13 Children with good sense accept correction from their parents, but stubborn children ignore it completely. 2 You will be well rewarded for saying something kind, but all some people think about is how to be cruel and mean. 3 Keep what you know to yourself, and you will be safe; talk too much, and you are done for. 4 No matter how much you want, laziness won’t help a bit, but hard work will reward you with more than enough. 5 A good person hates deceit, but those who are evil cause shame and disgrace. 6 Live right, and you are safe! But sin will destroy you.
7 Some who have nothing may pretend to be rich, and some who have everything may pretend to be poor. 8 The rich may have to pay a ransom, but the poor don’t have that problem. 9 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. 2 By living right, you show that you respect the Lord; by being deceitful, you show that you despise him. 3 Proud fools are punished for their stupid talk, but sensible talk can save your life. 4 Without the help of an ox there can be no crop, but with a strong ox a big crop is possible. 5 An honest witness tells the truth; a dishonest witness tells nothing but lies.
6 Make fun of wisdom, and you will never find it. But if you have understanding, knowledge comes easily. 7 Stay away from fools, or you won’t learn a thing. 8 Wise people have enough sense to find their way, but stupid fools get lost. 9 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. 2 Words of wisdom come from the wise, but fools speak foolishness.
3 The Lord sees everything, whether good or bad. 4 Kind words are good medicine, but deceitful words can really hurt. 5 Don’t be a fool and disobey your parents. Be smart! Accept correction. 6 Good people become wealthy, but those who are evil will lose what they have. 7 Words of wisdom make good sense; the thoughts of a fool make no sense at all.
8 The Lord is disgusted by gifts from the wicked, but it makes him happy when his people pray. 9 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.
13.15people. . . disaster: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
13.23grow: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 23.
14.9Fools. . . wrong: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
14.32but even. . . faith: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. Some ancient translations “but good people trust their innocence.”
14.33but. . . it: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text; some ancient translations “but not in the mind of a fool.”
5 Our bodies are like tents that we live in here on earth. But when these tents are destroyed, we know that God will give each of us a place to live. These homes will not be buildings that someone has made, but they are in heaven and will last forever. 2 While we are here on earth, we sigh because we want to live in that heavenly home. 3 We want to put it on like clothes and not be naked.
4 These tents we now live in are like a heavy burden, and we groan. But we don’t do this just because we want to leave these bodies that will die. It is because we want to change them for bodies that will never die. 5 God is the one who makes all of this possible. He has given us his Spirit to make us certain that he will do it. 6 So always be cheerful!
As long as we are in these bodies, we are away from the Lord. 7 But we live by faith, not by what we see. 8 We should be cheerful, because we would rather leave these bodies and be at home with the Lord. 9 But whether we are at home with the Lord or away from him, we still try our best to please him. 10 After all, Christ will judge each of us for the good or the bad that we do while living in these bodies.
Bringing People to God
11 We know what it means to respect the Lord, and we encourage everyone to turn to him. God himself knows what we are like, and I hope you also know what kind of people we are. 12 We are not trying once more to brag about ourselves. But we want you to be proud of us, when you are with those who are not sincere and brag about what others think of them.
13 If we seem out of our minds, it is between God and us. But if we are in our right minds, it is for your good. 14 We are ruled by Christ’s love for us. We are certain that if one person died for everyone else, then all of us have died. 15 And Christ did die for all of us. He died so we would no longer live for ourselves, but for the one who died and was raised to life for us.
16 We are careful not to judge people by what they seem to be, though we once judged Christ in that way. 17 Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new. 18 God has done it all! He sent Christ to make peace between himself and us, and he has given us the work of making peace between himself and others.
19 What we mean is that God was in Christ, offering peace and forgiveness to the people of this world. And he has given us the work of sharing his message about peace. 20 We were sent to speak for Christ, and God is begging you to listen to our message. We speak for Christ and sincerely ask you to make peace with God. 21 Christ never sinned! But God treated him as a sinner, so that Christ could make us acceptable to God.
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