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Proverbs New Living Translation (NLT)

 

Chapter 1


The Purpose of Proverbs

1These are the
proverbs of Solomon, David's son, king of Israel.
2The purpose of these proverbs is to teach people wisdom and discipline, and to help them understand wise sayings. 3Through these proverbs, people will receive instruction in discipline, good conduct, and doing what is right, just, and fair. 4These proverbs will make the simpleminded clever. They will give knowledge and purpose to young people.
5Let those who are wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. And let those who understand receive guidance 6by exploring the depth of meaning in these proverbs, parables, wise sayings, and riddles.
7Fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge. Only fools despise wisdom and discipline.


A Fathers Exhortation: Acquire Wisdom

8Listen, my child, to what your father teaches you. Don't neglect your mother's teaching. 9What you learn from them will crown you with grace and clothe you with honor.
10My child, if sinners entice you, turn your back on them! 11They may say, "Come and join us. Let's hide and kill someone! Let's ambush the innocent! 12Let's swallow them alive as the grave swallows its victims. Though they are in the prime of life, they will go down into the pit of death. 13And the loot we'll get! We'll fill our houses with all kinds of things! 14Come on, throw in your lot with us; we'll split our loot with you."
15Don't go along with them, my child! Stay far away from their paths. 16They rush to commit crimes. They hurry to commit murder. 17When a bird sees a trap being set, it stays away. 18But not these people! They set an ambush for themselves; they booby-trap their own lives! 19Such is the fate of all who are greedy for gain. It ends up robbing them of life.


Wisdom Shouts in the Streets

20Wisdom shouts in the streets. She cries out in the public square. 21She calls out to the crowds along the main street, and to those in front of city hall. 22"You simpletons!" she cries. "How long will you go on being simpleminded? How long will you mockers relish your mocking? How long will you fools fight the facts? 23Come here and listen to me! I'll pour out the spirit of wisdom upon you and make you wise.
24"I called you so often, but you didn't come. I reached out to you, but you paid no attention. 25You ignored my advice and rejected the correction I offered. 26So I will laugh when you are in trouble! I will mock you when disaster overtakes you-- 27when calamity overcomes you like a storm, when you are engulfed by trouble, and when anguish and distress overwhelm you.
28"I will not answer when they cry for help. Even though they anxiously search for me, they will not find me. 29For they hated knowledge and chose not to fear the LORD. 30They rejected my advice and paid no attention when I corrected them. 31That is why they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way. They must experience the full terror of the path they have chosen. 32For they are simpletons who turn away from me--to death. They are fools, and their own complacency will destroy them. 33But all who listen to me will live in peace and safety, unafraid of harm."


Chapter 2


The Benefits of Wisdom

1My child, listen to me and treasure my instructions. 2Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. 3Cry out for insight and understanding. 4Search for them as you would for lost money or hidden treasure. 5Then you will understand what it means to fear the LORD, and you will gain knowledge of God. 6For the LORD grants wisdom! From his mouth come
knowledge and understanding. 7He grants a treasure of good sense to the godly. He is their shield, protecting those who walk with integrity. 8He guards the paths of justice and protects those who are faithful to him.
9Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will know how to find the right course of action every time. 10For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy. 11Wise planning will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe.
12Wisdom will save you from evil people, from those whose speech is corrupt. 13These people turn from right ways to walk down dark and evil paths. 14They
rejoice in doing wrong, and they enjoy evil as it turns things upside down. 15What they do is crooked, and their ways are wrong.
16Wisdom will save you from the immoral woman, from the flattery of the adulterous woman. 17She has abandoned her husband and ignores the covenant she made before God. 18Entering her house leads to death; it is the road to hell. 19The man who visits her is doomed. He will never reach the paths of life.
20Follow the steps of good men instead, and stay on
the paths of the righteous. 21For only the upright will live in the land, and those who have integrity will remain in it. 22But the wicked will be removed from the land, and the treacherous will be destroyed.


Chapter 3


Trusting in the L<i>ORD

1My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart, 2for they will give you a long and satisfying life. 3Never let loyalty and kindness get away from you! Wear them like a necklace; write them deep within your heart. 4Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will gain a good reputation.
5Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths.
7Don't be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the LORD and turn your back on evil. 8Then you will gain renewed health and vitality.
9Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything your land produces. 10Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with the finest wine.
11My child, don't ignore it when the LORD disciplines you, and don't be discouraged when he corrects you. 12For the LORD corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.
13Happy is the person who finds wisdom and gains understanding. 14For the profit of wisdom
is better than silver, and her wages are better than gold. 15Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. 16She offers you life in her right hand, and riches and honor in her left. 17She will guide you down delightful paths; all her ways are satisfying. 18Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly.
19By wisdom the LORD founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens. 20By his knowledge the deep fountains of the earth burst forth, and the clouds poured down rain.
21My child, don't lose sight of good planning and insight. Hang on to them, 22for they fill you with life and bring you honor and respect. 23They keep you safe on your way and keep your feet from stumbling. 24You can lie down without fear and enjoy pleasant dreams. 25You need not be afraid of disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked, 26for the LORD is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.
27Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it's in your power to help them. 28If you can help your neighbor now, don't say, "Come back tomorrow, and then I'll help you."
29Do not plot against your neighbors, for they trust you. 30Don't make accusations against someone who hasn't wronged you.
31Do not envy violent people; don't copy their ways. 32Such wicked people are an abomination to the LORD, but he offers his friendship to the godly.
33The
curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked, but his blessing is on the home of the upright.
34The LORD mocks at mockers, but he shows favor to the humble.
35The wise inherit honor, but fools are put to shame!


Chapter 4


A Fathers Wise Advice

1My children, listen to me. Listen to your father's instruction. Pay attention and grow wise, 2for I am giving you good guidance. Don't turn away from my teaching. 3For I, too, was once my father's son, tenderly loved by my mother as an only child.
4My father told me, "Take my words to heart. Follow my instructions and you will live. 5Learn to be wise, and develop good judgment. Don't forget or turn away from my words. 6Don't turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you. Love her, and she will guard you. 7Getting wisdom is the most important thing you can do! And whatever else you do, get good judgment. 8If you prize wisdom, she will exalt you. Embrace her and she will honor you. 9She will place a lovely wreath on your head; she will present you with a beautiful crown."
10My child, listen to me and do as I say, and you will have a long, good life. 11I will teach you wisdom's ways and lead you in straight paths. 12If you live a life guided by wisdom, you won't limp or stumble as you run. 13Carry out my instructions; don't forsake them. Guard them, for they will lead you to a fulfilled life.
14Do not do as the wicked do or follow the path of evildoers. 15Avoid their haunts. Turn away and go somewhere else, 16for evil people cannot sleep until they have done their evil deed for the day. They cannot rest unless they have caused someone to stumble. 17They eat wickedness and drink violence!
18The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day. 19But the way of the wicked is like complete darkness. Those who follow it have no idea what they are stumbling over.
20Pay attention, my child, to what I say. Listen carefully. 21Don't lose sight of my words. Let them penetrate deep within your heart, 22for they bring life and radiant health to anyone who discovers their meaning.
23Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.
24Avoid all perverse talk; stay far from corrupt speech.
25Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. 26Mark out a straight path for your feet; then stick to the path and stay safe. 27Don't get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.


