Proverbs

 

Proverbs 1 

These are the proverbs of Solomon, the King of Israel and son of David.  He wrote them to teach me how to live!  I can attain wisdom, discipline, insight, and wise behavior – doing what is right, just, and fair!  If am naïve, to make me wise; if I am young, to increase my knowledge and discretion; if I appear wise, to make me even wiser; and if I have discernment, to gain additional insight into the deepest issues of life.  The first step in this journey:  the beginning of knowledge is to trust and reverence the Lord.

I would be a fool not to gain wisdom and instruction from these proverbs. I should listen to my father’s instructions and not forsake the teachings of my mother.  Their guidance will enhance my inner self like jewelry brings beauty to one’s physical appearance.  When sin entices me, I must not consent to it.

Bad people might want me to join them in selfish behaviors.  We would rob and kill others while attempting to get as much personal gain as we could.  I would be asked to destroy others and exalt myself at their expense. These supposed partners would tell me that I could share our plunder as equal partners.  I cannot join them!  I must stay far away from people like this whose way of life is filled with sin.  Even a bird will not be trapped when it sees the trap being set.  So, if I knowingly set a trap for my own life, I will not escape it.  My ill-gotten gain would eat away at my life and trap me in my evil deeds.

Wisdom cries out in the streets; shouts to those in the public square; and speaks to those on busy streets and entrances to the city.  She cries, “You simple ones, how long will you continue your simple ways?  You scoffers, will you always continue your mockery?  You fools, will you hate knowledge forever?  If you listen to my reproof, I will pour out my heart to you and make wisdom known to you.  But you won’t listen and have rejected my pleadings.  You ignored my counsel and did not want my reproof.  When trouble comes, I will laugh.  I will mock you when calamity strikes and overtakes you like a storm; when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind; and when distress and trouble overwhelm you.”

Then I will not answer your cry for help.  It will be too late even though you diligently search after me.  You chose not to reverence the Lord nor trust Him.  You would not accept my counsel and you spurned my reproof.  Now, you must eat the bitter fruit of doing things your own way.  Your life will be filled with the consequences of your chosen path.  You simple ones, turning away from me has caused your death; you fools, your complacency will destroy you.  BUT, everyone who listens to me shall live in peace and safety, without fear of harm.

Proverbs 2

My path to gaining wisdom and good sense should be – taking in God’s word; doing what He commands me to do; always listening for more words of wisdom; managing my emotions with knowledge; and actively desiring insight and discernment.  I must seek that path as if I were searching for silver or hidden treasure.  Then, I will understand how to reverence the Lord, and I will find the knowledge of the living God.  The Lord Himself will give me wisdom, and His every word will increase my knowledge and understanding.

God provides me with abundant good sense when I live with integrity.  He is my shield when I walk in truth, because He guards my path and protects my way.  I will be able to discern how to make correct decisions for my future, as His wisdom enters my heart, and His truth brings joy to my soul.  My discretion and understanding will also watch over me and safeguard me, so that I can stay away from people whose motivations are selfish and evil.

I will not associate with those who have turned from God’s ways and take pleasure in doing whatever they want in dark and devious ways. Wisdom will keep me from being seduced by flattering words and engaging in an adulterous affair with someone who left their spouse and abandoned their covenant with God.  Their way of living leads to death and hell.

If I were to succumb to adultery, my life would never be the same; I would not be walking the path that leads to life! I should follow in the footsteps of the Godly and stay on the right path.  Then, I can experience life to the fullest and be able to remain steadfast.  If I choose the wrong path and am not faithful to the Lord, I well lose what blessings God has already given me, and my life will be destroyed.

Proverbs 3

I must never forget God’s teachings on wisdom, and I need to keep His instructions close to my heart.  By doing that I will extend my days and live in peace and prosperity.  I also must tightly hold on to the virtues of kindness, truth, and faithfulness.  Then my character and reputation will help me find favor in heaven and on earth.

I should trust in the Lord with all of my heart and not depend on my own understanding of my life.  In all my ways I must acknowledge Him, and He will make my paths straight.

I must not be conceited thinking myself wise, but I should reverently fear the

Lord and turn my back on evil.  This will not only be a spiritual blessing, but it will also renew my physical health and vitality.  I am honoring the Lord when I give Him the first part of my income.  Then He will fill my barns, and my wine vats will overflow.

When God disciplines and corrects me, I should not despise or resent it because the Lord disciplines those He loves like a father shows his love for his son when he corrects him. I am blessed when I find wisdom and understanding!  It is actually more profitable to me than acquiring silver, gold, or precious jewelry.  Nothing else compares with it, as wisdom gives me long life, riches, honor, pleasure, and peace.  Wisdom is a tree of life and blessings:  I must hold tightly to it.

The Lord created the earth by His wisdom, and His understanding set the heavens in place.  By His knowledge the waters were divided and the skies brought forth rain. Sound judgment and discretion are also two things I should never let slip away, for they will serve to adorn my life with safety and my feet will not stumble.  I will be able to sleep soundly without fear of sudden disaster or the storms that overtake the wicked.  This is all because my confidence is in the Lord.  He will keep me from falling.

I shouldn’t withhold good from anyone who deserves it whenever it is in my power to do so.  When I have it with me, I should never say to my neighbor that I’ll give it to Him tomorrow, and I should never violate my neighbor’s trust.  Never should I get into needless fights and arguments or envy violent men; for the Lord detests perverse men, but He is a friend to the Godly.  The Lord treats us differently.  He curses the wicked, but blesses the righteous; the Lord mocks the mockers, but gives grace to the humble; and he brings honor to the wise while bringing shame to fools.

Proverbs 4

Wisdom speaks like a Father instructing his son.  I also need to pay attention, so that I may gain understanding.  I should not turn away from the truth of these words.  Wisdom built itself up by being like a good son who was tenderly loved by His Mother.  As a wise teacher, wisdom instructs me to always hold it fast, and to follow its commandments for a long and happy life.  I need to acquire wisdom; get understanding; and never turn away from either of them.  If I cling to them, they will protect me.  If I love them, they will guard over me.

The first step I must take is determining to acquire wisdom and obtain sound judgment.  If I prize and honor wisdom, it will exalt and embrace me, and will place a beautiful crown of grace upon my head.  When I choose to accept wisdom’s teachings, the years of my life will be many.  As I live a life of doing the right thing, I will not stumble or fall.  I must take hold of these instructions and guard them well, as they are my life.

I should not even set my foot in the path of evil much less walk in wickedness.  I must avoid it and go somewhere else as evil men don’t even seem to be able to sleep unless they do evil or cause someone to stumble and fall.  They eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.  But when I am walking on the path of right living, it is like the soft light of dawn that grows brighter until the full light of day comes!  In contrast, if I were to try to walk in the way of the wicked, I would be in the dark and not even know what makes me stumble.

I must listen carefully to wisdom’s teachings.  I must never lose sight of them and need to let them penetrate deeply in my heart.  They are real life to me when I find them, and they bring health to my whole body.  Above all else, I must guard my heart, for it influences every aspect of my life.  Perversity and deceit should not be any part of my speech.  My eyes should look straight ahead, and I should fix my gaze directly before me.  My way will be established when I watch my step; keep from being sidetracked; and keep my foot from evil.

Proverbs 5 

I need to pay attention to wisdom and listen carefully to wise counsel, so that I will maintain discretion and my lips will store knowledge.  However, the lips of an adulteress drip honey and her mouth is smoother than oil.  But in the end, she is bitter as poison and as sharp as a two-edged sword.  Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave.  She doesn’t even think about the path of life, and she isn’t even aware that her ways are unstable.

I should listen carefully to the following advice and never turn aside from it:  I have to stay far away from her and never even go near to the door of her house.  If I ever do, I will be losing my honor to others and my years to someone who is cruel.  Strangers will be filled from my wealth and someone else will enjoy the fruit of my labor.

