UPDATED AMERICAN STANDARD VERSION

Translating Truth

The Proverbs

  • Author: Solomon, Agur, Lemuel
  • Place Written: Jerusalem
  • When Written: c. 715 B.C.E.

Wisdom Warns about Being Enticed by Sinners

The Purpose of the Proverbs

1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:

To know wisdom and discipline,[1]
    to understand words of insight,[2]
to receive instruction in wise dealing,
    in righteousness, justice, and uprightness;
to give shrewdness to the inexperienced,
    to the young man knowledge and thinking ability.[3]
Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
    and a man of understanding will acquire wise guidance,[4]
to understand a proverb and a saying,
    the words of the wise and their riddles.

The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of knowledge;
    fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Dangers of Wicked Companions

Hear, my son, your father's instruction,
    and do not forsake not your mother's teaching,
for they are a graceful garland for your head
    and pendants for your neck.
10 My son, if sinners entice you,
    do not consent.
11 If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood;
    let us ambush the innocent without reason;
12 like Sheol swallow them alive,
    and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
13 we shall find all precious goods,
    we shall fill our houses with spoil;
14 throw in your lot among us;
    we will all have one purse,”
15 my son, do not walk in the way with them.
    Keep your feet from their path,
16 for their feet run to evil,
    and they make haste to shed blood.
17 For in vain is a net spread
    in the sight of any bird.
18 But these men lie in wait for their own blood;
    they set an ambush for their own lives.
19 Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain;
    it takes away the soul[5] of its possessors.

The Call of True Wisdom Publicly

20 Wisdom cries aloud in the street,
    in the public squares she raises her voice;
21 at the head of the noisy streets[6] she cries out;
    at the entrance of the city gates she utters her sayings:
22 “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple-minded?
And how long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
    and fools hate knowledge?
23 Turn back at my reproof
behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;
    I will make my words known to you.
24 Because I called and you have refused,
    I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention,
25 because you have ignored all my counsel
    and did not want my reproof,
26 I also will laugh at your calamity;
    I will mock when terror strikes you,
27 when terror strikes you like a storm
    and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
    when distress and anguish come upon you.
28 Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer;
    they will seek me diligently but will not find me.
29 Because they hated knowledge
    and did not choose the fear of Jehovah,
30 they would not accept my counsel
    and despised all my reproof,
31 therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way,
    and be glutted with their own schemes.
32 For the waywardness of the simple ones will kill them,
    and the complacency of fools destroys them;
33 “But he who listens to me shall dwell securely
    and he will live, without the dread of disaster.”

Wisdom Saves from Evil and Pays Benefits

The Value of Wisdom

2 My son, if you receive my words
    and treasure up my commandments with you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom
    and inclining your heart to discernment;[7]
For if you call out for understanding
    and raise your voice for discernment,[8]

Seek Wisdom as for Hidden Treasures

if you keep seeking her like silver
    and searching for her as for hidden treasures,
then you will understand the fear of Jehovah
    and find the knowledge of God.
For Jehovah gives wisdom;
    from his mouth come knowledge and discernment;[9]
he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
    he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
guarding the paths of justice
    and watching over the way of his holy ones.[10]
Then you will understand righteousness and justice
    and equity, every good course;
10 for wisdom will enter your heart,
    and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;

Thinking Ability as a Protection

11 Thinking ability[11] will keep watch over you,
    discernment[12] will watch over you,
12 delivering you from the way of evil,
    from the man who speaks perverse things,
13 from those who forsake the paths of uprightness
    to walk in the ways of darkness,
14 who rejoice in doing evil
    and delight in the perverseness of evil,
15 men whose paths are crooked,
    and who are devious in their ways.

Immorality Brings Disaster

16 It will save you from the strange[13] woman,
    from the foreign[14] woman with her smooth[15] words,
17 who forsakes the companion of her youth
    and forgets the covenant of her God;
18 for her house sinks down to death,
    and her tracks lead to the dead;[16]
19 none who go to[17] her, none shall return,
    nor do they reach paths of life.

20 So you will walk in the way of the good men
    and keep to the paths of the righteous.
21 For the upright will inhabit the land,[18]
    and the blameless will remain in it,
22 but the wicked will be cut off from the land,
    and the treacherous will be rooted out of it.

Wisdom Results in Right Relationships and Gives Life and Honor

Trust in Jehovah with All Your Heart

3 My son, do not forget my teaching,[19]
    but let your heart keep my commandments,
for length of days and years of life
    and peace they will add to you.

Let not loyal love[20] and faithfulness forsake you;
    bind them around your neck;
    write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good insight[21]
    in the sight of God and man.

Trust in Jehovah with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
    fear Jehovah and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your body[22]
    and refreshment to your bones.[23]

Honor Jehovah with Your Wealth

Honor Jehovah with your wealth
    and with the firstfruits of all your produce;
10 then your barns will be filled with plenty,
    and your vats will be bursting with wine.

11 My son, do not despise  the discipline of Jehovah
    or loathe his reproof,
12 for whom Jehovah loves he reproves,
    just as a father does a son in whom he delights.[24]

Wisdom Brings Happiness

13 Happy is a man who finds wisdom,
    and the one who gains discernment,[25]
14 for the gain from her is better than gain from silver
    and her profit better than gold.
15 She is more precious than corals,[26]
    and nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 Length of days[27] is in her right hand;
    in her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
    and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;
    those who hold her fast are called happy.

Wisdom Brings Security

19 Jehovah by wisdom founded the earth;
    by discernment[28] he established the heavens;
20 by his knowledge the deeps broke open,
    and the clouds drop down the dew.

21 My son, do not let them depart from your eyes;
    keep sound wisdom and thinking ability,[29]
22 and they will be life for your soul
    and adornment for your neck.
23 Then you will walk on your way securely,
    and your foot will not stumble.[30]
24 If you lie down, you will not be afraid;
    when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
25 Do not be afraid of sudden panic[31]
    or the storm of the wicked, when it comes,
26 for Jehovah will be your confidence[32]
    and will keep your foot from being caught.

Do Good to Others

27 Do not withhold good from its owners,[33]
    when it is in your power to do it.

28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again,
    tomorrow I will give it,” when you have it with you.
29 Do not plan harm against your neighbor,
    who dwells trustingly beside you.
30 Do not contend with a man for no reason,
    when he has done you no harm.
31 Do not envy a man of violence
    and do not choose any of his ways,
32 for the devious man is detestable to Jehovah,
    but those who are upright are his confidence.
33 Jehovah's curse is on the house of the wicked,
    but he blesses the dwelling of the righteous.
34 Toward those who scorn, he is scornful,
    but to the humble he gives favor.
35 The wise will inherit honor,
    but the stupid ones glorify dishonor.[34]

Wisdom Results in Self-Discipline

A Father's Wise Instruction

4 Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father,
    and be attentive, that you may know understanding,
for I give you good instruction;
    do not forsake my teaching.
When I was a son with my father,
    tender, the only son in the sight of my mother,
he taught me and said to me,
“Let your heart hold fast my words;
    keep my commandments, and live.
Acquire wisdom, acquire understanding;
    do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.
Do not forsake her, and she will guard you;
    love her, and she will safeguard you.

Above All Acquire Wisdom

The beginning of wisdom is this: Acquire wisdom,
    and with all you acquire, acquire understanding.
Prize her, and she will exalt you;
    she will honor you if you embrace her.
She will place on your head a garland of grace;
    she will bestow on you a crown of beauty.”

10 Hear, my son, and accept my words,
    that the years of your life may be many.
11 In the way of wisdom I have taught you;
    I have led you in the paths of uprightness.
12 When you walk, your step will not be hampered,
    and if you run, you will not stumble.
13 Keep hold of instruction; do not let go;
    guard her, for she is your life.

Shun Wicked Paths

14 Do not enter the path of the wicked,
    and do not walk in the way of evil men.
15 Avoid it; do not pass by it;
    turn away from it and pass on.
16 For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong;
    they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble.
17 For they eat the bread of wickedness
    and drink the wine of violence.
18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
    which shines brighter and brighter until full day.
19 The way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
    they do not know over what they stumble.

20 My son, be attentive to my words;
    incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Do not let them depart from your eyes;
    keep them in the midst of your heart.
22 For they are life to him who finds them,
    and a healing to all his flesh.

Safeguard Your Heart

23 Keep your heart with all vigilance,
    for from it flow the springs of life.
24 Put away from you crooked speech,
    and put devious talk far from you.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead,
    and your gaze be straight ahead of you.
26 Make level[35] the path of your feet;[36]
    then all your ways will be sure.
27 Do not turn to the right nor to the left;
    turn your foot from evil.

Wisdom Instructs about Sexuality

Warning Against Immoral Women

5 My son, be attentive to my wisdom;
    incline your ear to my discernment,[37]
that you may keep discretion,[38]
    and your lips may guard knowledge.
For the lips of a strange woman[39] drip honey,
    and smoother than oil is her mouth,
but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
    sharp as a two-edged sword.
Her feet go down to death;
    her steps take hold of Sheol;
she does not ponder the path of life;
    her ways wander, and she does not know it.

And now, O sons, listen to me,
    and do not depart from the words of my mouth.
Keep your way far from her,
    and do not go near the door of her house,
lest you give your honor to others[40]
    and your years to the merciless,
10 lest strangers take their fill of your strength,
    and your labors go to the house of a foreigner,
11 and you groan at your end,
    when your flesh and body are consumed,
12 and you say, “How I hated discipline,
    and my heart despised reproof!
13 I did not listen to the voice of my teachers
    or incline my ear to my instructors.
14 I am at the brink of utter ruin
    in the assembled congregation.”

Rejoice with Your Wife

15 Drink water from your own cistern,
    flowing water from your own well.
16 Should your springs be scattered abroad,
    streams of water in the streets?
17 Let them be for you alone,
    and not for strangers with you.
18 Let your fountain be blessed,
    and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
19  a loving doe, a graceful mountain goat.
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
    be intoxicated always in her love.
20 Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a strange woman
    and embrace the bosom of a foreigner?
21 For a man's ways are before the eyes of Jehovah,
    and he examines all his paths.
22 The errors[41] of the wicked ensnare him,
    and he is held in the cords of his sin.
23 He will die for lack of discipline,
    and because of his great folly he shall be led astray.[42]

Wisdom Warns of Pitfalls to Avoid

Practical Warnings

6 My son, if you have become surety for your neighbor,
    have given your pledge for a stranger,
if you are snared in the words of your mouth,
    caught in the words of your mouth,
Do this then, my son, and deliver yourself,
    for you have come into the palm of your neighbor:
    go, humble yourself, plead with your neighbor.
Give no sleep to your eyes
    nor slumber to your eyelids;
Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
    and like a bird from the hand of the fowler.

Go to the Ant You Lazy One

Go to the ant, O sluggard;
    consider her ways, and be wise.
Without having any chief,
    officer, or ruler,
She prepares her bread in summer
    and gathers her sustenance in harvest.
How long will you lie down, O sluggard?
    When will you arise from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest,
11 your poverty will come upon you like a robber,
    and your want like an armed man.

A Useless and Wicked Man

12 A worthless man, a wicked man,
    goes about with crooked speech,[43]
13 winks with his eyes, scrapes[44] with his feet,
    points with[45] his finger,
14 with perverted heart devises evil,
    continually sowing[46] discord;
15 therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly;
    in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.

Seven Things God Hates

16 There are six things that Jehovah hates,
    seven that are an abomination of his soul:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
    and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
    feet that quickly to run to evil,
19 a false witness who breathes out lies,
    and one who sows discord among brothers.

