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The Lord Has the Final Word

16 We humans make plans,
but the Lord
    has the final word.
We may think we know
    what is right,
    but the Lord is the judge
    of our motives.
Share your plans with the Lord,
    and you will succeed.

The Lord has a reason
    for everything he does,
    and he lets evil people live
    only to be punished.
The Lord doesn’t like
    anyone who is conceited—
    you can be sure
    they will be punished.
If we truly love God,
    our sins will be forgiven;
    if we show him respect,
    we will keep away from sin.
When we please the Lord,
    even our enemies
    make friends with us.
It’s better to be honest
    and poor
    than to be dishonest
    and rich.

We make our own plans,
    but the Lord decides
    where we will go.
10 Rulers speak with authority
    and are never wrong.
11     The Lord doesn’t like it
    when we cheat in business.
12 Justice makes rulers powerful.
    They should hate evil
13     and like honesty and truth.
14 An angry ruler
    can put you to death.
So be wise!
    Don’t make one angry.
15 When a ruler is happy
    and pleased with you,
    it’s like refreshing rain,
    and you will live.

16 It’s much better to be wise
and sensible
    than to be rich.
17 God’s people avoid evil ways,
    and they protect themselves
    by watching where they go.
18 Too much pride
    will destroy you.
19 You are better off
    to be humble and poor
    than to get rich
    from what you take by force.
20 If you know what you’re doing,[a]
    you will prosper.
    God blesses everyone
    who trusts him.
21 Good judgment proves
    that you are wise,
    and if you speak kindly,
    you can teach others.
22 Good sense is a fountain
    that gives life,
    but fools are punished
    by their foolishness.
23 You can persuade others
    if you are wise
    and speak sensibly.

24 Kind words are like honey—
    they cheer you up
    and make you feel strong.
25 Sometimes what seems right
    is really a road to death.
26     The hungrier you are,
    the harder you work.
27 Worthless people plan trouble.
    Even their words burn
    like a flaming fire.
28 Gossip is no good!
    It causes hard feelings
    and comes between friends.

29 Don’t trust violent people.
    They will mislead you
    to do the wrong thing.
30 When someone winks
or grins behind your back,
    trouble is on the way.
31 Gray hair is a glorious crown
    worn by those
    who have lived right.
32 Controlling your temper
is better than being a hero
    who captures a city.
33 We make our own decisions,
    but the Lord alone
    determines what happens.

Our Thoughts Are Tested by the Lord

17 A dry crust of bread eaten
    in peace and quiet
    is better than a feast eaten
    where everyone argues.
A hard-working slave
    will be placed in charge
    of a no-good child,
and that slave will be given
the same inheritance
    that each child receives.
Silver and gold are tested
    by flames of fire;
    our thoughts are tested
    by the Lord.
Troublemakers listen
to troublemakers,
    and liars listen to liars.
By insulting the poor,
    you insult your Creator.
You will be punished
    if you make fun
    of someone in trouble.
Grandparents are proud
    of their grandchildren,
    and children should be proud
    of their parents.

It sounds strange for a fool
    to talk sensibly,
    but it’s even worse
    for a ruler to tell lies.
A bribe works miracles
like a magic charm
    that brings good luck.
You will keep your friends
    if you forgive them,
but you will lose your friends
    if you keep talking about
    what they did wrong.
10 A sensible person
    accepts correction,
    but you can’t beat sense
    into a fool.

11 Cruel people want to rebel,
    and so vicious attackers
    will be sent against them.
12 A bear robbed of her cubs
is far less dangerous
    than a stubborn fool.
13 You will always have trouble
    if you are mean to those
    who are good to you.
14 The start of an argument
    is like a water leak—
    so stop it before
    real trouble breaks out.
15 The Lord doesn’t like those
who defend the guilty
    or condemn the innocent.
16 Why should fools have money
for an education
    when they refuse to learn?

17 A friend is always a friend,
    and relatives are born
    to share our troubles.
18 It’s stupid to guarantee
    someone else’s loan.
19 The wicked and the proud
love trouble
    and keep begging
    to be hurt.
20 Dishonesty does you no good,
    and telling lies
    will get you in trouble.
21 It’s never pleasant
to be the parent of a fool
    and have nothing but pain.
22 If you are cheerful,
    you feel good;
    if you are sad,
    you hurt all over.

23 Crooks accept secret bribes
    to keep justice
    from being done.
24 Anyone with wisdom knows
    what makes good sense,
    but fools can never
    make up their minds.
25 Foolish children bring sorrow
to their father
    and pain to their mother.
26 It isn’t fair
to punish the innocent
    and those who do right.
27 It makes a lot of sense
to be a person of few words
    and to stay calm.
28 Even fools seem smart
    when they are quiet.

It’s Wrong to Favor the Guilty

18 It’s selfish and stupid
    to think only of yourself
    and to sneer at people
    who have sense.[b]
Fools have no desire to learn;
    they would much rather
    give their own opinion.
Wrongdoing leads to shame
    and disgrace.
Words of wisdom
are a stream
    that flows
    from a deep fountain.
It’s wrong to favor the guilty
    and keep the innocent
    from getting justice.

Foolish talk will get you
    into a lot of trouble.
Saying foolish things
is like setting a trap
    to destroy yourself.
There’s nothing so delicious
as the taste of gossip!
    It melts in your mouth.
Being lazy is no different
    from being a troublemaker.

10 The Lord is a mighty tower
where his people can run
    for safety—
11     the rich think their money
    is a wall of protection.

12 Pride leads to destruction;
    humility leads to honor.
13 It’s stupid and embarrassing
    to give an answer
    before you listen.
14 Being cheerful helps
    when we are sick,
    but nothing helps
    when we give up.
15 Everyone with good sense
    wants to learn.
16     A gift will get you in
    to see anyone.
17 You may think you have won
your case in court,
    until your opponent speaks.
18 Drawing straws is one way
    to settle a difficult case.
19 Making up with a friend
    you have offended[c]
    is harder than breaking
    through a city wall.

20 Make your words good—
    you will be glad you did.
21 Words can bring death or life!
    Talk too much, and you will eat
    everything you say.
22 A man’s greatest treasure
is his wife—
    she is a gift from the Lord.
23 The poor must beg for help,
    but the rich can give
    a harsh reply.
24 Some friends don’t help,[d]
    but a true friend is closer
    than your own family.

Footnotes

  1. 16.20 know what. . . doing: Or “do what you’re taught.”
  2. 18.1 sense: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 1.
  3. 18.19 Making. . . offended: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  4. 18.24 Some. . . help: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

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