1These are also the proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied:
2It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
3As the heavens for height and the earth for depth,
So the hearts and minds of kings are unsearchable.
4Take away the dross from the silver,
And there comes out [the pure metal for] a vessel for the silversmith [to shape].
5Take away the wicked from before the king,
And his throne will be established in righteousness.
6Do not be boastfully ambitious and claim honor in the presence of the king,
And do not stand in the place of great men;
7For it is better that it be said to you, “Come up here,”
Than for you to be placed lower in the presence of the prince,
Whom your eyes have seen.
8Do not rush out to argue your case [before magistrates or judges];
Otherwise what will you do in the end [when your case is lost and]
When your neighbor (opponent) humiliates you?
9Argue your case with your neighbor himself [before you go to court];
And do not reveal another’s secret,
10Or he who hears it will shame you
And the rumor about you [and your action in court] will have no end.
11Like apples of gold in settings of silver
Is a word spoken at the right time.
12Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold
Is a wise reprover to an ear that listens and learns.
13Like the cold of snow [brought from the mountains] in the time of harvest,
So is a faithful messenger to those who send him;
For he refreshes the life of his masters.
14Like clouds and wind without rain
Is a man who boasts falsely of gifts [he does not give].
15By patience and a calm spirit a ruler may be persuaded,
And a soft and gentle tongue breaks the bone [of resistance].
16Have you found [pleasure sweet like] honey? Eat only as much as you need,
Otherwise, being filled excessively, you vomit it.
17Let your foot seldom be in your neighbor’s house,
Or he will become tired of you and hate you.
18Like a club and a sword and a piercing arrow
Is a man who testifies falsely against his neighbor (acquaintance).
19Like a broken tooth or an unsteady foot
Is confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble.
20Like one who takes off a garment in cold weather, or like [a reactive, useless mixture of] vinegar on soda,
Is he who [thoughtlessly] sings [joyful] songs to a heavy heart.
21If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat;
And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
22For in doing so, you will heap coals of fire upon his head,
And the Lord will reward you.
23The north wind brings forth rain;
And a backbiting tongue, an angry countenance.
24It is better to live in a corner of the housetop [on the flat roof, exposed to the weather]
Than in a house shared with a quarrelsome (contentious) woman.
25Like cold water to a thirsty soul,
So is good news from a distant land.
26Like a muddied fountain and a polluted spring
Is a righteous man who yields and compromises his integrity before the wicked.
27It is not good to eat much honey,
Nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory.
28Like a city that is broken down and without walls [leaving it unprotected]
Is a man who has no self-control over his spirit [and sets himself up for trouble].