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Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Proverbs 1

How Proverbs Can Be Used
1These are the proverbs
of King Solomon of Israel,

the son of David
2Proverbs will teach you
wisdom and self-control
and how to understand
sayings with deep meanings.
3You will learn what is right
and honest and fair.
4From these, an ordinary person
can learn to be smart,
and young people can gain
knowledge and good sense.
5If you are already wise,
you will become even wiser.
And if you are smart,
you will learn to understand
6proverbs and sayings,
as well as words of wisdom
and all kinds of riddles.
7Respect and obey the LORD!
This is the beginning
of knowledge. Only a fool rejects wisdom
and good advice.

Warnings against Bad Friends
8My child, obey the teachings
of your parents,
9and wear their teachings
as you would a lovely hat
or a pretty necklace.
10Don't be tempted by sinners
or listen
11when they say,
"Come on! Let's gang up
and kill somebody,
just for the fun of it!
12They're well and healthy now,
but we'll finish them off
once and for all.
13We'll take their valuables
and fill our homes
with stolen goods.
14If you join our gang,
you'll get your share."
15Don't follow anyone like that
or do what they do.
16They are in a big hurry
to commit some crime,
perhaps even murder.
17They are like a bird
that sees the bait,
but ignores the trap.
18They gang up to murder someone,
but they are the victims.
19The wealth you get from crime
robs you of your life.

Wisdom Speaks
20Wisdom shouts in the streets wherever crowds gather.
21She shouts in the marketplaces
and near the city gates
as she says to the people,
22"How much longer
will you enjoy
being stupid fools?
Won't you ever stop sneering
and laughing at knowledge?
23Listen as I correct you
and tell you what I think.
24You completely ignored me
and refused to listen;
25you rejected my advice
and paid no attention
when I warned you.
26"So when you are struck
by some terrible disaster,
27or when trouble and distress
surround you like a whirlwind,
I will laugh and make fun.
28You will ask for my help,
but I won't listen;
you will search,
but you won't find me.
29No, you would not learn,
and you refused
to respect the LORD.
30You rejected my advice
and paid no attention
when I warned you.
31"Now you will eat the fruit
of what you have done,
until you are stuffed full
with your own schemes.
32Sin and self-satisfaction
bring destruction and death
to stupid fools.
33But if you listen to me,
you will be safe and secure
without fear of disaster."

Proverbs 2

Wisdom and Bad Friends
1My child, you must follow
and treasure
my teachings
and my instructions.
2Keep in tune with wisdom
and think what it means
to have common sense.
3Beg as loud as you can
for good common sense.
4Search for wisdom
as you would search for silver
or hidden treasure.
5Then you will understand
what it means to respect
and to know the LORD God.
6All wisdom comes from the LORD,
and so do common sense

and understanding.
7God gives helpful advice to everyone who obeys him
and protects all of those
who live as they should.
8God sees that justice is done,
and he watches over everyone
who is faithful to him.
9With wisdom you will learn
what is right
and honest and fair.
10Wisdom will control your mind,
and you will be pleased
with knowledge.
11Sound judgment and good sense
will watch over you.
12Wisdom will protect you
from evil schemes
and from those liars
13who turned from doing good
to live in the darkness.
14Most of all they enjoy
being mean and deceitful.
15They are dishonest themselves,
and all they do is crooked.

Wisdom and Sexual Purity
16Wisdom will protect you
from the smooth talk
of a sinful woman,
17who breaks her wedding vows
and leaves the man she married
when she was young.
18The road to her house leads
to the dark world
of the dead.
19Visit her, and you will never
find the road to life again.
20Follow the example
of good people
and live an honest life.
21If you are honest and innocent,
you will keep your land;
22if you do wrong
and can never be trusted,
you will be rooted out.

Proverbs 3

Trust God
1My child, remember
my teachings and instructions
and obey them completely.
2They will help you live
a long and prosperous life.
3Let love and loyalty
always show like a necklace
and write them
in your mind.
4God and people will like you
and consider you a success.
5With all your heart
you must trust the LORD
and not your own judgment.
6Always let him lead you,
and he will clear the road
for you to follow.
7Don't ever think that you
are wise enough,
but respect the LORD
and stay away from evil.
8This will make you healthy,
and you will feel strong.
9Honor the LORD by giving him
your money
and the first part
of all your crops.
10Then you will have
more grain and grapes
than you will ever need.
11My child, don't turn away
or become bitter
when the LORD corrects you.
12The LORD corrects
everyone he loves,
just as parents correct
their favorite child.

The Value of Wisdom
13God blesses everyone
who has wisdom
and common sense.
14Wisdom is worth more
than silver;
it makes you much richer
than gold.
15Wisdom is more valuable
than precious jewels;
nothing you want
compares with her.
her right hand
Wisdom holds a long life,
in her left hand
are wealth and honor.
17Wisdom makes life pleasant
and leads us safely along.
18Wisdom is a life-giving tree,
the source of happiness
for all who hold on to her.
19By his wisdom and knowledge
the LORD created
heaven and earth.
20By his
he let the ocean break loose
and clouds release the rain.
21My child, use common sense
and sound judgment!
Always keep them in mind.
22They will help you to live
a long and beautiful life.
23You will walk safely
and never stumble;
24you will rest without a worry
and sleep soundly.
25So don't be afraid
of sudden disasters
or storms that strike
those who are evil.
26You can be sure
that the LORD
will protect you from harm.
27Do all you can for everyone
who deserves your help.
28Don't tell your neighbor
to come back tomorrow,
if you can help today.
29Don't try to be mean
to neighbors who trust you.
30Don't argue just to be arguing,
when you haven't been hurt.
31Don't be jealous
of cruel people
or follow their example.
32The LORD doesn't like
anyone who is dishonest,
but he lets good people
be his friends.
33He places a curse on the home
of everyone who is evil,
but he blesses the home
of every good person.
34The LORD sneers at those
who sneer at him,
but he is kind to everyone
who is humble.
35You will be praised
if you are wise,
but you will be disgraced
if you are a stubborn fool.

Proverbs 4

Advice to Young People
1My child, listen closely
to my teachings
and learn common sense.
2My advice is useful,
so don't turn away.
3When I was still very young
and my mother's favorite child,
my father
4said to me:
"If you follow my teachings
and keep them in mind,
you will live.
5Be wise and learn good sense;
remember my teachings
and do what I say.
6If you love Wisdom
and don't reject her,
she will watch over you.
7The best thing about Wisdom
is Wisdom herself;
good sense is more important
than anything else.
8If you value Wisdom
and hold tightly to her,
great honors will be yours.
9It will be like wearing
a glorious crown
of beautiful flowers.

The Right Way and the Wrong Way
10My child, if you listen
and obey my teachings,
you will live a long time.
11I have shown you the way
that makes sense;
I have guided you
along the right path.
12Your road won't be blocked,
and you won't stumble
when you run.
13Hold firmly to my teaching
and never let go.
It will mean life for you.
14Don't follow the bad example
of cruel and evil people.
15Turn aside and keep going.
Stay away from them.
16They can't sleep or rest
until they do wrong
or harm
some innocent victim.
17Their food and drink
are violence and cruelty.
18The lifestyle of good people
is like sunlight at dawn
that keeps getting brighter
until broad daylight.
19The lifestyle of the wicked
is like total darkness,
and they will never know
what makes them stumble.
20My child, listen carefully
to everything I say.
21Don't forget a single word,
but think about it all.
22Knowing these teachings
will mean true life
and good health for you.
23Carefully guard your thoughts
because they are the source
of true life.
24Never tell lies or be deceitful
in what you say.
25Keep looking straight ahead,
without turning aside.
26Know where you are headed,
and you will stay
on solid ground.
27Don't make a mistake by turning
to the right or the left.

