
Stay away from fools,
    or you won’t learn a thing.
Wise people have enough sense
to find their way,
    but stupid fools get lost.
Fools don’t care
    if they are wrong,[c]
    but God is pleased
    when people do right.

10 No one else can really know
    how sad or happy you are.
11 The tent of a good person
stands longer
    than the house
    of someone evil.
12 You may think you are
on the right road
    and still end up dead.
13 Sorrow may hide
    behind laughter,
    and happiness may end
    in sorrow.
14 You harvest what you plant,
    whether good or bad.

15 Don’t be stupid
    and believe all you hear;
    be smart and know
    where you are headed.
16 Only a stupid fool
    is never cautious—
    so be extra careful
    and stay out of trouble.
17 Fools have quick tempers,
    and no one likes you
    if you can’t be trusted.
18 Stupidity leads to foolishness;
    be smart and learn.

19 The wicked will come crawling
    to those who obey God.
20 You have no friends
    if you are poor,
    but you have lots of friends
    if you are rich.
21 It’s wrong to hate others,
    but God blesses everyone
    who is kind to the poor.
22 It’s a mistake
    to make evil plans,
    but you will have loyal friends
    if you want to do right.
23 Hard work is worthwhile,
    but empty talk
    will make you poor.
24 Wisdom can make you rich,
    but foolishness leads
    to more foolishness.
25 An honest witness
can save your life,
    but liars can’t be trusted.

26 If you respect the Lord,
you and your children
    have
a strong fortress
27 and a life-giving fountain
    that keeps you safe
    from deadly traps.

28 Rulers of powerful nations
    are held in honor;
    rulers of weak nations
    are nothing at all.
29 It’s smart to be patient,
    but it’s stupid
    to lose your temper.
30 It’s healthy to be content,
    but envy can eat you up.
31 If you mistreat the poor,
    you insult your Creator;
    if you are kind to them,
    you show him respect.
32 In times of trouble
    the wicked are destroyed,
    but even at death
    the innocent have faith.[d]

33 Wisdom is found in the minds
of people with good sense,
    but fools don’t know it.[e]
34 Doing right brings honor
to a nation,
    but sin brings disgrace.
35 Kings reward servants
    who act wisely,
    but they punish those
    who act foolishly.

The Lord Sees Everything

15 A kind answer
    soothes angry feelings,
    but harsh words
    stir them up.
Words of wisdom
come from the wise,
    but fools speak foolishness.

The Lord sees everything,
    whether good or bad.
Kind words are good medicine,
    but deceitful words
    can really hurt.
Don’t be a fool
and disobey your parents.
    Be smart! Accept correction.
Good people become wealthy,
    but those who are evil
    will lose what they have.
Words of wisdom
    make good sense;
    the thoughts of a fool
    make no sense at all.

The Lord is disgusted
    by gifts from the wicked,
    but it makes him happy
    when his people pray.
The Lord is disgusted
    with all who do wrong,
    but he loves everyone
    who does right.
10 If you turn from the right way,
    you will be punished;
    if you refuse correction,
    you will die.

11 If the Lord can see everything
in the world of the dead,
    he can see in our hearts.
12 Those who sneer at others
    don’t like to be corrected,
    and they won’t ask help
    from someone with sense.
13 Happiness makes you smile;
    sorrow can crush you.
14 Anyone with good sense
    is eager to learn more,
    but fools are hungry
    for foolishness.

15 The poor have a hard life,
    but being content is as good
    as an endless feast.
16 It’s better to obey the Lord
    and have only a little,
    than to be very rich
    and terribly confused.
17 A simple meal with love
is better than a feast
    where there is hatred.

18 Losing your temper
    causes a lot of trouble,
    but staying calm
    settles arguments.
19 Being lazy is like walking
    in a thorn patch,
    but everyone who does right
    walks on a smooth road.
20 Children with good sense
    make their parents happy,
    but foolish children
    are hateful to them.
21 Stupidity brings happiness
    to senseless fools,
    but everyone with good sense
    follows the straight path.

22 Without good advice
    everything goes wrong—
    it takes careful planning
    for things to go right.
23 Giving the right answer
at the right time
    makes everyone happy.
24 All who are wise follow a road
    that leads upward to life
    and away from death.

25 The Lord destroys the homes
    of those who are proud,
    but he protects the property
    of widows.
26 The Lord hates evil thoughts,
    but kind words please him.
27 Being greedy causes trouble
    for your family,
    but you protect yourself
    by refusing bribes.
28 Good people think
    before they answer,
    but the wicked speak evil
    without ever thinking.

29 The Lord never even hears
    the prayers of the wicked,
    but he answers the prayers
    of all who obey him.
30 A friendly smile
    makes you happy,
    and good news
    makes you feel strong.
31 Healthy correction is good,
    and if you accept it,
    you will be wise.
32 You hurt only yourself
    by rejecting instruction,
    but it makes good sense
    to accept it.
33 Showing respect to the Lord
    will make you wise,
    and being humble
    will bring honor to you.

Footnotes

  1. 13.15 people. . . disaster: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 13.23 grow: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 23.
  3. 14.9 Fools. . . wrong: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  4. 14.32 but even. . . faith: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. Some ancient translations “but good people trust their innocence.”
  5. 14.33 but. . . it: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text; some ancient translations “but not in the mind of a fool.”

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