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It’s Wise To Be Patient

19 It’s better to be poor
and live right
    than to be a stupid liar.
Willingness and stupidity
    don’t go well together.
    If you are too eager,
    you will miss the road.
We are ruined
by our own stupidity,
    though we blame the Lord.

The rich have many friends;
    the poor have none.
    Dishonest witnesses and liars
    won’t escape punishment.
Everyone tries to be friends
    of those who can help them.
If you are poor,
your own relatives reject you,
    and your friends are worse.
When you really need them,
    they are not there.[a]

Do yourself a favor
by having good sense—
    you will be glad you did.
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.
An angry ruler
    is like a roaring lion—
    make either one angry,
    and you are dead.
It makes you look good
when you avoid a fight—
    only fools love to quarrel.
If you are too lazy to plow,
    don’t expect a harvest.
Someone’s thoughts may be
    as deep as the ocean,
    but if you are smart,
    you will discover them.

There are many who say,
“You can trust me!”
    But can they be trusted?
Good people live right,
    and God blesses the children
    who follow their example.
When rulers decide cases,
    they weigh the evidence.
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.
We may think we are doing
    the right thing,
    but the Lord always knows
    what is in our hearts.
Doing what is right and fair
    pleases the Lord
    more than an offering.
Evil people are proud
    and arrogant,
    but sin is the only crop
    they produce.[e]
If you plan and work hard,
    you will have plenty;
    if you get in a hurry,
    you will end up poor.

Cheating to get rich
is a foolish dream
    and no less than suicide.[f]
You destroy yourself
by being cruel and violent
    and refusing to live right.
All crooks are liars,
    but anyone who is innocent
    will do right.
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.


  1. 19.7 When. . . there: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 19.19 and they. . . again: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. 20.21 quick: Or “the wrong way.”
  4. 20.28 by God’s mercy. . . but: Or “by their mercy. . . and.”
  5. 21.4 but sin. . . produce: Or “but sin is the only light they ever follow.”
  6. 21.6 and. . . suicide: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

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