241Don't be envious of evil people, and don't try to make friends with them. 2Causing trouble is all they ever think about; every time they open their mouth someone is going to be hurt.
3Homes are built on the foundation of wisdom and understanding.24.3 Homes… understanding; or It takes care to lay the foundations of a house, and skill to build it. 4Where there is knowledge, the rooms are furnished with valuable, beautiful things.
5Being wise is better than being strong;24.5 Some ancient translations Being wise is better than being strong; Hebrew A person is wise in strength. yes, knowledge is more important than strength. 6After all, you must make careful plans before you fight a battle, and the more good advice you get, the more likely you are to win.
7Wise sayings are too deep for stupid people to understand. They have nothing to say when important matters are being discussed.
8If you are always planning evil, you will earn a reputation as a troublemaker. 9Any scheme a fool thinks up is sinful. People hate a person who has nothing but scorn for others.
10If you are weak in a crisis, you are weak indeed.
11Don't hesitate to rescue someone who is about to be executed unjustly. 12You may say that it is none of your business, but God knows and judges your motives. He keeps watch on you; he knows. And he will reward you according to what you do.
13Son, eat honey; it is good. And just as honey from the comb is sweet on your tongue, 14you may be sure that wisdom is good for the soul. Get wisdom and you have a bright future.
15Don't be like the wicked who scheme to rob honest people or to take away their homes. 16No matter how often honest people fall, they always get up again; but disaster destroys the wicked.
17Don't be glad when your enemies meet disaster, and don't rejoice when they stumble. 18The LORD will know if you are gloating, and he will not like it; and then he might not punish them.
19Don't let evil people worry you; don't be envious of them. 20A wicked person has no future — nothing to look forward to.
21Have reverence for the LORD, my child, and honour the king. Have nothing to do with people who rebel against them; 22such people could be ruined in a moment. Do you realize the disaster that God or the king can cause?
23The wise have also said these things:
It is wrong for judges to be prejudiced. 24If they pronounce a guilty person innocent, they will be cursed and hated by everyone. 25Judges who punish the guilty, however, will be prosperous and enjoy a good reputation.
26An honest answer is a sign of true friendship.
27Don't build your house and establish a home until your fields are ready, and you are sure that you can earn a living.
28Don't give evidence against someone else without good reason, or say misleading things about him. 29Don't say, “I'll do to him just what he did to me! I'll get even with him!”
30I walked through the fields and vineyards of a lazy, stupid person. 31They were full of thorn bushes and overgrown with weeds. The stone wall round them had fallen down. 32I looked at this, thought about it, and learned a lesson from it: 33
have a nap and sleep if you want to. Fold your hands and rest awhile, 34but while you are asleep, poverty will attack you like an armed robber.
251Here are more of Solomon's proverbs, copied by men at the court of King Hezekiah of Judah.
2We honour God for what he conceals; we honour kings for what they explain.
3You never know what a king is thinking; his thoughts are beyond us, like the heights of the sky or the depths of the ocean.
4Take the impurities out of silver and the artist can produce a thing of beauty. 5Keep evil advisers away from the king and his government will be known for its justice.
When you stand before the king, don't try to impress him and pretend to be important. 7It is better to be asked to take a higher position than to be told to give your place to someone more important.
8Don't be too quick to go to court about something you have seen. If another witness later proves you wrong, what will you do then?
9If you and your neighbour have a difference of opinion, settle it between yourselves and do not reveal any secrets. 10Otherwise everyone will learn that you can't keep a secret, and you will never live down the shame.
11An idea well expressed is like a design of gold, set in silver.
12A warning given by an experienced person to someone willing to listen is more valuable than gold rings or jewellery made of the finest gold.
13A reliable messenger is refreshing to the one who sends him, like cold water in the heat of harvest time.
14People who promise things that they never give are like clouds and wind that bring no rain.
15Patient persuasion can break down the strongest resistance and can even convince rulers.
16Never eat more honey than you need; too much may make you vomit. 17Don't visit your neighbours too often; they may get tired of you and come to hate you.
18A false accusation is as deadly as a sword, a club, or a sharp arrow.
19Depending on an unreliable person in a crisis is like trying to chew with a loose tooth or walk with a crippled foot.
20Singing to a person who is depressed is like taking off his clothes on a cold day or like rubbing salt in a wound.
If your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them a drink. 22You will make them burn with shame, and the LORD will reward you.
23Gossip brings anger just as surely as the north wind brings rain.
24Better to live on the roof than share the house with a nagging wife.
25Finally, hearing good news from a distant land is like a drink of cold water when you are dry and thirsty.
26A good person who gives in to someone who is evil reminds you of a polluted spring or a poisoned well.
27Too much honey is bad for you, and so is trying to win too much praise.25.27 Probable text and so… praise; Hebrew unclear.
28If you cannot control your anger, you are as helpless as a city without walls, open to attack.
261Praise for a fool is out of place, like snow in summer or rain at harvest time.
2Curses cannot hurt you unless you deserve them. They are like birds that fly by and never settle.
3You have to whip a horse, you have to bridle a donkey, and you have to beat a fool.
4If you answer a silly question, you are just as silly as the person who asked it.
5Give a silly answer to a silly question, and the one who asked it will realize that he's not as clever as he thinks.
6If you let a fool deliver a message, you might as well cut off your own feet; you are asking for trouble.
7A fool can use a proverb about as well as crippled people can use their legs.
8Praising someone who is stupid makes as much sense as tying a stone in a sling.
9A fool quoting a wise saying reminds you of a drunk trying to pick a thorn out of his hand.
10An employer who hires any fool that comes along is only hurting everybody concerned.26.10 Verse 10 in Hebrew is unclear.
11A fool doing some stupid thing a second time is like a dog going back to its vomit.
12The most stupid fool is better off than someone who thinks he is wise when he is not.
13Why don't lazy people ever get out of the house? What are they afraid of? Lions?
14Lazy people turn over in bed. They get no farther than a door swinging on its hinges.
15Some people are too lazy to put food in their own mouths.
16A lazy person will think he is more intelligent than seven people who can give good reasons for their opinions.
17Getting involved in an argument that is none of your business is like going down the street and grabbing a dog by the ears.
18-19Someone who misleads someone else and then claims that he was only joking is like a mad person playing with a deadly weapon.
20Without wood, a fire goes out; without gossip, quarrelling stops.
21Charcoal keeps the embers glowing, wood keeps the fire burning, and troublemakers keep arguments alive.
22Gossip is so tasty! How we love to swallow it!
23Insincere26.23 One ancient translation Insincere; Hebrew Burning. talk that hides what you are really thinking is like a fine glaze26.23 Probable text fine glaze; Hebrew unrefined silver. on a cheap clay pot.
24A hypocrite hides hatred behind flattering words. 25They may sound fine, but don't believe him, because his heart is filled to the brim with hate. 26He may disguise his hatred, but everyone will see the evil things he does.
27People who set traps for others get caught themselves. People who start landslides get crushed.
28You have to hate someone to want to hurt him with lies. Insincere talk brings nothing but ruin.