Chapter 5


Avoid Immoral Women

1My son, pay attention to my wisdom; listen carefully to my wise counsel. 2Then you will learn to be discreet and will store up knowledge.
3The lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil. 4But the result
is as bitter as poison, sharp as a double-edged sword. 5Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. 6For she does not care about the path to life. She staggers down a crooked trail and doesn't even realize where it leads.
7So now, my sons, listen to me. Never stray from what I am about to say: 8Run from her! Don't go near the door of her house! 9If you do, you will lose your honor and hand over to merciless people everything you have achieved in life. 10Strangers will obtain your wealth, and someone else will enjoy the fruit of your labor. 11Afterward you will groan in anguish when disease consumes your body, 12and you will say, "How I hated discipline! If only I had not demanded my own way! 13Oh, why didn't I listen to my teachers? Why didn't I pay attention to those who gave me instruction? 14I have come to the brink of utter ruin, and now I must face public disgrace."
15Drink water from your own well--share your love only with your wife. 16Why spill the water of your springs in public, having sex with just anyone? 17You should reserve it for yourselves. Don't share it with strangers.
18Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19She is a loving doe, a graceful deer. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love. 20Why be captivated, my son, with an immoral woman, or embrace the breasts of an adulterous woman?
21For the LORD sees clearly what a man does, examining every path he takes. 22An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him. 23He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his incredible folly.


Chapter 6


Lessons for Daily Life

1My child, if you co-sign a loan for a friend or guarantee the debt of someone you hardly know-- 2if you have trapped yourself by your agreement and are caught by what you said-- 3quick, get out of it if you possibly can! You have placed yourself at your friend's mercy. Now swallow your pride; go and beg to have your name erased. 4Don't put it off. Do it now! Don't rest until you do. 5Save yourself like a deer escaping from a hunter, like a bird fleeing from a net.
6Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and be wise! 7Even though they have no prince, governor, or ruler to make them work, 8they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter. 9But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? When will you wake up? I want you to learn this lesson: 10A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest-- 11and poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.
12Here is a description of worthless and wicked people: They are constant liars, 13signaling their true intentions to their friends by making signs with their eyes and feet and fingers. 14Their perverted hearts plot evil. They stir up trouble constantly. 15But they will be destroyed suddenly, broken beyond all hope of healing.

16There are six things the LORD hates--no, seven things he detests:
17
haughty eyes,

a lying tongue,

hands that kill the innocent,
18
a heart that plots evil,

feet that race to do wrong,
19
a
false witness who pours out lies,

a person who sows discord among brothers.

20My son, obey your father's commands, and don't neglect your mother's teaching. 21Keep their words always in your heart. Tie them around your neck. 22Wherever you walk, their counsel can lead you. When you sleep, they will protect you. When you wake up in the morning, they will advise you. 23For these commands and this teaching are a lamp to light the way ahead of you. The correction of discipline is the way to life.
24These commands and this teaching will keep you from the immoral woman, from the smooth tongue of an adulterous woman. 25Don't lust for her beauty. Don't let her coyness seduce you. 26For a prostitute will bring you to poverty, and sleeping with another man's wife may cost you your very life. 27Can a man scoop fire into his lap and not be burned? 28Can he walk on hot coals and not blister his feet? 29So it is with the man who sleeps with another man's wife. He who embraces her will not go unpunished.
30Excuses might be found for a thief who steals because he is starving. 31But if he is caught, he will be fined
seven times as much as he stole, even if it means selling everything in his house to pay it back.
32But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys his own soul. 33Wounds and constant disgrace are his lot. His shame will never be erased. 34For the woman's husband will be furious in his jealousy, and he will have no mercy in his day of vengeance. 35There is no compensation or bribe that will satisfy him.


Chapter 7


Another Warning about Immoral Women

1Follow my advice, my son; always treasure my commands. 2Obey them and live! Guard my teachings as your most precious possession. 3Tie them on your fingers as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.
4Love wisdom like a sister; make insight a beloved member of your family. 5Let them hold you back from an affair with an immoral woman, from listening to the flattery of an adulterous woman.
6I was looking out
the window of my house one day 7and saw a simpleminded young man who lacked common sense. 8He was crossing the street near the house of an immoral woman. He was strolling down the path by her house 9at twilight, as the day was fading, as the dark of night set in. 10The woman approached him, dressed seductively and sly of heart. 11She was the brash, rebellious type who never stays at home. 12She is often seen in the streets and markets, soliciting at every corner.
13She threw her arms around him and
kissed him, and with a brazen look she said, 14"I've offered my sacrifices and just finished my vows. 15It's you I was looking for! I came out to find you, and here you are! 16My bed is spread with colored sheets of finest linen imported from Egypt. 17I've perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18Come, let's drink our fill of love until morning. Let's enjoy each other's caresses, 19for my husband is not home. He's away on a long trip. 20He has taken a wallet full of money with him, and he won't return until later in the month."
21So she seduced him with her pretty speech. With her flattery she enticed him. 22He followed her at once, like an ox going to the slaughter or like a trapped stag, 23awaiting the arrow that would pierce its heart. He was like a bird flying into a snare, little knowing it would cost him his life.
24Listen to me, my sons, and pay attention to my words. 25Don't let your hearts stray away toward her. Don't wander down her wayward path. 26For she has been the ruin of many; numerous men have been her victims. 27Her house is the road to the grave. Her bedroom is the den of death.


Chapter 8


Wisdom Calls for a Hearing

1Listen as wisdom calls out! Hear as understanding raises her voice! 2She stands on the hilltop and at the crossroads. 3At the entrance to the city, at the city gates, she cries aloud, 4"I call to you, to all of you! I am raising my voice to all people. 5How naive you are! Let me give you common sense. O foolish ones, let me give you understanding. 6Listen to me! For I have excellent things to tell you. Everything I say is right, 7for I speak the truth and hate every kind of deception. 8My advice is wholesome and good. There is nothing crooked or twisted in it. 9My words are plain to anyone with
understanding, clear to those who want to learn.
10"Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge over pure gold. 11For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can be compared with it.
12"I, Wisdom, live together with good judgment. I know where to discover knowledge and discernment. 13All who fear the LORD will hate evil. That is why I hate pride, arrogance, corruption, and perverted speech. 14Good advice and success belong to me. Insight and strength are mine. 15Because of me, kings reign, and rulers
make just laws. 16Rulers lead with my help, and nobles make righteous judgments.
17"I love all who love me. Those who search for me will surely find me. 18Unending riches, honor, wealth, and justice are mine to distribute. 19My gifts are better than the purest gold, my wages better than sterling silver! 20I walk in
righteousness, in paths of justice. 21Those who love me inherit wealth, for I fill their treasuries.
22"The LORD formed me
from the beginning, before he created anything else. 23I was appointed in ages past, at the very first, before the earth began. 24I was born before the oceans were created, before the springs bubbled forth their waters. 25Before the mountains and the hills were formed, I was born-- 26before he had made the earth and fields and the first handfuls of soil.
27"I was there when he established the heavens, when he drew the horizon on the oceans. 28I was there when he set
the clouds above, when he established the deep fountains of the earth. 29I was there when he set the limits of the seas, so they would not spread beyond their boundaries. And when he marked off the earth's foundations, 30I was the architect at his side. I was his constant delight, rejoicing always in his presence. 31And how happy I was with what he created--his wide world and all the human family!
32"And so, my children, listen to me, for happy are all who follow my ways. 33Listen to my counsel and be wise. Don't ignore it.
34"Happy are those who listen to me, watching for me
daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home! 35For whoever finds me finds life and wins approval from the LORD. 36But those who miss me have injured themselves. All who hate me love death."

