Contrast the Upright and the Wicked
1He who [willfully] separates himself [from God and man] seeks his own desire,
He quarrels against all sound wisdom.
2A [closed-minded] fool does not delight in understanding,
But only in revealing his personal opinions [unwittingly displaying his self-indulgence and his stupidity].
3When the wicked man comes [to the depth of evil], contempt [of all that is pure and good] also comes,
And with inner baseness (dishonor) comes outer shame (scorn).
4The words of a man’s mouth are like deep waters [copious and difficult to fathom];
The fountain of [mature, godly] wisdom is like a bubbling stream [sparkling, fresh, pure, and life-giving].
5To show respect to the wicked person is not good,
Nor to push aside and deprive the righteous of justice.
6A fool’s lips bring contention and strife,
And his mouth invites a beating.
7A fool’s mouth is his ruin,
And his lips are the snare of his soul.
8The words of a whisperer (gossip) are like dainty morsels [to be greedily eaten];
They go down into the innermost chambers of the body [to be remembered and mused upon].
9He who is careless in his work
Is a brother to him who destroys.
10The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
The righteous runs to it and is safe and set on high [far above evil].
11The rich man’s wealth is his strong city,
And like a high wall [of protection] in his own imagination and conceit.
12Before disaster the heart of a man is haughty and filled with self-importance,
But humility comes before honor.
13He who answers before he hears [the facts]—
It is folly and shame to him.
14The spirit of a man sustains him in sickness,
But as for a broken spirit, who can bear it?
15The mind of the prudent [always] acquires knowledge,
And the ear of the wise [always] seeks knowledge.
16A man’s gift [given in love or courtesy] makes room for him
And brings him before great men.
17The first one to plead his case seems right,
Until another comes and cross-examines him.
18To cast lots puts an end to quarrels
And decides between powerful contenders.
19A brother offended is harder to win over than a fortified city,
And contentions [separating families] are like the bars of a castle.
20A man’s stomach will be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth;
He will be satisfied with the consequence of his words.
21Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.
22He who finds a [true and faithful] wife finds a good thing
And obtains favor and approval from the Lord.
23The poor man pleads,
But the rich man answers roughly.
24The man of too many friends [chosen indiscriminately] will be broken in pieces and come to ruin,
But there is a [true, loving] friend who [is reliable and] sticks closer than a brother.