Warnings Against Adultery

20 My son, My child, keep the commandment of your father,
    and forsake not the teaching[47] of your mother.
21 Bind them on your heart continually;
    tie them around your neck.
22 When you walk, she[48] will lead you;
    when you lie down, she will watch over you;
    and when you awake, she will talk with you.
23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light,
    and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life,
24 to preserve you from the evil woman,[49]
    from the smooth tongue of the immoral woman.[50]
25 Do not desire her beauty in your heart,
    and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes;[51]
26 for because of a prostitute, a man is reduced to a loaf of bread,
    but a wife of another man hunts down a precious soul.[52]
27 Can a man carry[53] fire in his bosom
    and his clothes not be burned?
28 Or can a man walk on hot coals
    and his feet not be scorched?
29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor's wife;
    none who touches her will go unpunished.
30 Men[54] do not despise a thief if he steals
    to satisfy his soul when he is hungry.
31 But if he is found, he must pay sevenfold;
    he will give all the valuables of his house.
32 He who commits adultery with a woman is in want of heart;[55]
    he who does it is bringing his own soul to destruction.
33 Wounds and dishonor he will find,
    and his disgrace will not be wiped away.
34 For jealousy enrages a man,
    and he will not spare in the day of vengeance.
35 He will not accept any ransom;[56]
    nor will he be willing[57] though you give many gifts.[58]

Wisdom Warns against Fornication

Warning Against the Adulteress

7 My son, keep my words
    and treasure up my commandments with you;
keep my commandments and live;
    keep my teachings[59] as the pupil of your eye;[60]
bind them on your fingers;
    write them on the tablet of your heart.
Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
    and call understanding[61] one who is known,[62]
to keep you from a strange woman,[63]
    from the adulteress with her smooth words.

A Naive Young Man Seduced

For at the window of my house
    I looked out through my lattice,
and I saw among the simple,
    I have perceived among the youths,
    a young man in want of heart,[64]
passing along the street near her corner,
    and he takes the road to her house,
in the twilight, in the evening of the day,
    at the midst[65] of night and darkness.

10 And look, a woman comes to meet him,
    dressed as a prostitute,[66] and guarded in heart.[67]
11 She is loud and rebellious;
    her feet do not stay at home;
12 now in the street, now in the square,
    and at every corner she lies in wait.
13 She seizes him and kisses him,
    and with bold face she says to him,[68]
14 “I had to offer peace offerings,
    and today I have paid my vows;
15 so now I have come out to meet you,
    to seek your face, and I have found you.
16 I have spread my couch with coverings,
    colored linens from Egyptian linen;
17 I have sprinkled[69] my bed with myrrh,
    aloes, and cinnamon.
18 Come, let us drink our fill of love until morning;
    let us delight ourselves with love.
19 Because the man[70] is not in his house;
    he has gone on the road far off;[71]
20 he took a bag of silver[72] in his hand;
    at full moon he will come home.”

21 She persuades him with much seductive words;
    with her smooth lips she compels him.

Like an Ox to the Slaughter

22 Suddenly he goes after her,
    as an ox goes to the slaughter,
like a fool to be punished in the fetters[73]
23 till an arrow pierces its liver;
as a bird rushes into a snare;
    he does not know that it will cost him his soul.[74]

24 And now, O sons, listen to me,
    and be attentive to the words of my mouth.
25 Let not your heart turn aside to her ways;
    do not stray into her paths.
26 For many are the fatally wounded[75] she has made fall,[76]
    and all her slain are a mighty throng.
27 Her house is the way to Sheol,
    descending to the chambers of death.

Wisdom Proclaims Her Worth, Availability, and Accomplishments

The Blessings of Wisdom

8 Does not wisdom call?
    Does not discernment[77] give forth[78] her voice?
On the heights beside the way,
    at the crossroads she takes her stand;
beside the gates in front of the city,
    at the entrance of doors she cries aloud:
“To you, O men, I call,
    and my cry is to the sons of men.
O simple ones, learn shrewdness;
    O fools, an understanding heart.[79]
Listen, for I will speak noble things,
    and from the opening of my lips right things,
for my mouth will utter truth;
    wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
All the words of my mouth are righteous;
    there is nothing twisted or crooked in them.
They are all straight to him who understands,
    and right to those who find knowledge.
10 Take my instruction instead of silver,
    and knowledge rather than choice gold,
11 for wisdom is better than jewels,
    and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.

12 “I, wisdom, dwell with shrewdness,
    and I find knowledge and thinking ability.[80]
13 The fear of Jehovah is hatred of evil.
Pride and arrogance and the way of evil
    and the perverted mouth I hate.
14 I have counsel and sound wisdom;[81]
    I have insight; I have strength.[82]
15 By me kings reign,
    and rulers decree what is just;
16 by me princes rule,
    and nobles, all who govern justly.[83]
17 I love those who love me,[84]
    and those who seek me diligently find me.
18 Riches and honor are with me,
    enduring wealth and righteousness.
19 My fruit is better than gold, even refined gold,[85]
    and my yield than choice silver.
20 I walk in the way of righteousness,
    in the midst of paths of justice,
21 endowing those who love me with wealth,
    and their treasuries I will fill.

Wisdom at Creation

22 “Jehovah created me[86] at the beginning of his way,
    the first of his acts of old.
23 Ages ago I was set up,
    at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
24 When there were no depths I was brought forth,
    when there were no springs abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains had been shaped,
    before the hills, I was brought forth,
26 before he had made the earth with its fields,
    or the first of the dust of the world.
27 When he established the heavens, I was there;
    when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
28 when he made firm the skies above,
    when he made strong[87] the fountains of the deep,
29 when he assigned to the sea its limit,
    so that the waters might not transgress his command,[88]
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
30 then I was beside him, like a master workman,[89]
and I was daily his delight,[90]
    rejoicing before him always,
31 rejoicing in his inhabited world[91]
    and my delight was with the sons of men.

32 “And now, O sons, listen to me:
    happy are those who keep my ways.
33 Hear instruction and be wise,
    and do not neglect it.
34 Happy is the man who listens to me,
    watching daily[92] at my gates,
    waiting beside my doors.[93]
35 For whoever finds me finds life
    and obtains favor from Jehovah,
36 But he who misses me injures his own soul;
    all those who hate me love death.”

Wisdom Spreads a Banquet and Gives Instructions

The Way of Wisdom

9 Wisdom has built her house;
    she has hewn her seven pillars.
She has slaughtered her beasts;[94] she has mixed her wine;
    she has also set her table.
She has sent out her young maidens to call
    from the highest places in the city,
“Whoever is simple,[95] let him turn in here!”
    As for him who is in want of heart,[96] she says to him,
“Come, eat of my bread
    and drink of the wine I have mixed.
Leave your simple ways,[97] and live,
    and walk in the way of understanding.”

He who corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse,
    and he who reproves a wicked man gets injury.[98]
Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
    reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
    teach[99] a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
10 The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom,
    and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
11 For by me your days will be multiplied,
    and years will be added to your life.
12 If you are wise, you are wise for yourself;
    and if you scoff, you alone will bear it.

The Way of Foolishness

13 The foolish woman is loud;
    she is simpleminded[100] and knows nothing.
14 She sits at the door of her house;
    on a seat at the highest places of the city,
15 calling to those who pass by,
    who are going straight on their way,
16 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”
    And to him who is in want of heart[101] she says,
17 “Stolen water is sweet,
    and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”
18 But he does not know that those powerless in death[102] are there,
    that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.

Wisdom Instructs on Right and Wrong

The Proverbs of Solomon

10 The proverbs of Solomon.

A wise son makes a glad father,
    but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.

Wisdom Is with the Modest

Treasures of wickedness do not profit,
    but righteousness delivers from death.
Jehovah does not let the soul of the righteous go hungry,
    but he thrusts away the craving of the wicked.
A slack hand causes poverty,
    but the hand of the diligent makes rich.
A son who gathers in summer is prudent,
    but a son who sleeps in harvest brings shame.
Blessings are on the head of the righteous,
    but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
The memory of the righteous is a blessing,
    but the name of the wicked will rot.
The wise of heart will heed commandments,
    but the one foolish of lips[103] will be trampled down.[104]

The Foolish One Brings Others to Ruin

He who walks in integrity walks securely,
    but he who makes his paths crooked[105] will be known.[106]
10 He who winks the eye causes trouble,
    and the one foolish of lips[107] will be trampled down.[108]
11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,
    but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
12 Hatred stirs up strife,
    but love covers all transgressions.[109]
13 On the lips of him who has understanding, wisdom is found,
    but a rod is for the back of one in want of heart.[110]
14 Wise men store up knowledge,
    but the mouth of a fool brings ruin near.
15 A rich man's wealth is his strong city;
    the poverty of the poor is their ruin.
16 The wage of the righteous leads to life,
    the gain of the wicked to sin.
17 He who heeds discipline[111] is on the path to life,[112]
    but he who rejects reproof goes astray.
18 He who conceals hatred has lying lips,
    and he who utters slander is a fool.

Use of Many Words Brings Transgression

19 When words are many, transgression[113] is not lacking,
    but he who restrains his lips is prudent.
20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver;
    the heart of the wicked is of little worth.
21 The lips of the righteous feed many,
    but fools die for want of heart.[114]
22 The blessing of Jehovah, it makes rich,
    and he adds no sorrow to it.
23 Doing wickedness[115] is like a sport to a fool,
    but wisdom is pleasure to a man of discernment.[116]
24 What the wicked dreads will come upon him,
    but the desire of the righteous will be granted.
25 When the whirlwind passes, the wicked is no more,
    but the righteous are a foundation forever.
26 Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes,
    so is the sluggard to those who send him.
27 The fear of Jehovah prolongs days,[117]
    but the years of the wicked will be short.
28 The hope of the righteous is gladness,
    but the expectation of the wicked comes to nothing.
29 The way of Jehovah is a stronghold to the blameless,
    but destruction to evildoers.
30 The righteous will never be removed,
    but the wicked will not dwell in the land.
31 The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom,
    but the perverse tongue will be cut off.
32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable,
    but the mouth of the wicked, what is perverse.

Wisdom Avoids All Kinds of Wickedness

God Hates Dishonesty

11 Scales of deceit are detestable to Jehovah,
    but a perfect stone[118] is his delight.
When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
    but with the modest is wisdom.
The integrity of the upright guides them,
    but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.[119]

Riches Will Not Help

Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,
    but righteousness delivers from death.
The righteousness of the blameless keeps his way straight,
    but the wicked falls by his own wickedness.
The righteousness of the upright delivers them,
    but the treacherous are taken captive by their[120] lust.[121]
When a wicked man dies, his hope will perish,[122]
    and the expectation of strong men perishes too.[123]
The righteous is delivered from trouble,
    but the wicked enters into it.
With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor,
    but by knowledge the righteous are delivered.

The Upright Uphold the City

10 When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices,
    and when the wicked perish there is joyful shouting.
11 By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted,
    but by the mouth of the wicked it is overthrown.

The Godly Live Right

12 He who belittles his neighbor is in want of heart,[124]
    but a man of discernment[125] remains silent.
13 He who goes about as a worker of slander reveals secrets,
    but he who is trustworthy in spirit covers over a matter.
14 Where there is no guidance, a people falls,
    but in an abundance of counselors there is deliverance.[126]
15 Whoever puts up security for a stranger will surely suffer harm,
    but he who hates striking hands in pledge is secure.
16 A gracious woman attains honor,[127]
    and ruthless men take hold of riches.
17 A kind man rewards his soul,[128]
    but a cruel man harms his own flesh.
18 The wicked man earns deceptive wages,
    but the one who sows righteousness, a reward of truth.[129]
19 He who is steadfast in righteousness[130] will live,
    but he who pursues evil will die.
20 Men of crooked heart are detestable to Jehovah,
    but those of blameless ways are his delight.
21 Be assured,[131] an evil man will not go unpunished,
    but the offspring of the righteous will be delivered.

The Godly Use Discretion

22 Like a gold ring in a pig's snout
    is a beautiful woman without discretion.[132]
23 The desire of the righteous is only good;
    the expectation of the wicked in wrath.

The Godly Are Generous

24 One man scatters[133] freely yet adding more;[134]
    another withholds what is due,[135] and only suffers want.
25 The generous soul will be made fat,
    and one who waters will himself be watered.
26 He who withholds grain, the people curse him,
    but a blessing is on the head of him who sells it.