Chapter 9
1 Wisdom has built her spacious house with seven pillars. 2She has prepared a great banquet, mixed the wines, and set the table. 3She has sent her servants to invite everyone to come. She calls out from the heights overlooking the city. 4"Come home with me," she urges the simple. To those without good judgment, she says, 5"Come, eat my food, and drink the wine I have mixed. 6Leave your foolish ways behind, and begin to live; learn how to be wise."
7Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get a smart retort. Anyone who rebukes the wicked will get hurt. 8So don't bother rebuking mockers; they will only hate you. But the wise, when rebuked, will love you all the more. 9Teach the wise, and they will be wiser. Teach
the righteous, and they will learn more.
10Fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in understanding.
11Wisdom will multiply your days and add years to your life. 12If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit. If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer.


Folly Calls for a Hearing

13The woman named Folly is loud and brash. She is ignorant and doesn't even know it. 14She sits in her doorway on the heights overlooking the city. 15She calls out to men going by who are minding their own business. 16"Come home with me," she urges the simple. To those without good judgment, she says, 17"Stolen water is refreshing; food eaten in secret tastes the best!" 18But the men don't realize that her former guests are now in the grave.


Chapter 10


The Proverbs of Solomon

1The proverbs of Solomon:
A wise child brings joy to a father; a foolish child brings grief to a mother.
2Ill-gotten gain has no lasting value, but right living can save your life.
3The LORD will not let the godly starve to death, but he refuses to satisfy the craving of the wicked.
4Lazy people are soon poor; hard workers get rich.
5A wise youth works hard all summer; a youth who sleeps away the hour of opportunity brings shame.
6The godly are showered with blessings; evil people cover up their harmful intentions.
7We all have happy memories of the godly
, but the name of a wicked person rots away.
8The wise are glad to be instructed, but babbling fools fall flat on their faces.
9People with integrity have firm footing, but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall.
10People who wink at wrong cause trouble, but a bold reproof promotes peace.
11The words of the godly lead to life; evil people cover up their harmful intentions.
12Hatred stirs up quarrels
, but love covers all offenses.
13Wise words come from the lips of people with understanding, but fools will be punished with a rod.
14Wise people treasure knowledge, but the babbling of a fool invites trouble.
15The wealth of the rich is their fortress; the poverty of the poor is their calamity.
16The earnings of the godly enhance their lives, but evil people squander their money on sin.
17People who accept correction are on the pathway to life, but those who ignore it will lead others astray.
18To hide hatred is to be a liar; to slander is to be a fool.
19Don't talk too much, for it fosters sin. Be sensible and turn off the flow!
20The words of the godly are like sterling silver; the heart of a fool is worthless.
21The godly give good advice, but fools are destroyed by their lack of common sense.
22The
blessing of the LORD makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.
23Doing wrong is fun for a fool, while wise conduct is a pleasure to the wise.
24The fears of the wicked will all come true; so will the hopes of the godly.
25Disaster strikes like a cyclone, whirling the wicked away, but the godly have a lasting foundation.
26Lazy people are a pain to their employer. They are like smoke in the eyes or vinegar that sets the teeth on edge.
27Fear of the LORD lengthens one's
life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.
28The hopes of the godly result in happiness, but the expectations of the wicked are all in vain.
29The LORD protects the upright but destroys the wicked.
30The godly will never be disturbed, but the wicked will be removed from the land.
31The godly person gives wise advice
, but the tongue that deceives will be cut off.
32The godly speak words that are helpful, but the wicked speak only what is corrupt.


Chapter 11
1 The LORD hates cheating, but he delights in honesty.
2Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
3Good people are guided by their honesty; treacherous people are destroyed by their dishonesty.
4Riches won't help on the day of judgment, but right living is a safeguard against death.
5The godly are directed by their honesty; the wicked fall beneath their load of sin.
6The godliness of good people rescues them; the ambition of treacherous people traps them.
7When the wicked die, their hopes all perish, for they rely on their own feeble strength.
8God rescues the godly from danger, but he lets the wicked fall into trouble.
9Evil words destroy one's friends; wise discernment rescues the godly.
10The whole city celebrates when the godly succeed; they shout for joy when the godless die.
11Upright citizens bless a city and make it prosper, but the talk of the wicked tears it apart.
12It is foolish to belittle a neighbor; a person with good sense remains silent.
13A gossip goes around revealing secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.
14Without wise leadership, a nation falls; with many counselors, there is safety.
15Guaranteeing a loan for a stranger is dangerous; it is better to refuse than to suffer later.
16Beautiful women obtain wealth, and violent men get rich.
17Your own soul is nourished when you are kind, but you destroy yourself when you are cruel.
18Evil people get rich for the moment, but the reward of the godly will last.
19Godly people find life; evil people find death.
20The LORD hates people with twisted hearts, but he delights in those who have integrity.
21You can be sure that evil people will be punished, but the children of the godly will go free.
22A woman who is beautiful but lacks discretion is like a gold ring in a pig's snout.
23The godly can look forward to happiness, while the wicked can expect only wrath.
24It is possible to give freely and become more wealthy, but those who are stingy will lose everything.
25The generous prosper and are satisfied; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.
26People curse those who hold their grain for higher prices, but they bless the one who sells to them in their time of need.
27If you search for good, you will find favor; but if you search for evil, it will find you!
28Trust in your money and down you go! But the godly flourish like leaves in spring.
29Those who bring trouble on their families inherit only the wind. The fool will be a
servant to the wise.
30The godly are like trees that bear life-giving fruit, and those who save lives are wise.
31If
the righteous are rewarded here on earth, how much more true that the wicked and the sinner will get what they deserve!


Chapter 12
1 To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction.
2The LORD approves of those who are good, but he condemns those who plan wickedness.
3Wickedness never brings stability; only the godly have deep roots.
4A worthy wife is her husband's joy and crown; a shameful wife saps his strength.
5The plans of the godly are just; the advice of the wicked is treacherous.
6The words of the wicked are like a murderous ambush, but the words of the godly save lives.
7The wicked perish and are gone, but the children of the godly stand firm.
8Everyone admires a person with good sense, but a warped mind is despised.
9It is better to be a nobody with a servant than to be self-important but have no food.
10The godly are concerned for the welfare of their animals, but even the kindness of the wicked is cruel.
11Hard work means prosperity; only fools idle away their time.
12Thieves are jealous of each other's loot, while the godly bear their own fruit.
13The wicked are trapped by their own words, but the godly escape such trouble.
14People can get many good things by the words they say; the work of their hands also gives them many benefits.
15Fools think they need no advice, but the wise listen to others.
16A fool is quick-tempered, but a wise person stays calm when insulted.
17An honest witness tells the truth;
a false witness tells lies.
18Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.
19Truth stands the test of time; lies are soon exposed.
20Deceit fills hearts that are plotting evil; joy fills hearts that are planning peace!
21No real harm befalls the godly, but the wicked have their fill of trouble.
22The LORD hates those who don't keep their word, but he delights in those who do.
23Wise people don't make a show of their knowledge, but fools broadcast their folly.
24Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and become a slave.
25Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.
26The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray.
27Lazy people don't even cook the game they catch, but the diligent make use of everything they find.
28The way of the godly leads to life; their path does not lead to death.