Proverbs 5

Be Faithful to Your Wife
1My son, if you listen closely
to my wisdom and good sense,
2you will have sound judgment,
and you will always know
the right thing to say.
3The words of an immoral woman
may be as sweet as honey
and as smooth as olive oil.
4But all that you really get
from being with her
is bitter poison and pain.
5If you follow her,
she will lead you down
to the world of the dead.
6She has missed the path
that leads to life
and doesn't even know it.
7My son, listen to me
and do everything I say.
8Stay away from a bad woman!
Don't even go near the door
of her house.
9You will lose your self-respect
and end up in debt
to some cruel person
for the rest of your life.
10Strangers will get your money
and everything else
you have worked for.
11When it's all over,
your body will waste away,
as you groan
12and shout,
"I hated advice and correction!
13I paid no attention
to my teachers,
14and now I am disgraced
in front of everyone."
15You should be faithful
to your wife,
just as you take water
from your own well.
16And don't be like a stream
from which just any woman
may take a drink.
17Save yourself for your wife
and don't have sex
with other women.
18Be happy with the wife
you married
when you were young.
19She is beautiful and graceful,
just like a deer;
you should be attracted to her
and stay deeply in love.
20Don't go crazy over a woman
who is unfaithful
to her own husband!
21The LORD sees everything,
and he watches us closely.
22Sinners are trapped and caught
by their own evil deeds.
23They get lost and die
because of their foolishness
and lack of self-control.

Proverbs 6

Don't Be Foolish
1My child, suppose you agree
to pay the debt of someone,
who cannot repay a loan.
2Then you are trapped
by your own words,
3and you are now in the power
of someone else.
Here is what you should do:
Go and beg for permission
to call off the agreement.
4Do this before you fall asleep
or even get sleepy.
5Save yourself, just as a deer
or a bird
tries to escape
from a hunter.
6You lazy people can learn
by watching an anthill.
7Ants don't have leaders,
8but they store up food
during harvest season.
9How long will you lie there
doing nothing at all?
When are you going to get up
and stop sleeping?
10Sleep a little. Doze a little.
Fold your hands
and twiddle your thumbs.
11Suddenly, everything is gone,
as though it had been taken
by an armed robber.
12Worthless liars go around
and giving signals
to deceive others.
14They are always thinking up
something cruel and evil,
and they stir up trouble.
15But they will be struck
by sudden disaster
and left without a hope.
16There are six or seven
kinds of people
the LORD doesn't like:
17Those who are too proud
or tell lies or murder,
18those who make evil plans
or are quick to do wrong,
19those who tell lies in court
or stir up trouble
in a family.
20Obey the teaching
of your parents--
21always keep it in mind
and never forget it.
22Their teaching will guide you
when you walk,
protect you when you sleep,
and talk to you
when you are awake.
23The Law of the Lord is a lamp,
and its teachings
shine brightly.
Correction and self-control
will lead you through life.
24They will protect you
from the flattering words
of someone else's wife.
25Don't let yourself be attracted
by the charm
and lovely eyes
of someone like that.
26A woman who sells her love
can be bought
for as little
as the price of a meal.
But making love
to another man's wife
will cost you everything.
27If you carry burning coals,
you burn your clothes;
28if you step on hot coals,
you burn your feet.
29And if you go to bed
with another man's wife,
you pay the price.
30We don't put up with thieves,
not even with one who steals for something to eat.
31And thieves who get caught
must pay back
seven times what was stolen
and lose everything.
32But if you go to bed
with another man's wife,
you will destroy yourself
by your own stupidity.
33You will be beaten
and forever disgraced,
34because a jealous husband
can be furious and merciless
when he takes revenge.
35He won't let you pay him off,
no matter what you offer.

Proverbs 7

The Foolishness of Unfaithfulness
1My son, pay close attention
and don't forget
what I tell you to do.
2Obey me, and you will live!
Let my instructions be
your greatest treasure.
3Keep them at your fingertips
and write them
in your mind.
4Let wisdom be your sister
and make common sense
your closest friend.
5They will protect you
from the flattering words
of someone else's wife.
the window of my house,
I once happened to see
7some foolish young men.
8It was late in the evening,
sometime after dark.
9One of these young men
turned the corner
and was walking by the house
of an unfaithful wife.
10She was dressed fancy
like a woman of the street
with only one thing in mind.
11She was one of those women
who are loud and restless
and never stay at home,
12who walk street after street,
waiting to trap a man.
13She grabbed him and
kissed him,
with no sense of shame,
she said:
14"I had to offer a sacrifice,
and there is enough meat
left over for a feast.
15So I came looking for you,
and here you are!
16The sheets on my bed
are bright-colored cloth
from Egypt.
17And I have covered it
with perfume
made of myrrh,
aloes, and cinnamon.
18"Let's go there
and make love all night.
19My husband is traveling,
and he's far away.
20He took a lot of money along,
and he won't be back home
before the middle
of the month."
21And so, she tricked him
with all of her sweet talk
and her flattery.
22Right away
he followed her 
like an ox on the way
to be slaughtered,
or like a fool on the way
to be punished
23and killed with arrows.
He was no more than a bird
rushing into a trap,
without knowing
it would cost him his life.
24My son, pay close attention
to what I have said.
25Don't even think about
that kind of woman
or let yourself be misled
by someone like her.
26Such a woman has caused
the downfall
and destruction
of a lot of men.
27Her house is a one-way street
leading straight down
to the world of the dead.

Proverbs 8

In Praise of Wisdom
1With great understanding,
Wisdom is calling out
2as she stands at the crossroads
and on every hill.
3She stands by the city gate
where everyone enters the city,
and she shouts:
4"I am calling out
to each one of you!
5Good sense and sound judgment
can be yours.
6Listen, because what I say
is worthwhile and right.
7I always speak the truth
and refuse to tell a lie.
8Every word I speak is honest,
not one is misleading
or deceptive.
9"If you
have understanding,
you will see that my words
are just what you need.
10Let instruction and knowledge
mean more to you
than silver
or the finest gold.
11Wisdom is worth much more
than precious jewels
or anything else you desire."

Wisdom Speaks
12I am Wisdom --Common Sense is my closest friend;
I possess knowledge
and sound judgment.
13If you respect the LORD,
you will hate evil.
I hate pride and conceit
and deceitful lies.
14I am strong,
and I offer
sensible advice
and sound judgment.
15By my power kings govern,
and rulers make laws
that are fair.
16Every honest leader rules
with help from me.
17I love everyone who loves me,
and I will be found by all
who honestly search.
18I can make you rich and famous,
important and successful.
19What you receive from me
is more valuable
than even the finest gold
or the purest silver.
20I always do what is right,
21and I give great riches
to everyone who loves me.
the beginning,
I was with the LORD. I was there before he began
23to create the earth.
At the very first,
the LORD gave life to me.
I was born,
there were
no oceans
springs of water.
25My birth was before
mountains were
or hills were put in place.
26It happened long before God
had made the earth
or any of its fields
or even the dust.
27I was there when the LORD
put the heavens in place
and stretched the sky
over the surface of the sea.
28I was with him when he placed
the clouds in the sky
and created the springs
that fill the ocean.
29I was there when he set
boundaries for the sea
to make it obey him,
and when he laid foundations
to support the earth.
30I was right beside the LORD,
helping him plan and build. I made him happy each day,
and I was happy at his side.
31I was pleased with his world
and pleased with its people.
32Pay attention, my children!
Follow my advice,
and you will be happy.
33Listen carefully
to my instructions,
and you will be wise.
34Come to my home each day
and listen to me.
You will find happiness.
35By finding me, you find life,
and the LORD will be pleased
with you.
36But if you don't find me,
you hurt only yourself,
and if you hate me,
you are in love with death.

