1 My son, envy not bad men, nor desire to be with them. 2 For their heart meditates falsehoods, and their lips speak mischiefs. 3 A house is built by wisdom, and is set up by understanding. 4 By discretion the chambers are filled with all precious and excellent wealth. 5 A wise man is better than a strong man; and a man who has prudence than a large estate. 6 War is carried on with generalship, and aid is supplied to the heart of a counsellor.
7 Wisdom and good understanding are in the gates of the wise: the wise turn not aside from the mouth of the Lord, 8 but deliberate in council. Death befalls uninstructed men. 9 The fool also dies in sins; and uncleanness attaches to a pestilent man. 10 He shall be defiled in the evil day, and in the day of affliction, until he be utterly consumed.
11 Deliver them that are led away to death, and redeem them that are appointed to be slain; spare not thy help. 12 But if thou shouldest say, I know not this man; know that the Lord knows the hearts of all; and he that formed breath for all, he knows all things, who renders to every man according to his works. 13 My son, eat honey, for the honeycomb is good, that thy throat may be sweetened. 14 Thus shalt thou perceive wisdom in thy soul: for if thou find it, thine end shall be good, and hope shall not fail thee.
15 Bring not an ungodly man into the dwelling of the righteous: neither be deceived by the feeding of the belly. 16 For a righteous man will fall seven times, and rise again: but the ungodly shall be without strength in troubles. 17 If thine enemy should fall, rejoice not over him, neither be elated at his overthrow. 18 For the Lord will see it, and it will not please him, and he will turn away his wrath from him. 19 Rejoice not in evil-doers, neither be envious of sinners. 20 For the evil man shall have no posterity: and the light of the wicked shall be put out.
21 My son, fear God and the king; and do not disobey either of them. 22 For they will suddenly punish the ungodly, and who can know the vengeance inflicted by both?
22a * Heb. omits to the end.[A son that keeps the commandment shall † Lit. be outside of.escape destruction; for such an one has fully received it. 22b Let no falsehood be spoken by the king from the tongue; yea, let no falsehood proceed from his tongue. 22c The king's tongue is a sword, and not one of flesh; and whosoever shall be given up to it shall be destroyed: 22d for if his wrath should be provoked, he destroys men with cords, 22e and devours men's bones, and burns them up as a flame, so that they are not even fit to be eaten by the young eagles. 22f My son, reverence my words, and receive them, and repent.]
These things says the man to them that trust in God; and I cease.
22g For I am the most simple of all men, and there is not in me the wisdom of men. 22h God has taught me wisdom, and I know the knowledge of the holy. 22i Who has gone up to heaven, and come down? who has gathered the winds in his bosom? who has wrapped up the waters in a garment? who has dominion of all the ends of the earth? what is his name? or what is the name of his children? 22k For all the words of God are tried in the fire, and he defends those that reverence him. 22l Add not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be made a liar.
22m Two things I ask of thee; take not favour from me before I die. 22n Remove far from me vanity and falsehood: and give me not wealth or poverty; but appoint me what is needful and sufficient: 22o lest I be filled and become false, and say, Who sees me? or be poor and steal, and swear vainly by the name of God.
22p Deliver not a servant into the hands of his master, lest he curse thee, and thou be utterly destroyed. 22q A wicked generation curse their father, and do not bless their mother. 22r A wicked generation judge themselves to be just, but do not cleanse their way. 22s A wicked generation have lofty eyes, and exalt themselves with their eyelids. 22t A wicked generation have swords for teeth and jaw-teeth as knives, so as to destroy and devour the lowly from the earth, and the poor of them from among men.
23 And this thing I say to you that are wise for you to learn: It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment. 24 He that says of the ungodly, He is righteous, shall be cursed by peoples, and hateful among the nations. 25 But they that reprove him shall appear more excellent, and blessing shall come upon them; 26 and men will kiss lips that answer well. 27 Prepare thy works for thy going forth, and prepare thyself for the field; and come after me, and thou shalt rebuild thine house. 28 Be not a false witness against thy fellow citizen, neither exaggerate with thy lips. 29 Say not, As he has treated me, so will I treat him, and I will avenge myself on him for that wherein he has injured me. 30 A foolish man is like a farm, and a senseless man is like a vineyard. 31 If thou let him alone, he will altogether remain barren and covered with weeds; ‡ Gr. grass.and he becomes destitute, and his stone walls are broken down. 32 Afterwards I reflected, I looked that I might receive instruction. 33 The sluggard says, I slumber a little, and I sleep a little, and for a little while I fold my arms across my breast. 34 But if thou do this, thy poverty will come speedily; and thy want like a swift courier.
35 The horse-leech had three dearly-beloved daughters: and these three did not satisfy her; and the fourth was not contented so as to say, Enough. 36 The grave, and the love of a woman, and the earth not filled with water; water also and fire will not say, It is enough.
37 The eye that laughs to scorn a father, and dishonours the old age of a mother, let the ravens of the valleys pick it out, and let the young eagles devour it. 38 Moreover there are three things impossible for me to comprehend, and the fourth I know not: 39 the track of a flying eagle; and the ways of a serpent on a rock; and the paths of a ship passing through the sea; and the ways of a man in youth. 40 Such is the way of an adulterous woman, who having washed herself from what she has done, says she has done nothing amiss.
41 By three things the earth is troubled, and the fourth it cannot bear: 42 if a servant reign; or a fool be filled with food; 43 or if a maid-servant should cast out her own mistress; and if a hateful woman should marry a good man.
44 And there are four very little things upon the earth, but these are wiser than the wise: 45 the ants which are weak, and yet prepare their food in summer; 46 the rabbits also are a feeble race, who make their houses in the rocks. 47 The locusts have no king, and yet march orderly at one command. 48 And the eft, which supports itself by its hands, and is easily taken, dwells in the fortresses of kings.
49 And there are three things which go well, and a fourth which passes along finely. 50 A lion's whelp, stronger than all other beasts, which turns not away, nor fears any beast; 51 and a cock walking in boldly among the hens, and a goat leading the herd; and a king publicly speaking before a nation.
52 If thou abandon thyself to mirth, and stretch forth thine hand in a quarrel, thou shalt be disgraced. 53 Milk out milk, and there shall be butter, and if thou wring one's nostrils there shall come out blood: so if thou extort words, there will come forth quarrels and strifes.
54 My words have been spoken by God—the oracular answer of a king, whom his mother instructed.
55 What wilt thou keep, my son, what? the words of God. My firstborn son, I speak to thee: what? son of my womb? what? son of my vows? 56 Give not thy wealth to women, nor thy mind and living to remorse. Do all things with counsel: drink wine with counsel. 57 Princes are prone to anger: let them then not drink wine: 58 lest they drink, and forget wisdom, and be not able to judge the poor rightly. 59 Give strong drink to those that are in sorrow, and the wine to drink to those in pain: 60 that they may forget their poverty, and may not remember their troubles any more. 61 Open thy mouth with the word of God, and judge all fairly. 62 Open thy mouth and judge justly, and plead the cause of the poor and weak.