The Righteous Are Rewarded

27 He who diligently seeks good seeks favor,
    but evil comes to him who searches for it.
28 He who trusts in his riches will fall,
    but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf.
29 Whoever troubles his own household will inherit the wind,
    and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart.
30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
    and whoever captures souls is wise.[136]
31 If the righteous on earth will be rewarded,[137]
    how much more the wicked and the sinner![138]

Wisdom Contrasts Righteousness and Wickedness

God Finds Joy in Those Who Do Good

12 He who loves discipline loves knowledge,
    but he who hates reproof is stupid.
A good man obtains favor from Jehovah,
    but a man of evil devices he condemns.
A man is not established by wickedness,
    but the root of the righteous will never be moved.
A good wife is the crown of her husband,
    but like rottenness in his bones is she who brings shame.
The thoughts of the righteous are just;
    the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.
The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood,
    but the mouth of the upright delivers them.
The wicked are overthrown and are no more,
    but the house of the righteous will stand.
A man is praised according to his good sense,
    but one of perverse mind is despised.
Better to be lowly and have a servant
    than to play the great man[139] and lack bread.
10 A righteous man has regard for the soul[140] of his animal,
    but even the mercy of the wicked is cruel.
11 He who works his land will have plenty of bread,
    but he who follows worthless things is in want of heart.
12 The wicked man desires the stronghold[141] of evildoers,
    but the root of the righteous bears fruit.
13 In the transgression of the lips, there is an evil snare,
    but the righteous escapes from trouble.
14 From the fruit of his mouth a man is satisfied with good,
    and the work of a man's hand comes back to him.

The Wise Person Pauses and Considers His Words

15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
    but the one listening to counsel is wise.
16 A fool’s anger is known in a day,[142]
    but the prudent man covers shame.

Words Can Cause Great Harm

17 He who breathes out[143] faithfulness[144] reveals justice,[145]
    but a false witness deceit.
18 There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
    but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
19 The lip of truth is established forever,
    but only for the wink of an eye is a lying tongue.
20 Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil,
    but those who plan peace have joy.
21 No ill befalls the righteous,
    but the wicked are filled with trouble.
22 Lying lips are detestable to Jehovah,
    but those who act faithfully are his delight.
23 A prudent man conceals knowledge,
    but the heart of fools proclaims folly.

The One Working Hard Succeeds

24 The hand of the diligent will rule,
    while the slothful will be put to forced labor.
25 Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down,
    but a good word makes him glad.
26 A righteous man will seek out his neighbor,
    but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
27 A slothful man does not roast[146] his prey,
    but the diligent man is precious wealth.
28 In the path of righteousness is life,
    and in its pathway there is no death.

Wisdom Instructs on Right Living

He Accepts His Parents’ Discipline

13 A wise son hears his father's discipline,
    but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.[147]

 

Work Hard and Prosper; Control Your Tongue and Have a Long Life


From the fruit of a man’s mouth he eats good,
    but the soul[148] of the treacherous is for violence.
He who guards his mouth preserves his soul;
    he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.
The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing,
    while the soul of the diligent will be made fat.[149]

Consequences

A righteous man hates falsehood,
    but a wicked man acts shamefully and disgracefully.
Righteousness guards the blameless of way,[150]
    but wickedness will overthrow sin.[151]
One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing;
    another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.
The ransom of a man's soul[152] is his wealth,
    but a poor man does not hear rebuke.
The light of the righteous rejoices,[153]
    but the lamp of the wicked will be put out.

The Wise Seek Advice

10 By insolence comes nothing but strife,
    but with those who take advice is wisdom.
11 Wealth gained by vanity[154] will dwindle,
    but he who gathers little by little will increase it.

Delayed Hope Makes the Heart Sick

12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
    but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
13 The one who despises the word brings destruction on himself,
    but he who fears[155] the commandment will be rewarded.
14 The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life,
    that one may turn away from the snares of death.
15 Good insight[156] wins favor,
    but the way of the treacherous is hard.[157]
16 In everything the prudent acts with knowledge,
    but a fool makes known his foolishness.

A Faithful Envoy Brings Healing

17 A wicked messenger falls into trouble,
    but a faithful envoy brings healing.
18 Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction,
    but he who heeds reproof is honored.
19 A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul,
    but to turn away from evil is an abomination to fools.

Walking with the Wise Makes You Wise

20 He who walks with wise men will be wise,
    but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
21 Misfortune pursues sinners,
    but the righteous are rewarded with good.[158]
22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his son's sons,[159]
    but the sinner's wealth is stored up for the righteous.
23 There is much food in the fallow ground of the poor,
    but it is swept away by injustice.

Discipline is Love

24 He who spares the rod hates his son,
    but he who loves him seeks him diligently with discipline.
25 The righteous eats to the satisfying of his soul,
    but the belly of the wicked suffers want.

Wisdom Instructs about the Fear of Jehovah

The Wise and the Foolish

14 The wisest of women builds her house,
    but the foolish tears it down with her hands.
He who walks in uprightness fears Jehovah,
    but he who is devious in his ways despises him.
In the mouth of a fool is the rod of pride,
    but the lips of the wise will preserve them.
Where there are no oxen, a manger of grain,[160]
    but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.
A faithful witness does not lie,
    but a false witness utters lies.
A scoffer seeks wisdom and finds none,
    but knowledge is easy to one who has understanding.
Leave the presence of a fool,
    for you will not discern words of knowledge.
The wisdom of the prudent man is to discern his way,
    but the folly of fools is deceiving.
Fools mock at the guilt offering,
    but among the upright there is good will.

True Joy

10 The heart knows its own bitterness,
    and no stranger shares its joy.
11 The house of the wicked will be destroyed,
    but the tent of the upright will flourish.
12 There is a way that seems right to a man,
    but its end is the way of death.
13 Even in laughter the heart may be sad,
    and the end of joy may be grief.

The Prudent Consider Carefully While the Foolish Rush In

14 The backslider in heart will have his fill of his own ways,
    and a good man will be satisfied with his ways.
15 The naive[161] believes everything,
    but the shrewd man considers his steps.
16 One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil,
    but a fool throws off restraint and is careless.
17 A man of quick temper acts foolishly,
    and a man of thinking abilities is hated.
18 The naive[162] inherit foolishness,
    but the shrewd are crowned with knowledge.
19 The evil bow down before the good,
    and the wicked at the gates of the righteous.
20 The poor is disliked even by his neighbor,
    but the lovers of the rich are many.
21 He who despises his neighbor is a sinner,
    but he who shows kindness to the poor will be happy.

Basic Do’s and Don’ts

22 Do they not go astray who plan evil?
    But loyalty and faithfulness belong to those who plan good.
23 In all toil there is profit,
    but mere talk leads only to poverty.
24 The crown of the wise is their wealth,
    but the folly of fools brings folly.[163]
25 A truthful witness saves lives,
    but he who utters lies is deceitful.
26 In the fear of Jehovah there is strong confidence,
    and his children will have a refuge.
27 The fear of Jehovah is a fountain of life,
    that one may turn away from the snares of death.
28 In a multitude of people is the glory of a king,
    but without people a prince is ruined.

Get Control Over Anger and Envy

29 Whoever is slow to anger has great discernment,[164]
    but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.
30 A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh,
    but envy makes the bones rot.
31 He who oppresses a poor man insults his Maker,
    but he who has mercy on the poor honors him.
32 The wicked is overthrown through his evildoing,
    but the righteous finds refuge in his death.[165]
33 Wisdom rests in the heart of a man of understanding,
    but it makes itself known[166] even in the midst[167] of fools.

Lifting Kingdom and King

34 Righteousness exalts a nation,
    but sin is a reproach to any people.
35 The king’s favor is toward a servant who acts with insight,[168]
    but his wrath falls on one who acts shamefully.

Wisdom Instructs on Right Emotions and the Right Way to Live

Use Words Wisely

15 A gentle answer turns away wrath,
    but a painful[169] word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
    but the mouth of the stupid blurts out foolishness.
The eyes of Jehovah are in every place,
    keeping watch on the wicked and the good.
A healing tongue is a tree of life,
    but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
A fool despises his father's instruction,
    but he who accepts correction is prudent.
In the house[170] of the righteous there is much treasure,
    but the income of the wicked brings trouble.
The lips of the wise spread knowledge;
    but not so the hearts of fools.

Remember What Jehovah Loves

The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable to Jehovah,
    but the prayer of the upright is his delight.
The way of the wicked is detestable to Jehovah,
    but he loves him who pursues righteousness.

Consider the Consequences

10 There is severe discipline for him who forsakes the way;
    he who hates reproof will die.
11 Sheol and Abaddon lie open before Jehovah;
    how much more the hearts of men!
12 A scoffer does not like to be reproved;
    he will not go to the wise.
13 A glad heart makes a cheerful face,
    but by pain[171] of heart the spirit is broken.
14 The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge,
    but the faces of the stupid feed on foolishness.
15 All the days of the afflicted are bad,
    but the one with a cheerful heart has a continual feast.
16 Better is a little with the fear of Jehovah
    than great treasure and trouble with it.
17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is
    than a fattened ox and hatred with it.
18 A hot-tempered man stirs up strife,
    but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.
19 The way of a sluggard is like a hedge of thorns,
    but the path of the upright is a level highway.

Use Good Sense

20 A wise son makes a glad father,
    but a foolish man despises his mother.
21 Folly is a joy to him who has no sense,
    but a man of discernment[172] walks aright.
22 Without counsel plans go wrong,
    but with many advisers they succeed.
23 A man has joy in the answer of his mouth,
    and a word in due season,[173] how good it is!
24 The path of life leads upward to the man with insight,[174]
    that he may avoid Sheol beneath.
25 Jehovah tears down the house of the proud
    but maintains the boundary of the widow.
26 The thoughts of the wicked are detestable to Jehovah,
    but pleasant words are pure.
27 Whoever is greedy for unjust gain makes trouble for his own household,
    but he who hates bribes will live.
28 The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer,
    but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
29 Jehovah is far from the wicked,
    but the prayer of the righteous he hears.

Look and Listen well

30 The light of the eyes rejoices the heart,
    and good news makes fat[175] the bones.
31 He whose ear heeds wholesome admonition
    will dwell among the wise.
32 He who ignores instruction despises himself,
    but he who heeds admonition gains understanding.
33 The fear of Jehovah is instruction in wisdom,
    and humility comes before honor.

Wisdom Instructs on God’s Unexpected and Unforeseen Care

Commit Your Life to God and Success Can Follow

16 The plans of the heart belong to man,
    but the answer of the tongue is from Jehovah.
All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
    but Jehovah weighs the spirit.
Commit your work to Jehovah,
    and your plans will be established.
Jehovah has made everything for its purpose,
    even the wicked for the day of trouble.
Everyone who is arrogant in heart is detestable to Jehovah;
    be assured, he will not go unpunished.
By loyal love and faithfulness error is atoned for,
    and by the fear of Jehovah a man avoids evil.
When a man's ways please Jehovah,
    he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
Better is a little with righteousness
    than great revenues with injustice.
The heart of man plans his way,
    but Jehovah will direct his steps.

Judge Fairly

10 A divine decision is on the lips of a king;
    his mouth does not sin in judgment.
11 A just balance and scales are Jehovah's;
    all the weights in the bag are his work.
12 It is detestable to kings to do evil,
    for the throne is established by righteousness.
13 Righteous lips are the delight of a king,
    and he loves him who speaks what is right.
14 A king's wrath is a messenger of death,
    and a wise man will appease it.
15 In the light of a king's face is life,
    and his favor is like the clouds that bring the spring rain.

Wisdom and Understanding Are Better That Riches

16 How much better to get wisdom than gold!
    To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.
17 The highway of the upright turns aside from evil;
    he who guards his way preserves his life.

Better to Be Humble and Poor Than Proud and Rich

18 Pride goes before destruction,
    and a haughty spirit before a fall.
19 It is better to be of lowly spirit with the meek[176]
    than to divide the spoil with the proud.
20 The one who shows insight[177] in a matter finds success,
    and blessed is he who trusts in Jehovah.
21 The wise in heart is called discerning,
    and he that is sweet in lips increases persuasiveness.
22 Insight[178] is a fountain of life to those possessing it,
    but the instruction of fools is folly.
23 The heart of the wise one gives his mouth insight,[179]
    and adds persuasiveness to his lips.
24 Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,
    sweetness to the soul and healing to the bones.