If I were to be with an adulteress, at the end of my life I would mourn and groan as my body would be consumed by disease.  Then I would say, “How I hated discipline and my heart despised reproof!  Why didn’t I listen to my teachers and those who sought to give me instruction.  I am at the edge of utter ruin and everyone knows it.”  I must drink water from my own well – my wife!  Should I share my waters and have sex with just anyone?  No!  They should be mine alone and not be shared with strangers.

By staying on the right path, my fountains will be blessed and I can rejoice in the wife of my youth.  She is as a loving deer; a graceful doe.  Her breasts should satisfy me at all times, and I should always be exhilarated by her love.  Why should I be exhilarated by a stranger and embrace the breasts of an adulteress?

For my ways are in full view of the Lord, and He examines every path I take.  If I choose the wrong paths, my evil deeds will be as ropes to capture me and hold me fast.  I would die for lack of self-control; I would be led astray by my own folly.

Proverbs 6

If I co-sign a loan with a friend or shake hands on a deal with a stranger, and that results in my being trapped by the words of my mouth and caught by what I said, then this is what I must do to get out of it!  Because I have put myself in a situation where I am at someone else’s mercy, I must humble myself and beg my neighbor to let me get out of it.  I need to go to them immediately and not rest until I’ve taken care of it.  I have to struggle to get free of my obligation like a deer trying to escape a hunter or a bird working to escape fro a net.

When I am lazy, I should consider the ways of the ant and become wise.  It doesn’t have a ruler, boss, or commander, yet it stores up provisions in the summer and gathers its food at harvest.  How long will I sleep before I become a sluggard?  When will I wake up?  For a little sleep; a little slumber; a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will pounce upon me like a bandit and scarcity like an armed robber.

I must not behave like a wicked and worthless person.  If I act like this – lying; signaling secretly with winks; motioning deceptively with my fingers; devising evil plans in my heart continually; stirring up trouble – then calamity will come upon me suddenly, and I will be broken without remedy.  There are six things the Lord hates, no seven that are detestable to Him:  a proud look; a lying tongue; hands that shed innocent blood; a heart that devises wicked schemes; feet that run rapidly to evil; a false witness who utters lies; and a person who spreads discord among brothers.

I am to keep my father’s commands and not forsake the teachings of my mother.  Their words should always be kept in my heart, and I should tie them around my neck.  If I do that, they will guide me wherever I go.  They will protect me when I sleep, and talk with me when I wake-up.  For these commands are like a lamp, and these teachings like a light.

The corrections of discipline are the way to life.  They also keep me from the immoral woman and from the smooth tongue of the adulteress.  I should not lust in my heart after her beauty or let her eyes captivate me.  For a prostitute reduces me to a loaf of bread, for being with an adulteress could cost me my very life. Can I take fire into my lap and not be burned?  Can I walk on hot coals and not scorch my feet?  No, it will happen if I sleep with another man’s wife – embracing her will bring punishment upon me.

I might have an excuse if I were starving and stole for something to eat.  Yet, if I were caught, I would have to pay seven times what I took even if it meant having to sell everything in my house to pay it back.  But if I commit adultery, I demonstrate a lack of understanding by destroying myself.  Wounds and disgrace will be my lot, and my shame will not be blotted out.  For the jealousy I kindled in the husband will grow to a rage and there will be no mercy in his day of vengeance.  No amount of compensation or bribery will stop him.

Proverbs 7

I must not merely read God’s words, but I should treat them like my most precious possession and obey them and live.  I need to tie them on my fingers and write them down as if on tablets in my heart.  Wisdom should be like a sister to me, and understanding as a member of my family.  They will hold me back form having an affair or getting caught up in the flattery of a seductress.

Wisdom personified warns me through the following illustration.  Looking out through the latticework in its window, wisdom discerns among the naïve a young man who lacks common sense.  He walks down the street near the house of an immoral woman at twilight, as the day is fading and as the dark of the night is setting in.  The woman approaches him dressed like a prostitute filled with cunning words.

She is loud and rebellious; the kind that never stays at home.  She lurks in the streets and busy places, and she waits at every corner. The seductress then grabbed him, kissed him, and with a brazen look said, “I was due to offer peace offerings and just finished my vows, so I excitedly came out to meet you and have found you.  I have covered my bed with colored linens from Egypt.  I have perfumed it with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.  Come with me and let us drink our fill of love until morning.  Let us delight in each other’s caresses.  For my husband is not at home and has gone on a long journey; he took a purse filled with money and won’t be back until later in the month.”

With her persuasive speech, she seduced him, and she enticed him with flattering lips. He immediately followed the seductress like an ox going to slaughter or like a fool going to the correction of the stocks until an arrow pierces his liver.  He acted like a bird rapidly flying into a snare not knowing that it would cost him his life.  I must listen to wisdom’s story and pay attention to what it says.

I cannot let my heart turn towards her ways; I must not stray into her paths.  For she has had numerous victims, and she has been the ruin of many mighty men.  Her house is a highway to the grave descending to the chambers of death.

 Proverbs 8

Wisdom calls out to me, and understanding lifts up her voice.  She stands on high places along my path and takes her stand.  Beside the gates and entrances to the city she cries out, “I call out to all of mankind.  I raise my voice to all people.  O naïve ones, value discretion; O foolish ones, gain understanding.  Listen, for I will speak of excellent things.  Everything I say is right.  For my mouth speaks what is truth, as my lips detest wickedness.”

“All of the words of my mouth are good; there is nothing crooked or perverted in them.  My words are straightforward to those who understand and right to those who find knowledge.  Choose my instructions instead of silver, and knowledge rather than the choicest gold.  For wisdom is more precious than rubies; none of your desires compare to her.”

“I, Wisdom, dwell together with good sense, and I determine knowledge and discretion.  All who fear the Lord will hate evil, as I hate pride, arrogance, evil behavior, and perverted speech.  Counsel and sound judgment are mine.  Insight and strength belong to me.  By me, kings reign and rulers make laws that are just.  Governments lead with my help, and nobles make righteous judgments”.

“I love those who love me.  Those who diligently seek me will find me.  With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity.  My fruit is better than fine gold, and my wages better than the choicest silver.  I walk in the way of righteousness, along paths of justice, bestowing wealth on those who love me by filling their treasuries.”

“The Lord brought me (wisdom) forth as the first of His works, before He created anything else.  From everlasting I was established; at the first, before the earth began.  I was born before the oceans were created; before springs abounded with water; before the mountains and the hills were formed; and before He made the earth, its fields, or its dust.”

“I was there when He established the heavens; when He marked the horizon on the face of the deep; when He set the clouds above; when the springs of the earth became fixed; when He set the boundary for the oceans so that the water would not exceed the limits He set for them; and when He marked off the earth’s foundations.  Then, I was the craftsman at His side.  I was His continuous pleasure, and I rejoiced always in His presence.  I rejoiced in His creation of earth, and I delighted in the creation of mankind.”

“Now therefore my children listen to me, for blessed are those who keep my ways.  Heed my instruction and be wise.  Do not ignore it!  Blessed are those who listen to me; watching daily at my gates; waiting for me at my doorway.  For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord.  But whoever sins against me harms his own soul.  All those who hate me love death.

Proverbs 9

Wisdom has built her house with seven pillars.  She has prepared her food; mixed her wine; and set her table.  She has sent out her maids and she calls from the highest point of the city, “Let all who are naïve come in here.”  To those who lack understanding she says, “Come, eat my food and drink of the wine I have mixed. Leave your foolish ways behind and live in the way of understanding.”

When I correct a mocker, I will be dishonored, and when I reprove a wicked man, I will be insulted.  I should not rebuke scoffers, as they will hate me for it.  However, when I correct a wise man, he will love me for it!  When I give instruction to a wise man, he will be wiser still.  When I teach the righteous, they will learn even more! When I fear the Lord, I am on the road that leads to wisdom.

My increasing knowledge of the Holy One results in my further understanding.  By wisdom my days shall be multiplied and the years of my life will increase.  When I am wise, I am the one who benefits.  But if I scorn wisdom, I will be the one to suffer.