Proverbs 9

Wisdom Gives a Feast
1Wisdom has built her house
with its seven columns.
2She has prepared the meat
and set out the wine.
Her feast is ready.
3She has sent her servant women
to announce her invitation
from the highest hills:
4"Everyone who is ignorant
or foolish is invited!
5All of you are welcome
to my meat and wine.
6If you want to live,
give up your foolishness
and let understanding
guide your steps."

True Wisdom
7Correct a worthless bragger,
and all you will get
are insults and injuries.
8Any bragger you correct
will only hate you.
But if you correct someone
who has common sense,
you will be loved.
9If you have good sense,
instruction will help you
to have even better sense.
And if you live right,
education will help you
to know even more.
10Respect and obey the LORD!
is the beginning
of wisdom
. To have understanding,
you must know the Holy God.
11I am Wisdom.
If you follow me,
you will live a long time.
12Good sense is good for you,
but if you brag,
you hurt yourself.

A Foolish Invitation
13Stupidity is reckless, senseless, and foolish.
14She sits in front of her house
and on the highest hills
in the town.
15She shouts to everyone
who passes by,
16"If you are stupid,
come on inside!"
And to every fool she says,
17"Stolen water tastes best,
and the food you eat in secret
tastes best of all."
18None who listen to Stupidity

that her guests
are as good as dead.

Proverbs 10

Solomon's Wise Sayings
1Here are some proverbs
of Solomon:
Children with good sense
make their parents happy,
but foolish children
make them sad.
2What you gain by doing evil
won't help you at all,
but being good can save you from death.
3If you obey the LORD,
you won't go hungry;
if you are wicked,
God won't let you have
what you want.
4Laziness leads to poverty;
hard work makes you rich.
5At harvest season
it's smart to work hard,
but stupid to sleep.
6Everyone praises good people,
but evil hides behind
the words of the wicked.
7Good people are remembered
long after they are gone,
but the wicked
are soon forgotten.
8If you have good sense,
you will listen and obey;
if all you do is talk,
you will destroy yourself.
9You will be safe,
if you always do right,
but you will get caught,
if you are dishonest.
10Deceit causes trouble,
and foolish talk
will bring you to ruin.
11The words of good people
are a source of life,
but evil hides behind
the words of the wicked.
12Hatred stirs up trouble;
love overlooks the wrongs
that others do.
13If you have good sense,
it will show when you speak.
But if you are stupid,
you will be beaten
with a stick.
14If you have good sense,
you will learn all you can,
but foolish talk
will soon destroy you.
15Great wealth can be a fortress,
but poverty
is no protection at all.
16If you live right,
the reward is a good life;
if you are evil,
all you have is sin.
17Accept correction,
and you will find life;
reject correction,
and you will miss the road.
18You can hide your hatred
by telling lies,
but you are a fool
to spread lies.
19You will say the wrong thing
if you talk too much--
so be sensible and watch
what you say.
20The words of a good person
are like pure silver,
but the thoughts
of an evil person
are almost worthless.
21Many are helped
by useful instruction,
but fools are killed
by their own stupidity.
22When the LORD blesses you
with riches,
you have nothing to regret.
23Fools enjoy doing wrong,
but anyone with good sense
enjoys acting wisely.
24What evil people dread most
will happen to them,
but good people will get
what they want most.
25Those crooks will disappear
when a storm strikes,
but God will keep safe
all who obey him.
26Having a lazy person on the job
is like a mouth full of vinegar
or smoke in your eyes.
27If you respect the LORD,
you will live longer;
if you keep doing wrong,
your life will be cut short.
28If you obey the Lord,
you will be happy,
but there is no future
for the wicked.
29The LORD protects everyone
who lives right,
but he destroys anyone
who does wrong.
30Good people will stand firm,
but the wicked
will lose their land.
31Honest people speak sensibly,
but deceitful liars
will be silenced.
32If you obey the Lord,
you will always know
the right thing to say.
But no one will trust you
if you tell lies.

Proverbs 11

Watch What You Say and Do
1The LORD hates anyone
who cheats,
but he likes everyone
who is honest.
2Too much pride
can put you to shame.
It's wiser to be humble.
3If you do the right thing,
honesty will be your guide.
But if you are crooked,
you will be trapped
by your own dishonesty.
4When God is angry,
money won't help you.
Obeying God is the only way
to be saved from death.
5If you are truly good,
you will do right;
if you are wicked,
you will be destroyed
by your own sin.
6Honesty can keep you safe,
but if you can't be trusted,
you trap yourself.
7When the wicked die,
their hopes die with them.
8Trouble goes right past
the LORD's people
and strikes the wicked.
9Dishonest people use gossip
to destroy their neighbors;
good people are protected
by their own good sense.
10When honest people prosper
and the wicked disappear,
the whole city celebrates.
11When God blesses his people,
their city prospers,
but deceitful liars
can destroy a city.
12It's stupid to say bad things
about your neighbors.
If you are sensible,
you will keep quiet.
13A gossip tells everything,
but a true friend
will keep a secret.
14A city without wise leaders
will end up in ruin;
a city with many wise leaders
will be kept safe.
15It's a dangerous thing
to guarantee payment
for someone's debts.
Don't do it!
16A gracious woman
will be respected,
but a man must work hard
to get rich.
17Kindness is rewarded--
but if you are cruel,
you hurt yourself.
18Meanness gets you nowhere,
but goodness is rewarded.
19Always do the right thing,
and you will live;
keep on doing wrong,
and you will die.
20The LORD hates sneaky people,
but he likes everyone
who lives right.
21You can be sure of this:
All crooks will be punished,
but God's people won't.
22A beautiful woman
who acts foolishly
is like a gold ring
on the snout of a pig.
23Good people want what is best,
but troublemakers
hope to stir up trouble.
24Sometimes you can become rich
by being generous
or poor by being greedy.
25Generosity will be rewarded:
Give a cup of water,
and you will receive
a cup of water in return.
26Charge too much for grain,
and you will be cursed;
sell it at a fair price,
and you will be praised.
27Try hard to do right,
and you will win friends;
go looking for trouble,
and you will find it.
28Trust in your wealth,
and you will be a failure,
but God's people will prosper
like healthy plants.
29Fools who cause trouble
in the family
won't inherit a thing.
They will end up as slaves
of someone with good sense.
30Live right, and you will eat
from the life-giving tree.
And if you act wisely,
others will follow.
31If good people are rewarded here on this earth,
all who are cruel and mean
will surely be punished.

Proverbs 12

You Can't Hide behind Evil
1To accept correction is wise,
to reject it is stupid.
2The LORD likes everyone
who lives right,
but he punishes everyone
who makes evil plans.
3Sin cannot offer security!
But if you live right,
you will be as secure
as a tree with deep roots.
4A helpful wife is a jewel
for her husband,
but a shameless wife
will make his bones rot.
5Good people have kind thoughts,
but you should never trust
the advice of someone evil.
6Bad advice is a deadly trap,
but good advice
is like a shield.
7Once the wicked are defeated,
they are gone forever,
but no one who obeys God
will ever be thrown down.
8Good sense is worthy of praise,
but stupidity is a curse.
9It's better to be ordinary
and have only one servant than to think you are somebody
and starve to death.
10Good people are kind
to their animals,
but a mean person is cruel.
11Hard working farmers have more
than enough food;
daydreamers are nothing more
than stupid fools.
12An evil person tries to hide
behind evil; good people are like trees
with deep roots.
13We trap ourselves
by telling lies,
but we stay out of trouble
by living right.
14We are rewarded or punished
for what we say and do.
15Fools think they know
what is best,
but a sensible person
listens to advice.
16Losing your temper is foolish;
ignoring an insult is smart.
17An honest person
tells the truth in court,
but a dishonest person
tells nothing but lies.
18Sharp words cut
like a sword,
words of wisdom heal.
19Truth will last forever;
lies are soon found out.
20An evil mind is deceitful,
but gentle thoughts
bring happiness.
21Good people never have trouble,
but troublemakers
have more than enough.
22The LORD hates every liar,
but he is the friend of all
who can be trusted.
23Be sensible and don't tell
everything you know--
only fools spread
foolishness everywhere.
24Work hard, and you
will be a leader;
be lazy, and you
will end up a slave.
25Worry is a heavy burden,
but a kind word
always brings cheer.
26You are better off to do right,
than to lose your way
by doing wrong.
27Anyone too lazy to cook
will starve,
but a hard worker
is a valuable treasure.
28Follow the road to life,
and you won't be bothered
by death.