Be Cautious Because the Way That Seems Right Actually Leads to Death

25 There is a way that seems right to a man,
    but its end is the way to death.
26 A soul of a worker makes him work hard;
    his mouth urges him on.
27 A worthless man plots evil,
    and his speech is like a scorching fire.
28 A perverse man spreads strife,
    and a whisperer separates close friends.
29 A man of violence entices his neighbor
    and leads him in a way that is not good.
30 He who winks his eyes plans dishonest things;
    he who compresses his lips brings evil to pass.

Better to Be Patient Than Powerful

31 Gray hair is a crown of glory;
    it is gained in a righteous life.
32 He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
    and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
33 The lot is cast into the lap,
    but its every decision is from Jehovah.

Wisdom Instructs on Fools

God Allows the heart to Be Tested; Fools Are Punished

17 Better is a dry morsel with quiet
    than a house full of feasting with strife.
A servant with insight[180] will rule over a son who acts shamefully
    and will share in the inheritance among brothers.
The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold,
    and Jehovah tests hearts.
An evildoer listens to wicked lips,
    and a liar gives ear to a malicious tongue.
He who mocks the poor insults his Maker;
    he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.

Family Pride

Grandsons are the crown of the aged,
    and the glory of sons is their fathers.

A Collection of Fools

Upright speech[181] is not becoming to a fool;
    still less is false speech to a ruler.
A bribe is like a magic stone in the eyes of him who gives it;
    wherever he turns he prospers.
He who covers a transgression[182] seeks love,
    but he who repeats a matter alienates close friends.
10 A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding
    than a hundred blows into a fool.
11 An evil man seeks only rebellion,
    and a cruel messenger will be sent against him.
12 Let a man meet a she-bear robbed of her cubs
    rather than a fool in his folly.
13 If any man returns evil for good,
    evil will not depart from his house.
14 The beginning of strife is like letting out water,
    before the quarrel breaks out, take your leave.
15 He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous,
    both of them alike are detestable to Jehovah.
16 Why is there a price in the hand of a fool to buy wisdom
    when he has no heart?[183]
17 A friend loves at all times,
    and a brother is born for adversity.
18 A man in want of heart[184] gives a pledge
    and puts up security in the presence of his neighbor.
19 He who loves transgression[185] loves strife;
    he who makes his door high seeks destruction.
20 A man of crooked heart does not discover good,
    and one with a perverse tongue falls into calamity.
21 He who fathers a stupid child experience grief,
    and the father of a senseless child has no joy.
22 A joyful heart is good for healing,[186]
    but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.[187]
23 A wicked man accepts a bribe from the bosom[188]
    to pervert the ways of justice.
24 Wisdom is before the face of the discerning one,
    but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.
25 A stupid son is a grief to his father
    and bitterness to her who bore him.
26 To impose a fine on a righteous man is not good,
    nor to flog the noble for their uprightness.
27 He who restrains his words has knowledge,
    and he who has a cool spirit is a man of discernment.[189]
28 Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;
    when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

Wisdom Instructs on Moral Virtues and Their Contrary Vices

The Mouth of the Fool

18 Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire;
    he breaks forth against all sound wisdom.
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
    but only in revealing his own heart.
When wickedness comes, contempt comes also,
    and with dishonor comes disgrace.
The words of a man's mouth are deep waters;
    the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.
It is not good to be partial to the wicked man
    or to deprive the righteous man of justice.
A fool's lips will bring strife,
    and his mouth invites a beating.
A fool's mouth is his ruin,
    and his lips are a snare to his soul.
The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;
    they go down into the inner parts of the body.
Whoever is slack in his work
    is a brother to him who destroys.

Run to Jehovah When Facing Trouble

10 The name of Jehovah is a strong tower;
    the righteous man runs into it and is safe.[190]
11 A rich man's wealth is his strong city,
    and like a high wall in his imagination.

The Tongue Can Kill or Nourish

12 Before destruction a man's heart is haughty,
    but humility comes before honor.
13 If one gives an answer before he hears,
    it is his folly and shame.
14 A man's spirit will endure sickness,
    but a crushed spirit who can bear it?
15 An intelligent heart acquires knowledge,
    and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
16 A man's gift makes room for him
    and brings him before great men.
17 The first to state his case seems right,
    until the other comes and examines him.
18 The lot puts an end to quarrels
    and decides between powerful contenders.
19 A brother offended is harder to be won[191] than a fortified city,
    and there are disputes like the bars of a fortress.
20 From the fruit of a man's mouth his stomach is satisfied;
    he is satisfied by the yield of his lips.
21 Death and life are in the power[192] of the tongue,
    and those who love it will eat its fruits.

Finding a Goof Wife

22 He who finds a wife[193] finds a good thing
    and obtains favor from Jehovah.

Real Friends Stick Closer Than a Brother

23 The poor use entreaties,
    but the rich answer roughly.
24 A man of[194] many friends will come to ruin,[195]
    but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Wisdom Instructs on Character

Wealth and Wisdom

19 Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity
    than he who is perverse in his lips[196] and is a fool.
Also, a soul to be without knowledge is not good,
    and he who is hastening with his feet is sinning.
A man's folly brings his way to ruin,
    and his heart rages against Jehovah.
Wealth brings many new friends,
    but a poor man is separated from his friend.

Deceivers and Liars

A false witness will not go unpunished,
    and he who utters lies will not escape.
Many seek the favor of a generous man,
    and everyone is a friend to a man who gives gifts.
All a poor man's brothers hate him;
    how much more do his friends go far from him!
He pursues them with words, but does not have them.
He who acquires heart[197] loves his own soul;
    he who keeps discernment[198] will find good.
A false witness will not go unpunished,
    and he who utters lies will perish.

Fools, Kings, and Children

10 It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury,
    much less for a slave to rule over princes.
11 The insight[199] of a man slows down his anger,
    and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
12 A king's wrath is like the growling of a lion,
    but his favor is like dew on the grass.
13 A foolish son is ruin to his father,
    and a wife's quarreling is a continual dripping of rain.
14 House and wealth are inherited from fathers,
    but a prudent wife is from Jehovah.

Laziness and Life

15 Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep,
    and an idle soul will suffer hunger.
16 He who keeps the commandment keeps his life;
    he who despises his ways will die.

Discipline and Dedication

17 He who is generous to the poor lends to Jehovah,
    and he will repay him for his deed.
18 Discipline your son, while there is hope;
    do not set your heart on putting him to death.
19 A man of great wrath will pay the penalty,
    for if you deliver him, you will only have to do it again.
20 Listen to counsel and accept instruction,
    that you may gain wisdom in your end.[200]
21 Many are the plans in the heart of a man,
    but it is the purpose of Jehovah that will stand.
22 What is desired in a man is loyal love,
    and a poor man is better than a liar.
23 The fear of the Lord leads to life,
    and whoever has it will have a pleasant rest;
    he will not be visited by harm.
24 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish
    and will not even bring it back to his mouth.
25 Strike a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence;
    reprove a man of understanding, and he will gain knowledge.

Parental Abuse

26 He who does violence to his father and chases away his mother
    is a son who causes shame and reproach.
27 Cease to hear instruction, my son,
    and you will stray from the words of knowledge.
28 A worthless witness mocks at justice,
    and the mouth of the wicked devours evil.
29 Judgments are prepared for the scoffers,
    and beating for the backs of fools.

Wisdom Instructs on Avoiding Drunkenness, Slothfulness, and a Contentious Spirit

Do Not Be Led Astray by Drink

20 Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler,
    and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.

Do Not Rouse the King’s Anger

The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion;
    he who provokes him to anger forfeits his soul.
It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife,
    but every fool will be quarreling.
The sluggard does not plow in the autumn;
    he will seek at harvest and have nothing.
Counsel in a man’s heart is like deep water,
    but a man of discernment draws it out.
Many a man proclaims his own loyal love,
    but a faithful man who can find?
The righteous who walks in his integrity;
    blessed are his children after him!
A king who sits on the throne of judgment
    winnows all evil with his eyes.

Do Not Have Double Standards

Who can say, “I have made my heart clean;
    I am pure from my sin”?
10 Two different stone weights and two different of ephah measures[201]
    are both alike detestable to Jehovah.
11 Even a boy by his actions will make himself known,
    by whether his conduct is pure and upright.
12 The hearing ear and the seeing eye,
    Jehovah has made them both.
13 Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty;
    open your eyes, and have plenty of bread.

Watch Out for Bad Bargains

14 “It is bad, it is bad,” says the buyer,
    but when he goes away, then he boasts.
15 There is gold and abundance of costly stones,
    but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.
16 Take a man’s garment if he has given security for a stranger,
    and hold it in pledge when he puts up security for a foreign woman.[202]
17 Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man,
    but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel.
18 Plans are established by counsel;
    and by wise guidance wage war.

Do Not Gossip or Hold Grudges

19 He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets;
    therefore do not associate with one foolish as to his lips.[203]
20 He who curses his father or his mother,
    his lamp will be put out in utter darkness.
21 An inheritance obtained by greed[204] in the beginning
    will not be blessed in the end.
22 Do not say, “I will repay evil;”
    wait for Jehovah, and he will deliver you.
23 Two different stone weights[205] are detestable to Jehovah,
    and false scales are not good.
24 A man's steps are from Jehovah;
    how then can man understand his way?
25 It is a snare for a man to say rashly, “It is holy,”
    and after making his vows to reflect.

Do Not Tolerate Wickedness

26 A wise king winnows the wicked
    and drives the wheel over them.
27 The breath of a man is the lamp of Jehovah,
    searching all his innermost parts.
28 Loyal love and faithfulness preserve the king,
    and by loyal love his throne is upheld.
29 The glory of young men is their strength,
    but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.
30 Blows that wound cleanse away evil;
    strokes make clean the innermost parts.

Wisdom Instructs on Integrity, Patience, and God’s Sovereignty

God Watches the Heart

21 The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of Jehovah;
    he turns it wherever he will.
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,
    but Jehovah weighs the heart.
To do righteousness and justice
    is more acceptable to Jehovah than sacrifice.
Haughty eyes and a proud heart,
    the lamp[206] of the wicked, are sin.
The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance,
    but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.
The getting of treasures by a lying tongue
    is a fleeting vapor and a snare of death.[207]
The violence of the wicked will sweep them away,
    because they refuse to do what is just.
The way of a guilty man is crooked,
    but the conduct of the pure man is upright.

It is Easier Being Alone

It is better to live in a corner of the housetop
    than in a house shared with a contentious wife.
10 The soul of the wicked man desires evil;
    his neighbor finds no mercy in his eyes.
11 When a scoffer is punished, the simple becomes wise;
    when a wise man receives insight,[208] he gains knowledge.[209]
12 The Righteous One observes the house of the wicked;
    he overthrows the wicked to their ruin.
13 He who closes his ear to the cry of the poor
    will himself cry out and not be answered.
14 A gift in secret averts anger,
    and a bribe in the bosom strong wrath.
15 When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous
    but it is terrible to evildoers.
16 The man who wanders from the way of insight[210]
    will rest in the assembly of the dead.
17 He who loves pleasure will be a man of poverty;
    he who loves wine and oil will not be rich.
18 The wicked is a ransom for the righteous,
    and the treacherous in the place of the upright.
19 It is better to live in a desert land
    than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman.

The Way of the Wise

20 Precious treasure and oil are in in the dwelling of the wise man,[211]
    but a foolish man devours it.
21 He who pursues righteousness and kindness
    will find life, righteousness, and honor.
22 A wise man scales the city of the mighty
    and brings down the stronghold in which they trust.
23 He who keeps his mouth and his tongue
    keeps himself out of trouble.
24 “Scoffer” is the name of the arrogant, haughty man
    who acts with arrogant pride.
25 The desire of the sluggard kills him,
    for his hands refuse to labor.
26 All day long he greedily craves,
    but the righteous gives and does not hold back.
27 The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable;
    how much more when he brings it with evil intent.
28 A false witness will perish,
    but a man who hears will speak forever.
29 A wicked man puts on a bold face,[212]
    but an upright man establishes his ways.[213]

Victory Belongs to Jehovah

30 No wisdom, no discernment,[214] no counsel
    can avail against Jehovah.
31 The horse is made ready for the day of battle,
    but the victory belongs to Jehovah.