The woman of folly is boisterous; simple; and knows nothing.  She sits in her doorway on a seat overlooking the city, calling out to me even when I am simply minding my own business, “Turn here to me you who are naïve.”  And when I am lacking understanding she says, “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret tastes the best!”  I must realize, unlike some, that death is with her, and her former guests are now in the grave.

Proverbs 10

These are the Proverbs of Solomon:  A wise son brings a father joy, but a foolish son is grief to his mother.  Ill-gotten gain is of no real value to me, but righteous living can save my life.   When I am godly, the Lord will not let me starve to death, but He rejects the cravings of the wicked.  My laziness will result in me being poor, but diligent work brings wealth.

I am acting wisely when I gather crops in the summer, but I bring shame upon myself if I sleep during harvest.  Right living showers my life with blessings, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence. People will have good memories of me when I lead a godly life, but the memories of the wicked will rot.  By accepting instruction, I am acting wisely, but a babbling fool comes to ruin.

When I walk with integrity, I have secure footing, but those who follow a crooked path will slip and fall.  If I just wink at wrong, I will cause trouble, and a babbling fool comes to ruin.  My righteous words are a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.  Hatred stirs up strife, but wrongs are covered when I operate in love. My lips speak wisely when I am discerning, but a rod is for the back of one who lacks understanding.

Storing up knowledge causes me to become wise, but ruin is mine if I speak foolishly.  The rich man’s wealth is his fortress; the destruction of the poor is his poverty.  When I am godly, my earnings enhance my life, but the income of the wicked brings them punishment.  When I listen to instruction, I am on the pathway to life, but by ignoring instruction, I lead others astray.  I am lying by concealing my hatred, and whoever spreads slander is a fool. Where there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, so I am wise to refrain my lips.

My tongue is like choice silver when I am righteous, but the heart of the wicked is worth little.  My words nourish many when I am godly, but fools die for lack of wisdom.  It is the blessing of the Lord that makes me rich, and He adds no sorrow to it.  A fool finds pleasure in doing wrong, but I find pleasure in wise conduct.  What the wicked fears will come upon him, while my righteous desires will be granted.  When the whirlwind passes, the wicked is no more, but my righteousness will stand firm forever.

If I am lazy, it is like smoke to the eyes or vinegar to the teeth to those who depend on me.  The fear of the Lord prolongs my days, but the years of the wicked are cut short.  My righteous living results in joyful hope, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.  The way of the Lord is my refuge, but it is ruin to the wicked.   By righteous living, I will never be shaken, but the wicked will not remain in the land.  As a godly person, I am able to give wise advice, but the perverse tongue will be cut off.  My lips should speak words that are helpful, but the wicked speak only what is corrupt.

Proverbs 11

The Lord hates a false balance, but He delights in my using a just weight.  My pride leads to dishonor, but humility brings me wisdom.  When I am righteous, my integrity will guide me, but the crookedness of the treacherous will destroy them.  My wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but my righteousness delivers me from death. My blameless righteousness smoothes my way, but the wicked will fall by their own wickedness.

When a wicked man dies, his hope perishes; all he expected from his power comes to nothing. My righteousness helps deliver me from trouble, which comes on the wicked instead.  With his mouth the godless man destroys his neighbor, but my knowledge will deliver me.  When things go well with the righteous, the city rejoices; when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy.  An entire city can be blessed by my uprightness, but the mouth of the wicked destroys it.  If I lack judgment, I might deride my neighbor, but if I have understanding, I remain silent.  A gossip reveals secrets, but as a trustworthy person, I can keep a confidence.

Where there is no guidance, a nation fails, but with many counselors there is victory.  If I guarantee a loan for a stranger, I will surely suffer for it; but if I refuse to do so, I will be safe.  A gracious woman attains honor; but ruthless men gain only wealth. When I am kind, I am doing good to my own soul; but when I am cruel, I bring trouble on myself.   The wicked earn deceptive wages, but by sowing righteousness, I gain a true reward.

If I am steadfast in righteousness, I will attain life, but those who pursue evil find death. Those who are perverse in heart are an abomination to the Lord, but he delights in me when I walk in uprightness.  Be sure of this:  the wicked will not go unpunished, but my righteous living results in my children being delivered.  Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout, so is a beautiful woman who lacks discretion.  The desire of the righteous ends only in good, while the wicked can expect only wrath.

By giving freely, I can still gain even more; but if I withhold what is justly due, poverty awaits.  By being generous, I will prosper; by refreshing others, I will be refreshed. People curse the one who withholds grain, but blessing is on the head of the one who sells it.  When I diligently search for good, I will find favor; but if I seek out evil, it will find me.  Those who trust in their wealth will fall, but my righteous living results in me flourishing like spring leaves.

If I bring trouble on my family, I will inherit only the wind; the fool will be a servant to the wise.  The fruit of my righteous living is a tree of life, and it is wise for me to win souls.  If the righteous are rewarded on the earth, how much more true that the ungodly and the sinner get what they deserve.

Proverbs 12

By loving discipline, I show that I love knowledge, as hating correction is stupid.   As a good person, I will obtain favor from the Lord, but He will condemn those who plan wickedness.  People cannot be established by wickedness, but when I am godly, my roots will not be moved.  An excellent wife is her husband’s joy and crown, but a disgraceful wife is like rottenness to his bones.

As a godly person, my plans are just, but the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.  The words of the wicked are like a murderous ambush, but my words can deliver them.  The wicked are overthrown and are gone, but as a righteous person, my house will stand! I will be praised because of my wisdom and good sense, but a warped mind is despised.  It is better for me to be a nobody with a servant than to be self-important yet lack bread.  As a godly person, I must care for the needs of my animals, but even the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.

By working hard, I will have plenty of food, but those who pursue worthless things lack judgment.  The wicked desire the ill-gotten gains of evil men, but it is my roots that are flourishing.  The wicked are trapped by their own words, but by being just, I will escape trouble.  The fruit of my words is a life filled with good, just as the work of my hands will reward me. The way of a fool seems right is his own eyes, but to be wise, I need to listen to advice.  A fool shows his annoyance at once, but I am wise to stay calm when insulted.

When I speak the truth, I make an honest witness, but a false witness tells lies.  Some people’s words cut like the thrusts of a sword, but my wise words bring healing.  Truth stands the test of time, but if I were to lie, it would soon be exposed. Deceit is in the hearts of those who devise evil, but joy is mine when I am a counselor of peace.  No evil will happen to the righteous, but the wicked have their fill of trouble.

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord; but when I live my life with truth, He is delighted.  Acting wisely means I don’t make a show of knowledge, but the heart of fools proclaims folly.  The hands of the diligent will rule; but by being lazy, I will end up being their servant.  My heart is weighed down when I am worried and anxious, but a good word makes my heart glad.  When godly, I am able to give wise advice to my neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.  A lazy person does not even roast the game they hunted, but diligence is a precious possession. The way of my righteous living leads to life, and that path does not lead to death.

Proverbs 13 

I am acting wisely when I accept my parents’ discipline, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke.  From the fruit of my mouth I enjoy good, but the desire of the treacherous is violence.  By controlling my tongue, I preserve my life, but if I speak rashly, I will come to ruin.  The soul of a sluggard craves everything and gets nothing, but when my soul is diligent, I shall be fully satisfied.

When I am godly, I will hate lies; but the wicked are loathsome and come to shame.  When I walk in integrity, righteousness will guard me, while wickedness overthrows the sinner.  Some people pretend to be rich, but have nothing; others pretend to be poor, yet have great wealth. A rich man can use his wealth to pay a ransom, but the poor won’t even get threatened.

The light of my righteous living shines brightly, but if I choose wickedness, my lamp will be put out.  My pride will bring about contention and strife, but I am wise to take advice.  Wealth that is obtained by fraud quickly dwindles, but by gathering by labor, my wealth shall increase.  Hope deferred makes my heart sick, but when my desires come, it is like a tree of life!

If I despise advice, I will find myself in trouble; but if I respect it, I will be rewarded. By teaching with wisdom, my words are a fountain of life, which can help others avoid the snares of death.  By living a life of understanding I will find favor, but the way of the treacherous is hard.  Being prudent causes me to think before I act, but fools regularly demonstrate their folly.  A wicked messenger falls into adversity, but as a reliable messenger, I can bring healing.