Proverbs 13

Wise Friends Make You Wise
1Children with good sense
accept correction
from their parents,
but stubborn children
ignore it completely.
2You will be well rewarded
for saying something kind,
but all some people think about
is how to be cruel and mean.
3Keep what you know to yourself,
and you will be safe;
talk too much,
and you are done for.
4No matter how much you want,
laziness won't help a bit,
but hard work will reward you
with more than enough.
5A good person hates deceit,
but those who are evil
cause shame and disgrace.
6Live right, and you are safe!
But sin will destroy you.
7Some who have nothing
may pretend to be rich,
and some who have everything
may pretend to be poor.
8The rich may have
to pay a ransom,
but the poor don't have
that problem.
9The lamp of a good person
keeps on shining;
the lamp of an evil person
soon goes out.
10Too much pride causes trouble.
Be sensible and take advice.
11Money wrongly gotten
will disappear bit by bit;
money earned little by little
will grow and grow.
12Not getting what you want
can make you feel sick,
but a wish that comes true
is a life-giving tree.
13If you reject God's teaching,
you will pay the price;
if you obey his commands,
you will be rewarded.
14Sensible instruction
is a life-giving fountain
that helps you escape
all deadly traps.
15Sound judgment is praised,
but people without good sense
are on the way to disaster.
16If you have good sense,
you will act sensibly,
but fools act like fools.
17Whoever delivers your message
can make things better
or worse for you.
18All who refuse correction
will be poor and disgraced;
all who accept correction
will be praised.
19It's a good feeling
to get what you want,
but only a stupid fool
hates to turn from evil.
20Wise friends make you wise,
but you hurt yourself
by going around with fools.
21You are in for trouble
if you sin,
but you will be rewarded
if you live right.
22If you obey God,
you will have something
to leave your grandchildren.
If you don't obey God,
those who live right
will get what you leave.
23Even when the land of the poor
produces good crops,
they get cheated
out of what they grow.
24If you love your children,
you will correct them;
if you don't love them,
you won't correct them.
25If you live right,
you will have plenty to eat;
if you don't live right,
you will go away empty.

Proverbs 14

Wisdom Makes Good Sense
1A woman's family
is held together
by her wisdom,
but it can be destroyed
by her foolishness.
2By living right, you show
that you respect the LORD;
by being deceitful, you show
that you despise him.
3Proud fools are punished
for their stupid talk,
but sensible talk
can save your life.
4Without the help of an ox
there can be no crop,
but with a strong ox
a big crop is possible.
5An honest witness
tells the truth;
a dishonest witness
tells nothing but lies.
6Make fun of wisdom,
and you will never find it.
But if you have understanding,
knowledge comes easily.
7Stay away from fools,
or you won't learn a thing.
8Wise people have enough sense
to find their way,
but stupid fools get lost.
9Fools don't care
if they are wrong, but God is pleased
when people do right.
10No one else can really know
how sad or happy you are.
11The tent of a good person
stands longer
than the house
of someone evil.
12You may think you are
on the right road
and still end up dead.
13Sorrow may hide
behind laughter,
and happiness may end
in sorrow.
14You harvest what you plant,
whether good or bad.
15Don't be stupid
and believe all you hear;
be smart and know
where you are headed.
16Only a stupid fool
is never cautious--
so be extra careful
and stay out of trouble.
17Fools have quick tempers,
and no one likes you
if you can't be trusted.
18Stupidity leads to foolishness;
be smart and learn.
19The wicked will come crawling
to those who obey God.
20You have no friends
if you are poor,
but you have lots of friends
if you are rich.
21It's wrong to hate others,
but God blesses everyone
who is kind to the poor.
22It's a mistake
to make evil plans,
but you will have loyal friends
if you want to do right.
23Hard work is worthwhile,
but empty talk
will make you poor.
24Wisdom can make you rich,
but foolishness leads
to more foolishness.
25An honest witness
can save your life,
but liars can't be trusted.
26If you respect the LORD,
you and your children
a strong fortress
27and a life-giving fountain
that keeps you safe
from deadly traps.
28Rulers of powerful nations
are held in honor;
rulers of weak nations
are nothing at all.
29It's smart to be patient,
but it's stupid
to lose your temper.
30It's healthy to be content,
but envy can eat you up.
31If you mistreat the poor,
you insult your Creator;
if you are kind to them,
you show him respect.
32In times of trouble
the wicked are destroyed,
but even at death

the innocent
have faith.
33Wisdom is found in the minds
of people with good sense,
but fools don't know it.
34Doing right brings honor
to a nation,
but sin brings disgrace.
35Kings reward servants
who act wisely,
but they punish those
who act foolishly.

Proverbs 15

The LORD Sees Everything
1A kind answer
soothes angry feelings,
but harsh words
stir them up.
2Words of wisdom
come from the wise,
but fools speak foolishness.
3The LORD sees everything,
whether good or bad.
4Kind words are good medicine,
but deceitful words
can really hurt.
5Don't be a fool
and disobey your parents.
Be smart! Accept correction.
6Good people become wealthy,
but those who are evil
will lose what they have.
7Words of wisdom
make good sense;
the thoughts of a fool
make no sense at all.
8The LORD is disgusted
by gifts from the wicked,
but it makes him happy
when his people pray.
9The LORD is disgusted
with all who do wrong,
but he loves everyone
who does right.
10If you turn from the right way,
you will be punished;
if you refuse correction,
you will die.
11If the LORD can see everything
in the world of the dead,
he can see in our hearts.
12Those who sneer at others
don't like to be corrected,
and they won't ask help
from someone with sense.
13Happiness makes you smile;
sorrow can crush you.
14Anyone with good sense
is eager to learn more,
but fools are hungry
for foolishness.
15The poor have a hard life,
but being content is as good
as an endless feast.
16It's better to obey the LORD
and have only a little,
than to be very rich
and terribly confused.
17A simple meal with love
is better than a feast
where there is hatred.
18Losing your temper
causes a lot of trouble,
but staying calm
settles arguments.
19Being lazy is like walking
in a thorn patch,
but everyone who does right
walks on a smooth road.
20Children with good sense
make their parents happy,
but foolish children
are hateful to them.
21Stupidity brings happiness
to senseless fools,
but everyone with good sense
follows the straight path.
22Without good advice
everything goes wrong--
it takes careful planning
for things to go right.
23Giving the right answer
at the right time
makes everyone happy.
24All who are wise follow a road
that leads upward to life
and away from death.
25The LORD destroys the homes
of those who are proud,
but he protects the property
of widows.
26The LORD hates evil thoughts,
but kind words please him.
27Being greedy causes trouble
for your family,
but you protect yourself
by refusing bribes.
28Good people think
before they answer,
but the wicked speak evil
without ever thinking.
29The LORD never even hears
the prayers of the wicked,
but he answers the prayers
of all who obey him.
30A friendly smile
makes you happy,
and good news
makes you feel strong.
31Healthy correction is good,
and if you accept it,
you will be wise.
32You hurt only yourself
by rejecting instruction,
but it makes good sense
to accept it.
33Showing respect to the LORD
will make you wise,
and being humble
will bring honor to you.

