Broke but honorable beats a rich liar1It’s better to be a poor person of integrity,
Than a liar and a fool.
2If you’re eager to do something but don’t know how, that’s not a good thing.
If you try to do something too quickly, you’re going to make mistakes.
3When people make stupid decisions that ruin their plans,
In a rage, they blame God.
4Rich people attract friends, and lots of them.
Poor people lose friends, all of them.
5A liar isn’t going to get away with it.
If you lie, punishment is coming and there’s no place to hide.
Philanthropists have lots of friends; the poor have zip6A lot of people ask generous philanthropists for help.
Everyone is a friend to someone who hands out gifts.
7Poor people are abandoned by their own family.
Their friends are even less likely to stand with them.
The poor go to plead with family and friends, but everyone is long gone.
8If you chase down wisdom, it shows you care about yourself.
If you hang on to what you learned, good things will happen.
9If you lie about what you saw or heard, you’re going to get punished.
If you exhale lies, you’re going to stop breathing.
10It’s not right for a fool to live in luxury.
And it’s certainly not right for a slave to boss around a prince.
Savvy people are patient11Savvy people don’t lose their temper.
And people quick to forgive deserve praise.
12An angry king sounds as terrifying as a roaring lion.
But a happy king is as welcome as morning dew in a dry land.
13A son’s idiotic decisions can ruin his father’s life.
And a wife’s incessant complaining is like the constant drip of water torture.
14You can inherit money and houses from your parents,
But a wife with sense comes from the LORD.
15Lazy people sleep a lot.
Do-nothing people will go hungry.
Don’t blow it16Follow good advice and live.
Or blow it off and die.
17Showing kindness to a poor person is like lending money to the LORD.
The LORD will pay you what he owes you for your kindness.
18Correct your kids while they’re young, and there’s still hope.
Don’t give up and watch them make tragic choices.
19A person with an explosive temper will pay for it.
You can intervene, but they’re repeat offenders who won’t quit.
20When others give you advice and correct your mistakes, learn from it.
That’s how you get smarter for the rest of your life.
21People make a lot of plans,
But the LORD has the final say.
22Lovingkindness is what we want to see in people.
It’s better to be poor than a liar.
23People who respect the LORD live.
They sleep well at night, content.
And Harm never pays a visit.
Too lazy to feed themselves24Some people are so lazy they’ll stick their hands deep into a bowl of food,
But they won’t lift a hand to feed themselves.
25Slap an unteachable heckler and a naïve person watching might learn from it.
Give a mere verbal correction to a wise person, and the naïve person might learn from it, too.
A disgraceful kid26If you hurt your father and drive your mother away,
You are one stinking kid—a shameful disgrace.
27Child, if you stop listening to what I’m trying to teach you,
You’re turning your back on knowledge, and running like a fool.
28A bad human being on the witness stand makes a mockery of justice.
The big mouth of a bad human spreads injustice.
29Judgment is coming for hecklers,
And people who constantly make stupid decisions are going to take a beating.
“In a dry land” is added because these words come from the ancient Middle East, where morning dew is the only moisture some plants get for weeks or months.
The proverbs seem to have been written for young men. But even then, as now, the bad habit of nagging crosses barriers of gender. So, what may describe the goose, may describe the gander even more so. Especially in the patriarchal age, when men generally ran the home, or thought they did.
Other proverbs add the “rod.” The Hebrew word can mean a switch, club, or staff—something you could bop a kid with. Some who argue against corporal punishment remind us that shepherds used a staff to gently nudge a straying sheep away from trouble. They didn’t club sheep like some parents wallop their rowdy kid in the candy aisle of the grocery store. People in Bible times—Jews and non-Jews alike—taught contact discipline, so to speak. We’re talking a spanking. Check out Proverbs 13:24; 22:15; 23:13-14; 29:15. The question for many parents of faith today is whether wise advice for farmers and herders 3,000 years ago is good advice today. Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings, some of which were picked up almost verbatim from earlier Egyptian wise sayings. With that in mind, many Bible teachers would argue this advice is best read as a snippet from history, not a rule intended for everyone everywhere until Jesus comes. Besides, they add, how many parents walloping kids in the candy aisle look loving—as opposed to looking like they’re leading the Charge of the Light Brigade. To which some parents would add that we really need to meet their kid.
Bible scholars disagree about how to interpret what the mouth is doing. The Hebrew verb bala can mean “devour,” “swallow,” “destroy.” Others say the context suggests the Arab meaning, “spreads,” “communicates,” or “affects.”
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.