By ignoring criticism, I will end up in poverty and shame, but when I accept criticism, I will be honored.  When my desires are realized, it is sweet to my soul, but fools detest turning away from evil. By walking with the wise, I will become wise, but companions of fools suffer harm.  Adversity pursues sinners, but blessing will reward my righteous living.

By living a godly life, I will be able to leave an inheritance to my grandchildren, yet the wealth of a sinner is stored up for the righteous.  A poor person’s field may produce abundant food, but injustice sweeps it all away. If I refuse to discipline my children, it is as if I hate them; but because I love my children, I will diligently discipline them!  As a godly person, I will be able to eat to my heart’s content, but the stomach of the wicked goes hungry.

Proverbs 14

A wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tear it down with her own hands.  By walking down the right path, I show that I fear the Lord, but those who are devious in their ways despise Him.  Speaking foolish words brings a rod to one’s back, but when my words are wise, they keep me from trouble.  If I don’t own an ox, my barn will be clean, but the strength of the ox brings much increase.  As a truthful witness, I must not lie, but a false witness pours out lies.

The mocker seeks wisdom and never finds it, but knowledge will come easily to me when I am discerning. I am to stay away from fools, as there is no knowledge there.  I am acting wisely when I think and plan ahead, but fools deceive themselves.  I would be foolish to not take guilt seriously, as godly people acknowledge sin and make reconciliation.  Every person’s heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can fully share its joy.

The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the godly will flourish. My way seems like the right way, but it ends in the way of death. Even when laughing, my heart might still be sorrowful, and when my laughter is over, the grief remains.  Backsliders in heart shall be filled with their own ways, but as a good person, I will be satisfied with my ways.

The simple believe every word, but as a prudent person, I must carefully consider my steps.  I am acting wisely when I am cautious and shun evil, but a fool is arrogant and careless.  If I am short-tempered, I will do foolish things, and people of evil devices are hated.  The naïve inherit foolishness, but by acting wisely, I will be crowned with knowledge. Evil people will bow down before good people; the wicked will bow at the gates of the righteous.

Even their neighbors shun the poor, while the rich have many friends.  If I despise my neighbor, it is a sin, but I will be blessed by being kind to the needy.  Do not those who plot evil go astray, but mercy and truth come to me when I plan good.  In all my labor there is profit, but mere talk leads to poverty.  The crown of the wise is their riches, but the effort of the foolish yields only folly.

By being a truthful witness, I may save lives, but those who utter lies are treacherous.  I am secure when I fear the Lord, and my children will have a place of refuge.  By fearing the Lord, I have a life-giving fountain that provides me an escape from the snares of death.  A growing population is a king’s glory, but without subjects a prince is ruined.  When I am slow to anger, I demonstrate great understanding, but those who are quick tempered exhibit foolishness.

When my heart is at peace, it brings life to my body, but envy is rottenness to my bones.  If I oppress the poor, I insult their Maker, but by helping them I honor Him.  The wicked are thrust down by their wrongdoings, but as a godly person I have a refuge even when I did.  Wisdom rests in the heart of those who have understanding, but that which is in the hearts of fools is made known.  Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin Is a disgrace to any people.  The king gives favor towards a wise servant, but his anger is towards those who act shamefully.

Proverbs 15 

When I give a gentle answer, it turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger.  By speaking wisely, I make knowledge acceptable; but fools spout only foolishness.  The eyes of the Lord are in every place, as He keeps his eye on the evil and the good.  When I use gentle words, it is like a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.  Only fools despise their parents’ discipline, but I am wise to learn from correction.

Great wealth is in the house of the righteous, but the income of the wicked brings them trouble. My wise speech spreads knowledge; fools cannot do so.  The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but He delights in my prayers when I am righteous.  The Lord despises the way of the wicked, but He loves me when I pursue righteousness.  If I abandon the right path, severe punishment lies ahead, and whoever hates correction will die.

If the Lord knows the depths of death and destruction, He surely knows the depths of my heart.  Mockers resent correction, and they stay away from the wise.  When my heart is joyful, my face is cheerful, but a broken heart crushes the spirit. Because I desire to be wise, I seek knowledge, while the mouth of fools feeds on folly.  All the days of the afflicted are bad, but when I have a cheerful heart, my life is a continual feast.

It is better for me to fear the Lord and have only a little, than to have great treasure and live a life of turmoil.  Also, it is better for me to live where there is love and only have vegetables to eat, than to have plenty of meat served with hatred.  A hot-tempered person stirs up strife, but when I am slow to anger, I can bring calm into a dispute.  The path of the lazy is as a hedge of thorns, but when I am righteous, my path is like a highway.

My father is glad when I live wisely, but children who live foolishly despise their mother. A person who lacks judgment delights in foolishness, but by being sensible, I stay on the right path.  My plans can easily go wrong without good advice; but with many counselors, my plans succeed.  Both parties have joy in a fitting answer, and how delightful is a timely word.

When I act wisely, my life’s path leads upward, as that path keeps me away from the grave.  The Lord destroys the house of the proud, but He protects the property of widows.  The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked, but my pure thoughts are pleasing to Him.  By being greedy, I bring trouble to my family; but by hating bribes, I will truly live! When I stop to consider my answers, I display a righteous heart, but the mouth of the wicked gushes forth evil.

The Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears my prayers as I seek to be godly.  A cheerful look brings joy to my heart, and good news gives health to my bones. If I listen to constructive criticism, I will be at home among the wise.  I only harm myself when I neglect discipline, but I acquire understanding when I listen to reproof.  The fear of the Lord teaches me wisdom, and before I receive honor, I must exhibit humility.

Proverbs 16 

My heart devises its own plans, but the answer from my tongue should be from the Lord.  I may justify all of my ways, but the Lord weighs my motives.  I am to commit to the Lord everything I do, and then my plans will we established.  The Lord has made everything in my life for His own purposes; even the wicked for the day of evil. The Lord detests the proud in heart, so I can be assured that my pride will not go unpunished. Loving-kindness and truth atone for my sin; and by fearing the Lord I am kept from evil.

When my ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even my enemies to be at peace with me!  I am better off poor and godly than rich and dishonest.  I can make plans for my life, but the Lord determines my steps.  The decisions of rulers have great impact, so they must not error in judgment. Honest scales and balances belong to the Lord, and all the weights of the bag are His concern.

It is an abomination for a king to commit wicked acts, for his rule depends on justice.  A king takes pleasure in honest lips; he values me when I speak the truth.  The fury of a king is like messengers of death, so I would be wise to do what I can to appease it.  When a king’s face brightens, if means life; his favor is like a cloud bringing spring rain.  It is better for me to get wisdom than gold, and to choose understanding rather than silver.

The path of the upright leads me away from evil, and when I guard my way, I guard my life.  Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.  It is better for me to live humbly with the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.  When I listen to instruction, I will prosper, and I am blessed when I trust in the Lord.  I will be known for my discernment when my heart is wise; when I use pleasant words it promotes instruction.

By having understanding, it is like a fountain of life to me, but discipline is wasted on fools. My wise heart will guide my mouth and add persuasiveness to my speech.  Pleasant words are like honey; sweet to my soul and healing to my bones. There is a way that seems right to me, but in the end, it leads to death.  A healthy appetite is good for me as my hunger drives me to keep working.  Scoundrels plot evil, and their speech is like a scorching fire.

Perverse people stir up dissension, and a gossip separates intimate friends. Violent people lure their neighbors and lead them in a way that is not good.  Those who wink their eyes do so to plot perversion; and those who purse their lips are bent on evil.  Gray hair is a crown of glory and is attained by living a godly life.  It is better for me to be patient than to be mighty and to control my temper than to conquer a city.  I may cast the lot, but the Lord determines how things work out.

 Proverbs 17

It is better for me to only have dry crust to eat and live in peace and quiet than to live in a house full of feasting with strife.  Servants who act wisely will rule over sons who act shamefully and will share their inheritance.  The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests my heart.  Wrongdoers listen to wicked lips; liars pay attention to a malicious tongue.  If I mock the poor, I insult their Maker; if I rejoice at the misfortune of others, I will not go unpunished.

Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.  Eloquent speech is not fitting for a fool, much less are lying lips to a prince.  A bribe is like a charm to the one who uses it; wherever he turns, he prospers.  When I cover over an offense, I demonstrate love, but if I repeat the matter, I separate close friends. A rebuke impacts me more when I have understanding, than a hundred lashes on the back of a fool. Rebellious people only seek evil, so a cruel messenger will be sent against them.  It would be better for me to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than to confront fools caught in their folly.

If I repay evil for good, evil will never leave my house.  It is like opening a floodgate when I start a quarrel, so I should drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.  I should be careful not to justify the wicked or condemn the righteous, as the Lord detests both.  What use is money in the hands of fools to buy wisdom, since they have no heart for it? As a true friend I will show love at all times; a brother is born for adversity.

I demonstrate a lack of judgment if I become responsible for a friend’s payments by co-signing a note.  Those who love disobedience love conflict, and he who builds a high gate invites destruction.  I will not prosper if my heart is wicked, and one who has a perverse tongue falls into trouble.

To be the parent of a fool is painful, and there is no joy for the father of a rebel.  It is good medicine for me to have a cheerful heart, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. A wicked person will take secret bribes to pervert the ways of justice.  I have wisdom in view when I have understanding, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.

A foolish child brings grief to their father and bitterness to their mother.  It is not good to punish an innocent person, or to punish leaders for being honest.  If I restrain my words, I have knowledge, and by being even-tempered I display understanding. Even fools are thought to be wise when they keep silent.  When I close my lips, I am considered prudent.

Proverbs 18 

People who separate themselves pursue selfish ends; they defy all sound judgment.  A fool finds no pleasure in understanding; they only want to express their own opinions.  When wickedness comes, contempt also comes, and with shame comes disgrace.  My words can be as life giving water, and the fountain of wisdom is a babbling brook.  It is not good for me to show favor to the wicked, or to deprive the innocent of justice.

A fool’s lips cause constant trouble, and their mouths call out for a beating. A fool’s mouth is their ruin, and their lips are like a snare to their soul.  Rumors of a gossip are like tasty morsels, but they go down deep into our innermost parts. If I am slack in my work, ii is as bad as if I were destroying things.  The name of the Lord is a strong tower.  I can run to Him and be safe!  The rich consider their wealth as an impregnable defense, and imagine it to be a high wall of safety. 

I must be careful, as a proud spirit comes before destruction; but humility comes before honor. When I answer someone without really listening, folly and shame come my way.  My human spirit can endure a sick body, but who can bear a broken spirit?  By being prudent, my mind will acquire knowledge and my ear will seek understanding.  A gift can open the way for me, and it may bring me before important people!  The first ones to present their case seem right, until someone else comes forward to question it.

Casting lots can put an end to strife and even keep strong opponents apart. If I offend a brother, it is harder to make amends than to capture a strong city, and disputes are like the barred gates of the citadel.  With the fruit of my mouth my inner being will be satisfied, as the product of my lips will satisfy me.  Death and life are in the power of my tongue, and when I love it, I will eat its fruit.

He who finds a wife fines a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.  The poor plead for mercy, but the rich answer harshly. If I have too many friends, it comes to ruin, but there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 19

It is better to be poor and have integrity than to be a fool with perverse speech.  Also, it is not good for me to be without knowledge, and those who are too quick to make decisions error.  By acting foolishly, people sabotage their ways, and their hearts fight against the Lord.  Those who have wealth add friends, but poor people are easily separated from their friends.  A false witness will not go unpunished, and if I tell lies, I will not escape.

There are always many who want to be on the good side of generous people, and everyone is a friend of those who give gifts.  If the brothers of a poor person hate him, how much more will his friends stay far from Him.  When I acquire wisdom, I am taking care of my own soul, and by making use of understanding, I will find good.  A false witness will not go unpunished, so if I tell lies, I will perish.

Riches do not correspond with a fool; much less for a slave to rule over princes. By using of discretion, I will be slow to get angry, and it is glorious to me to overlook faults in others! The wrath of a ruler is like the roaring of a lion, but his favor is like dew on the grass.  Having a foolish son brings destruction to his father, and the contentions of a wife are similar to a constant dripping.  As an earthly parent, I can give an inheritance of wealth and a house, but having a wise wife is from the Lord.

My laziness is like being in a deep sleep, and if my soul is idle, I will go hungry. When I keep His commandments, I am taking care of my soul, but those who despise their own ways will die.  By being gracious to the poor, it is as if I were lending to the Lord, and He will repay me for my good deeds.  Parents are to discipline their children while there is hope, and not parent in such a way as to cause them to die.  People who exhibit uncontrolled anger will pay the price, and if I were to rescue them once, I will only have to do it again.

I am to listen to counsel and accept discipline, so that I may be wise until the end of my days. My desires and plans always change, but the counsel of the Lord always stands.  A desirable character trait for me is kindness, and it is better for me to be poor than to be a liar.  For me to have a healthy reverence for the Lord leads to a life that allows me to have a satisfied sleep not visited by evil.  Sluggards bury their hand in a dish of food, but won’t even bring it back to their mouth.

By striking a scoffer there is only a chance they will become wise, but if I reprove someone of understanding, they will surely discern knowledge.  Anyone who assaults his father and drives his mother away is a shameful and disgraceful person. If I ever cease listening to discipline, I will stray away from the words of knowledge.  A foolish witness makes a mockery of justice, and the mouth of the wicked spreads iniquity.  Laws are made to punish scoffers, and physical blows are for the back of fools.

Proverbs 20

Wine is a mocker, and strong drink a brawler, and it is not wise for me to become intoxicated by them.  The threats of rulers are like a roaring lion, and if I provoke them to anger, it could bring harm to me.  It is an honor for me to cease from strife, as any fool will burst out in a quarrel.  The sluggard does not plow after autumn and ends up begging after the harvest because he has nothing.  My heartfelt plans are like deep water, but with understanding, I can draw them out.

It’s easy for me to say that I am loyal and kind, but it is truly hard to find someone who is really faithful.  When I am godly and live a life of integrity, my children will be blessed.  Rulers who sit on their thrones of judgment can stop evil  with a single glance.  Who can say, “I have made my heart clean; I am pure from my sins”?  If I behave dishonestly in my business and personal dealings, the Lord will detest them both.

The character of even children is known by their actions, whether what they do is pure and right.  The Lord has made both my ears that hear and my eyes that see.  If I love sleep, I will become poor, instead, I should open my eyes and I will have plenty of food.  A buyer will say to the seller that the goods are really bad, and then later brags about his purchase.  There is gold and jewelry in abundance, but lips that impart knowledge are far more precious.

If I guarantee a loan for just anyone, someone should make sure I am responsible for it, and that is even more true if I loan to strangers.  If I were to obtain bread dishonestly, it might first taste sweet, but later it would be like my mouth is full of gravel.  I should seek sound advice when making plans, similar to rulers who go to war after receiving guidance.

A person who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, therefore, I should not associate with a gossip.  If someone curses their father or mother, their lamp will be snuffed out and they will be left in total darkness. An inheritance taken in haste at the beginning will not be blessed at the end.  I should not say, “I will repay evil with evil;” I am to wait for the Lord and He will deliver me.  Being dishonest is an abomination to the Lord, and knowingly deceiving people is not good.

My steps are ordered by the Lord, so how can I understand each thing that happens to me?  I can easily trap myself by making rash vows and not inquiring about the situation until later. A wise ruler winnows evildoers, and drives the threshing wheel over them.  My spirit is like the light of the Lord, which searches through all the innermost parts of my being.  Rulers who govern with grace and truth have stable governments upheld by righteousness.  When I am young, my glory is in my strength; the beauty of being old is in my gray hair.  Blows that wound purge away evil, and punishment can impact one’s inner being.

