Contrast the Upright and the Wicked
1A soft and gentle and thoughtful answer turns away wrath,
But harsh and painful and careless words stir up anger.
2The tongue of the wise speaks knowledge that is pleasing and acceptable,
But the [babbling] mouth of fools spouts folly.
3The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
Watching the evil and the good [in all their endeavors].
4A soothing tongue [speaking words that build up and encourage] is a tree of life,
But a perversive tongue [speaking words that overwhelm and depress] crushes the spirit.
5A [flippant, arrogant] fool rejects his father’s instruction and correction,
But he who [is willing to learn and] regards and keeps in mind a reprimand acquires good sense.
6Great and priceless treasure is in the house of the [consistently] righteous one [who seeks godly instruction and grows in wisdom],
But trouble is in the income of the wicked one [who rejects the laws of God].
7The lips of the wise spread knowledge [sifting it as chaff from the grain];
But the hearts of [shortsighted] fools are not so.
8The sacrifice of the wicked is hateful and exceedingly offensive to the Lord,
But the prayer of the upright is His delight!
9The way [of life] of the wicked is hateful and exceedingly offensive to the Lord,
But He loves one who pursues righteousness [personal integrity, moral courage and honorable character].
10There is severe discipline for him who turns from the way [of righteousness];
And he who hates correction will die.
11Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead) and Abaddon (the abyss, the place of eternal punishment) lie open before the Lord—
How much more the hearts and inner motives of the children of men.
12A scoffer [unlike a wise man] resents one who rebukes him and tries to teach him;
Nor will he go to the wise [for counsel and instruction].
13A heart full of joy and goodness makes a cheerful face,
But when a heart is full of sadness the spirit is crushed.
14The mind of the intelligent and discerning seeks knowledge and eagerly inquires after it,
But the mouth of the [stubborn] fool feeds on foolishness.
15All the days of the afflicted are bad,
But a glad heart has a continual feast [regardless of the circumstances].
16Better is a little with the [reverent, worshipful] fear of the Lord
Than great treasure and trouble with it.
17Better is a dinner of vegetables and herbs where love is present
Than a fattened ox served with hatred.
18A hot-tempered man stirs up strife,
But he who is slow to anger and patient calms disputes.
19The way of the lazy is like a hedge of thorns [it pricks, lacerates, and entangles him],
But the way [of life] of the upright is smooth and open like a highway.
20A wise son makes a father glad,
But a foolish man despises his mother.
21Foolishness is joy to him who is without heart and lacks [intelligent, common] sense,
But a man of understanding walks uprightly [making his course straight].
22Without consultation and wise advice, plans are frustrated,
But with many counselors they are established and succeed.
23A man has joy in giving an appropriate answer,
And how good and delightful is a word spoken at the right moment—how good it is!
24The [chosen] path of life leads upward for the wise,
That he may keep away from Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead) below.
25The Lord will tear down the house of the proud and arrogant (self-righteous),
But He will establish and protect the boundaries [of the land] of the [godly] widow.
26Evil plans and thoughts of the wicked are exceedingly vile and offensive to the Lord,
But pure words are pleasant words to Him.
27He who profits unlawfully brings suffering to his own house,
But he who hates bribes [and does not receive nor pay them] will live.
28The heart of the righteous thinks carefully about how to answer [in a wise and appropriate and timely way],
But the [babbling] mouth of the wicked pours out malevolent things.
29The Lord is far from the wicked [and distances Himself from them],
But He hears the prayer of the [consistently] righteous [that is, those with spiritual integrity and moral courage].
30The light of the eyes rejoices the hearts of others,
And good news puts fat on the bones.
31The ear that listens to and learns from the life-giving rebuke (reprimand, censure)
Will remain among the wise.
32He who neglects and ignores instruction and discipline despises himself,
But he who learns from rebuke acquires understanding [and grows in wisdom].
33The [reverent] fear of the Lord [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome] is the instruction for wisdom [its starting point and its essence];
And before honor comes humility.