Wisdom Instructs on How to Secure and Keep a Good Name. It Emphasizes Wise Words and Justice toward Others, Especially the Poor

A Good Name

22 A good name[215] is to be chosen rather than great riches,
    and favor is better than silver or gold.

Some General Guidance

The rich and the poor meet together;
    Jehovah is the maker of them all.
The prudent sees danger and hides himself,
    but the simple go on and suffer for it.
The reward of humility and fear of Jehovah
    is riches and honor and life.
Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse;
    he who guards his soul will keep far from them.
Train up a child in the way he should go;
    even when he is old he will not depart from it.
The rich rules over the poor,
    and the borrower is the slave to a man who lends.
He who sows injustice will reap calamity,
    and the rod of his fury will fail.[216]
He who has a good eye[217] will be blessed,
    for he shares his bread with the poor.
10 Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out,
    and quarreling and abuse will cease.
11 He who loves purity of heart,[218]
    and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.
12 The eyes of Jehovah keep watch over knowledge,
    but he overthrows the words of the faithless.[219]
13 The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside!
    I shall be killed in the streets!”
14 The mouth of strange women[220] is a deep pit;
    he with whom Jehovah is angry will fall into it.
15 Foolishness  is bound up in the heart of a boy,
    but the rod of discipline will remove  it far from him.
16 He who oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth,
    or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.

Some Good Advice

17 Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise,
    and apply your heart to my knowledge,
18 for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you,
    if all of them are ready on your lips.
19 That your trust may be in Jehovah,
    I have made them known to you today, even to you.
20 Have I not written for you thirty sayings[221]
    of counsel and knowledge,
21 to show you what is right words of truth,
    to return words of truth to those who sent you.

22 Do not rob the poor, because he is poor,
    or crush the afflicted at the gate,
23 for Jehovah will plead their cause
    and despoil those who despoil them of life.
24 Do not associate with a man given to anger,
    nor go with a wrathful man,
25 lest you learn his ways
    and entangle you soul in a snare.
26 Be not one of those who strike hands,[222]
    who put up security for debts.
27 If you have nothing with which to pay,
    why should he take your bed from under you?
28 Do not move the ancient boundary marker
    that your forefathers have set.
29 Do you see a man skillful in his work?
    Before kings he will stand;
    he will not stand before obscure men.

Wisdom Instructs on Greediness, Overindulgence, and Impurity

Dining with a King

23 When you sit down to eat with a ruler,
    consider carefully what is before you,
and put a knife to your throat
    if you are a soul full of desire.[223]
Do not desire his delicacies,
    for they are deceptive food.
Do not toil to acquire wealth;
    be discerning enough to desist.
When your eyes light on it, it is gone,
    for it will surely sprout wings like an eagle,
    and fly off into the sky.

Dining with the Stingy

Do not eat the bread of a man whose eye is evil;[224]
    do not desire his delicacies,
for he is like one who is calculating in his soul.[225]
    “Eat and drink!” he says to you,
    but his heart is not with you.
You will vomit up the morsels that you have eaten,
    and waste your pleasant words.

Fellowship with Fools

Do not speak in the hearing of a fool,
    for he will despise the good sense of your words.

Discipling Your Children

10 Do not move an ancient boundary marker
    or enter the fields of the fatherless,
11 for their Redeemer is strong;
    he will plead their cause against you.
12 Apply your heart to instruction
    and your ear to words of knowledge.
13 Do not withhold discipline from a child;
    if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.
14 If you strike him with the rod,
    you will save his soul from Sheol.
15 My son, if your heart is wise,
    my heart too will be glad.
16 And my kidneys[226] will rejoice
    when your lips speak what is right.
17 Let not your heart envy sinners,
    but be in the fear of Jehovah all day long.
18 Surely there is a future,
    and your hope will not be cut off.

Avoiding Pitfalls

19 Hear, my son, and be wise,
    and direct your heart in the way.
20 Be not among habitual wine drinkers[227]
    or among gluttonous eaters of meat,
21 for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty,
    and drowsiness will clothe one with rags.

22 Listen to your father who begot you,
    and do not despise your mother when she is old.
23 Buy truth, and do not sell it;
    buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.
24 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice;
    he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him.
25 Let your father and mother be glad;
    let her who bore you rejoice.

26 My son, give me your heart,
    and let your eyes delight in my ways.
27 For a prostitute is a deep pit;
    and a foreign[228] woman is a narrow well.
28 She lies in wait like a robber
    and increases the number of unfaithful men.

Avoiding Drunkenness

29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
    Who has strife? Who has complaining?
Who has wounds without cause?
    Who has redness of eyes?
30 Those who linger long over wine;
    those who go to try mixed wine.
31 Do not look at wine when it is red,
    when it sparkles[229] in the cup
    and goes down smoothly.
32 In the end it bites like a serpent
    and stings like an adder.
33 Your eyes will see strange things,
    and your heart utter perverse things.
34 You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea,
    like one who lies on the top of a mast.[aa]
35 “They struck me,”[230] but I was not hurt;
    they beat me, but I did not feel it.
When shall I wake up?
    I will seek it yet again.”

Wisdom Tells How to Relate to the Wicked and Foolish and Conduct Oneself with Neighbors, and Warns against Slothfulness

The House Wisdom Built

24 Be not envious of evil men,
    nor desire to be with them,
for their hearts devise violence,
    and their lips talk of trouble.

By wisdom a house is built,
    and by discernment[231] it is established;
by knowledge the rooms are filled
    with all precious and pleasant riches.
A man of wisdom is in strength,[232]
    and a man of knowledge than he who has strength,[233]
for by wise guidance you can wage your war,
    and in abundance of counselors there is victory.[234]
Wisdom is too high for a fool;[235]
    in the gate he does not open his mouth.

He who plans to do evil
    will be called a schemer.
The scheming of foolishness is sin,
    and the scoffer is an abomination to mankind.

Rescue the Perishing

10 If you are disheartened in the day of adversity,
    your strength is limited.
11 Rescue those who are being taken away to death;
    hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
12 If you say, “Look, we did not know this,”
    does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it,
    and will he not repay man according to his work?

Like Honey to the Soul

13 My son, eat honey, for it is good,
    and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.
14 Know that wisdom is such to your soul;
    if you find it, there will be a future,
    and your hope will not be cut off.

Down Seven Times

15 Lie not in wait as a wicked man against the dwelling of the righteous;
    do no violence to his home;
16 for a righteous man falls seven times and rises again,
    but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.

When Enemies Fall

17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
    and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles,
18 lest Jehovah see it and be displeased,
    and turn away his anger from him.

19 Fret not yourself because of evildoers,
    and be not envious of the wicked,
20 for there is no future for the evil man;
    the lamp of the wicked will be put out.

21 My son, fear Jehovah and the king,
    and not associate with those who are for a change,[236]
22 for disaster will arise suddenly from them,
    and who knows the ruin that will come from them both?

Partiality and Preparation

23 These also are sayings of the wise.

Partiality[237] in judging is not good.
24 Whoever says to the wicked, “You are in the right,”
    the people will curse him, the nations will abhor him,
25 but those who rebuke the wicked will have delight,
    and a good blessing will come upon them.
26 He who gives right words
    kisses the lips.

27 Prepare your work outside;
    and get it ready for yourself in the field,
    afterward, build your house.

Return Good for Evil

28 Be not a witness against your neighbor without cause,
    and do not deceive with your lips.
29 Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me;
    I will pay the man back for what he has done.”

Learn from the Lazy

30 I passed by the field of a sluggard,
    and by the vineyard of a man lacking sense,
31 and look, it was all overgrown with thorns;
    the ground was covered with nettles,[238]
    and its stone wall was broken down.
32 Then I saw and considered it;
    I looked and received instruction.
33 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest,
34 and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
    and want like an armed man.

Wisdom Instructs Kings and Their Subjects on the Fear of God and Righteousness

The Source of Proverbs

25 These also are proverbs of Solomon which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied.

The Rights and Rulers

It is the glory of God to conceal things,
    but the glory of kings is to search things out.
As the heavens for height, and the earth for depth,
    so the heart of kings is unsearchable.
Take away the dross from the silver,
    and there comes out for the smith a vessel;[239]
take away the wicked from the presence of the king,
    and his throne will be established in righteousness.
Do not put yourself forward in the king's presence
    or in the place of the great do not stand,
for it is better to be told, “Come up here,”
    than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.

What your eyes have seen

Be Slow to Sue

do not hastily bring into court,
for[a] what will you do in the end,
    when your neighbor puts you to shame?
Argue your case with your neighbor himself,
    and do not disclose another's secret,
10 lest he who hears you may not put you to shame,
    and your ill repute[240] have no end.

The Right Use of Word

11 Like apples of gold in silver settings
    is a word spoken at the right time.
12 Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold
    is a wise reprover to a listening ear.
13 Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest
    is a faithful messenger to those who send him;
    he refreshes the soul of his masters.
14 Like clouds and wind without rain
    is a man who boasts of a gift he does not give.

15 With patience[241] a ruler may be persuaded,
    and a soft tongue will break a bone.

Moderation in All Things

16 If you have found honey, eat only enough for you,
    lest you take too much of it and vomit it.
17 Let your foot be seldom in your neighbor's house,
    lest he have his fill of you and hate you.

Dealing with Others

18 Like a war club, or a sword, or a sharp arrow
    is a man who bears false witness against his neighbor
19 Like a broken tooth or an unsteady foot
    is trusting in a treacherous man in time of trouble.
20 Like one who removes a garment on a cold day
    and like vinegar poured on soda,
    is the one who sings songs to a heavy heart.[242]

Kill Him with Kindness

21 If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat,
    and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink,
22 for you will heap coals of fire on his head,
    and Jehovah will reward you.

Better Off on a Roof

23 The north wind brings forth rain,
    and a backbiting tongue, angry faces.
24 It is better to live in a corner of the housetop
    than in a house shared with a nagging wife.

Good News and Self-Control

25 Like cold water to a thirsty soul,
    so is good news from a far country.
26 Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain
    is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.
27 It is not good to eat much honey,
    nor is it glorious to seek one's own glory.
28 As a city broken through, without a wall,
    is the man that has no restraint over his spirit.

Wisdom Instructs against Dishonorable Conduct

Facts on the Fool

26 Like snow in summer or rain in harvest,
    so honor is not fitting for a fool.
Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying,
    so a curse that is causeless does not alight.
A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey,
    and a rod for the back of fools.
Answer not a fool according to his folly,
    lest you be like him yourself.
Answer a fool according to his folly,
    lest he be wise in his own eyes.
He who sends a message by the hand of a fool
    cuts off his own feet and drinks violence.
Like a lame man's legs, which hang useless,
    is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
Like one who binds the stone in the sling
    is one who gives honor to a fool.
Like a thorn that goes up into the hand of a drunkard
    is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
10 Like an archer who wounds everyone
    so is he who hires a fool or who hires those who pass by.
11 Like a dog that returns to his vomit
    is a fool who repeats his folly.
12 Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes?
    There is more hope for a fool than for him.

Seven Times Smarter

13 The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road!
    There is a lion in the streets!”
14 As a door turns on its hinges,
    so does a sluggard on his bed.
15 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish;
    it wears him out to bring it back to his mouth.
16 The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes
    than seven men who can answer sensibly.

Mind Your Own Business

17 Like one who takes a dog by the ears
    is he who meddles in an argument that is not his own.[243]
18 Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death
19 is the man who deceives his neighbor
    and says, “I am only joking!”

Gossip Contributes to Grief

20 For lack of wood the fire goes out,
    and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.
21 As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire,
    so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.
22 The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;
    they go down into the inner parts of the body.
23 Like silver dross[244] covering an earthen vessel
    are fervent lips with an evil heart.
24 He who hates disguises himself with his lips
    and harbors deceit in his heart;
25 when he speaks graciously, believe him not,
    for there are seven detestable things in his heart;
26 though his hatred be covered with guile,
    his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
27 He who digs a pit will fall into it,
    and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling.
28 A lying tongue hates its victims,
    and a flattering mouth works ruin.