Proverbs 21

A ruler’s heart is like a stream of water in the hand of the Lord, and He turns it wherever He pleases.  My ways seem right in my own eyes, but the Lord examines my heart.  The Lord desires me to do what is just and right more than He wants me to give Him sacrifices.  It is a sin for me to have haughty eyes, a proud heart, or a bragging spirit.  Diligent planning will lead me towards success, as surely as taking hasty shortcuts will lead me to poverty.

If I lie to acquire wealth, my possessions will be a fleeting vapor and a deadly trap.  The violence of the wicked will drag them away because they refuse to do what is right.  Guilty people walk a crooked path, but by being innocent, my conduct is upright and my road is straight.  It is better to live in a corner of an attic, than in a lovely home with a contentious wife.  The soul of the wicked desires evil, and even their neighbors receive no mercy from them.

When a mocker is punished, simpletons gain wisdom, but as a wise person, I gain knowledge through instruction. The Righteous One considers what goes on in the homes of the wicked, and He brings disaster upon those wicked ones.  If I shut my ears to the cries of the poor, I will be ignored in my time of need.  A gift given in secret soothes anger, and a bribe concealed in a coat pacifies fury.  As a godly person, it is a joy to me when justice prevails, but justice is a terror to evildoers.

I should not stray away from the path of understanding, or I will end up in the company of the dead. By loving pleasure, I will become poor; by loving wine and luxury, I will not become rich.  The wicked can become a ransom for the righteous, and the treacherous take the punishment for the upright.  It is better to live alone in the desert than with a contentious and quarrelsome partner.

When I am wise, my house is filled with treasures and choice food, but foolish people devour whatever they have.  When I pursue godliness and unfailing love, I will find life, righteousness and honor. When wise, I am able to conquer the cities of the mighty and bring down the strongholds in which they put their trust.  By guarding my mouth and my tongue, I am keeping myself from calamity.  People who are proud and haughty – mocker is their name, as they behave with boundless pride.

The selfish desires of sluggards will be their death, as their hands refuse to work.  All day long they crave for more, but as a righteous person, I am to give without sparing. When wise, I am able to conquer the cities of the mighty and bring down the strongholds in which they put their trust.  By guarding my mouth and my tongue, I am keeping myself from calamity.  People who are proud and haughty – mocker is their name, as they behave with boundless pride.

The selfish desires of sluggards will be their death, as their hands refuse to work.  All day long they crave for more, but as a righteous person, I am to give without sparing. The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable, especially when it is made from evil motives.  A false witness will be cut off, but when I listen to the truth, I will be allowed to speak.  The wicked put up a bold front, but as an upright person, I am to consider my ways.  None of my human wisdom, insight, or plans can stand up against the Lord.  The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord!

Proverbs 22

I should choose a good name over great riches, for it is better for me to be held in high esteem than to have sliver and gold.  The rich and poor have this in common:  The Lord is the Maker of them both.  As a prudent person, I can foresee danger ahead and take precautions, whereas the simple keep going and suffer for it.  The rewards I receive from being humble and fearing the Lord are riches, honor, and life.

The paths of the wicked are filled with thorns and snares, and I am guarding my soul by staying far away from them Train up children in the way they should go, and when they are old, they will not depart from it.  Just as the rich rule over the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender.  If I sow wickedness, I will reap disaster, and eventually my selfish reign will end.  If I am generous, I will be blessed, and I should give some of my food to the poor.

By driving out the mocker, I will end contentions; even quarrels and insults will end. By loving a pure heart and gracious speech, I will be the friend of rulers.  The eyes of the Lord preserve knowledge, and He frustrates the words of the deceitful.  A lazy person says, “There‘s a lion outside; I will be murdered in the streets.”  The mouth of an adulterous person is a deep pit, and anyone who is under the Lord’s displeasure will fall into it.

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of children, but the rod of correction will remove it far from them. If I try to get ahead by oppressing the poor or by giving gifts to the rich, I will end up in poverty.  I am to listen to the words of the wise, and apply my heart to words of knowledge. For it is good for me to keep them deep inside of me, and to always have them ready on my lips.

These teachings are for me today, so that my trust may be in the Lord. Excellent things have been written to me; sayings filled with counsel and knowledge, so that I may know with certainty the words of truth and be able to give sound answers to those who sent me.  I am not to exploit the poor just because they are poor, nor oppress the needy in court.  For the Lord will defend them and plead their cause, and will injure those who injure them.

I am not to be friends with those who are given to anger or associate with a hot-tempered person, for I may learn to be like them and become ensnared.  I should not be one who co-signs for a note or guarantees someone else’s debts.  If I lack the means to pay, my very bed will be taken right out from under me.  I should not move the ancient boundaries set up by my forefathers.  When I observe people truly skilled in their work, I should realize that they will serve before kings rather than obscure people.

Proverbs 23

If I were to dine with a ruler, I should pay attention to what is set before me, and I should put a knife to my throat if I have a big appetite.  I must not desire those delicacies, as that food is deceptive.  I should not wear myself out trying to get rich, as I should show restraint in this area.  When I set my eyes on riches, they are gone, for wealth can take wings like an eagle flying away towards the heavens.  I should not eat with people who are stingy nor desire their delicacies, for as people think in their hearts, so they become.

They say to eat and drink but really only care about the cost, not about me.  I will end up vomiting their food and wasting my compliments. I should not speak to a fool, for they will despise the wisdom of my words.  I am not to move the ancient boundaries or encroach on the fields of the fatherless for their Redeemer is strong; He will take up their case against me.  I am to commit my heart to instruction and attune my ears to words of knowledge.

I should not withhold discipline from my children; they won’t die if I spank them.  Physical discipline may well save their soul from death. It gladdens God’s heart if my heart is wise, and He has great joy when my lips speak what is right! I must not let my heart envy sinners, but I should always live in the fear of the Lord, for surely there is a future for me, and my hope will not be cut off.  I am to listen to God and become wise while keeping my heart on the right path.

I am not to join in with those who drink too much or who are gluttons, for they are on the road to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe them in rags.  I should listen to my Father who gave me life, and not despise my Mother when she is old. I am to get the truth and never sell it, and also get wisdom, discipline, and understanding!  The Father of the righteous has cause for great joy, and He will have great pleasure in their wisdom.  I am to seek to give my parents joy, and live a lifestyle so that she who gave me birth rejoices.

I am to give my heart to God, and let my eyes delight in His ways.  I need to know that a prostitute is a deep pit, and an adulterer is in a narrow pit.  They lie in wait like a robber, and multiply the number of the unfaithful. Who has woe?  Who has sorrow?  Who is always fighting?  Who has complaints?  Who has needless bruises?  Who has bloodshot eyes?  It is the ones who linger long over wine, and go try out new drinks.

I should not look upon the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, and when it goes down smoothly; for in the end it will bite me like a poisonous serpent and sting like a viper.  If I am not careful, I will see hallucinations and say crazy things.  I will be like one sleeping in the middle of the sea or lying down on the top of a mast.  I will say, “They hit me, but I am not hurt!  They beat me, but I don’t feel it!  When will I wake up so I can find another drink?”

 Proverbs 24

I am not to envy evil men nor desire to be in their company; for their hearts plot violence and their words are always stirring up trouble.  A house is built by wisdom, and by understanding it is established.  Through knowledge its rooms are filled with precious and pleasant riches.  When I am wise, I have great power, and my knowledge increases my strength.  I need wise guidance when waging war, as in the abundance of counselors there is victory. Wisdom is too much for fools, for when leaders gather, they have nothing to say.

If I plan evil, I will be known as a troublemaker.  For the schemes of folly are sin, and everyone detests a mocker.  If I falter in times of trouble, my strength is not very great.  I am to rescue those who are unjustly being taken away to death, and I must hold back those who are staggering toward slaughter.  If I say, “I didn’t know anything about it,” does not God know and weigh my heart?  Does not He who guards my life know it?  Will He not repay me according to what I have done?

Eating honey is a good thing, for the honeycomb is sweet to the taste.  In the same way, wisdom is sweet to the soul; if I find it, then there will be a future for me, and my hope will not be cut off!  It would be a wicked thing for me to act like a robber and lie in wait against the home of the godly or to raid their dwelling place.

