22 A good reputation and respect are worth much more than silver and gold. 2 The rich and the poor are all created by the Lord. 3 When you see trouble coming, don’t be stupid and walk right into it— be smart and hide.
4 Respect and serve the Lord! Your reward will be wealth, a long life, and honor. 5 Crooks walk down a road full of thorny traps. Stay away from there! 6 Teach your children right from wrong, and when they are grown they will still do right. 7 The poor are ruled by the rich, and those who borrow are slaves of moneylenders. 8 Troublemakers get in trouble, and their terrible anger will get them nowhere.
9 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. 2 Don’t go and stuff yourself! That would be just the same as cutting your throat. 3 Don’t be greedy for all of that fancy food! It may not be so tasty.
4 Give up trying so hard to get rich. 5 Your money flies away before you know it, just like an eagle suddenly taking off.
6 Don’t accept an invitation to eat a selfish person’s food, no matter how good it is. 7 People like that take note of how much you eat.[b] They say, “Take all you want!” But they don’t mean it. 8 Each bite will come back up, and all your kind words will be wasted.
9 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?”
24 Don’t be jealous of crooks or want to be their friends. 2 All they think about and talk about is violence and cruelty.
3 Use wisdom and understanding to establish your home; 4 let good sense fill the rooms with priceless treasures.
5 Wisdom brings strength, and knowledge gives power. 6 Battles are won by listening to advice and making a lot of plans.
7 Wisdom is too much for fools! Their advice is no good.
8 No one but troublemakers think up trouble. 9 Everyone hates senseless fools who think up ways to sin.
10 Don’t give up and be helpless in times of trouble.
11 Don’t fail to rescue those who are doomed to die. 12 Don’t say, “I didn’t know it!” God can read your mind. He watches each of us and knows our thoughts. And God will pay us back for what we do.
13 Honey is good for you, my children, and it tastes sweet. 14 Wisdom is like honey for your life— if you find it, your future is bright.
15 Don’t be a cruel person who attacks good people and hurts their families. 16 Even if good people fall seven times, they will get back up. But when trouble strikes the wicked, that’s the end of them.
17 Don’t be happy to see your enemies trip and fall down. 18 The Lord will find out and be unhappy. Then he will stop being angry with them.
19 Don’t let evil people worry you or make you jealous. 20 They will soon be gone like the flame of a lamp that burns out.
21 My children, you must respect the Lord and the king, and you must not make friends with anyone who rebels against either of them. 22 Who knows what sudden disaster the Lord or a ruler might bring?
More Sayings That Make Good Sense
23 Here are some more sayings that make good sense: When you judge, you must be fair. 24 If you let the guilty go free, people of all nations will hate and curse you. 25 But if you punish the guilty, things will go well for you, and you will prosper. 26 Giving an honest answer is a sign of true friendship. 27 Get your fields ready and plant your crops before starting a home. 28 Don’t accuse anyone who isn’t guilty. Don’t ever tell a lie 29 or say to someone, “I’ll get even with you!”
30 I once walked by the field and the vineyard of a lazy fool. 31 Thorns and weeds were everywhere, and the stone wall had fallen down. 32 When I saw this, it taught me a lesson: 33 Sleep a little. Doze a little. Fold your hands and twiddle your thumbs. 34 Suddenly poverty hits you and everything is gone!
22.28marker: In ancient Israel boundary lines were sacred because all property was a gift from the Lord (see Deuteronomy 19.14).
23.7People. . . eat: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
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