Wisdom Instructs on Human Relations

Neither Boast nor Brag

27 Do not boast about tomorrow,
    for you do not know what a day may bring.
Let another praise you, and not your own mouth;
    a stranger, and not your own lips.
A stone is heavy, and sand is weighty,
    but a fool's provocation is heavier than both.

More Dangerous Than Anger

There is the cruelty of rage and the flood of anger,
    but who can stand before jealousy?

Sweeter Than Kisses

Better a rebuke that is open
    than a love that is concealed.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend;
    abundant are the kisses of an enemy.
A soul who is sated loathes honey,
    but to one who is hungry everything bitter is sweet.
Like a bird that strays from its nest
    is a man who strays from his home.
Oil and perfume make the heart glad,
    and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.[245]

Never Forget a Friend

10 Do not forsake your friend and your father's friend,
    and do not go to your brother's house in the day of your calamity.
Better is a neighbor who is near
    than a brother who is far away.
11 Be wise, my son, and make my heart glad,
    that I may return a word to my reproacher.[246]
12 A prudent man sees danger and hides himself,
    but the simple go on and suffer for it.
13 Take a man's garment when he has given security for a stranger,
    and hold it in pledge when he has given security for a foreign[247] woman.[248]
14 He who blesses his neighbor with a loud voice,
    rising early in the morning,
    will be counted as cursing.

A Rainy Day and a Cranky Woman

15 A continual dripping on a rainy day
    and a contentious wife are alike;
16 to restrain her is to restrain the wind
    or to grasp oil in one's right hand.[249]
17 Iron sharpens iron,
    and one man sharpens the face of his friend.[250]
18 He who tends a fig tree will eat its fruit,
    and he who guards his master will be honored.

More Reflective than a Mirror

19 As in water face reflects face,
    so the heart of man reflects the man.
20 Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied,
    and the eyes of man are never satisfied.
21 The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold,
    and a man is judged by his praise.
22 Crush a fool in a mortar with a pestle
    along with crushed grain,
    yet his folly will not depart from him.

Caring for the Lambs

23 Know well the condition of your flocks,
    and give attention to your herds,
24 for riches do not last forever;
    and does a crown endure to all generations?
25 When the grass is gone and the new growth appears
    and the vegetation of the mountains is gathered,
26 the lambs provide your clothing,
    and the goats the price of a field.
27 There will be enough goats' milk for your food,
    for the food of your household
    and life for your servant girls.

Wisdom instructs on the unscrupulous and unlawful dealings of the rich against the poor

A Stable Government

28 The wicked flee when no one pursues,
    but the righteous are bold as a lion.
When a land transgresses,[251] it has many rulers,
    but with a man of discernment[252] and knowledge,
    its stability will long continue.

A Pouring Rain

A poor man who oppresses the poor
    is a beating rain that leaves no food.

Integrity

Those who forsake the law praise the wicked,
    but those who keep the law strive against them.
Evil men do not understand justice,
    but those who seek Jehovah understand it completely.
Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity
    than a man crooked in his ways, though he is rich.
The one who keeps the law is a son with understanding,
    but a companion of gluttons shames his father.
He who multiplies his wealth by interest and usury[253]
    gathers it for him who is generous to the poor.
If one turns away his ear from hearing the law,
    even his prayer is detestable.

The Blessings of the Godly, the Plight of the Godless

10 He who misleads the upright into an evil way
    will fall into his own pit,
    but the blameless will have a goodly inheritance.
11 A rich man is wise in his own eyes,
    but a poor man who has discernment[254] will find him out.
12 When the righteous triumph, there is great glory,
    but when the wicked rise, men hide themselves.
13 He who conceals his transgressions[255] will not prosper,
    but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
14 Blessed is the one who fears Jehovah always,
    but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.
15 Like a roaring lion or a charging bear
    is a wicked ruler over a poor people.

The Rise of the Just, the Fall of the Unjust

16 A ruler who lacks discernment[256] is a cruel oppressor,
    but he who hates unjust gain will prolong his days.
17 If a man is burdened with the blood of a soul,
    let him be a fugitive until the pit;[257]
    let no one help him.
18 He who walks in integrity will be delivered,
    but he who is crooked in his ways will fall at once.[258]
19 He who tills his land will have plenty of bread,
    but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty.
20 A faithful man will abound with blessings,
    but he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.

Partiality and Punishment

21 To show partiality[259] is not good,
    but for a piece of bread a man will do wrong.

Being Critical

22 A man with an evil eye[260] hastens after wealth
    and does not know that poverty will come upon him.
23 He who rebukes a man will afterward find more favor
    than he who flatters with his tongue.[261]
24 He who robs his father or his mother
    and says, “That is no transgression,”
    is a companion to a man who destroys.

Greed and Generosity

25 A greedy man stirs up strife,
    but the one who trusts in Jehovah will be enriched.
26 He who trusts in his own heart is a fool,
    but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.
27 He who gives to the poor will not want,
    but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.
28 When the wicked rise, men hide themselves,
    but when they perish, the righteous increase.

Wisdom Instructs against Stubbornness and Insubordination

Accepting Criticism

29 He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck,
    will suddenly be broken beyond healing.

Wisdom and Wickedness

When the righteous are many, the people rejoice,
    but when the wicked rule, the people groan.
He who loves wisdom makes his father glad,
    but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.
A king by justice gives stability to the land,
    but he who exacts gifts ruins it.
A man who flatters his neighbor
    spreads a net for his feet.
An evil man is ensnared in his transgression,[262]
    but a righteous man sings and rejoices.
A righteous man knows the rights of the poor;
    a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.
Scoffers set a city aflame,
    but the wise turn away wrath.

Facts about a Fool

If a wise man has an argument with a fool,
    there will only be rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.
10 Bloodthirsty men hate one who is blameless
    and upright ones seek his soul.
11 A fool gives full vent to his spirit,[263]
    but a wise man quietly holds it back.

Rulers and the Poor

12 If a ruler listens to falsehood,
    all his officials will be wicked.
13 The poor man and the oppressor meet together;
    Jehovah gives light to the eyes of both.
14 If a king faithfully judges the poor,
    his throne will be established forever.

Spanking, Not Spoiling

15 The rod and reproof give wisdom,
    but a boy left to himself brings shame to his mother.
16 When the wicked increase, transgression[264] increases,
    but the righteous will look upon their downfall.
17 Discipline your son, and he will give you rest;
    he will give delight to your heart.

No Revelation, No Restraint

18 Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint,
    but blessed is he who keeps the law.
19 By words a servant is not disciplined,
    for though he understands, he will not heed.

Thoughtless Speech

20 Do you see a man who is hasty in his words?
    There is more hope for a fool than for him.
21 He who pampers his servant from childhood
    will in the end find him his heir.
22 A man of wrath stirs up strife,
    and one given to anger causes much transgression.[265]
23 The Pride of man will bring him low,
    but the lowly of spirit will obtain honor.
24 The partner of a thief hates his own soul;
    he hears the curse, but discloses nothing.
25 The fear of man lays a snare,
    but whoever trusts in Jehovah is safe.
26 Many seek the face of a ruler,
    but it is from Jehovah that a man gets justice.

The Godly and the Ungodly

27 An unjust man is detestable to the righteous,
    but one whose way is straight is detestable to the wicked.

Wisdom Instructs on God’s Word and Other Subjects

30 The words of Agur son of Jakeh of Massa.[266]

The man says to Ithiel, to Ithiel and Ucal.
Surely I am too stupid to be a man.
    I have not the understanding of a man.
I have not learned wisdom,
    nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.

God’s Wonders

Who has ascended to heaven and come down?
    Who has gathered the wind in his fists?
Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment?
    Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name, and what is his son's name?
    Surely you know!

God’s Word

Every word of God proves true;
    he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Do not add to his words,
    lest he reprove you and you be found a liar.

Two things I ask of you;
    deny them not to me before I die:
Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
    give me neither poverty nor riches;
    feed me with the food that is needful for me,
lest I be full and deny you
    and say, “Who is Jehovah?”
or lest I be poor and steal
    and profane the name of my God.

God’s World

10 Do not slander a servant to his master,
    lest he curse you, and you be held guilty.

11 There are those[r] who curse their fathers
    and do not bless their mothers.
12 There are those who are clean in their own eyes
    but are not cleansed of their filth.
13 There is a generation, oh how lofty are their eyes,
    and whose eyelids are lifted up!
14 There are those whose teeth are swords,
    whose fangs are knives,
to devour the poor from off the earth,
    the needy from among mankind.

15 The leech has two daughters:
    “Give, give!” they cry.
Three things are never satisfied;
    four never say, “Enough”:
16 Sheol, the barren womb,
    the earth ever thirsty for water,
    and the fire that never says, “Enough.”

17 The eye that mocks a father
    and scorns to obey a mother
will be picked out by the ravens of the valley
    and eaten by the vultures.

18 Three things are too wonderful[267] for me;
    four I do not understand:
19 the way of an eagle in the sky,
    the way of a serpent on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas,
    and the way of a man with a young woman.

20 This is the way of an adulteress:
    she eats and wipes her mouth
    and says, “I have done no wrong.”

21 Under three things the earth trembles;
    under four it cannot bear up:
22 under a slave when he becomes king,
    and a fool when he is filled with food;
23 under a hated woman when she gets a husband,
    and a maidservant when she displaces her mistress.

24 Four things on earth are small,
    but they are exceedingly wise:
25 the ants are a people not strong,
    yet they provide their food in the summer;
26 the rock badgers are a people not mighty,
    yet they make their homes in the rocks;
27 the locusts have no king,
    yet all of them march in rank;
28 the lizard you can take in your hands,
    yet it is in kings' palaces.

29 Three things are stately in their march;
    four are stately in their stride:
30 the lion, which is mightiest among beasts
    and does not turn back before any;
31 the strutting rooster,[268] the male goat,[269]
    and a king whose army is with him.[270]

32 If you have been foolish, exalting yourself,
    or if you have been devising evil,
    put your hand on your mouth.
33 For pressing milk produces curds,
    pressing the nose produces blood,
    and pressing anger produces strife.

Wisdom Instructs Kings and Praises the Virtuous, Wise, and Industrious Woman

A Godly Mother’s Counsel

31 The words of Lemuel, king of Massa.[271] A message that his mother taught him:

What, O my son, What, O son of my womb,
    and what, O son of my vows?
Do not give your strength to women,
    your ways to those who destroy kings.
It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
    it is not for kings to drink wine,
    or for rulers to desire strong drink,
lest they drink and forget what has been decreed
    and pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
Give strong drink to the one who is perishing,
    and wine to those bitter in soul;
let them drink and forget their poverty
    and remember their misery no more.
Open your mouth for the mute,
    For the rights of all the sons of passing away.[272]
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
    defend the rights of the poor and needy.

A Godly Wife’s Character

10 An excellent wife who can find?
    For her worth is far more than precious jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
    and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
    and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
    she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
    and provides food for her household
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength
    and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
    Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
    and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
    and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
    for all her household are clothed in scarlet.[273]
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
    her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates
    when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
    she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
    and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
    and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
    but a woman who fears Jehovah is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
    and let her works praise her in the gates.

[1] Or instruction

[2] Insight (שֶׂכֶל sekel) is the ability to see into a situation. One who possesses insight acts with wisdom, caution, and discretion. Insight is closely related to understanding, but there is a fine distinction between the two terms. Insight gives a person the ability to look into something; to be prudent and cautious in our decision-making, cautious; to act prudently, to be reasonable, rational sensible when considering something. A person with insight is able to think through a complex situation, which results in a wise decision because he used good practical common sense.

[3] Thinking Ability: (מְזִמָּה mezimmah) In the evil sense, this can mean wicked plans, evil ideas, schemes, and devices. In the favorable sense, it can mean shrewdness, perceptiveness, discretion, and prudence. In the favorable sense, it is the ability to judge wisely and objectively. Mezimmah, therefore, the human mind and thoughts can be used for an admirable and upright end, or for evil purposes. – Ps 10:2; Pro. 1:4; 2:10-12; 5:1-2.