Chapter 13
1 A wise child accepts a parent's discipline; a young mocker refuses to listen.
2Good people enjoy the positive results of their words, but those who are treacherous crave violence.
3Those who control their tongue will have a long life; a quick retort can ruin everything.
4Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper and be satisfied.
5Those who are godly hate lies; the wicked come to shame and disgrace.
6Godliness helps people all through life, while the evil are destroyed by their wickedness.
7Some who are poor pretend to be rich; others who are rich pretend to be poor.
8The rich can pay a ransom, but the poor won't even get threatened.
9The life of the godly is full of light and joy, but the sinner's light is snuffed out.
10Pride leads to arguments; those who take advice are wise.
11Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows.
12Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true, there is life and joy.
13People who despise advice will find themselves in trouble; those who respect it will succeed.
14The advice of the wise is like a life-giving fountain; those who accept it avoid
the snares of death.
15A person with good sense is respected; a treacherous person walks a rocky road.
16Wise people think before they act; fools don't and even brag about it!
17An unreliable messenger stumbles into trouble, but a reliable
messenger brings healing.
18If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty and disgrace; if you accept criticism, you will be honored.
19It is pleasant to see dreams come true, but fools will not turn from evil to attain them.
20Whoever walks with the wise will become wise; whoever walks with fools will suffer harm.
21Trouble chases sinners, while blessings chase the righteous!
22Good people leave an inheritance to their grandchildren, but the sinner's wealth passes to the godly.
23A poor person's farm may produce much food, but injustice sweeps it all away.
24If you refuse to discipline your children, it proves you don't love them; if you love your children, you will be prompt to discipline them.
25The godly eat to their hearts' content
, but the belly of the wicked goes hungry.


Chapter 14
1 A wise woman builds her house; a foolish woman tears hers down with her own hands.
2Those who follow the right path fear the LORD; those who take the wrong path despise him.
3The talk of fools is a rod for their backs, but the words of the wise keep them out of trouble.
4An empty stable stays clean, but no income comes from an empty stable.
5A truthful witness does not lie; a false witness breathes lies.
6A mocker seeks wisdom and never finds it, but knowledge comes easily to those with
understanding.
7Stay away from fools, for you won't find knowledge there.
8The wise look ahead to see what is coming, but fools deceive themselves.
9Fools make fun of guilt, but the godly acknowledge it and seek reconciliation.
10Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can fully share its joy.
11The house of the wicked will perish, but the tent of the godly will flourish.
12There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.
13Laughter can conceal a heavy heart; when the laughter ends, the grief remains.
14Backsliders get what they deserve; good people receive their reward.
15Only simpletons believe everything they are told! The prudent carefully consider their steps.
16The wise are cautious and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with great confidence.
17Those who are short-tempered do foolish things, and schemers are hated.
18The simpleton is clothed with folly, but the wise person is
crowned with knowledge.
19Evil people will bow before good people; the wicked will bow at the gates of the godly.
20The poor are despised even by their neighbors, while the rich have many "friends."
21It is sin to despise one's neighbors; blessed are those who help the poor.
22If you plot evil, you will be lost; but if you plan good, you will be granted unfailing love
and faithfulness.
23Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty!
24Wealth is a crown for the wise; the effort of fools yields only folly.
25A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is a traitor.
26Those who fear the LORD are secure; he will be a place of refuge for their children.
27Fear of the LORD is a life-giving fountain; it offers escape from
the snares of death.
28A growing population is a king's glory; a dwindling nation is his doom.
29Those who control their anger have great understanding; those with a hasty temper will make mistakes.
30A relaxed attitude lengthens life; jealousy rots it away.
31Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but those who help the poor honor him.
32The wicked are crushed by their sins, but the godly have a refuge when they die.
33Wisdom is enshrined in an understanding heart; wisdom is not found among fools.
34Godliness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.
35A king rejoices in servants who know what they are doing; he is angry with those who cause trouble.


Chapter 15
1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger.
2The wise person makes learning a joy; fools spout only foolishness.
3The LORD is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good.
4Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.
5Only a fool despises a parent's discipline; whoever learns from correction is wise.
6There is treasure in
the house of the godly, but the earnings of the wicked bring trouble.
7Only the wise can give good advice; fools cannot do so.
8The LORD hates
the sacrifice of the wicked, but he delights in the prayers of the upright.
9The LORD despises the way of the wicked, but he loves those who pursue godliness.
10Whoever abandons the right path will be severely punished; whoever hates correction will die.
11Even the depths of Death and Destruction are known by the LORD. How much more does he know the human heart!
12Mockers don't love those who rebuke them, so they stay away from the wise.
13A glad heart makes a happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit.
14A wise person is hungry for truth, while the fool feeds on trash.
15For the poor, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is
a continual feast.
16It is better to have little with fear for the LORD than to have great treasure with turmoil.
17A bowl of soup with someone you love is better than steak with someone you hate.
18A hothead starts fights; a cool-tempered person tries to stop them.
19A lazy person has trouble all through life; the path of the upright is easy!
20Sensible children bring joy to their father; foolish children despise their mother.
21Foolishness brings joy to those who have no sense; a sensible person stays on the right path.
22Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many counselors bring success.
23Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time!
24The path of the wise leads to life above; they leave the grave behind.
25The LORD destroys
the house of the proud, but he protects the property of widows.
26The LORD despises the thoughts of the wicked, but he delights in pure words.
27Dishonest money brings grief to the whole family, but those who hate bribes will live.
28The godly think before speaking; the wicked spout evil words.
29The LORD
is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayers of the righteous.
30A cheerful look brings joy to the heart; good news makes for good health.
31If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home
among the wise.
32If you reject criticism, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.
33Fear of the LORD teaches a person to be wise; humility precedes honor.


Chapter 16
1 We can gather our thoughts, but the LORD gives the right answer.
2People may be pure in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their motives.
3Commit your work to the LORD, and then your plans will succeed.
4The LORD has made everything for his own purposes, even the wicked for punishment.
5The LORD despises pride; be assured that the proud will be punished.
6Unfailing love
and faithfulness cover sin; evil is avoided by fear of the LORD.
7When the ways of people please the LORD, he makes even their enemies live at peace with them.
8It is better to be poor and godly than rich and dishonest.
9We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.
10The king speaks with divine wisdom; he must never judge unfairly.
11The LORD demands fairness in every business deal; he sets the standard.
12A king despises wrongdoing, for his rule depends on his justice.
13The king is pleased with righteous lips; he loves those who speak honestly.
14The anger of the king is a deadly threat; the wise do what they can to appease it.
15When the king smiles, there is life; his favor refreshes like a gentle rain.
16How much better to get wisdom
than gold, and understanding than silver!
17The path of the upright leads away from evil; whoever follows that path is safe.
18Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.
19It is better to live humbly with the poor than to share plunder with the proud.
20Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the LORD will be happy.
21The wise are known for their understanding, and instruction is appreciated if it's well presented.
22Discretion is a life-giving fountain to those who possess it, but discipline is wasted on fools.
23From a wise mind comes wise speech; the words of the wise are persuasive.
24Kind words are like honey--sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
25There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.
26It is good for workers to have an appetite; an empty stomach drives them on.
27Scoundrels hunt for scandal; their words are a destructive blaze.
28A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends.
29Violent people deceive their companions, leading them down a harmful path.
30With narrowed eyes, they plot evil; without a word, they plan their mischief.
31Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life.
32It is better to be patient than powerful; it is better to have self-control than to conquer a city.
33We may throw the dice, but the LORD determines how they fall.