For a righteous man falls seven times and gets up again each time, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.  I should never rejoice when my enemy falls, nor should I be happy when they stumble; for the Lord will be displeased with me and turn His anger away from them. I am not to fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the wicked.  For the evil have no future hope, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out.

As God’s child, I am to fear the Lord and the king, and not join in with the rebellious.  For if I do, my calamity will rise suddenly, as who knows the ruin that can come from the Lord and the king?  Here are some further wise sayings for me:  It is wrong for me to show favoritism when passing judgment. If I were to say to the wicked, “Your are innocent,” people will curse me and nations denounce me, but if I rebuke the wicked, a good blessing will come upon me.

I will gain affection and respect by giving a right answer.  Before building my house, I should make sure that I have taken care of my outside work and prepared my fields.  I am not to testify against my neighbor without cause or lie about them.  I should not say, “I will now do to them what they did to me; I’ll get even.”

A personalized story:  I walked by the field of a sluggard and by the vineyard of one lacking sense.  And behold, thorns had grown up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was broken down.  I stopped and reflected on it; I thought about it and learned this lesson.  A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on me like a bandit; scarcity will attack me like an armed robber!

Proverbs 25

These are more proverbs of Solomon, which were copied by the men of Hezekiah, king of Judah.  It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.  As the heavens are high and the earth is deep, so the hearts of kings are unsearchable.  Remove the dross from silver, and the sterling will be ready for the silversmith; remove the wicked from the presence of the king, and his throne will be established through righteousness.

I am not to exalt myself in the king’s presence, nor should I push for a place among the great.  It is far better for them to say to you, “Come up here,” than for them to humiliate me in front of others. Even though I have seen something with my own eyes, it doesn’t mean I should bring it hastily to court, as in the end, my neighbor might put me to shame.  I should first discuss the matter privately with my neighbor, without telling anyone else.  If I were to tell others, they might embarrass me, and then I might never again regain my good reputation.

When my words are aptly spoken, they are like apples of gold set in settings of silver!  When I give constructive criticism to someone who desires to hear it, it is like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold. When I am a faithful messenger to the one who sent me, I am like the coolness of snow at harvest time, as I refresh the spirit of my employers.  If I boast about a promised gift, but then don’t give it, I am like clouds and wind that don’t bring rain.

By being patient, I may even be able to persuade a ruler, and my soft speech can break a bone.  If I find honey, I should eat just enough of it, as too much will make me sick.  I shouldn’t visit my neighbor too often, or I can wear out my welcome! If I tell lies about others, it is like hurting them with a club, or a sword, or a sharp arrow.  Like having a bad tooth or a lame foot is relying on the unfaithful in times of trouble.

If I sing cheerful songs to one who has a heavy heart, it is like stealing someone’s jacket on a cold day or like rubbing salt in a wound.  If my enemies are hungry, I should give them something to eat.  If they are thirsty, I should give them water to drink.  In doing this, I will be heaping burning coals on their heads, and the Lord will reward me!

As surely as a north wind brings rain, so my gossiping tongue would bring angry looks.  It would be better for me to live on the corner of the roof than share a house with a contentious woman.  Good news from a far away land is like cold water to a weary soul.  If I compromise with the wicked, it is like polluting a well or muddying a spring.  It is not good to eat too much honey, nor is it good for me to seek my own glory.  If I lack self-control, I am like a city whose walls are broken down.

 Proverbs 26

Honor does not go with fools any more than snow in summer or rain in harvest.  Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest.  Like a whip is for a horse or a halter for a donkey, so would a rod be for me if I behave like a fool.  I should not argue with fools according to their folly, or I will end up becoming as foolish as they are.  I should argue with fools as their folly deserves, or they will become wise in their own estimation.

If I were to trust a fool to send a message, it is as foolish as cutting off my feet or drinking poison. Like a paralyzed person’s legs, which hang limp, is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.  If I were to give honor to a fool, it would be like tying a stone to a slingshot.  A proverb in the mouth of a fool is also like a thorn bush in the hands of one who is drunk.  If I were to hire a fool or a bystander, it would be like an archer who shoots recklessly.  As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.

If I think I am wise, then there is more hope for a fool than for me.  A lazy person stays inside and says, “There is a lion in the road!  A lion is roaming around outside.”  I am like a door turning on its hinges when I am lazy and turn over in bed.  Some people are so lazy they bury their hands in their food and don’t even bring it back to their mouths.  Lazy people consider themselves to be smarter than seven wise counselors. If I get involved in a quarrel that is none of my business, it is like yanking on a dog’s ears.

I am like a madman shooting a lethal weapon if I lie to my friend and than say, “I was only joking!”  Without wood, a fire goes out; without gossip, a quarrel quiets down.  By being contentious and quarrelsome, I will kindle strife, just like embers light charcoal and fire ignites wood.  The words of a gossip are like choice morsels, but they sink deep into one’s heart. Like a coating of glaze over a clay pot are fervent lips with an evil heart.

Malicious people can disguise themselves with their words, but their hearts are filled with all kinds of evil.  Though they pretend to be kind, I should not believe them for they are filled with all kinds of evil.  Their hatred may be hidden by deception, but I can be assured that their wickedness will eventually be exposed before all.  If I dig a pit, I will end up falling into it, and if I roll a stone down on others, it will roll back on me.  A lying tongue hates those afflicted by it, and a flattering mouth causes ruin.

Proverbs 27

I should not boast about tomorrow, since I don’t know what the day will bring.  Others should praise me, but my mouth should not; even a stranger might, but not me!  A stone is heavy and sand is weighty, but provocation by a fool is heavier than both.  Wrath is fierce and anger is like a flood, but who can stand before jealousy?  It is better for me to be rebuked openly, than for someone to hide their love from me. Faithful friends may wound me, but deceitful are the kisses of my enemies.

Honey doesn’t seem good when I have no appetite, but even bitter food tastes good to one who is hungry.  If I stray away from my home, I am like a bird that wanders from its nest.  Oils and perfume make my heart glad, similar to the sweetness of wise counsel from a friend.  I should not forsake my friends or the friends of my father, and I should not go to my brother’s house when disaster strikes.  Better is a neighbor who is close by than a brother who is far away.

When I am wise, it brings joy to the hearts of those close to me.  Then they will be able to answer their critics. I am being prudent by foreseeing danger ahead and taking precaution; however, I am being naïve if I go blindly ahead and suffer for it.  I should take some form of collateral from anyone who guarantees the loan of a stranger, and get a deposit if they guarantee the debt of an adulterous woman.

If I loudly try to bless my friend too early in the morning, it will be considered as a curse.  A quarrelsome woman is like a constant dripping on a rainy day.  If I attempt to restrain her, it is like restraining the wind or grasping oil with my hand.  As iron sharpens iron, so my friends sharpen me and I sharpen them. Workers who care for a fig tree are allowed to eat its fruit, and if I take care of my employer’s interests, I will be honored.

As my face is reflected in water, so my heart reflects the type of person I am.  Death and destruction are never satisfied, and neither are the eyes of a man.  Fire tests the purity of silver in the crucible and gold in the furnace, and I am tested when I am praised. I cannot remove foolishness from fools, even by grinding them like grain in a mortar and with a pestle.

One should always know the state of their flocks, and pay attention to their lambs; for riches don’t last forever, and a crown does not endure through all generations.  When the hay is harvested, new growth appears, and the grass from the hills is gathered in; the lambs will provide clothing and goats can be sold for the price of a field.  And there will be plenty of goat’s milk to provide for families and their servants.

Proverbs 28

As a godly person, I can be as strong as a lion, but the wicked even run away when no one is chasing them.  When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a leader who uses knowledge with understanding maintains stability.  A poor person who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain that destroys the crops.  If I forsake the law, it is like praising the wicked, but when I keep the law, I am resisting them.

