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Don’t Brag about Tomorrow

27 Don’t brag about tomorrow!
    Each day brings
    its own surprises.
Don’t brag about yourself—
    let others praise you.
Stones and sand are heavy,
    but trouble caused by a fool
    is a much heavier load.
An angry person is dangerous,
    but a jealous person
    is even worse.

A truly good friend
    will openly correct you.
You can trust a friend
    who corrects you,
    but kisses from an enemy
    are nothing but lies.
If you have had enough to eat,
    honey doesn’t taste good,
    but if you are really hungry,
    you will eat anything.

When you are far from home,
    you feel like a bird
    without a nest.
The sweet smell of incense
    can make you feel good,
    but true friendship
    is better still.[a]
10 Don’t desert an old friend
    of your family
    or visit your relatives
    when you are in trouble.
A friend nearby is better
    than relatives far away.

11 My child, show good sense!
    Then I will be happy
    and able to answer anyone
    who criticizes me.
12 Be cautious and hide
    when you see danger—
    don’t be stupid and walk
    right into trouble.
13 Don’t loan money to a stranger
    unless you are given something
    to guarantee payment.
14 A loud greeting
early in the morning
    is the same as a curse.
15 The steady dripping of rain
and the nagging of a wife
    are one and the same.
16 It’s easier to catch the wind
or hold olive oil in your hand
    than to stop a nagging wife.

17 Just as iron sharpens iron,
    friends sharpen the minds
    of each other.
18 Take care of a tree,
    and you will eat its fruit;
    look after your master,
    and you will be praised.
19 You see your face in a mirror
    and your thoughts
    in the minds of others.
20 Death and the grave
are never satisfied,
    and neither are we.
21 Gold and silver are tested
in a red-hot furnace,
    but we are tested by praise.
22 No matter how hard
    you beat a fool,
    you can’t pound out
    the foolishness.

23 You should take good care
    of your sheep and goats,
24     because wealth and honor
    don’t last forever.
25 After the hay is cut
and the new growth appears
    and the harvest is over,
26     you can sell lambs and goats
    to buy clothes and land.
27 From the milk of the goats,
    you can make enough cheese
    to feed your family
    and all your servants.

The Law of God Makes Sense

28 Wicked people run away
    when no one chases them,
    but those who live right
    are as brave as lions.
In time of civil war
    there are many leaders,
    but a sensible leader
    restores law and order.[b]
When someone poor takes over
    and mistreats the poor,
    it’s like a heavy rain
    destroying the crops.

Lawbreakers praise criminals,
    but law-abiding citizens
    always oppose them.
Criminals don’t know
    what justice means,
    but all who respect the Lord
    understand it completely.
It’s better to be poor
    and live right,
    than to be rich
    and dishonest.

It makes good sense
    to obey the Law of God,
but you disgrace your parents
    if you make friends
    with worthless nobodies.
If you make money by charging
    high interest rates,
    you will lose it all to someone
    who cares for the poor.
God cannot stand the prayers
    of anyone who disobeys
    his Law.
10 By leading good people to sin,
    you dig a pit for yourself,
    but all who live right
    will have a bright future.

11 The rich think highly
    of themselves,
    but anyone poor and sensible
    sees right through them.
12 When an honest person wins,
    it’s time to celebrate;
    when crooks are in control,
    it’s best to hide.
13 If you don’t confess your sins,
    you will be a failure.
But God will be merciful
    if you confess your sins
    and give them up.
14 The Lord blesses everyone
    who is afraid to do evil,
    but if you are cruel,
    you will end up in trouble.

15 A ruler who mistreats the poor
is like a roaring lion
    or a bear hunting for food.
16 A heartless leader is a fool,
    but anyone who refuses
to get rich by cheating others
    will live a long time.
17 Don’t give help to murderers!
    Make them stay on the run
    for as long as they live.[c]

18 Honesty will keep you safe,
    but everyone who is crooked
    will suddenly fall.
19 Work hard, and you will have
    a lot of food;
    waste time, and you will have
    a lot of trouble.

20 God blesses his loyal people,
    but punishes all who want
    to get rich quick.
21 It isn’t right to be unfair,
but some people can be bribed
    with only a piece of bread.
22 Don’t be selfish
    and eager to get rich—
    you will end up worse off
    than you can imagine.

23 Honest correction
is appreciated
    more than flattery.
24 If you cheat your parents
and don’t think it’s wrong,
    you are a common thief.
25 Selfish people cause trouble,
    but you will live a full life
    if you trust the Lord.
26 Only fools would trust
    what they alone think,
    but if you live by wisdom,
    you will do all right.

27 Giving to the poor
    will keep you from poverty,
but if you close your eyes
to their needs,
    everyone will curse you.
28 When crooks are in control,
    everyone tries to hide,
    but when they lose power,
    good people are everywhere.

Use Good Sense

29 If you keep being stubborn
    after many warnings,
    you will suddenly discover
    you have gone too far.
When justice rules a nation,
    everyone is glad;
    when injustice rules,
    everyone groans.
If you love wisdom
    your parents will be glad,
    but chasing after bad women
    will cost you everything.
An honest ruler
    makes the nation strong;
    a ruler who takes bribes
    will bring it to ruin.

Flattery is nothing less
    than setting a trap.
Your sins will catch you,
    but everyone who lives right
    will sing and celebrate.
The wicked don’t care
about the rights of the poor,
    but good people do.
Sneering at others is a spark
    that sets a city on fire;
    using good sense can put out
    the flames of anger.

Be wise and don’t sue a fool.
    You won’t get satisfaction,
    because all the fool will do
    is sneer and shout.
10 A murderer hates everyone
who is honest
    and lives right.[d]
11 Don’t be a fool
and quickly lose your temper—
    be sensible and patient.

12 A ruler who listens to lies
    will have corrupt officials.
13 The poor and all who abuse them
    must each depend on God
    for light.
14 Kings who are fair to the poor
    will rule forever.

15 Correct your children,
    and they will be wise;
    children out of control
    disgrace their mothers.
16 Crime increases
    when crooks are in power,
    but law-abiding citizens
    will see them fall.
17 If you correct your children,
    they will bring you peace
    and happiness.

18 Without guidance from God
    law and order disappear,
    but God blesses everyone
    who obeys his Law.
19 Even when servants are smart,
    it takes more than words
    to make them obey.
20 There is more hope for a fool
    than for someone who speaks
    without thinking.
21 Slaves that you treat kindly
from their childhood
    will cause you sorrow.[e]
22 A person with a quick temper
stirs up arguments
    and commits a lot of sins.

23 Too much pride brings disgrace;
    humility leads to honor.
24 If you take part in a crime
    you are your worst enemy,
    because even under oath
    you can’t tell the truth.
25 Don’t fall into the trap
    of being a coward—
    trust the Lord,
    and you will be safe.
26 Many try to make friends
    with a ruler,
    but justice comes
    from the Lord.
27 Good people and criminals
    can’t stand each other.

Footnotes

  1. 27.9 still: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 9.
  2. 28.2 but. . . order: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. 28.17 live: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 17.
  4. 29.10 and lives right: Or “and those who live right are friends of honest people.”
  5. 29.21 will. . . sorrow: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

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