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The Value of a Good Reputation

22 A good reputation and respect
    are worth much more
    than silver and gold.
The rich and the poor
are all created
    by the Lord.
When you see trouble coming,
    don’t be stupid
    and walk right into it—
    be smart and hide.

Respect and serve the Lord!
    Your reward will be wealth,
    a long life, and honor.
Crooks walk down a road
full of thorny traps.
    Stay away from there!
Teach your children
    right from wrong,
    and when they are grown
    they will still do right.
The poor are ruled by the rich,
    and those who borrow
    are slaves of moneylenders.
Troublemakers get in trouble,
    and their terrible anger
    will get them nowhere.

The Lord blesses everyone
    who freely gives food
    to the poor.
10 Arguments and fights
    will come to an end,
    if you chase away those
    who insult others.
11 The king is the friend of all
who are sincere
    and speak with kindness.

12 The Lord watches over everyone
    who shows good sense,
    but he frustrates the plans
    of deceitful liars.
13 Don’t be so lazy that you say,
    “If I go to work,
    a lion will eat me!”
14 The words of a bad woman
    are like a deep pit;
    if you make the Lord angry,
    you will fall right in.
15 All children are foolish,
    but firm correction
    will make them change.
16 Cheat the poor to make profit
or give gifts to the rich—
    either way you lose.

Thirty Wise Sayings

17 Here are some sayings
    of people with wisdom,
    so listen carefully
    as I teach.
18 You will be glad
that you know these sayings
    and can recite them.
19 I am teaching them today,
    so that you
    may trust the Lord.
20 I have written thirty sayings
    filled with sound advice.
21 You can trust them completely
    to give you the right words
    for those in charge of you.


22 Don’t take advantage
of the poor
    or cheat them in court.
23 The Lord is their defender,
    and what you do to them,
    he will do to you.


24 Don’t make friends with anyone
    who has a bad temper.
25 You might turn out like them
    and get caught in a trap.


26 Don’t guarantee to pay
    someone else’s debt.
27 If you don’t have the money,
    you might lose your bed.


28 Don’t move a boundary marker[a]
    set up by your ancestors.


29 If you do your job well,
    you will work for a ruler
    and never be a slave.


23 When you are invited
to eat with a king,
    use your best manners.
Don’t go and stuff yourself!
    That would be just the same
    as cutting your throat.
Don’t be greedy for all
of that fancy food!
    It may not be so tasty.


Give up trying so hard
    to get rich.
Your money flies away
    before you know it,
    just like an eagle
    suddenly taking off.


Don’t accept an invitation
to eat a selfish person’s food,
    no matter how good it is.
People like that take note
    of how much you eat.[b]
    They say, “Take all you want!”
    But they don’t mean it.
Each bite will come back up,
    and all your kind words
    will be wasted.


Don’t talk to fools—
    they will just make fun.


10 Don’t move a boundary marker[c]
    or take the land
    that belongs to orphans.
11 God All-Powerful is there
    to defend them against you.


12 Listen to instruction
    and do your best to learn.


13 Don’t fail to correct
    your children.
You won’t kill them
    by being firm,
14     and it may even
    save their lives.


15 My children,
if you show good sense,
    I will be happy,
16     and if you are truthful,
    I will really be glad.


17 Don’t be jealous of sinners,
    but always honor the Lord.
18     Then you will truly have hope
    for the future.


19 Listen to me, my children!
    Be wise and have enough sense
    to follow the right path.
20 Don’t be a heavy drinker
    or stuff yourself with food.
21 It will make you feel drowsy,
    and you will end up poor
    with only rags to wear.


22 Pay attention to your father,
    and don’t neglect your mother
    when she grows old.
23 Invest in truth and wisdom,
discipline and good sense,
    and don’t part with them.
24 Make your father truly happy
by living right
    and showing
    sound judgment.
25 Make your parents proud,
    especially your mother.


26 My son, pay close attention,
    and gladly follow
    my example.
27 Bad women and unfaithful wives
    are like a deep pit—
28 they are waiting to attack you
    like a gang of robbers
    with victim after victim.


29 Who is always in trouble?
    Who argues and fights?
    Who has cuts and bruises?
    Whose eyes are red?
30 Everyone who stays up late,
    having just one more drink.
31 Don’t even look
at that colorful stuff
    bubbling up in the glass!
It goes down so easily,
32     but later it bites
    like a poisonous snake.
33 You will see weird things,
    and your mind
    will play tricks on you.
34 You will feel tossed about
    like someone trying to sleep
    on a ship in a storm.
35 You will be bruised all over,
    without even remembering
    how it all happened.
And you will lie awake asking,
    “When will morning come,
    so I can drink some more?”


  1. 22.28 marker: In ancient Israel boundary lines were sacred because all property was a gift from the Lord (see Deuteronomy 19.14).
  2. 23.7 People. . . eat: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. 23.10 marker: See the note at 22.28.