More royal wisdom for the willing
Let others brag you up1Don’t go bragging about what’s going to happen tomorrow.
You don’t know what’s going to happen.
2Let others brag about you. Don’t do it yourself.
Praise comes better from strangers. So, watch your mouth.
3Stone and sand are hefty weights,
But the bigger heavyweight is the load of trouble a fool can cause.
4Rage treats you cruelly and anger knocks you down.
But who can survive what jealousy does?
5Public criticism is better than secret love.
6Painful criticism from friends shows how devoted they are to you.
Don’t trust the lying kisses of an enemy.
No honey for a full stomach, thank you7Eating honey sounds like a bad idea if your stomach is full.
But if you’re starving, even something bitter sounds delicious.
8When you move away from home,
You’re like a bird leaving its nest.
9Olive oil and fragrant incense brighten a person’s mood.
But sweet friendship makes us stronger.
10Don’t desert personal friends or family friends.
Don’t visit one of your brothers when you’re in trouble.
A friend nearby is better than a relative far away.
Smart kids make happy parents11Child, make me happy by making smart choices in your life.
It’ll also give me a comeback when people insult me.
12Careful people hide when they see danger.
Naïve people walk right into it and pay the price.
13If a person cosigns a loan, take some clothing as collateral.
Hold onto that clothing if the person cosigned for a woman who’s a stranger.
14If you yell a loud and happy greeting to a friend too early in the morning,
It’s going to sound like you cussed them out.
The water torture drip of a nag15Endless drip, drip, dripping of a rainy day
Is the sound of a bickering wife who can’t call it quits.
16To silence her, you would need power to stop the wind,
Or to hold oil in your hands.
Iron sharpens iron17Iron sharpens iron,
And one person sharpens the mind of another.
18Fig farmers caring for trees get to eat the fruit.
Servants taking care of their masters get honor, too.
19Just as water reflects what your face looks like,
Your heart shows you the kind of person you are. 
20Home of the Dead and Perdition Place always want more.
People are like that, too, never satisfied.
Praise reveals our value21For silver, it’s the refiner’s crucible.
For gold, it’s the refiner’s furnace.
For people, it’s praise that assesses what we’re worth.
22You can pound fools like grain into flour
But it’ll still taste like a fool.
To stay alive, work the herd23Keep tabs on the condition of your livestock,
Pay attention to what’s happening with your herds.
24After all, wealth doesn’t last forever.
A king’s crown has a shelf life, too.
25When summer grass is gone and new grass comes in,
And the hillside hay lies stored,
26Lambs will provide you with clothing,
And you’ll sell goats for the price of a field.
27Then you’ll still have enough goat milk to feed you,
And your family as well,
And all of your servants, too.
Some scholars say the second line doesn’t make sense in the original Hebrew language, so translators make their best educated guesses. The line literally talks about “the sweetness of his friend” and “the advice of the soul.” But scholars say if we allow for the possibility that the original Hebrew words were influenced by similar words from the related language of Aramaic, which Jews picked up from neighboring countries, the line could fit the context by referring to sweet friendship that makes us stronger. But it’s a guess.
This could sound suspiciously specific, as though written by someone visited by a brother dragging trouble behind him. It also reads like the opposite advice from 17:17, “a brother will stand by you in tough times.” Apparently, not all brothers. Or not all the time.
The Hebrew word describing the woman can mean a stranger, a foreigner, or woman who committed adultery.
This was written for young men, but most folks might agree there’s room for a broader application to include men who could teach a horse how to nag and a dog how to hound.
The Hebrew word panim can literally mean “face,” “appearance,” “cutting edge,” and other words as well. How one person sharpens another, whether it’s in behavior, thinking, or even in training for battle, the context suggests it’s for the better.
This is a guess. The original saying isn’t clear. It literally seems to say, “As water, a face to a face, so heart of man to man.” There’s no verb to help us solve the mystery. Also, it’s not clear if “man to man” refers to one man or two. Perhaps it means another person’s observation of us helps us better understand ourselves.
“Home of the Dead and Perdition Place” are paraphrases of the ancient words Sheol and Abaddon. Sheol shows up in the Old Testament referring to the grave or the realm of the dead, as in a cemetery. It is also a kind of underworld where the dead are cut off from the living—and from God—and there is no coming back. Abaddon means the same thing, but is literally “place of destruction” or “place of perdition.” In the Bible, this word shows up only in wisdom literature, such as Psalm 88:12 and Job 26:6.
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.