If You Desert God’s Law
1 The wicked are edgy with guilt, ready to run off
even when no one’s after them;
Honest people are relaxed and confident,
bold as lions.
2 When the country is in chaos,
everybody has a plan to fix it—
But it takes a leader of real understanding
to straighten things out.
3 The wicked who oppress the poor
are like a hailstorm that beats down the harvest.
4 If you desert God’s law, you’re free to embrace depravity;
if you love God’s law, you fight for it tooth and nail.
5 Justice makes no sense to the evilminded;
those who seek God know it inside and out.
6 It’s better to be poor and direct
than rich and crooked.
7 Practice God’s law—get a reputation for wisdom;
hang out with a loose crowd—embarrass your family.
8 Get as rich as you want
through cheating and extortion,
But eventually some friend of the poor
is going to give it all back to them.
9 God has no use for the prayers
of the people who won’t listen to him.
Wow. I could say more and have had thoughts similar. Wow is all I’ll say.
10 Lead good people down a wrong path
and you’ll come to a bad end;
do good and you’ll be rewarded for it.
11 The rich think they know it all,
but the poor can see right through them.
12 When good people are promoted, everything is great,
but when the bad are in charge, watch out!
13 You can’t whitewash your sins and get by with it;
you find mercy by admitting and leaving them.
14 A tenderhearted person lives a blessed life;
a hardhearted person lives a hard life.
15 Lions roar and bears charge—
and the wicked lord it over the poor.
16 Among leaders who lack insight, abuse abounds,
but for one who hates corruption, the future is bright.
17 A murderer haunted by guilt
is doomed—there’s no helping him.
18 Walk straight—live well and be saved;
a devious life is a doomed life.
Doing Great Harm in Seemingly Harmless Ways
19 Work your garden—you’ll end up with plenty of food;
play and party—you’ll end up with an empty plate.
20 Committed and persistent work pays off;
get-rich-quick schemes are ripoffs.
21 Playing favorites is always a bad thing;
you can do great harm in seemingly harmless ways.
22 A miser in a hurry to get rich
doesn’t know that he’ll end up broke.
23 In the end, serious reprimand is appreciated
far more than bootlicking flattery.
24 Anyone who robs father and mother
and says, “So, what’s wrong with that?”
is worse than a pirate.
25 A grasping person stirs up trouble,
but trust in God brings a sense of well-being.
26 If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure;
real survivors learn wisdom from others.
27 Be generous to the poor—you’ll never go hungry;
shut your eyes to their needs, and run a gauntlet of curses.
28 When corruption takes over, good people go underground,
but when the crooks are thrown out, it’s safe to come out.
Intelligence Outranks Muscle
1-2 Don’t envy bad people;
don’t even want to be around them.
All they think about is causing a disturbance;
all they talk about is making trouble.
3-4 It takes wisdom to build a house,
and understanding to set it on a firm foundation;
It takes knowledge to furnish its rooms
with fine furniture and beautiful draperies.
5-6 It’s better to be wise than strong;
intelligence outranks muscle any day.
Strategic planning is the key to warfare;
7 Wise conversation is way over the head of fools;
in a serious discussion they haven’t a clue.
8-9 The person who’s always cooking up some evil
soon gets a reputation as prince of rogues.
Fools incubate sin;
cynics desecrate beauty.
Rescue the Perishing
10 If you fall to pieces in a crisis,
there wasn’t much to you in the first place.
11-12 Rescue the perishing;
don’t hesitate to step in and help.
If you say, “Hey, that’s none of my business,”
will that get you off the hook?
Someone is watching you closely, you know—
Someone not impressed with weak excuses.
13-14 Eat honey, dear child—it’s good for you—
and delicacies that melt in your mouth.
and wisdom for your soul—
Get that and your future’s secured,
your hope is on solid rock.
15-16 Don’t interfere with good people’s lives;
don’t try to get the best of them.
No matter how many times you trip them up,
God-loyal people don’t stay down long;
Soon they’re up on their feet,
while the wicked end up flat on their faces.
17-18 Don’t laugh when your enemy falls;
don’t gloat over his collapse.
God might see, and become very provoked,
and then take pity on his plight.
19-20 Don’t bother your head with braggarts
or wish you could succeed like the wicked.
Those people have no future at all;
they’re headed down a dead-end street.
21-22 Fear God, dear child—respect your leaders;
don’t be defiant or mutinous.
Without warning your life can turn upside down,
and who knows how or when it might happen?
More Sayings of the Wise
An Honest Answer
23 It’s wrong, very wrong,
to go along with injustice.
24-25 Whoever whitewashes the wicked
gets a black mark in the history books,
But whoever exposes the wicked
will be thanked and rewarded.
26 An honest answer
is like a warm hug.
27 First plant your fields;
then build your barn.
28-29 Don’t talk about your neighbors behind their backs—
no slander or gossip, please.
Don’t say to anyone, “I’ll get back at you for what you did to me.
I’ll make you pay for what you did!”
30-34 One day I walked by the field of an old lazybones,
and then passed the vineyard of a slob;
They were overgrown with weeds,
thick with thistles, all the fences broken down.
I took a long look and pondered what I saw;
the fields preached me a sermon and I listened:
“A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there,
sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next?
Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life,
with poverty as your permanent houseguest!”