How to disgust God
- 11:1 It disgusts the LORD when he sees people weighing products with a thumb on the scale.
Honest scales delight him.
- 11:2 Pride will carry you to disgrace and dump you off with a bad reputation.
Humility will take you to wisdom.
- 11:3 Good people follow integrity’s lead.
Treacherous people die on a crooked trail.
- 11:4 Money won’t buy you a pass on Judgment Day,
But living a good and godly life will save you from death.
- 11:5 Goodness inside good people leads them down a smoother trail.
Bad people trip over their own wicked ways.
- 11:6 Goodness within good and godly people will save them.
But the greed of treacherous people eventually traps and hogties them.
- 11:7 When bad people die, their hopes die with them.
It doesn’t matter how strong or well-connected those people were.1
- 11:8 Good people are rescued from trouble.
Bad people walk right into it and introduce themselves.
Watch your busy mouth
- 11:9 Bad people with a big mouth can destroy a friend.
Knowledge will save good and godly people.
- 11:10 When good people succeed, everyone celebrates.
When bad people die, everyone celebrates.
- 11:11 The whole community benefits when good people live among them.
Busy mouths of wicked people can tear a city apart.
- 11:12 People who need tutoring in common sense will badmouth their neighbor.
People with insight will keep their mouths shut.
- 11:13 People badmouth others by telling what they should have kept secret.
Trustworthy people keep a lid on it.
- 11:14 A community will collapse without good counsel.
The more counselors in a community, the better.
Don’t cosign a loan
- 11:15 If you guarantee someone else’s loan, you’ll be sorry.
It’s safer not to make someone else’s fiscal promises for them.
- 11:16 A kind woman earns respect.
A violent man gets rich.
- 11:17 When you’re kind to others, you’re kind to yourself.
When you’re cruel to others, you’re cruel to yourself.
- 11:18 Bad people make a living.
Good people live.2
- 11:19 People who live a right life will live on.
People who prefer evil will die.
- 11:20 God hates it when people are crooked clear down to their heart.
He’s delighted by people of integrity.
- 11:21 Bad people are going to get punished.
But the goodness of godly people reaches future generations.
In a pig’s nose
- 11:22 A gold ring in a pig’s nose
Is a gorgeous woman with no sense.3
- 11:23 Good people can look forward to goodness.
Bad people should expect nothing but punishment.
- 11:24 Generous people share what they have,
And get more than they had before.
Others don’t even pay what they owe,
Yet get further and further behind.
- 11:25 Generous people succeed in life.
Help someone in need, then someone helps you. 4
- 11:26 Hoard grain and people will cuss you out.
But if you sell it when they need it, they’ll sing your praises.
- 11:27 If you chase goodness, you’ll find approval.
If you chase evil, you’ll catch it.
- 11:28 If you put your trust in wealth, you’ll fall with a crash.
Good and godly people blossom and grow steady like a green leaf.
- 11:29 People who provoke their family inherit the wind, and nothing more.
Folks that dumb get bossed around by wiser people.
- 11:30 Good and godly people earn fruit from the Tree of Life.5
Wise people save others, too.6
- 11:31 If good and godly people get the rewards they deserve here on earth,
How much more will wicked people bad to the bone get what they deserve.
Translators make their best guess about this perplexing proverb. Some say the proverb has been tweaked and corrupted by a scribe, editor, or perhaps a cleaning lady on a break. Scholars say it’s unclear what kind of people the writer is talking about. The words in the first line could describe “wicked people,” “bad people,” or even “all people.” And key words in the second line, they say, might point back to the first line by referring to people counting on wealth or affluence to make a difference for them.
There’s a wordplay in Hebrew: seqer and seker. Wicked people make a seqer, a “deceptive” reward, apparently deceptive in that it’s less than they expected. But good people earn a seker, “wages” that are emet, “true” or “sure.” The English paraphrase here is an attempt to express that wordplay.
The Hebrew word could describe a woman with “bad taste,” “poor judgment,” or “no sense.” Any of which could seem like a waste of good looks.
More literally, “those who water will be watered.” It seems to be a metaphor similar to the one in Jeremiah 31:25, “I satisfy the weary ones and refresh [literally fill] everyone who languishes” (New American Standard Bible). In other words, if you help others then others will help you.
In the Creation story of Genesis, God put two trees in the Garden of Eden. “The fruit of one tree extended a person’s life” (Genesis 2:9). That’s the Tree of Life. The other tree allowed them to tell the difference between right and wrong. That was the forbidden fruit, which was too tempting to pass up.
Bible experts translate the perplexing second line in various ways. The wise person: “wins souls” (New American Standard Version), “wins friends” (New Living Translation), “teaches others how to live” (New Century Version), “captivates people” (Jewish Tanakh Translation).