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24 Don’t be jealous of crooks
    or want to be their friends.
All they think about
and talk about
    is violence and cruelty.


Use wisdom and understanding
    to establish your home;
    let good sense fill the rooms
    with priceless treasures.


Wisdom brings strength,
    and knowledge gives power.
Battles are won
by listening to advice
    and making a lot of plans.


Wisdom is too much for fools!
    Their advice is no good.


No one but troublemakers
    think up trouble.
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!

More of Solomon’s Wise Sayings

25 Here are more
    of Solomon’s proverbs.
They were copied by the officials
    of King Hezekiah of Judah.
God is praised
    for being mysterious;
    rulers are praised
    for explaining mysteries.
Who can fully understand
    the thoughts of a ruler?
    They reach beyond the sky
    and go deep in the earth.

Silver must be purified
    before it can be used
    to make something of value.
Evil people must be removed
    before anyone can rule
    with justice.

Don’t try to seem important
    in the court of a ruler.
It’s better for the ruler
    to give you a high position
    than for you to be embarrassed
    in front of royal officials.
Be sure you are right
    before you sue someone,
    or you might lose your case
    and be embarrassed.

When you and someone else
can’t get along,
    don’t gossip about it.[a]
10 Others will find out,
    and your reputation
    will then be ruined.

11 The right word
    at the right time
    is like precious gold
    set in silver.
12 Listening to good advice
    is worth much more
    than jewelry made of gold.
13 A messenger you can trust
is just as refreshing
    as cool water in summer.
14 Broken promises
are worse than rain clouds
    that don’t bring rain.
15 Patience and gentle talk
can convince a ruler
    and overcome any problem.

16 Eating too much honey
    can make you sick.
17 Don’t visit friends too often,
    or they will get tired of it
    and start hating you.
18 Telling lies about friends
    is like attacking them
    with clubs and swords
    and sharp arrows.
19 A friend you can’t trust
    in times of trouble
    is like having a toothache
    or a sore foot.
20 Singing to someone
    in deep sorrow
    is like pouring vinegar
    in an open cut.[b]

21 If your enemies are hungry,
    give them something to eat.
    And if they are thirsty,
give them something
    to drink.
22 This will be the same
as piling burning coals
    on their heads.
    And the Lord
    will reward you.
23 As surely as rain blows in
    from the north,
    anger is caused
    by cruel words.
24 It’s better to stay outside
    on the roof of your house
    than to live inside
    with a nagging wife.

25 Good news from far away
refreshes like cold water
    when you are thirsty.
26 When a good person gives in
    to the wicked,
    it’s like dumping garbage
    in a stream of clear water.
27 Don’t eat too much honey
    or always want praise.[c]
28 Losing self-control
leaves you as helpless
    as a city without a wall.

Don’t Be a Fool

26 Expecting snow in summer
    and rain in the dry season
    makes more sense
    than honoring a fool.
A curse you don’t deserve
will take wings
    and fly away
    like a sparrow or a swallow.
Horses and donkeys
must be beaten and bridled—
    and so must fools.
Don’t make a fool of yourself
    by answering a fool.
But if you answer any fools,
show how foolish they are,
    so they won’t feel smart.

Sending a message by a fool
    is like chopping off your foot
    and drinking poison.
A fool with words of wisdom
    is like an athlete
    with legs that can’t move.[d]
Are you going to honor a fool?
    Why not shoot a slingshot
    with the rock tied tight?
A thornbush waved around
    in the hand of a drunkard
    is no worse than a proverb
    in the mouth of a fool.

10 It’s no smarter to shoot arrows
    at every passerby
    than it is to hire a bunch
    of worthless nobodies.[e]
11 Dogs return to eat their vomit,
    just as fools repeat
    their foolishness.
12 There is more hope for a fool
    than for someone who says,
    “I’m really smart!”

13 Don’t be lazy and keep saying,
    “There’s a lion outside!”
14 A door turns on its hinges,
    but a lazy person
    just turns over in bed.
15 Some of us are so lazy
    that we won’t lift a hand
    to feed ourselves.
16 A lazy person says,
“I am smarter
    than everyone else.”

17 It’s better to take hold
    of a mad dog by the ears
    than to take part
    in someone else’s argument.
18 It’s no crazier to shoot
    sharp and flaming arrows
19     than to cheat someone and say,
    “I was only fooling!”

20 Where there is no fuel
    a fire goes out;
    where there is no gossip
    arguments come to an end.
21 Troublemakers start trouble,
    just as sparks and fuel
    start a fire.
22 There is nothing so delicious
as the taste of gossip!
    It melts in your mouth.

23 Hiding hateful thoughts
    behind smooth[f] talk
    is like coating a clay pot
    with a cheap glaze.
24 The pleasant talk
    of an enemy
hides more evil plans
25 than can be counted—
    so don’t believe a word!
26 Everyone will see through
    those evil plans.
27 If you dig a pit,
    you will fall in;
    if you start a stone rolling,
    it will roll back on you.
28 Watch out for anyone
who tells lies and flatters—
    they are out to get you.


  1. 25.9 When. . . it: Or “Settle a problem privately between you and your neighbor and don’t involve others.”
  2. 25.20 cut: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 20.
  3. 25.27 or. . . praise: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  4. 26.7 with. . . move: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  5. 26.10 nobodies: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 10.
  6. 26.23 smooth: One ancient translation; Hebrew “hateful.”