[4] Or skillful direction

[5] That is, life

[6] MTmargin LXX SYR AT “On top of the walls” (Lit on the top of noise). The sense is of a noisy crowd.

[7] A Hebrew word frequently rendered “discernment” (תְּבוּנָה tebunah) is related to the word (בִּינָה binah), translated “understanding.” Just as is the case with understanding, discernment includes seeing or identifying things, but the sense of the word that that of recognizing and separating the parts, considering, or assessing one in the light of the others.

[8] See 2:2 ftn.

[9] See 2:2 ftn.

[10] MTmargin “his men of loving-kindness” AT LXX SYR VG similar MT “his man of loving-kindness”

[11] Thinking Ability: (מְזִמָּה mezimmah) In the evil sense, this can mean wicked plans, evil ideas, schemes, and devices. In the favorable sense, it can mean shrewdness, perceptiveness, discretion, and prudence. In the favorable sense, it is the ability to judge wisely and objectively. Mezimmah, therefore, the human mind and thoughts can be used for an admirable and upright end, or for evil purposes. – Ps 10:2; Pro. 1:4; 2:10-12; 5:1-2.

[12] A Hebrew word frequently rendered “discernment” (תְּבוּנָה tebunah) is related to the word (בִּינָה binah), translated “understanding.” Just as is the case with understanding, discernment includes seeing or identifying things, but the sense of the word that that of recognizing and separating the parts, considering, or assessing one in the light of the others.

[13] That is, one morally estranged from God

[14] Or immoral; one morally alienated from God

[15] Or seductive

[16] (Heb. Rephaim; the spirits of the departed) People who are no longer living

[17] That is, having relations with

[18] Or earth

[19] Or law

[20] Or steadfast love, kindness

[21] Insight (שֶׂכֶל sekel) is the ability to see into a situation. One who possesses insight acts with wisdom, caution, and discretion. Insight is closely related to understanding, but there is a fine distinction between the two terms. Insight gives a person the ability to look into something; to be prudent and cautious in our decision-making, cautious; to act prudently, to be reasonable, rational sensible when considering something. A person with insight is able to think through a complex situation, which results in a wise decision because he used good practical common sense.

[22] Lit Healing shall be to your navel

[23] Lit and drink for your bones

[24] MT “as a father does a son in whom he delights” LXX “and he punishes every son he accepts”

[25] A Hebrew word frequently rendered “discernment” (תְּבוּנָה tebunah) is related to the word (בִּינָה binah), translated “understanding.” Just as is the case with understanding, discernment includes seeing or identifying things, but the sense of the word that that of recognizing and separating the parts, considering, or assessing one in the light of the others.

[26] Or jewels

[27] That is, Long life

[28] See 3:13 ftn.

[29] Thinking Ability: (מְזִמָּה mezimmah) In the evil sense, this can mean wicked plans, evil ideas, schemes, and devices. In the favorable sense, it can mean shrewdness, perceptiveness, discretion, and prudence. In the favorable sense, it is the ability to judge wisely and objectively. Mezimmah, therefore, the human mind and thoughts can be used for an admirable and upright end, or for evil purposes. – Ps 10:2; Pro. 1:4; 2:10-12; 5:1-2.

[30] Lit strike your foot

[31] Or fear, dread, terror

[32] MT “will be your confidence” LXX “will be over all your ways”

[33] Or from those to whom it is due

[34] Lit raise high dishonor

[35] Or Weigh carefully; Ponder

[36] LXX “make straight paths for your feet” Compare Heb 12:13.

[37] A Hebrew word frequently rendered “discernment” (תְּבוּנָה tebunah) is related to the word (בִּינָה binah), translated “understanding.” Just as is the case with understanding, discernment includes seeing or identifying things, but the sense of the word that that of recognizing and separating the parts, considering, or assessing one in the light of the others.

[38] Or thinking ability; the ability to give wise and careful attention (study) of a matter, based on accurate or full knowledge

[39] Or forbidden woman

[40] MT VG “honor” AT SYR “vitality” LXX “life”

[41] Error: (Heb., ʿāwōn; Gr. anomia, paranomia) The Hebrew word awon essentially relates to erring, acting illegally or wrongly. This aspect of sin refers to committing a perverseness, wrongness, lawlessness, law breaking, which can also include the rejection of the sovereignty of God. It also focuses on the liability or guilt of one’s wicked, wrongful act. This error may be deliberate or accidental; either willful deviation of what is right or unknowingly making a mistake. (Lev. 4:13-35; 5:1-6, 14-19; Num. 15:22-29; Ps 19:12-13) Of course, if it is intentional; then, the consequence is far more serious. (Num. 15:30-31) Error is in opposition to the truth, and those willfully sinning corrupt the truth, a course that only brings forth flagrant sin. (Isa 5:18-23) We can be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.–Ex 9:27, 34-35; Heb. 3:13-15.

[42] MTcorrection “will be swept away” MT “shall be led astray” LXX “perished through folly”

[43] That is, deceitful or dishonest speech

[44] That is, signals with his feet

[45] Lit instructs with

[46] Lit sends out

[47] Or law

[48] Or they will, that is, the commandment of your father and the teaching or law of your mother (3xs this verse)

[49] MT AT SYR VG “evil woman” LXX “married woman”

[50] Lit foreign woman

[51] That is, alluring eyes

[52] That is, life

[53] Lit snatch up

[54] Lit They do not … Men is used in place of the third person plural pronoun, they.

[55] That is, lacking good sense

[56] Lit lift up the face of any

[57] Or satisfied

[58] Or bribes

[59] Or law; instructions

[60] Or apple of your eye, that is, something precious

[61] Or insight

[62] That is, intimate friend; that is to know, which is often used as a euphemism for secual intercourse

[63] Or wayward woman

[64] That is, lacking good sense

[65] Lit pupil (of the eye)

[66] Or whore

[67] Or secret of heart, I.e. a cunning heart

[68] Lit She makes bold her face and says

[69] That is, perfumed

[70] Or my husband is not at home

[71] That is, a long journey

[72] Or money

[73] LXX SYR AT “and as a dog to bonds” MT “like a fool to be punished in the fetters” The Hebrew is exceedingly difficult and uncertain. The Hebrew noun (עֶכֶס ekes) “fettered (shackles, a restraint)” is arrived at by changing the vowel points.

[74] Or he does not know that it will cost him his life

[75] Or the victims

[76] Or laid low or cast down

[77] A Hebrew word frequently rendered “discernment” (תְּבוּנָה tebunah) is related to the word (בִּינָה binah), translated “understanding.” Just as is the case with understanding, discernment includes seeing or identifying things, but the sense of the word that that of recognizing and separating the parts, considering, or assessing one in the light of the others.

[78] Or raise

[79] That is, pay attention

[80] Thinking Ability: (מְזִמָּה mezimmah) In the evil sense, this can mean wicked plans, evil ideas, schemes, and devices. In the favorable sense, it can mean shrewdness, perceptiveness, discretion, and prudence. In the favorable sense, it is the ability to judge wisely and objectively. Mezimmah, therefore, the human mind and thoughts can be used for an admirable and upright end, or for evil purposes. – Ps 10:2; Pro. 1:4; 2:10-12; 5:1-2.

[81] Or judgment

[82] Lit I insight to me and strength

[83] Most Hebrew manuscripts read govern justly; some Hebrew manuscripts and the Septuagint read govern the earth.

[84] The marginal note in the Masoretic text, the Aramaic Targums, the Septuagint, the Syriac Peshitta and the Latin Vulgate have “those who love me,” but the main text of the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS) has “those who love her.” Almost all English translations follow the marginal note of the Masoretic text, “those who love me.”

[85] Or pure gold

[86] MT (יהוה קָנָנִי) “Jehovah created me” AT LXX (Κύριος ἔκτισέν με) SYR “The LORD created me” VG Dominus possedit me “The LORD created me”

[87] Or established or founded; has the sense of being or becoming strong, powerful, and great, implying confidence and security

[88] Lit and the waters do not exceed his mouth

[89] MT (אָמוֹן amon) “master workman” AT “proving faithful” LXX (ἁρμόζουσα) “acting suitably” VG “composing all things”

[90] MT “I was daily his delight” LXX “I was his delight”

[91] Lit in the world of his earth

[92] lit day

[93] lit doorposts of my doors

[94] Lit slaughtered her slaughtering

[95] That is, inexperienced

[96] That is, lacking good sense

[97] That is inexperience

[98] Lit a blemish

[99] Lit make known to

[100] Lit simple; implying ignorance and has a difficulty in understanding

[101] That is, lacking good sense

[102] Lit rephaim; the Hebrew term applies to a tall people or tribe. However, sometimes, it applies to those who are dead. In these cases, it has the sense of those who are powerless in death.

MT (רְפָאִים rephaim) “those powerless in death” AT SYR VG (gigantes) “the giants” LXX “earthborn (shades, that is, dead”

[103] That is, the one speaking foolishly

[104] That is, will come to ruin, or will be destroyed

[105] Or perverts his ways

[106] Or will be found out

[107] That is, the one speaking foolishly

[108] That is, will come to ruin, or will be destroyed

MT “and the foolishness of lips comes to ruin” LXX “but the one who reproves with confidence makes peace”

[109] Transgression: (פֶּשַׁע pesha) This is a violation of a law, duty, or moral principle. An act that is in opposition to a human or divine standard by a person who is focused on the rebellious nature of the wrongdoing.

[110] Or sense; one who lacks intelligence or right thinking

[111] Or instruction

[112] MT “is on the path to life,” with the alteration of the vowel points

[113] See 10:12 ftn.

[114] That is, lacking good sense

[115] That is, shameful behavior that is lewd and of a sexual nature

[116] A Hebrew word frequently rendered “discernment” (תְּבוּנָה tebunah) is related to the word (בִּינָה binah), translated “understanding.” Just as is the case with understanding, discernment includes seeing or identifying things, but the sense of the word that that of recognizing and separating the parts, considering, or assessing one in the light of the others.

[117] That is, life

[118] Or just weight

[119] MTmargin VG “Will despoil them”

[120] AT LXX SYR VG “their” MT lacks

[121] LXX “destruction”

[122] LXX “When a righteous man dies, hope does not perish”

[123] LXX “but the boast of the ungodly is destroyed”

[124] Or lacks sense

[125] See 10:23 ftn.

[126] Or safety

[127] LXX adds “for her husband, but a seat of dishonor is a woman who hates justice. The deficient shrink from wealth,” after “honor”

[128] Or himself

[129] That is, a sure, certain, or genuine reward

[130] MTcorrection “The one firmly standing for righteousness” AT “Thus whoever does righteousness” LXX SYR “A righteous son is born for life”

[131]  Lit Hand to hand

[132] Lit taste

[133] The Hebrew verb (pā·zǎr) means to scatter: to spread, to distribute, to give to another implying generosity, a figurative expression of sowing seed

[134] That is, grows all the richer

[135] That is, what he should give

[136] LXX “but the souls of transgressors are cut off untimely”

[137] Or repaid

[138] LXX “If the righteous is scarcely saved, where will the impious and the sinner appear?”

[139] Lit one who makes himself heavy, that is, one who honors himself

[140] Or life; inner self

[141] Lit net

[142] That is, at once

[143] That is, speaks

[144] That is, the truth

[145] That is gives honest evidence

[146] Or catch

[147] Or correction

[148] That is, desire

[149] That is, will be fully satisfied

[150] That is, guards him whose way is upright

[151] With a slight adjustment “but wickedness subverts the sinner” MT “but the wicked overthrows sin” “but sin overthrows the wicked.”

[152] That is, life

[153] That is, shines brightly

[154] Some take it as by fraud; LXX VG “haste”

[155] Or reveres

[156] Insight (שֶׂכֶל sekel) is the ability to see into a situation. One who possesses insight acts with wisdom, caution, and discretion. Insight is closely related to understanding, but there is a fine distinction between the two terms. Insight gives a person the ability to look into something; to be prudent and cautious in our decision-making, cautious; to act prudently, to be reasonable, rational sensible when considering something. A person with insight is able to think through a complex situation, which results in a wise decision because he used good practical common sense.