Chapter 17
1 A dry crust eaten in peace
is better than a great feast with strife.
2A wise slave will rule over the master's shameful sons and will share their inheritance.
3Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but the LORD tests the heart.
4Wrongdoers listen to wicked talk; liars pay attention to destructive words.
5Those who mock the poor insult their Maker; those who rejoice at the misfortune of others will be punished.
6Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged; parents are the pride of their children.
7Eloquent speech is not fitting for a fool; even less are lies fitting for a ruler.
8A bribe seems to work like magic for those who give it; they succeed in all they do.
9Disregarding another person's faults preserves love; telling about them separates close friends.
10A single rebuke does more for a person of understanding than a hundred lashes on the back of a fool.
11Evil people seek rebellion, but they will be severely punished.
12It is safer to meet a
bear robbed of her cubs than to confront a fool caught in folly.
13If you repay evil for good, evil will never leave your house.
14Beginning a quarrel is like opening a floodgate, so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.
15The LORD despises those who acquit the guilty and condemn the innocent.
16It is senseless to pay tuition to educate a fool who has no heart for wisdom.
17A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.
18It is poor judgment to co-sign a friend's note, to become responsible for a neighbor's debts.
19Anyone who loves to quarrel loves sin; anyone who speaks boastfully invites disaster.
20The crooked heart will not prosper; the twisted tongue tumbles into trouble.
21It is painful to be the parent of a fool; there is no joy for
the father of a rebel.
22A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person's strength.
23The wicked accept secret bribes to pervert justice.
24Sensible people keep their eyes glued on wisdom, but a fool's eyes wander to the ends of the earth.
25A foolish child brings grief to a father and bitterness to a mother.
26It is wrong to fine the godly for being good or to punish nobles for being honest!
27A truly wise person uses few words; a person with
understanding is even-tempered.
28Even fools are thought to be wise when they keep silent; when they keep their mouths shut, they seem intelligent.


Chapter 18
1 A recluse is self-indulgent, snarling at every sound principle of conduct.
2Fools have no interest
in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.
3When the wicked arrive, contempt, shame, and disgrace are sure to follow.
4A person's words can be life-giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook.
5It is wrong for a judge to favor the guilty or condemn the innocent.
6Fools get into constant quarrels; they are asking for a beating.
7The mouths of fools are their ruin; their lips get them into trouble.
8What dainty morsels rumors are--but they sink deep into one's heart.
9A lazy person is as bad as someone who destroys things.
10The
name of the LORD is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe.
11The rich think of their wealth as an impregnable defense; they imagine it is a high wall of safety.
12Haughtiness goes before destruction; humility precedes honor.
13What a shame, what folly, to give advice before listening to the facts!
14The human spirit can endure a sick body, but who can bear it if the spirit is crushed?
15Intelligent people are always open to new ideas. In fact, they look for them.
16Giving a gift works wonders; it may bring you before important people!
17Any story sounds true until someone sets the record straight.
18Casting lots can end arguments and settle disputes between powerful opponents.
19It's harder to make amends with an offended friend than to capture a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with iron bars.
20Words satisfy the soul as food satisfies the stomach; the right words on a person's lips bring satisfaction.
21Those who love to talk will experience the consequences, for the tongue can kill or nourish life.
22The man who finds a wife finds a treasure and receives favor from the LORD.
23The poor plead for mercy; the rich answer with insults.
24There are "friends" who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer
than a brother.


Chapter 19
1 It is better to be poor and honest than to be a fool and dishonest.
2Zeal without knowledge is not good; a person who moves too quickly may go the wrong way.
3People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the LORD.
4Wealth makes many "friends"; poverty drives them away.
5A
false witness will not go unpunished, nor will a liar escape.
6Many beg favors from a prince; everyone is the friend of a person who gives gifts!
7If the relatives of the poor despise them, how much more will their friends avoid them. The poor call after them, but they are gone.
8To acquire wisdom is to love oneself; people who cherish understanding will prosper.
9A false witness will not go
unpunished, and a liar will be destroyed.
10It isn't right for a fool to live in luxury or for a slave to rule over princes!
11People with good sense restrain their anger; they earn esteem by overlooking wrongs.
12The king's anger is like a lion's roar, but his favor is like dew on the grass.
13A foolish child is a calamity to a father; a nagging wife annoys like a constant dripping.
14Parents can provide their sons with an inheritance of houses and wealth, but only the LORD can give an understanding wife.
15A lazy person sleeps soundly--and goes hungry.
16Keep
the commandments and keep your life; despising them leads to death.
17If you help the poor, you are lending to the LORD--and he will repay you!
18Discipline your children
while there is hope. If you don't, you will ruin their lives.
19Short-tempered people must pay their own penalty. If you rescue them once, you will have to do it again.
20Get all the advice and instruction you can, and be wise the rest of your life.
21You can make many plans, but the LORD's purpose will prevail.
22Loyalty makes a person attractive. And it is better to be poor than dishonest.
23Fear of the LORD gives life, security, and protection from harm.
24Some people are so lazy that they won't even lift a finger to feed themselves.
25If you punish a mocker, the simpleminded will learn a lesson; if you reprove the wise, they will be all the wiser.
26Children who mistreat their father or chase away their mother are a public disgrace and an embarrassment.
27If you stop listening to instruction, my child, you have turned your back on knowledge.
28A corrupt witness makes a mockery of justice; the mouth of the wicked gulps down evil.
29Mockers will be punished, and the backs of fools will be beaten.


Chapter 20
1 Wine produces mockers; liquor leads to brawls. Whoever is led astray by drink cannot be wise.
2The king's fury is like a lion's roar; to rouse his anger is to risk your life.
3Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor; only fools insist on quarreling.
4If you are too lazy to plow in the right season, you will have no food at the harvest.
5Though good advice lies deep within a person's heart, the wise will draw it out.
6Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is really faithful?
7The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children after them.
8When a king judges, he carefully weighs all the evidence, distinguishing the bad from the good.
9Who can say, "I have cleansed my heart; I am pure and free from sin"?
10The LORD despises double standards of every kind.
11Even children are known by the way they act, whether their conduct is pure and right.
12Ears to hear and eyes to see--both are gifts from the LORD.
13If you love sleep, you will end in poverty. Keep your eyes open, and there will be plenty to eat!
14The buyer haggles over the price, saying, "It's worthless," then brags about getting a bargain!
15Wise speech is rarer and more valuable than gold and rubies.
16Be sure to get collateral from anyone who guarantees the debt of a stranger. Get a deposit if someone guarantees the debt of a foreigner.
17Stolen bread tastes sweet, but it turns to gravel in the mouth.
18Plans succeed through good counsel; don't go to war without the advice of others.
19A gossip tells secrets, so don't hang around with someone who talks too much.
20If you curse your father or mother, the lamp of your life will be snuffed out.
21An inheritance obtained early in life is not a blessing in the end.
22Don't say, "I will get even for this wrong." Wait for the LORD to handle the matter.
23The LORD despises double standards; he is not pleased by dishonest scales.
24How can we understand the road we travel? It is the LORD who directs our steps.
25It is dangerous to make a rash promise to God before counting the cost.
26A wise king finds the wicked, lays them out like wheat, then runs the crushing wheel over them.
27The LORD's searchlight penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive.
28Unfailing love and faithfulness protect the king; his throne is made secure through love.
29The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old.
30Physical punishment cleanses away evil; such discipline purifies the heart.