Proverbs 16

The LORD Has the Final Word
1We humans make plans,
but the LORD
has the final word.
2We may think we know
what is
but the
LORD is the judge
of our motives.
3Share your plans with the LORD,
and you will succeed.
4The LORD has a reason
for everything he does,
and he lets evil people live
only to be punished.
5The LORD doesn't like
anyone who is conceited--
you can be sure
they will be punished.
6If we truly love God,
our sins will be forgiven;
if we show him respect,
we will keep away from sin.
7When we please the LORD,
even our enemies
make friends with us.
8It's better to be honest
and poor
than to be dishonest
and rich.
9We make our own plans,
but the LORD decides
where we will go.
10Rulers speak with authority
and are never wrong.
11The LORD doesn't like it
when we cheat in business.
12Justice makes rulers powerful.
They should hate evil
13and like honesty and truth.
14An angry ruler
can put you to death.
So be wise!
Don't make one angry.
15When a ruler is happy
and pleased with you,
it's like refreshing rain,
and you will live.
16It's much better to be wise
and sensible
than to be rich.
17God's people avoid evil ways,
and they protect themselves
by watching where they go.
18Too much pride
will destroy you.
19You are better off
to be humble and poor
than to get rich
from what you take by force.
20If you know what you're doing, you will prosper.
God blesses everyone
who trusts him.
21Good judgment proves
that you are wise,
and if you speak kindly,
you can teach others.
22Good sense is a fountain
that gives life,
but fools are punished
by their foolishness.
23You can persuade others
if you are wise
and speak sensibly.
24Kind words are like honey--
they cheer you up
and make you feel strong.
25Sometimes what seems right
is really a road to death.
26The hungrier you are,
the harder you work.
27Worthless people plan trouble.
Even their words burn
like a flaming fire.
28Gossip is no good!
It causes hard feelings
and comes between friends.
29Don't trust violent people.
They will mislead you
to do the wrong thing.
30When someone winks
or grins behind your back,
trouble is on the way.
31Gray hair is a glorious crown
worn by those
who have lived right.
32Controlling your temper
is better than being a hero
who captures a city.
33We make our own decisions,
but the LORD alone
determines what happens.

Proverbs 17

Our Thoughts Are Tested by the LORD
1A dry crust of bread eaten
in peace and quiet
is better than a feast eaten
where everyone argues.
2A hard-working slave
will be placed in charge
of a no-good child,
and that slave will be given
the same inheritance
that each child receives.
3Silver and gold are tested
by flames of fire;
our thoughts are tested
by the LORD.
4Troublemakers listen
to troublemakers,
and liars listen to liars.
5By insulting the poor,
you insult your Creator.
You will be punished
if you make fun
of someone in trouble.
6Grandparents are proud
of their grandchildren,
and children should be proud
of their parents.
7It sounds strange for a fool
to talk sensibly,
but it's even worse
for a ruler to tell lies.
8A bribe works miracles
like a magic charm
that brings good luck.
9You will keep your friends
if you forgive them,
but you will lose your friends
if you keep talking about
what they did wrong.
10A sensible person
accepts correction,
but you can't beat sense
into a fool.
11Cruel people want to rebel,
and so vicious attackers
will be sent against them.
12A bear robbed of her cubs
is far less dangerous
than a stubborn fool.
13You will always have trouble
if you are mean to those
who are good to you.
14The start of an argument
is like a water leak--
so stop it before
real trouble breaks out.
15The LORD doesn't like those
who defend the guilty
or condemn the innocent.
16Why should fools have money
for an education
when they refuse to learn?
17A friend is always a friend,
and relatives are born
to share our troubles.
18It's stupid to guarantee
someone else's loan.
19The wicked and the proud
love trouble
and keep begging
to be hurt.
20Dishonesty does you no good,
and telling lies
will get you in trouble.
21It's never pleasant
to be the parent of a fool
and have nothing but pain.
22If you are cheerful,
you feel good;
if you are sad,
you hurt all over.
23Crooks accept secret bribes
to keep justice
from being done.
24Anyone with wisdom knows
what makes good sense,
but fools can never
make up their minds.
25Foolish children bring sorrow
to their father
and pain to their mother.
26It isn't fair
to punish the innocent
and those who do right.
27It makes a lot of sense
to be a person of few words
and to stay calm.
28Even fools seem smart
when they are quiet.

Proverbs 18

It's Wrong to Favor the Guilty
1It's selfish and stupid
to think only of yourself
and to sneer at people
who have sense.
2Fools have no desire to learn;
they would much rather
give their own opinion.
3Wrongdoing leads to shame
and disgrace.
4Words of wisdom
are a stream
that flows
from a deep fountain.
5It's wrong to favor the guilty
and keep the innocent
from getting justice.
6Foolish talk will get you
into a lot of trouble.
7Saying foolish things
is like setting a trap
to destroy yourself.
8There's nothing so delicious
as the taste of gossip!
It melts in your mouth.
9Being lazy is no different
from being a troublemaker.
10The LORD is a mighty tower
where his people can run
for safety--
11the rich think their money
is a wall of protection.
12Pride leads to destruction;
humility leads to honor.
13It's stupid and embarrassing
to give an answer
before you listen.
14Being cheerful helps
when we are sick,
but nothing helps
when we give up.
15Everyone with good sense
wants to learn.
16A gift will get you in
to see anyone.
17You may think you have won
your case in court,
until your opponent speaks.
18Drawing straws is one way
to settle a difficult case.
19Making up with a friend
you have offended is harder than breaking
through a city wall.
20Make your words good--
you will be glad you did.
21Words can bring death or life!
Talk too much, and you will eat
everything you say.
22A man's greatest treasure
is his wife--
she is a gift from the LORD.
23The poor must beg for help,
but the rich can give
a harsh reply.
24Some friends don't help, but a true friend is closer
than your own family.

Proverbs 19

It's Wise To Be Patient
1It's better to be poor
and live right
than to be a stupid liar.
2Willingness and stupidity
don't go well together.
If you are too eager,
you will miss the road.
3We are ruined
by our own stupidity,
though we blame the LORD.
4The rich have many friends;
the poor have none.
5Dishonest witnesses and liars
won't escape punishment.
6Everyone tries to be friends
of those who can help them.
7If you are poor,
your own relatives reject you,
and your friends are worse.
When you really need them,
they are not there.
8Do yourself a favor
by having good sense--
you will be glad you did.
9Dishonest witnesses and liars
will be destroyed.
10It isn't right for a fool
to live in luxury
or for a slave to rule
in place of a king.
11It's wise to be patient
and show what you are like
by forgiving others.
12An angry king roars
like a lion,
but when a king is pleased,
it's like dew on the crops.
13A foolish son brings disgrace
to his father.
A nagging wife goes on and on
like the drip, drip, drip
of the rain.
14You may inherit all you own
from your parents,
but a sensible wife
is a gift from the LORD.
15If you are lazy
and sleep your time away,
you will starve.
16Obey the Lord's teachings
and you will live--
disobey and you will die.
17Caring for the poor
is lending to the LORD,
and you will be well repaid.
18Correct your children
before it's too late;
if you don't punish them,
you are destroying them.
19People with bad tempers
are always in trouble,
and they need help
over and over again.
20Pay attention to advice
and accept correction,
so you can live sensibly.
21We may make a lot of plans,
but the LORD will do
what he has decided.
22What matters most is loyalty.
It's better to be poor
than to be a liar.
23Showing respect to the LORD
brings true life--
if you do it, you can relax
without fear of danger.
24Some people are too lazy
to lift a hand
to feed themselves.
25Stupid fools learn good sense
by seeing others punished;
a sensible person learns
by being corrected.
26Children who bring disgrace
rob their father
and chase their mother away.
27If you stop learning,
you will forget
what you already know.
28A lying witness makes fun
of the court system,
and criminals think crime
is really delicious.
29Every stupid fool
is just waiting
to be punished.