Evil people don’t understand justice, but when I seek the Lord, I understand it completely. It is better for me to be poor and walk in integrity than to be rich and crooked.  I am being discerning by following God’s law, but those who are companions of greedy people shame their parents.  If I were to increase my wealth by charging exorbitant interest rates, I will end up gathering it for those who are kind to the poor.  Those who turn a deaf ear to the law, even their prayers are detestable.

By being honest, I will inherit good things, but those who lead the upright into sin will fall into their own trap.  Some rich people may think they are wise in their own eyes, but the poor who have discernment see through them. When the righteous triumph, there is great glory, but when the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding.  If I try to cover my sins, I will not prosper, but if I confess and forsake them, I will find mercy!

I am blessed when I always fear the Lord, but when I harden my heart, I fall into trouble. A wicked person ruling over helpless people is like a roaring lion or a charging bear.  An oppressive leader lacks understanding, but one who hates dishonesty and bribes will enjoy a long life.  Anyone who is tormented with the guilt of murder will be a fugitive until death; no one should support them.

When I walk blamelessly, I will be delivered, but those whose ways are perverse will suddenly fall.  If I work hard, I will have plenty of food, but if I only pursue fantasies, I will have a life full of poverty.  By being faithful, I will be richly blessed, but those who try to get rich quick will not go unpunished.  I should never show partiality, yet people will do wrong for simply a piece of bread.  I am being greedy when I try ‘get rich quick’ schemes, but it only leads to poverty. In the end, if I rebuke someone, I will gain more favor than just flattering them.

If I were to rob my parents and say, “It’s not wrong” – it would be just like being a companion of those who destroy.  Arrogant people stir up dissension, but by trusting the Lord, I will prosper.  I am behaving foolishly when I trust my own heart, but when I walk in wisdom, I will be safe.  By giving to the poor, I will lack nothing, but a curse will be upon me if I close my eyes to poverty.  When the wicked rise to power, people hide; but when the wicked perish, righteous people increase.

Proverbs 29

If I stubbornly refuse to accept reproof, I will suddenly be broken without remedy.  When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice, but when a wicked man rules, the people groan.  By loving wisdom, I bring joy to my father, but a companion of prostitutes wastes their wealth.  A just king brings stability to his country, but one who is greedy for bribes tears it down.

If I flatter my neighbor, I am spreading a net for their feet. Evil people are ensnared by sin, but by being righteous, I can sing and rejoice! And I also concern myself with the rights of the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.  Mockers can stir up an entire city, but I use wisdom when I calm anger.  It is not wise for me to take a fool to court, for there will be ranting and ridicule but no satisfaction.

The bloodthirsty hate people of integrity, but the upright are concerned for their souls.  Fools give full vent to their anger, but I am displaying wisdom when I keep myself under control. If a ruler listens to lies, all of his advisers will become wicked.  The poor and the oppressor have this in common – the Lord gives light to the eyes of both.  If a king judges the poor with fairness, his throne will always be secure.

The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets their own way brings shame to their mother.  When the wicked thrive, so does sin, but by being righteous, I will see their downfall.  Discipline your children and they will give you peace of mind and bring delight to your soul. Where there is no revelation, the people are unrestrained, but I am blessed when I obey the law.

A servant will not be corrected by mere words, as they understand, but do not respond.  If I am hasty with my words, there is more hope for a fool than for me.  A servant who is treated well from childhood will eventually be like a son.  When I am angry, I stir up fights and get into all kinds of sin. Pride will bring me down, but humility will bring me honor.

If I were to partner with a thief, I would be my own worst enemy – I would be punished if I reported the crime or cursed if I didn’t.  It is a trap for me to fear man, but when I trust in the Lord, I will be kept safe.  Many seek the favor of rulers, but it is from the Lord that I receive justice.  The unjust person is repulsive to the righteous, just like those who walk uprightly are repulsive to the wicked.

Proverbs 30

These are the sayings of Agur, the son of Jakeh; even the prophecy the man spoke to Ithiel, even to Ithiel and to Ucal.  Agur considered himself to be the most ignorant of men and without understanding.  He did not think that he had learned wisdom nor did he think he had knowledge of the Holy One.

Who has gone into heaven and come down?  Who holds the wind in His fists?  Who has wrapped up the waters in His garment?  Who has created all the ends of the earth?  What is His name and His son’s name?  Surely you know! Every word of God is proven true; God is my shield when I take refuge in Him!  I am not to add to His words, or He may rebuke me and I will be found to be a liar.

Agur, speaking for all of us, asked two things of the Lord before he died.  The first was that God would keep deception and lies far from me; the second was that God would give me neither poverty nor riches, but would only give me enough to satisfy my needs.  For if I have too much, I may deny God and say, “Who is the Lord?”  Or if I become too poor, I may steal and dishonor the name of my God.

I should never slander someone in front of a person in authority over them, or they will curse me and I will pay for it. I should never be like some who curse their father and do not thank their mother.  They are pure in their own eyes, yet they are not cleansed of their filth.  Also, I should never be like those whose eyes are ever so prideful, and who look at others in disdain.  And others have teeth like swords and jaws like knives in order to devour the poor and destroy the needy from the face of the earth.

The leech has two suckers that cry out, “More, more!”  There are three things that will not be satisfied; no four that will not say, “Enough”:  the grave, the barren womb, land which is never satisfied with water, and fire – they never say, “Enough!” The eye that mocks a father and scorns obedience to a mother shall be pecked out by the ravens of the valley and will be eaten by the vultures.

There are three things that are too wonderful, no four that Agur could not understand:  the way of the eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of man with a woman.  This is the way of an adulterous woman who eats, wipes her mouth, and says, “I’ve done nothing wrong.”

There are three things that make the earth tremble – no, four it cannot endure:  a servant who becomes a king, fools when they are full of food, an unloved woman who is married, and a servant girl who supplants her mistress.

There are four things on earth that are small but are exceedingly wise:  Ants are of little strength, yet they store up food in the summer!  Coneys are creatures of little power, yet they make their home in rocky cliffs.  Locusts have no king, but they advance together in ranks.  Lizards are easily caught in your hands, yet they can be found in kings’ palaces.

There are three things that are regal in their appearance; even four that are stately in their walk:  the lion, which is mighty among beasts and does not retreat from anything; the strutting rooster, the male goat; and a king when his army is around him.

If I have ever been a fool by exalting myself or by plotting evil, I should be quiet about it and cover my mouth with shame.  Just like the churning of milk produces butter and a blow to the nose causes bleeding, so my stirring up anger causes quarrels.

Proverbs 31

These are the sayings of  King Lemuel, an oracle, that his mother taught him.  Oh my son, Oh son of my womb, Oh son of my vows – do not spend your strength on women, or your ways to that which destroys kings.  It is not for kings, Oh Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to desire strong drink.  For they will drink and forget what the law decrees and be unable to give justice to those who are oppressed.

Give strong drink to those who are dying, and wine unto those who have heavy hearts.  Let them drink to forget their poverty and remember their misery no more. I am to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves and for the rights of the destitute.  I must speak up, judge fairly, and defend the rights of the poor and needy.

An excellent wife, who can find her?  She is worth far more than rubies.  Her husband can trust her, and she will bring gain to his life.  She will bring good to him and not evil all of the days of her life! She (an excellent wife) looks for wool and flax and works with her hands in delight.  She is like the merchant ships, bringing food from afar.

She rises before dawn to prepare food for her household and a portion for her maidens.  She inspects a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard.  She works vigorously and makes her arms strong.  She profits from taking advantage of bargains, and her lights burn late into the night.  She lays her hands on the rod for spinning and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.  She is not afraid of the snow for her household, for all of them have warm clothes! She makes coverings for her bed; her clothing is fine linen and purple.  Her husband is respected at the city gate, when he sits among the elders of the land.

She makes linen garments and sashes and sells them to the merchants.  She is clothed with strength and dignity; she laughs with no fear of the future.  She speaks with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.  She watches over the affairs of her household, and she does not eat the bread of idleness.

Her children rise up and bless her.  Her husband praises her saying, “There are many women who do wonderful things, but you surpass them all!”  Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.  Reward her for all she has done, and let her deeds praise her in the gates.

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