Chapter 21
1 The king's heart is like a stream of water directed by the LORD; he turns it wherever he pleases.
2People may think they are doing what is right, but the LORD examines the heart.
3The LORD is more pleased when we do what is just and right than when we give him sacrifices.
4Haughty eyes, a proud heart, and evil actions are all sin.
5Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.
6Wealth created by lying is a vanishing mist and a deadly trap.
7Because the wicked refuse to do what is just, their violence boomerangs and destroys them.
8The guilty walk a crooked path; the innocent travel a straight road.
9It is better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a contentious wife in a lovely home.
10Evil people love to harm others; their neighbors get no mercy from them.
11A simpleton can learn only by seeing mockers punished; a wise person learns from instruction.
12The Righteous One knows what is going on in the homes of the wicked; he will bring the wicked to disaster.
13Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need.
14A secret gift calms anger; a secret bribe pacifies fury.
15Justice is a joy to the godly, but it causes dismay among evildoers.
16The person who strays from common sense will end up in the company of the dead.
17Those who love pleasure become poor; wine and luxury are not the way to riches.
18Sometimes the wicked are punished to save the godly, and the treacherous for the upright.
19It is better to live alone in the desert than with a crabby, complaining wife.
20The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get.
21Whoever pursues godliness and unfailing love will find life, godliness, and honor.
22The wise conquer the city of the strong and level the fortress in which they trust.
23If you keep your mouth shut, you will stay out of trouble.
24Mockers are proud and haughty; they act with boundless arrogance.
25The desires of lazy people will be their ruin, for their hands refuse to work. 26They are always greedy for more, while the godly love to give!
27God loathes the sacrifice of an evil person, especially when it is brought with ulterior motives.
28A
false witness will be cut off, but an attentive witness will be allowed to speak.
29The wicked put up a bold front, but the upright proceed with care.
30Human plans, no matter how wise or well advised, cannot stand against the LORD.
31The horses are prepared for battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD.


Chapter 22
1 Choose a good reputation over great riches, for being held in high esteem is better than having silver or gold.
2The rich and the poor have this in common: The LORD
made them both.
3A prudent person foresees the danger ahead and takes precautions; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.
4True humility and fear of the LORD lead to riches, honor, and long life.
5The deceitful walk a thorny, treacherous road; whoever values life will stay away.
6Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will remain upon it.
7Just as the rich rule the poor, so
the borrower is servant to the lender.
8Those who plant seeds of injustice will harvest disaster, and their reign of terror will end.
9Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor.
10Throw out the mocker, and fighting, quarrels, and insults will disappear.
11Anyone who loves a pure heart and gracious speech is the king's friend.
12The LORD preserves
knowledge, but he ruins the plans of the deceitful.
13The lazy person is full of excuses, saying, "If I go outside, I might meet a lion in the street and be killed!"
14The mouth of an immoral woman is a deep pit; those living under the LORD's displeasure will fall into it.
15A youngster's heart is filled with foolishness, but discipline will drive it away.
16A person who gets ahead by oppressing the poor or by showering gifts on the rich will end in poverty.


Thirty Sayings of the Wise

17Listen to
the words of the wise; apply your heart to my instruction. 18For it is good to keep these sayings deep within yourself, always ready on your lips. 19I am teaching you today--yes, you--so you will trust in the LORD. 20I have written thirty sayings for you, filled with advice and knowledge. 21In this way, you may know the truth and bring an accurate report to those who sent you.
22Do not rob
the poor because they are poor or exploit the needy in court. 23For the LORD is their defender. He will injure anyone who injures them.
24Keep away from angry, short-tempered people, 25or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul.
26Do not co-sign another person's note or put up a guarantee for someone else's loan. 27If you can't pay it, even your bed will be snatched from under you.
28Do not steal your neighbor's property by moving the ancient boundary markers set up by your ancestors.
29Do you see any truly competent workers? They will serve kings rather than ordinary people.


Chapter 23
1 When dining with a ruler, pay attention to what is put before you. 2If you are a big eater, put a knife to your throat, 3and don't desire all the delicacies--deception may be involved.
4Don't weary yourself trying to get rich. Why waste your time? 5For riches can disappear as though they had the wings of a bird!
6Don't eat with people who are stingy; don't desire their delicacies. 7"Eat and drink," they say, but they don't mean it. They are always thinking about how much it costs. 8You will vomit up the delicious food they serve, and you will have to take back your words of appreciation for their "kindness."
9Don't waste your breath on fools, for they
will despise the wisest advice.
10Don't steal the land of defenseless orphans by moving the ancient boundary markers, 11for their Redeemer is strong. He himself will bring their charges against you.
12Commit yourself to instruction; attune your ears to hear
words of knowledge.
13Don't fail to correct your children. They won't die if you spank them. 14Physical discipline may well save them from death.
15My child, how I will rejoice if you become wise. 16Yes, my heart will thrill when you speak what is right and just.
17Don't envy sinners, but always continue to fear the LORD. 18For surely you have a future ahead of you; your hope will not be disappointed.
19My child, listen and be wise. Keep your heart on the right course. 20Do not carouse with drunkards and gluttons, 21for they are on their way to poverty. Too much sleep clothes a person with rags.
22Listen to your father, who gave you life, and don't despise your mother's experience
when she is old. 23Get the truth and don't ever sell it; also get wisdom, discipline, and discernment. 24The father of godly children has cause for joy. What a pleasure it is to have wise children. 25So give your parents joy! May she who gave you birth be happy.
26O my son, give me your heart. May your eyes delight in my ways of wisdom. 27A prostitute is a deep pit; an adulterous woman is treacherous. 28She hides and waits like a robber, looking for another victim who will be unfaithful to his wife.
29Who has anguish? Who has sorrow? Who is always fighting? Who is always complaining? Who has unnecessary bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? 30It is the one who spends long hours in the taverns, trying out new drinks. 31Don't let the sparkle and smooth taste of wine deceive you. 32For in the end it bites like a poisonous serpent; it stings like a viper. 33You will see hallucinations, and you will say crazy things. 34You will stagger like a sailor tossed at sea, clinging to a swaying mast. 35And you will say, "They hit me, but I didn't feel it. I didn't even know it when they beat me up. When will I wake up so I can have another drink?"


Chapter 24
1 Don't envy evil people; don't desire their company. 2For they spend their days plotting violence, and their words are always stirring up trouble.
3A house is built by wisdom and becomes strong through good sense. 4Through knowledge its rooms are
filled with all sorts of precious riches and valuables.
5A wise man is mightier than a strong man, and a man of knowledge is more powerful than a strong man. 6So don't go to war without wise guidance; victory depends on having many counselors.
7Wisdom is too much for a fool. When the leaders gather, the fool has nothing to say.
8A person who plans evil will get a reputation as a troublemaker. 9The schemes of a fool are sinful; everyone despises a mocker.
10If you fail under pressure, your strength is not very great.
11Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to death; don't stand back and let them die. 12Don't try to avoid responsibility by saying you didn't know about it. For God knows all hearts, and he sees you. He keeps watch over your soul, and he knows you knew! And he will judge all people according to what they have done.
13My child, eat honey, for it is good, and the honeycomb is sweet to the taste. 14In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short.
15Do not lie in wait like an outlaw at the home of the godly. And don't raid the house where the godly live. 16They may trip seven times, but each time they will rise again. But one calamity is enough to lay the wicked low.
17Do not rejoice when your enemies fall into trouble. Don't be happy when they stumble. 18For the LORD will be displeased with you and will turn his anger away from them.
19Do not fret because of evildoers; don't envy the wicked. 20For the evil have no future; their light will be snuffed out.
21My child, fear the LORD and the king, and don't associate with rebels. 22For you will go down with them to sudden disaster. Who knows where the punishment from the LORD and the king will end?


