On Life and Conduct
1A good name [earned by honorable behavior, godly wisdom, moral courage, and personal integrity] is more desirable than great riches;
And favor is better than silver and gold.
2The rich and poor have a common bond;
The Lord is the Maker of them all.
3A prudent and far-sighted person sees the evil [of sin] and hides himself [from it],
But the naive continue on and are punished [by suffering the consequences of sin].
4The reward of humility [that is, having a realistic view of one’s importance] and the [reverent, worshipful] fear of the Lord
Is riches, honor, and life.
5Thorns and snares are in the way of the obstinate [for their lack of honor and their wrong-doing traps them];
He who guards himself [with godly wisdom] will be far from them and avoid the consequences they suffer.
6Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents],
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
7The rich rules over the poor,
And the borrower is servant to the lender.
8He who sows injustice will reap [a harvest of] trouble,
And the rod of his wrath [with which he oppresses others] will fail.
9He who is generous will be blessed,
For he gives some of his food to the poor.
10Drive out the scoffer, and contention will go away;
Even strife and dishonor will cease.
11He who loves purity of heart
And whose speech is gracious will have the king as his friend.
12The eyes of the Lord keep guard over knowledge and the one who has it,
But He overthrows the words of the treacherous.
13The lazy one [manufactures excuses and] says, “There is a lion outside!
I will be killed in the streets [if I go out to work]!”
14The mouth of an immoral woman is a deep pit [deep and inescapable];
He who is cursed by the Lord [because of his adulterous sin] will fall into it.
15Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;
The rod of discipline [correction administered with godly wisdom and lovingkindness] will remove it far from him.
16He who oppresses or exploits the poor to get more for himself
Or who gives to the rich [to gain influence and favor], will only come to poverty.
17Listen carefully and hear the words of the wise,
And apply your mind to my knowledge;
18For it will be pleasant if you keep them in mind [incorporating them as guiding principles];
Let them be ready on your lips [to guide and strengthen yourself and others].
19So that your trust and reliance and confidence may be in the Lord,
I have taught these things to you today, even to you.
20Have I not written to you excellent things
In counsels and knowledge,
21To let you know the certainty of the words of truth,
That you may give a correct answer to him who sent you?
22Do not rob the poor because he is poor [and defenseless],
Nor crush the afflicted [by legal proceedings] at the gate [where the city court is held],
23For the Lord will plead their case
And take the life of those who rob them.
24Do not even associate with a man given to angry outbursts;
Or go [along] with a hot-tempered man,
25Or you will learn his [undisciplined] ways
And get yourself trapped [in a situation from which it is hard to escape].
26Do not be among those who give pledges [involving themselves in others’ finances],
Or among those who become guarantors for others’ debts.
27If you have nothing with which to pay [another’s debt when he defaults],
Why should his creditor take your bed from under you?
28Do not move the ancient landmark [at the boundary of the property]
Which your fathers have set.
29Do you see a man skillful and experienced in his work?
He will stand [in honor] before kings;
He will not stand before obscure men.