[157] LXX SYR VG “ends in destruction”

[158] Or prosperity

[159] Or to his children’s children

[160] Or the manger is clean

[161] Or inexperienced

[162] Or inexperienced

[163] LXX “A crown for the wise is a smart man, but the pastime of fools is evil.”

[164] A Hebrew word frequently rendered “discernment” (תְּבוּנָה tebunah) is related to the word (בִּינָה binah), translated “understanding.” Just as is the case with understanding, discernment includes seeing or identifying things, but the sense of the word that that of recognizing and separating the parts, considering, or assessing one in the light of the others.

[165] MT “in his death” (with a slight adjustment of the MT it would agree with the LXX SYR) LXX SYR “in his integrity”

[166] MT “it makes itself known” LXX “it is not discerned”

[167] Or hearts; Lit inward part

[168] Insight (שֶׂכֶל sekel) is the ability to see into a situation. One who possesses insight acts with wisdom, caution, and discretion. Insight is closely related to understanding, but there is a fine distinction between the two terms. Insight gives a person the ability to look into something; to be prudent and cautious in our decision-making, cautious; to act prudently, to be reasonable, rational sensible when considering something. A person with insight is able to think through a complex situation, which results in a wise decision because he used good practical common sense.

[169] That is, harsh

[170] MT VG “the house” AT LXX SYR “in the house(s)”

[171] Or sorrow of heart

[172] A Hebrew word frequently rendered “discernment” (תְּבוּנָה tebunah) is related to the word (בִּינָה binah), translated “understanding.” Just as is the case with understanding, discernment includes seeing or identifying things, but the sense of the word that that of recognizing and separating the parts, considering, or assessing one in the light of the others.

[173] That is, at the right time

[174] Insight (שֶׂכֶל sekel) is the ability to see into a situation. One who possesses insight acts with wisdom, caution, and discretion. Insight is closely related to understanding, but there is a fine distinction between the two terms. Insight gives a person the ability to look into something; to be prudent and cautious in our decision-making, cautious; to act prudently, to be reasonable, rational sensible when considering something. A person with insight is able to think through a complex situation, which results in a wise decision because he used good practical common sense.

[175] That is, refreshes

[176] MTmargin “Meek” MT “afflicted”

[177] Insight (שֶׂכֶל sekel) is the ability to see into a situation. One who possesses insight acts with wisdom, caution, and discretion. Insight is closely related to understanding, but there is a fine distinction between the two terms. Insight gives a person the ability to look into something; to be prudent and cautious in our decision-making, cautious; to act prudently, to be reasonable, rational sensible when considering something. A person with insight is able to think through a complex situation, which results in a wise decision because he used good practical common sense.

[178] See 16:20 ftn.

[179] See 16:20 ftn.

[180] See 16:20 ftn.

[181] Lit. a lip of excess

[182] Transgression: (פֶּשַׁע pesha) This is a violation of a law, duty, or moral principle. An act that is in opposition to a human or divine standard by a person who is focused on the rebellious nature of the wrongdoing.

[183] That is, when he has no mind, no sense

[184] That is, a man without good sense or motive

[185] Transgression: (פֶּשַׁע pesha) This is a violation of a law, duty, or moral principle. An act that is in opposition to a human or divine standard by a person who is focused on the rebellious nature of the wrongdoing.

[186] Or good medicine

[187] Or saps one’s strength

[188] That is, a bribe in secret

[189] See 3:16 ftn.

[190] Lit. is raised high, that is, raised high out of reach, safe.

[191] SYR AT VG “stronger” MT “harder to be won” (the Hebrew is uncertain) LXX “A brother helped by a brother is like a fortified and high city and is strong as a founded palace.”

[192] Lit hand

[193] LXX SYR VGc one Heb. MS “a good wife” MT lacks “good”

[194] MT “a man of” AT SYR “there exist”

[195] MT “will come to ruin” SYR AT VG some LXX “must be friendly”

[196] MT VG “lips” AT SYR about 50 Heb. MSS “ways”

[197] Or aquires good sense or aquires wisdom

[198] A Hebrew word frequently rendered “discernment” (תְּבוּנָה tebunah) is related to the word (בִּינָה binah), translated “understanding.” Just as is the case with understanding, discernment includes seeing or identifying things, but the sense of the word that that of recognizing and separating the parts, considering, or assessing one in the light of the others.

[199] Insight (שֶׂכֶל sekel) is the ability to see into a situation. One who possesses insight acts with wisdom, caution, and discretion. Insight is closely related to understanding, but there is a fine distinction between the two terms. Insight gives a person the ability to look into something; to be prudent and cautious in our decision-making, cautious; to act prudently, to be reasonable, rational sensible when considering something. A person with insight is able to think through a complex situation, which results in a wise decision because he used good practical common sense.

[200] That is, in your future

[201] That is, dishonest weights and false measures

[202] Or a foreigner

[203] Or one who opens wide his lips That is, one who loves to gossip

[204] MT “obtained by greed” AT SYR VG “obtained hastily”

[205] That is, dishonest weights for measuring

[206] Some Heb. MSS “tillage”

[207] MT “is a fleeting vapor and a snare of death” LXX “pursues worthless things into the traps of death”

[208] Insight (שֶׂכֶל sekel) is the ability to see into a situation. One who possesses insight acts with wisdom, caution, and discretion. Insight is closely related to understanding, but there is a fine distinction between the two terms. Insight gives a person the ability to look into something; to be prudent and cautious in our decision-making, cautious; to act prudently, to be reasonable, rational sensible when considering something. A person with insight is able to think through a complex situation, which results in a wise decision because he used good practical common sense.

[209] MT “when a wise man receives insight, he gains knowledge” AT “And by acting with discretion the wise one gets knowledge”

[210] See 21:11 ftn.

[211] MT “precious treasure and oil are in in the dwelling of the wise man” LXX “a desirable treasure will rest in the mouth of the wise”

[212] Lit. makes strong his face

[213] MT “an upright man establishes (reads considers) his ways” LXX “he understands his was”

Qere [“what is read”] and kethib [“what is written”: This is a system for marking the differences between what is written in the consonantal text of the Hebrew Bible, as preserved by scribal tradition, and what is read. There is a variant in the Hebrew text of 21:29b between what is written and what is read aloud. The written text has “establishes his ways,” and the text to be read is “understands his way.” The above in the main text of 21:29b “establishes his ways” is following the form of the text kethib [“what is written,” and it has the sense of “is sure of his way.” The form of the text Qere [“what is read”] that others follow is “considers his ways.”

[214] A Hebrew word frequently rendered “discernment” (תְּבוּנָה tebunah) is related to the word (בִּינָה binah), translated “understanding.” Just as is the case with understanding, discernment includes seeing or identifying things, but the sense of the word that that of recognizing and separating the parts, considering, or assessing one in the light of the others.

[215] MT SYR “a name” AT LXX VG “a good name”

[216] LXX includes at the end of the verse, “God blesses a cheerful and giving man, but his deeds will come to an end”

[217] That is, he who is a generous person

[218] MT “He who loves purity of heart” AT SYR “God loves the purehearted one” LXX “Jehovah loves holy hearts”

[219] Or the traitor, the treacherous

[220] Or adulteress We do not want to suffer the condemnation of God by falling into the deep pit of sexual immorality opened for us by the honey-dripping mouth of an immoral woman.

[221] MT is unclear

[222] That is, shake hands in a pledge

[223] That is, a man (person) of great appetite

[224] That is, a selfish man

[225] That is, inwardly calculating

[226] That is, innermost being

[227] Lit winebibbers

[228] Or immoral; one morally alienated from God

[229] Lit gives its eye

[230] The LXX SYR AT VG include “And you will say” to let the reader know a person speaking.

[231] A Hebrew word frequently rendered “discernment” (תְּבוּנָה tebunah) is related to the word (בִּינָה binah), translated “understanding.” Just as is the case with understanding, discernment includes seeing or identifying things, but the sense of the word that that of recognizing and separating the parts, considering, or assessing one in the light of the others.

[232] That is, a wise man is powerful. LXX “a wise man is better than a strong man”

[233] “and a man of knowledge than the mighty man of strength,” by slight change in the vowels, the MT agrees with LXX.

[234] Or success; salvation

[235] That is, as if beyond his reach. Another possible translation of the Hebrew is that “wisdom is as corals.” Corals were extremely expensive, so true wisdom is too costly. The fool is not prepared to pay the price of the effort or to make the sacrifices required to acquire corals (wisdom), so it is out of reach.

[236] MT “and not associate with those who are for a change” LXX “and disobey neither of them”

[237] Lit to discern faces

[238] Lit (the ground) and its face was covered or its surface; nettles refer to some kind of weed that we cannot know for certain which one it is.

[239] MT “and there comes out for the smith a vessel” MT with slight vowel changes “all of it will come forth refined,” which agrees with LXX “and everything pure will be purified”

[240] A Hebrew word (דִּבָּה dibbah) suggesting a bad or evil report whispered or spoken softly, a malicious rumor, an evil rumor, gossip, or tale.

[241] Lit In length (slowness) of nostrils (anger)

[242] LXX “As vinegar is harmful to a wound, so a calamity that befalls the body pains the heart. As a moth is to a garment and a worm is to wood, so a man’s pain hurts the heart.”

[243] Lit argument not to him

[244] A Ugaritic root allows for the comparison to be rendered “like glaze upon a potsherd.”

[245] LXX “but the soul is broken by mishaps”

[246] That is, that I may reply to him who reproaches me

[247] Or immoral; one morally alienated from God

[248] LXX “Take away his garment, for he has passed; whoever damages what is another’s is insolent.”

[249] LXX “The north wind is a harsh wind, even though it is called by an auspicious name.”

[250] MT with slight vowel pointing changes to agree with AT LXX SYR VG

[251] Transgression: (פֶּשַׁע pesha) This is a violation of a law, duty, or moral principle. An act that is in opposition to a human or divine standard by a person who is focused on the rebellious nature of the wrongdoing.

[252] A Hebrew word frequently rendered “discernment” (תְּבוּנָה tebunah) is related to the word (בִּינָה binah), translated “understanding.” Just as is the case with understanding, discernment includes seeing or identifying things, but the sense of the word that that of recognizing and separating the parts, considering, or assessing one in the light of the others.

[253] That is, lending money at unreasonably high rates of interest to the poor.

[254] See 28:2 ftn.

[255] See 28:16 ftn.

[256] See 28:2 ftn.

[257] Or death or the grave

[258] SYR “into the pit”

[259] Lit to discern faces

[260] That is, a greedy man

[261] Lit making smooth a tongue; Or using a smooth tongue

[262] Transgression: (פֶּשַׁע pesha) This is a violation of a law, duty, or moral principle. An act that is in opposition to a human or divine standard by a person who is focused on the rebellious nature of the wrongdoing.

SYR AT “The evil man is ensnared by his transgressions”

[263] That is, gives vent to his anger

[264] See 29:6 ftn.

[265] See 29:6 ftn.

[266] The Hebrew word (מַשָּׂא massa) with the definite article (ha) also found at Proverbs 31:1 without the definite article has the meaning of “burden” or “oracle.” This has resulted in the renderings ‘Agur son of Jakeh of Massa’ and ‘Lemuel king of Massa.’ However, Agur and Lemuel were Israelites, and so, massaʼʹ can rightly be translated “oracle” (ASV, NASB, NRSV, NIV, ESV).

[267] LXX “Impossible things; too difficult” VG “difficult things”

[268] Or the greyhound; or the war-horse; Lit the [animal] girded in at the hips (loins)

[269] LXX “and a rooster, walking bold among hens; and a goat leading a herd”

[270] LXX SYR AT “a king addressing his people”

[271] See 30: ftn. Or king, an oracle

[272] All who are left desolate is an idiom, which is literally “all the sons of passing away.” Some renderings are “who are destitute” (ESV), “all the needy” (LEB), “all who are dispossessed” (CSB), and all the unfortunate” (NASB).

[273] MT by a slight change in the vowel pointing, it would agree with the LXX VG “double-clothed”