More Sayings of the Wise

23Here are some further sayings of the wise:
It is wrong to show favoritism when passing judgment.
24A judge who says to the wicked, "You are innocent," will be cursed by many people and denounced by the nations. 25But blessings are showered on those who convict the guilty.
26It is an honor to receive an honest reply.
27Develop your business first before building your house.
28Do not testify spitefully against innocent neighbors; don't lie about them. 29And don't say, "Now I can pay them back for all their meanness to me! I'll get even!"
30I walked by the field of a lazy person, the vineyard of one lacking sense. 31I saw that it was overgrown with thorns. It was covered with weeds, and its walls were broken down. 32Then, as I looked and thought about it, I learned this lesson: 33A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest-- 34and poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.

Chapter 25


More Proverbs of Solomon

1These are more proverbs of Solomon, collected by the advisers of King Hezekiah of Judah.
2It is God's privilege to conceal things and the king's privilege to discover them.
3No one can discover the height of heaven, the depth of the earth, or all that goes on in the king's mind!
4Remove the dross from silver, and the sterling will be ready for the silversmith. 5Remove the wicked from the king's court, and his reign will be made secure by justice.
6Don't demand an audience with the king or push for a place among the great. 7It is better to wait for an invitation than to be sent to the end of the line, publicly disgraced!
Just because you see something,
8don't be in a hurry to go to court. You might go down before your neighbors in shameful defeat. 9So discuss the matter with them privately. Don't tell anyone else, 10or others may accuse you of gossip. Then you will never regain your good reputation.
11Timely advice is as lovely as golden apples in a silver basket.
12Valid criticism is as treasured by the one who heeds it as jewelry made from finest gold.
13Faithful messengers are as refreshing as snow in the heat of summer. They revive the spirit of their employer.
14A person who doesn't give a promised gift is like clouds and wind that don't bring rain.
15Patience can persuade a prince, and soft speech can crush strong opposition.
16Do you like honey? Don't eat too much of it, or it will make you sick!
17Don't visit your neighbors too often, or you will wear out your welcome.
18Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax, wounding them with a sword, or shooting them with a sharp arrow.
19Putting confidence in an unreliable person is like chewing with a toothache or walking on a broken foot.
20Singing cheerful songs to a person whose heart is heavy is as bad as stealing someone's jacket in cold weather or rubbing salt in a wound.
21If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, give them water to drink. 22You will heap burning coals on their heads, and the LORD will reward you.
23As surely as a wind from the north brings rain, so a gossiping tongue causes anger!
24It is better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a contentious wife in a lovely home.
25Good news from far away is like cold water to the thirsty.
26If the godly compromise with the wicked, it is like polluting a fountain or muddying a spring.
27Just as it is not good to eat too much honey, it is not good for people to think about all the honors they deserve.
28A person without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken-down walls.


Chapter 26
1 Honor doesn't go with fools any more than snow with summer or rain with harvest.
2Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an unfair curse will not land on its intended victim.
3Guide a horse with a whip, a donkey with a bridle, and a fool with a rod to his back!
4When arguing with fools, don't answer their foolish arguments, or you will become as foolish as they are.
5When arguing with fools, be sure to answer their foolish arguments, or they will become wise in their own estimation.
6Trusting a fool to convey a message is as foolish as cutting off one's feet or drinking poison!
7In the mouth of a fool, a proverb becomes as limp as a paralyzed leg.
8Honoring a fool is as foolish as tying a stone to a slingshot.
9A proverb in a fool's mouth is as dangerous as a thornbush brandished by a drunkard.
10An employer who hires a fool or a bystander is like an archer who shoots recklessly.
11As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.
12There is more hope for fools than for people who think they are wise.
13The lazy person is full of excuses, saying, "I can't go outside because there might be a lion on the road! Yes, I'm sure there's a lion out there!"
14As a door turns back and forth on its hinges, so the lazy person turns over in bed.
15Some people are so lazy that they won't lift a finger to feed themselves.
16Lazy people consider themselves smarter than seven wise counselors.
17Yanking a dog's ears is as foolish as interfering in someone else's argument.
18Just as damaging as a mad man shooting a lethal weapon 19is someone who lies to a friend and then says, "I was only joking."
20Fire goes out for lack of fuel, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.
21A quarrelsome person starts fights as easily as hot embers light charcoal or fire lights wood.
22What dainty morsels rumors are--but they sink deep into one's heart.
23Smooth words may hide a wicked heart, just as a pretty glaze covers a common clay pot.
24People with hate in their hearts may sound pleasant enough, but don't believe them. 25Though they pretend to be kind, their hearts are full of all kinds of evil. 26While their hatred may be concealed by trickery, it will finally come to light for all to see.
27If you set a trap for others, you will get caught in it yourself. If you roll a boulder down on others, it will roll back and crush you.
28A lying tongue hates its victims, and flattery causes ruin.


Chapter 27
1 Don't brag about tomorrow, since you don't know what the day will bring.
2Don't praise yourself; let others do it!
3A stone is heavy and sand is weighty, but the resentment caused by a fool is heavier than both.
4Anger is cruel, and wrath is like a flood, but who can survive the destructiveness of jealousy?
5An open rebuke
is better than hidden love!
6Wounds from a friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.
7Honey seems tasteless to a person who is full, but even bitter food tastes sweet to the hungry.
8A person who strays from home is like a bird that strays from its nest.
9The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.
10Never abandon a friend--either yours or your father's. Then in your time of need, you won't have to ask your relatives for assistance. It is better to go to a neighbor than to a relative who lives far away.
11My child, how happy I will be if you turn out to be wise! Then I will be able to answer my critics.
12A prudent person foresees the danger ahead and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.
13Be sure to get collateral from anyone who guarantees the debt of a stranger. Get a deposit if someone guarantees the debt of an adulterous woman.
14If you shout a pleasant greeting to your neighbor too early in the morning, it will be counted as a curse!
15A nagging wife is as annoying as the constant dripping on a rainy day. 16Trying to stop her complaints is like trying to stop the wind or hold something with greased hands.
17As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend.
18Workers who tend a fig tree are allowed to eat its fruit. In the same way, workers who protect their employer's interests will be rewarded.
19As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the person.
20Just as Death and Destruction are never satisfied, so human desire is never satisfied.
21Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but a person is tested by being praised.
22You cannot separate fools from their foolishness, even though you grind them like grain with mortar and pestle.
23Know the state of your flocks, and put your heart into caring for your herds, 24for riches don't last forever, and the crown might not be secure for the next generation. 25After the hay is harvested, the new crop appears, and the mountain grasses are gathered in, 26your sheep will provide wool for clothing, and your goats will be sold for the price of a field. 27And you will have enough goats' milk for you, your family, and your servants.