Proverbs 20

Words of Wisdom Are Better than Gold
1It isn't smart to get drunk!
Drinking makes a fool of you
and leads to fights.
2An angry ruler
is like a roaring lion--
make either one angry,
and you are dead.
3It makes you look good
when you avoid a fight--
only fools love to quarrel.
4If you are too lazy to plow,
don't expect a harvest.
5Someone's thoughts may be
as deep as the ocean,
but if you are smart,
you will discover them.
6There are many who say,
"You can trust me!"
But can they be trusted?
7Good people live right,
and God blesses the children
who follow their example.
8When rulers decide cases,
they weigh the evidence.
9Can any of us really say,
"My thoughts are pure,
and my sins are gone"?
10Two things the LORD hates
are dishonest scales
and dishonest measures.
11The good or bad
that children do
shows what they are like.
12Hearing and seeing
are gifts from the LORD.
13If you sleep all the time,
you will starve;
if you get up and work,
you will have enough food.
14Everyone likes to brag
about getting a bargain.
15Sensible words are better
than gold or jewels.
16You deserve to lose your coat
if you loan it to someone
to guarantee payment
for the debt of a stranger.
17The food you get by cheating
may taste delicious,
but it turns to gravel.
18Be sure you have sound advice
before making plans
or starting a war.
19Stay away from gossips--
they tell everything.
20Children who curse their parents
will go to the land of darkness
long before their time.
21Getting rich quick may turn out to be a curse.
22Don't try to get even.
Trust the LORD,
and he will help you.
23The LORD hates dishonest scales
and dishonest weights.
So don't cheat!
24How can we know
what will happen to us
when the LORD alone decides?
25Don't fall into the trap
of making promises to God
before you think!
26A wise ruler severely punishes
every criminal.
27Our inner thoughts are a lamp
from the LORD,
and they search our hearts.
28Rulers are protected
by God's mercy and loyalty,
but they must be merciful for their kingdoms to last.
29Young people take pride
in their strength,
but the gray hairs of wisdom
are even more beautiful.
30A severe beating can knock all
of the evil out of you!

Proverbs 21

The LORD Is In Charge
1The LORD controls rulers,
just as he determines
the course of rivers.
2We may think we are doing
the right thing,
but the LORD always knows
what is in our hearts.
3Doing what is right and fair
pleases the LORD
more than an offering.
4Evil people are proud
and arrogant,
but sin is the only crop
they produce.
5If you plan and work hard,
you will have plenty;
if you get in a hurry,
you will end up poor.
6Cheating to get rich
is a foolish dream
and no less than suicide.
7You destroy yourself
by being cruel and violent
and refusing to live right.
8All crooks are liars,
but anyone who is innocent
will do right.
9It's better to stay outside
on the roof of your house
than to live inside
with a nagging wife.
10Evil people want to do wrong,
even to their friends.
11An ignorant fool learns
by seeing others punished;
a sensible person learns
by being instructed.
12God is always fair!
He knows what the wicked do
and will punish them.
13If you won't help the poor,
don't expect to be heard
when you cry out for help.
14A secret bribe will save you
from someone's fierce anger.
15When justice is done,
good citizens are glad
and crooks are terrified.
16If you stop using good sense,
you will find yourself
in the grave.
17Heavy drinkers and others
who live only for pleasure
will lose all they have.
18God's people will escape,
but all who are wicked
will pay the price.
19It's better out in the desert
than at home with a nagging,
complaining wife.
20Be sensible and store up
precious treasures--
don't waste them
like a fool.
21If you try to be kind and good,
you will be blessed with life
and goodness and honor.
22One wise person can defeat
a city full of soldiers
and capture their fortress.
23Watching what you say
can save you
a lot of trouble.
24If you are proud and conceited,
everyone will say,
"You're a snob!"
25If you want too much
and are too lazy to work,
it could be fatal.
26But people who obey God
are always generous.
27The Lord despises the offerings
of wicked people
with evil motives.
28If you tell lies in court,
you are done for;
only a reliable witness
can do the job.
29Wicked people bluff their way,
but God's people think
before they take a step.
30No matter how much you know
or what plans you make,
you can't defeat the LORD.
31Even if your army has horses
ready for battle,
the LORD will always win.

Proverbs 22

The Value of a Good Reputation
1A good reputation and respect
are worth much more
than silver and gold.
2The rich and the poor
are all created
by the LORD.
3When you see trouble coming,
don't be stupid
and walk right into it--
be smart and hide.
4Respect and serve the LORD!
Your reward will be wealth,
a long life, and honor.
5Crooks walk down a road
full of thorny traps.
Stay away from there!
6Teach your children
right from wrong,
and when they are grown
they will still do right.
7The poor are ruled by the rich,
and those who borrow
are slaves of moneylenders.
8Troublemakers get in trouble,
and their terrible anger
will get them nowhere.
9The LORD blesses everyone
who freely gives food
to the poor.
10Arguments and fights
will come to an end,
if you chase away those
who insult others.
11The king is the friend of all
who are sincere
and speak with kindness.
12The LORD watches over everyone
who shows good sense,
but he frustrates the plans
of deceitful liars.
13Don't be so lazy that you say,
"If I go to work,
a lion will eat me!"
14The words of a bad woman
are like a deep pit;
if you make the LORD angry,
you will fall right in.
15All children are foolish,
but firm correction
will make them change.
16Cheat the poor to make profit
or give gifts to the rich--
either way you lose.

Thirty Wise Sayings
17Here are some sayings
of people with wisdom,
so listen carefully
as I teach.
18You will be glad
that you know these sayings
and can recite them.
19I am teaching them today,
so that you
may trust the LORD.
20I have written thirty sayings
filled with sound advice.
21You 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.
23The 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.
25You might turn out like them
and get caught in a trap.

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

28 Don't move a boundary marker set up by your ancestors.

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

Proverbs 23

1 When you are invited
to eat with a king,
use your best manners.
2Don't go and stuff yourself!
That would be just the same
as cutting your throat.
3Don't be greedy for all
of that fancy food!
It may not be so tasty.

4 Give up trying so hard
to get rich.
5Your 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.
7People like that take note
of how much you eat. They say, "Take all you want!"
But they don't mean it.
8Each 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 or take the land
that belongs to orphans.
11God 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,
14and it may even
save their lives.

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

17 Don't be jealous of sinners,
but always honor the LORD.
18Then 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.
20Don't be a heavy drinker
or stuff yourself with food.
21It 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.
23Invest in truth and wisdom,
discipline and good sense,
and don't part with them.
24Make your father truly happy
by living right
and showing
sound judgment.
25Make your parents proud,
especially your mother.

26 My son, pay close attention,
and gladly follow
my example.
27Bad women and unfaithful wives
are like a deep pit--
28they 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?
30Everyone who stays up late,
having just one more drink.
31Don't even look
at that colorful stuff
bubbling up in the glass!
It goes down so easily,
32but later it bites
like a poisonous snake.
33You will see weird things,
and your mind
will play tricks on you.
34You will feel tossed about
like someone trying to sleep
on a ship in a storm.
35You 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?"

Proverbs 24

1 Don't be jealous of crooks
or want to be their friends.
2All they think about
and talk about
is violence and cruelty.

3 Use wisdom and understanding
to establish your home;
4let good sense fill the rooms
with priceless treasures.

5 Wisdom brings strength,
and knowledge gives power.
6Battles 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.
9Everyone 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.
12Don'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.
14Wisdom 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.
16Even 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.
18The 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.
20They 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.
22Who knows what sudden disaster
the LORD or a ruler
might bring?

