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!
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. 2 God is praised for being mysterious; rulers are praised for explaining mysteries. 3 Who can fully understand the thoughts of a ruler? They reach beyond the sky and go deep in the earth.
4 Silver must be purified before it can be used to make something of value. 5 Evil people must be removed before anyone can rule with justice.
6 Don’t try to seem important in the court of a ruler. 7 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 8 before you sue someone, or you might lose your case and be embarrassed.
9 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. 2 A curse you don’t deserve will take wings and fly away like a sparrow or a swallow. 3 Horses and donkeys must be beaten and bridled— and so must fools. 4 Don’t make a fool of yourself by answering a fool. 5 But if you answer any fools, show how foolish they are, so they won’t feel smart.
6 Sending a message by a fool is like chopping off your foot and drinking poison. 7 A fool with words of wisdom is like an athlete with legs that can’t move.[d] 8 Are you going to honor a fool? Why not shoot a slingshot with the rock tied tight? 9 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.
25.9When. . . it: Or “Settle a problem privately between you and your neighbor and don’t involve others.”
25.20cut: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 20.
25.27or. . . praise: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
26.7with. . . move: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
26.10nobodies: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 10.
26.23smooth: One ancient translation; Hebrew “hateful.”
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