19 It’s better to be poor and live right than to be a stupid liar. 2 Willingness and stupidity don’t go well together. If you are too eager, you will miss the road. 3 We are ruined by our own stupidity, though we blame the Lord.
4 The rich have many friends; the poor have none. 5 Dishonest witnesses and liars won’t escape punishment. 6 Everyone tries to be friends of those who can help them. 7 If you are poor, your own relatives reject you, and your friends are worse. When you really need them, they are not there.[a]
8 Do yourself a favor by having good sense— you will be glad you did. 9 Dishonest witnesses and liars will be destroyed. 10 It isn’t right for a fool to live in luxury or for a slave to rule in place of a king. 11 It’s wise to be patient and show what you are like by forgiving others. 12 An angry king roars like a lion, but when a king is pleased, it’s like dew on the crops.
13 A foolish son brings disgrace to his father. A nagging wife goes on and on like the drip, drip, drip of the rain. 14 You may inherit all you own from your parents, but a sensible wife is a gift from the Lord. 15 If you are lazy and sleep your time away, you will starve.
16 Obey the Lord’s teachings and you will live— disobey and you will die. 17 Caring for the poor is lending to the Lord, and you will be well repaid. 18 Correct your children before it’s too late; if you don’t punish them, you are destroying them. 19 People with bad tempers are always in trouble, and they need help over and over again.[b] 20 Pay attention to advice and accept correction, so you can live sensibly.
21 We may make a lot of plans, but the Lord will do what he has decided. 22 What matters most is loyalty. It’s better to be poor than to be a liar. 23 Showing respect to the Lord brings true life— if you do it, you can relax without fear of danger.
24 Some people are too lazy to lift a hand to feed themselves. 25 Stupid fools learn good sense by seeing others punished; a sensible person learns by being corrected. 26 Children who bring disgrace rob their father and chase their mother away. 27 If you stop learning, you will forget what you already know. 28 A lying witness makes fun of the court system, and criminals think crime is really delicious. 29 Every stupid fool is just waiting to be punished.
Words of Wisdom Are Better than Gold
20 It isn’t smart to get drunk! Drinking makes a fool of you and leads to fights. 2 An angry ruler is like a roaring lion— make either one angry, and you are dead. 3 It makes you look good when you avoid a fight— only fools love to quarrel. 4 If you are too lazy to plow, don’t expect a harvest. 5 Someone’s thoughts may be as deep as the ocean, but if you are smart, you will discover them.
6 There are many who say, “You can trust me!” But can they be trusted? 7 Good people live right, and God blesses the children who follow their example. 8 When rulers decide cases, they weigh the evidence. 9 Can any of us really say, “My thoughts are pure, and my sins are gone”?
10 Two things the Lord hates are dishonest scales and dishonest measures. 11 The good or bad that children do shows what they are like. 12 Hearing and seeing are gifts from the Lord. 13 If you sleep all the time, you will starve; if you get up and work, you will have enough food. 14 Everyone likes to brag about getting a bargain. 15 Sensible words are better than gold or jewels.
16 You deserve to lose your coat if you loan it to someone to guarantee payment for the debt of a stranger. 17 The food you get by cheating may taste delicious, but it turns to gravel. 18 Be sure you have sound advice before making plans or starting a war. 19 Stay away from gossips— they tell everything. 20 Children who curse their parents will go to the land of darkness long before their time. 21 Getting rich quick[c] may turn out to be a curse. 22 Don’t try to get even. Trust the Lord, and he will help you.
23 The Lord hates dishonest scales and dishonest weights. So don’t cheat! 24 How can we know what will happen to us when the Lord alone decides? 25 Don’t fall into the trap of making promises to God before you think! 26 A wise ruler severely punishes every criminal. 27 Our inner thoughts are a lamp from the Lord, and they search our hearts. 28 Rulers are protected by God’s mercy and loyalty, but[d] they must be merciful for their kingdoms to last. 29 Young people take pride in their strength, but the gray hairs of wisdom are even more beautiful. 30 A severe beating can knock all of the evil out of you!
The Lord Is In Charge
21 The Lord controls rulers, just as he determines the course of rivers. 2 We may think we are doing the right thing, but the Lord always knows what is in our hearts. 3 Doing what is right and fair pleases the Lord more than an offering. 4 Evil people are proud and arrogant, but sin is the only crop they produce.[e] 5 If you plan and work hard, you will have plenty; if you get in a hurry, you will end up poor.
6 Cheating to get rich is a foolish dream and no less than suicide.[f] 7 You destroy yourself by being cruel and violent and refusing to live right. 8 All crooks are liars, but anyone who is innocent will do right. 9 It’s better to stay outside on the roof of your house than to live inside with a nagging wife. 10 Evil people want to do wrong, even to their friends. 11 An ignorant fool learns by seeing others punished; a sensible person learns by being instructed.
12 God is always fair! He knows what the wicked do and will punish them. 13 If you won’t help the poor, don’t expect to be heard when you cry out for help. 14 A secret bribe will save you from someone’s fierce anger. 15 When justice is done, good citizens are glad and crooks are terrified. 16 If you stop using good sense, you will find yourself in the grave. 17 Heavy drinkers and others who live only for pleasure will lose all they have.
18 God’s people will escape, but all who are wicked will pay the price. 19 It’s better out in the desert than at home with a nagging, complaining wife. 20 Be sensible and store up precious treasures— don’t waste them like a fool. 21 If you try to be kind and good, you will be blessed with life and goodness and honor. 22 One wise person can defeat a city full of soldiers and capture their fortress. 23 Watching what you say can save you a lot of trouble. 24 If you are proud and conceited, everyone will say, “You’re a snob!”
25 If you want too much and are too lazy to work, it could be fatal. 26 But people who obey God are always generous.
27 The Lord despises the offerings of wicked people with evil motives. 28 If you tell lies in court, you are done for; only a reliable witness can do the job. 29 Wicked people bluff their way, but God’s people think before they take a step.
30 No matter how much you know or what plans you make, you can’t defeat the Lord. 31 Even if your army has horses ready for battle, the Lord will always win.
19.7When. . . there: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
19.19and they. . . again: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
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