More Sayings That Make Good Sense
23Here are some more sayings
that make good sense:
When you judge,
you must be fair.
24If you let the guilty
go free,
people of all nations
will hate and curse you.
25But if you punish the guilty,
things will go well for you,
and you will prosper.
26Giving an honest answer
is a sign
of true friendship.
27Get your fields ready
and plant your crops
before starting a home.
28Don't accuse anyone
who isn't guilty.
Don't ever tell a lie
29or say to someone,
"I'll get even with you!"
30I once walked by the field
and the vineyard
of a lazy fool.
31Thorns and weeds
were everywhere,
and the stone wall
had fallen down.
32When I saw this,
it taught me a lesson:
33Sleep a little. Doze a little.
Fold your hands
and twiddle your thumbs.
34Suddenly poverty hits you
and everything is gone!

Proverbs 25

More of Solomon's Wise Sayings
1Here are more
of Solomon's proverbs.
They were copied by the officials
of King Hezekiah of Judah.
2God is praised
for being mysterious;
rulers are praised
for explaining mysteries.
3Who can fully understand
the thoughts of a ruler?
They reach beyond the sky
and go deep in the earth.
4Silver must be purified
before it can be used
to make something of value.
5Evil people must be removed
before anyone can rule
with justice.
6Don't try to seem important
in the court of a ruler.
7It'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
8before you sue someone,
or you might lose your case
and be embarrassed.
9When you and someone else
can't get along,
don't gossip about it.
10Others will find out,
and your reputation
will then be ruined.
11The right word
at the right time
is like precious gold
set in silver.
12Listening to good advice
is worth much more
than jewelry made of gold.
13A messenger you can trust
is just as refreshing
as cool water in summer.
14Broken promises
are worse than rain clouds
that don't bring rain.
15Patience and gentle talk
can convince a ruler
and overcome any problem.
16Eating too much honey
can make you sick.
17Don't visit friends too often,
or they will get tired of it
and start hating you.
18Telling lies about friends
is like attacking them
with clubs and swords
and sharp arrows.
19A friend you can't trust
in times of trouble
is like having a toothache
or a sore foot.
20Singing to someone
in deep sorrow
is like pouring vinegar
in an open cut.
21If your enemies are hungry,
give them something to eat.
And if they are thirsty,
give them something
to drink.
22This will be the same
as piling burning coals
on their heads.
And the LORD
will reward you.
23As surely as rain blows in
from the north,
anger is caused
by cruel words.
24It's better to stay outside
on the roof of your house
than to live inside
with a nagging wife.
25Good news from far away
refreshes like cold water
when you are thirsty.
26When a good person gives in
to the wicked,
it's like dumping garbage
in a stream of clear water.
27Don't eat too much honey
or always want praise.
28Losing self-control
leaves you as helpless
as a city without a wall.

Proverbs 26

Don't Be a Fool
1Expecting snow in summer
and rain in the dry season
makes more sense
than honoring a fool.
2A curse you don't deserve
will take wings
and fly away
like a sparrow or a swallow.
3Horses and donkeys
must be beaten and bridled--
and so must fools.
4Don't make a fool of yourself
by answering a fool.
5But if you answer any fools,
show how foolish they are,
so they won't feel smart.
6Sending a message by a fool
is like chopping off your foot
and drinking poison.
7A fool with
words of wisdom 
is like an athlete
with legs that can't move.
8Are you going to honor a fool?
Why not shoot a slingshot
with the rock tied tight?
9A thornbush waved around
in the hand of a drunkard
is no worse than a proverb
in the mouth of a fool.
10It's no smarter to shoot arrows
at every passerby
than it is to hire a bunch
of worthless nobodies.
11Dogs return to eat their vomit,
just as fools repeat
their foolishness.
12There is more hope for a fool
than for someone who says,
"I'm really smart!"
13Don't be lazy and keep saying,
"There's a lion outside!"
14A door turns on its hinges,
but a lazy person
just turns over in bed.
15Some of us are so lazy
that we won't lift a hand
to feed ourselves.
16A lazy person says,
"I am smarter
than everyone else."
17It's better to take hold
of a mad dog by the ears
than to take part
in someone else's argument.
18It's no crazier to shoot
sharp and flaming arrows
19than to cheat someone and say,
"I was only fooling!"
20Where there is no fuel
a fire goes out;
where there is no gossip
arguments come to an end.
21Troublemakers start trouble,
just as sparks and fuel
start a fire.
22There is nothing so delicious
as the taste of gossip!
It melts in your mouth.
23Hiding hateful thoughts
behind smooth talk is like coating a clay pot
with a cheap glaze.
24The pleasant talk
of an enemy
hides more evil plans
25than can be counted--
so don't believe a word!
26Everyone will see through
those evil plans.
27If you dig a pit,
you will fall in;
if you start a stone rolling,
it will roll back on you.
28Watch out for anyone
who tells lies and flatters--
they are out to get you.

Proverbs 27

Don't Brag about Tomorrow
1Don't brag about tomorrow!
Each day brings
its own surprises.
2Don't brag about yourself--
let others praise you.
3Stones and sand are heavy,
but trouble caused by a fool
is a much heavier load.
4An angry person is dangerous,
but a jealous person
is even worse.
5A truly good friend
will openly correct you.
6You can trust a friend
who corrects you,
but kisses from an enemy
are nothing but lies.
7If you have had enough to eat,
honey doesn't taste good,
but if you are really hungry,
you will eat anything.
8When you are far from home,
you feel like a bird
without a nest.
9The sweet smell of incense
can make you feel good,
but true friendship
is better still.
10Don'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.
11My child, show good sense!
Then I will be happy
and able to answer anyone
who criticizes me.
12Be cautious and hide
when you see danger--
don't be stupid and walk
right into trouble.
13Don't loan money to a stranger
unless you are given something
to guarantee payment.
14A loud greeting
early in the morning
is the same as a curse.
15The steady dripping of rain
and the nagging of a wife
are one and the same.
16It's easier to catch the wind
or hold olive oil in your hand
than to stop a nagging wife.
17Just as iron sharpens iron,
friends sharpen the minds
of each other.
18Take care of a tree,
and you will eat its fruit;
look after your master,
and you will be praised.
19You see your face in a mirror
and your thoughts
in the minds of others.
20Death and the grave
are never satisfied,
and neither are we.
21Gold and silver are tested
in a red-hot furnace,
but we are tested by praise.
22No matter how hard
you beat a fool,
you can't pound out
the foolishness.
23You should take good care
of your sheep and goats,
24because wealth and honor
don't last forever.
25After the hay is cut
and the new growth appears
and the harvest is over,
26you can sell lambs and goats
to buy clothes and land.
27From the milk of the goats,
you can make enough cheese
to feed your family
and all your servants.