Chapter 28
1 The wicked run away when no one is chasing them, but the godly are as bold as lions.
2When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily. But with wise and knowledgeable leaders, there is stability.
3A poor person who oppresses the poor is like a pounding rain that destroys the crops.
4To reject the law is to praise the wicked; to obey the law is to fight them.
5Evil people don't understand justice, but those who follow the LORD understand completely.
6It
is better to be poor and honest than rich and crooked.
7Young people who obey the law are wise; those who seek out worthless companions bring shame to their parents.
8A person who makes money by charging interest will lose it. It will end up in the hands of someone who is kind to the poor.
9The prayers of a person who ignores the law are despised.
10Those who lead the upright into sin will fall into their own trap, but the honest will inherit good things.
11Rich people picture themselves as wise, but their real poverty is evident to the poor.
12When the godly succeed, everyone is glad. When the wicked take charge, people go into hiding.
13People who cover over their sins will not prosper. But if they confess and forsake them, they will receive mercy.
14Blessed are those who have a tender conscience, but the stubborn are headed for serious trouble.
15A wicked ruler is as dangerous to the poor as a lion or bear attacking them.
16Only a stupid prince will oppress his people, but a king will have a long reign if he hates dishonesty and bribes.
17A murderer's tormented conscience will drive him into the grave. Don't protect him!
18The honest will be rescued from harm, but those who are crooked will be destroyed.
19Hard workers have plenty of food; playing around brings poverty.
20The trustworthy will get a rich reward. But the person who wants to get rich quick will only get into trouble.
21Showing partiality is never good, yet some will do wrong for something as small as a piece of bread.
22A greedy person tries to get rich quick, but it only leads to poverty.
23In the end, people appreciate frankness more than flattery.
24Robbing your parents and then saying, "What's wrong with that?" is as serious as committing murder.
25Greed causes fighting; trusting the LORD leads to prosperity.
26Trusting oneself is foolish, but those who walk in wisdom are safe.
27Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing. But a curse will come upon those who close their eyes to poverty.
28When the wicked take charge, people hide. When the wicked meet disaster, the godly multiply.


Chapter 29
1 Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be broken beyond repair.
2When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked are in power, they groan.
3The man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father, but if he hangs around with prostitutes, his wealth is wasted.
4A just king gives stability to his nation, but one who demands bribes destroys it.
5To flatter people is to lay a trap for their feet.
6Evil people are trapped by sin, but the righteous escape, shouting for joy.
7The godly know the rights of the poor; the wicked don't care to know.
8Mockers can get a whole town agitated, but those who are wise will calm anger.
9If a wise person takes a fool to court, there will be ranting and ridicule but no satisfaction.
10The bloodthirsty hate the honest, but the upright seek out the honest.
11A fool gives full vent to anger, but a wise person quietly holds it back.
12If a ruler honors liars, all his advisers will be wicked.
13The poor and the oppressor have this in common--the LORD gives light to the eyes of both.
14A king who is fair to the poor will have a long reign.
15To discipline and reprimand a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child.
16When the wicked are in authority, sin increases. But the godly will live to see the tyrant's downfall.
17Discipline your children, and they will give you happiness and peace of mind.
18When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is happy.
19For a servant, mere words are not enough--discipline is needed. For the words may be understood, but they are not heeded.
20There
is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking.
21A servant who is pampered from childhood will later become a rebel.
22A hot-tempered person starts fights and gets into all kinds of sin.
23Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.
24If you assist a thief, you are only hurting yourself. You will be punished if you report the crime, but you will be cursed if you don't.
25Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but to trust the LORD means safety.
26Many seek the ruler's favor, but justice comes from the LORD.
27The godly despise the wicked; the wicked despise the godly.


Chapter 30


The Sayings of Agur

1The message of Agur son of Jakeh. An oracle.
I am weary, O God; I am weary and worn out, O God.
2I am too ignorant to be human, and I lack common sense. 3I have not mastered human wisdom, nor do I know the Holy One.
4Who but God goes up to heaven and comes back down? Who holds the wind in his fists? Who wraps up the oceans in his cloak? Who has created the whole wide
world? What is his name--and his son's name? Tell me if you know!
5Every word of God proves true. He defends all who come to him for protection. 6Do not add to his words, or he may rebuke you, and you will be found a liar. 7O God, I beg two favors from you before I die. 8First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. 9For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, "Who is the LORD?" And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God's holy name.
10Never slander a person to his employer. If you do, the person will curse you, and you will pay for it.
11Some people curse their father and do not thank their mother. 12They feel pure, but they are filthy and unwashed. 13They are proud beyond description and disdainful. 14They devour the poor with teeth as sharp as swords or knives. They destroy the needy from the face of the earth.

15The leech has two suckers that cry out, "More, more!" There are three other things--no, four!--that are never satisfied:
16
the grave,

the barren womb,

the thirsty desert,

the blazing fire.

17The eye that mocks a father and despises a mother will be plucked out by ravens of the valley and eaten by vultures.

18There
are three things that amaze me--no, four things I do not understand:
19
how an eagle glides through the sky,

how a snake slithers on a rock,

how a ship navigates the ocean,

how a man loves a woman.

20Equally amazing is how an adulterous woman can satisfy her sexual appetite, shrug her shoulders, and then say, "What's wrong with that?"

21There are
three things that make the earth tremble--no, four it cannot endure:
22
a slave who becomes a king,

an overbearing fool who prospers,
23
a bitter woman who finally gets a husband,

a servant girl who supplants her mistress.

24There are four things on earth that are small but unusually wise:
25
Ants--they aren't strong,

but they store up food for the winter.
26
Rock badgers--they aren't powerful,

but they make their homes among the rocky cliffs.
27
Locusts--they have no king,

but they march like an army in ranks.
28
Lizards--they are easy to catch,

but they are found even in kings' palaces.
29There are three stately monarchs on the earth--no, four:
30
the lion, king of animals, who won't turn aside for anything,
31
the strutting rooster,

the male goat,

a king as he leads his army.

32If you have been a fool by being proud or plotting evil, don't brag about it--cover your mouth with your hand in shame.
33As the beating of cream yields butter, and a blow to the nose causes bleeding, so anger causes quarrels.


Chapter 31


The Sayings of King Lemuel

1These are the sayings
of King Lemuel, an oracle that his mother taught him.
2O my son, O son of my womb, O son of my promises, 3do not spend your strength on women, on those who ruin kings.
4And it is not for kings, O Lemuel, to guzzle wine. Rulers should not crave liquor. 5For if they drink, they may forget their duties and be unable to give justice to those who are oppressed. 6Liquor is for the dying, and wine for those in deep depression. 7Let them drink to forget their poverty and remember their troubles no more.
8Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those who are perishing. 9Yes, speak up for
the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.


A Wife of Noble Character

10Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is worth more than precious rubies. 11Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. 12She will not hinder him but help him all her life.
13She finds wool and flax and busily spins it. 14She is like a merchant's ship; she brings her food from afar. 15She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast
for her household and plan the day's work for her servant girls. 16She goes out to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. 18She watches for bargains; her lights burn late into the night. 19Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber.
20She extends a helping
hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.
21She has no fear of winter for her household because all of them have warm clothes. 22She quilts her own bedspreads. She dresses like royalty in gowns of finest cloth.
23Her husband is well known, for he sits in the council meeting with the other civic leaders.
24She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants.
25She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs with no fear of the future. 26When she speaks, her words are wise, and kindness is the rule when she gives instructions. 27She carefully watches all that goes on in her household and does not have to bear the consequences of laziness.
28Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: 29"There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!"
30Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised. 31Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.