Proverbs 28

The Law of God Makes Sense
1Wicked people run away
when no one chases them,
but those who live right
are as brave as lions.
2In time of civil war
there are many leaders,
but a sensible leader
restores law and order.
3When someone poor takes over
and mistreats the poor,
it's like a heavy rain
destroying the crops.
4Lawbreakers praise criminals,
but law-abiding citizens
always oppose them.
5Criminals don't know
what justice means,
but all who respect the LORD
understand it completely.
6It's better to be poor
and live right,
than to be rich
and dishonest.
7It makes good sense
to obey the Law of God,
but you disgrace your parents
if you make friends
with worthless nobodies.
8If you make money by charging
high interest rates,
you will lose it all to someone
who cares for the poor.
9God cannot stand the prayers
of anyone who disobeys
his Law.
10By leading good people to sin,
you dig a pit for yourself,
but all who live right
will have a bright future.
11The rich think highly
of themselves,
but anyone poor and sensible
sees right through them.
12When an honest person wins,
it's time to celebrate;
when crooks are in control,
it's best to hide.
13If 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.
14The LORD blesses everyone
who is afraid to do evil,
but if you are cruel,
you will end up in trouble.
15A ruler who mistreats the poor
is like a roaring lion
or a bear hunting for food.
16A heartless leader is a fool,
but anyone who refuses
to get rich by cheating others
will live a long time.
17Don't give help to murderers!
Make them stay on the run
for as long as they live.
18Honesty will keep you safe,
but everyone who is crooked
will suddenly fall.
19Work hard, and you will have
a lot of food;
waste time, and you will have
a lot of trouble.
20God blesses his loyal people,
but punishes all who want
to get rich quick.
21It isn't right to be unfair,
but some people can be bribed
with only a piece of bread.
22Don't be selfish
and eager to get rich--
you will end up worse off
than you can imagine.
23Honest correction
is appreciated
more than flattery.
24If you cheat your parents
and don't think it's wrong,
you are a common thief.
25Selfish people cause trouble,
but you will live a full life
if you trust the LORD.
26Only fools would trust
what they alone think,
but if you live by wisdom,
you will do all right.
27Giving to the poor
will keep you from poverty,
but if you close your eyes
to their needs,
everyone will curse you.
28When crooks are in control,
everyone tries to hide,
but when they lose power,
good people are everywhere.

Proverbs 29

Use Good Sense
1If you keep being stubborn
after many warnings,
you will suddenly discover
you have gone too far.
2When justice rules a nation,
everyone is glad;
when injustice rules,
everyone groans.
3If you love wisdom
your parents will be glad,
but chasing after bad women
will cost you everything.
4An honest ruler
makes the nation strong;
a ruler who takes bribes
will bring it to ruin.
5Flattery is nothing less
than setting a trap.
6Your sins will catch you,
but everyone who lives right
will sing and celebrate.
7The wicked don't care
about the rights of the poor,
but good people do.
8Sneering at others is a spark
that sets a city on fire;
using good sense can put out
the flames of anger.
9Be wise and don't sue a fool.
You won't get satisfaction,
because all the fool will do
is sneer and shout.
10A murderer hates everyone
who is honest
and lives right.
11Don't be a fool
and quickly lose your temper--
be sensible and patient.
12A ruler who listens to lies
will have corrupt officials.
13The poor and all who abuse them
must each depend on God
for light.
14Kings who are fair to the poor
will rule forever.
15Correct your children,
and they will be wise;
children out of control
disgrace their mothers.
16Crime increases
when crooks are in power,
but law-abiding citizens
will see them fall.
17If you correct your children,
they will bring you peace
and happiness.
18Without guidance from God
law and order disappear,
but God blesses everyone
who obeys his Law.
19Even when servants are smart,
it takes more than words
to make them obey.
20There is more hope for a fool
than for someone who speaks
without thinking.
21Slaves that you treat kindly
from their childhood
will cause you sorrow.
22A person with a quick temper
stirs up arguments
and commits a lot of sins.
23Too much pride brings disgrace;
humility leads to honor.
24If you take part in a crime
you are your worst enemy,
because even under oath
you can't tell the truth.
25Don't fall into the trap
of being a coward--
trust the LORD,
and you will be safe.
26Many try to make friends
with a ruler,
but justice comes
from the LORD.
27Good people and criminals
can't stand each other.

Proverbs 30

The Sayings of Agur
are the sayings
and the message
of Agur son of Jakeh.
Someone cries out to God,
"I am completely worn out!
How can I last?
2I am far too stupid
to be considered human.
3I never was wise,
and I don't understand
what God is like."
4Has anyone gone up to heaven
and come back down?
Has anyone grabbed hold
of the wind?
Has anyone wrapped up the sea
or marked out boundaries
for the earth?
If you know of any
who have done such things,
then tell me their names
and their children's names.
5Everything God says is true--
and it's a shield for all
who come to him for safety.
6Don't change what God has said!
He will correct you and show
that you are a liar.
7There are two things, Lord,
I want you to do for me
before I die:
8Make me absolutely honest
and don't let me be too poor
or too rich.
Give me just what I need.
9If I have too much to eat,
I might forget about you;
if I don't have enough,
I might steal
and disgrace your name.
10Don't tell a slave owner
something bad
about one
of the slaves.
That slave will curse you,
and you will be in trouble.
11Some people curse their father
and even their mother;
12others think they are perfect,
but they are stained by sin.
13Some people are stuck-up
and act like snobs;
14others are so greedy
that they gobble down
the poor and homeless.
15Greed has twins, each named "Give me!"
There are three or four things
that are never satisfied:
16The world of the dead
and a childless wife,
the thirsty earth
and a flaming fire.
17Don't make fun of your father
or disobey your mother--
crows will peck out your eyes,
and buzzards will eat
the rest of you.
18There are three or four things
I cannot understand:
19How eagles fly so high
or snakes crawl on rocks,
how ships sail the ocean
or people fall in love.
20An unfaithful wife says,
"Sleeping with another man
is as natural as eating."
21There are three or four things
that make the earth tremble
and are unbearable:
22A slave who becomes king,
a fool who eats too much,
23a hateful woman
who finds a husband,
and a slave
who takes the place
of the woman who owns her.
24On this earth four things
are small but very wise:
25Ants, who seem to be feeble,
but store up food
all summer long;
26badgers, who seem to be weak,
but live among the rocks;
27locusts, who have no king,
but march like an army;
28lizards, which can be caught in your hand,
but sneak into palaces.
29Three or four creatures
really strut around:
30Those fearless lions
who rule the jungle,
31those proud roosters,
those mountain goats,
and those rulers
who have no enemies.
32If you are foolishly bragging
or planning something evil,
then stop it now!
33If you churn milk
you get butter;
if you pound on your nose,
you get blood--
and if you stay angry,
you get in trouble.

Proverbs 31

What King Lemuel's Mother Taught Him
1These are the sayings
that King Lemuel of Massa
was taught by his mother.
2My son Lemuel, you were born
in answer to my prayers,
so listen carefully.
3Don't waste your life
chasing after women!
This has ruined many kings.
4Kings and leaders
should not get drunk
or even want to drink.
5Drinking makes you forget
your responsibilities,
and you mistreat the poor.
6Beer and wine are only
for the dying
or for those
who have lost all hope.
7Let them drink
and forget
how poor and miserable
they feel.
8But you must defend
those who are helpless
and have no hope.
9Be fair and give justice
to the poor and homeless.

In Praise of a Good Wife
10A truly good wife
is the most precious treasure
a man can find!
11Her husband depends on her,
and she never
lets him down.
12She is good to him
every day of her life,
13and with her own hands
she gladly makes clothes.
14She is like a sailing ship
that brings food
from across the sea.
15She gets up before daylight
to prepare food
for her family
and for her servants.
16She knows how to buy land
and how to plant a vineyard,
17and she always works hard.
18She knows when to buy or sell,
and she stays busy
until late at night.
19She spins her own cloth,
20and she helps the poor
and the needy.
21Her family has warm clothing,
and so she doesn't worry
when it snows.
22She does her own sewing,
and everything she wears
is beautiful.
23Her husband is a well-known
and respected leader
in the city.
24She makes clothes to sell
to the shop owners.
25She is strong and graceful, as well as cheerful
about the future.
26Her words are sensible,
and her advice
is thoughtful.
27She takes good care
of her family
and is never lazy.
28Her children praise her,
and with great pride
her husband says,
29"There are many good women,
but you are the best!"
30Charm can be deceiving,
and beauty fades away,
but a woman
who honors the LORD
deserves to be praised.
31Show her respect--
praise her in public
for what she has done.