1 All wisdom comes from the Lord, and Wisdom is with him forever. 2 Who can count raindrops or the sand along the shore? Who can count the days of eternity? 3 How high is the sky? How wide is the earth? How deep is the ocean? How profound is Wisdom? Can anyone find answers to these questions? 4 Wisdom was created before anything else; understanding has always existed. 6 Has anyone ever been shown where Wisdom originates? Does anyone understand her subtle cleverness? 8 There is only one who is wise, and we must stand in awe before his throne. 9 The Lord himself created Wisdom; he saw her and recognized her value, and so he filled everything he made with Wisdom. 10 He gave some measure of Wisdom to everyone, but poured her out on those who love him. 11 If you fear the Lord, honor and pride will be yours; you will be crowned with happiness and joy. 12 To honor the Lord is a heartfelt delight; it will give you a long and happy life, 13 and at the end of your days all will go well for you. God will bless you on the day of your death. 14 To fear the Lord is the first step to Wisdom. Wisdom is given to the faithful in their mothers' wombs. 15 She has lived with us from ancient times, and generations to come will rely on her. 16 To fear the Lord is Wisdom at her fullest; she satisfies us completely with her gifts 17 and fills our homes and our barns with all that our hearts can desire. 18 To fear the Lord is the flower of Wisdom that blossoms with peace and good health. 19 She sends knowledge and understanding like the rain, and increases the honor of those who receive her. 20 To fear the Lord is the root of Wisdom; her branches are long life. 22 There is no excuse for unjustified anger; it can bring about your downfall. 23 Wait and be patient, and later you will be glad you did. 24 Keep quiet until the right time to speak, and you will gain a reputation for good sense. 25 Wisdom has a treasury of wise sayings, but sinners have nothing but contempt for godliness. 26 If you want to be wise, keep the Lord's commands, and he will give you Wisdom in abundance. 27 Fearing the Lord is Wisdom and an education in itself. He is pleased by loyalty and humility. 28 Be faithful in the practice of your religion; when you worship the Lord, do it with all your heart. 29 Be careful about what you say, and don't be a hypocrite. 30 Don't be arrogant; you may suffer a fall and be disgraced. The Lord will reveal your secrets and humble you in front of everyone in the synagogue, because you did not come there with reverence for the Lord, but with a heart full of hypocrisy. 


1 My child, if you are going to serve the Lord, be prepared for times when you will be put to the test. 2 Be sincere and determined. Keep calm when trouble comes. 3 Stay with the Lord; never abandon him, and you will be prosperous at the end of your days. 4 Accept whatever happens to you. Even if you suffer humiliation, be patient. 5 Gold is tested by fire, and human character is tested in the furnace of humiliation. 6 Trust the Lord, and he will help you. Walk straight in his ways, and put your hope in him. 7 All you that fear the Lord, wait for him to show you his mercy. Do not turn away from him, or you will fall. 8 All you that fear the Lord, trust him, and you will certainly be rewarded. 9 All you that fear the Lord, look forward to his blessings of mercy and eternal happiness. 10 Think back to the ancient generations and consider this: has the Lord ever disappointed anyone who put his hope in him? Has the Lord ever abandoned anyone who held him in constant reverence? Has the Lord ever ignored anyone who prayed to him? 11 The Lord is kind and merciful; he forgives our sins and keeps us safe in time of trouble. 12 But those who lose their nerve are doomed - all those sinners who try to have it both ways! 13 Doom is sure to come for those who lose their courage; they have no faith, and so they will have no protection. 14 Doom is sure to come for those who lose their hope. What will they do when the Lord comes to judge them? 15 Those who fear the Lord do not disobey his commands; those who love him will live as he wants them to live. 16 Those who fear and love the Lord will try to please him and devote themselves to the Law. 17 Those who fear the Lord are always ready to serve him. They humble themselves before him, and say, 18 "We place our destiny in the hands of the Lord, not in human hands, because his mercy is as great as his majesty." 


1 Children, listen to me; I am your father. Do what I tell you and you will be safe, 2 for the Lord has given fathers authority over their children and given children the obligation to obey their mothers. 3 If you respect your father, you can make up for your sins, 4 and if you honor your mother, you are earning great wealth. 5 If you respect your father, one day your own children will make you happy; the Lord will hear your prayers. 6 If you obey the Lord by honoring your father and making your mother happy, you will live a long life. 7 Obey your parents as if you were their slave. 8 Honor your father in everything you do and say, so that you may receive his blessing. 9 When parents give their blessing, they give strength to their children's homes, but when they curse their children, they destroy the very foundations. 10 Never seek honor for yourself at your father's expense; it is not to your credit if he is dishonored. 11 Your own honor comes from the respect that you show to your father. If children do not honor their mothers, it is their own disgrace. 12 My child, take care of your father when he grows old; give him no cause for worry as long as he lives. 13 Be sympathetic even if his mind fails him; don't look down on him just because you are strong and healthy. 14 The Lord will not forget the kindness you show to your father; it will help you make up for your sins. 15 When you are in trouble, the Lord will remember your kindness and will help you; your sins will melt away like frost in warm sunshine. 16 Those who abandon their parents or give them cause for anger may as well be cursing the Lord; they are already under the Lord's curse. 17 My child, be humble in everything you do, and people will appreciate it more than gifts. 18 The greater you become, the more humble you should be; then the Lord will be pleased with you. 20 The Lord's power is great, and he is honored by those who are humble. 21 Don't try to understand things that are too hard for you, or investigate matters that are beyond your power to know. 22 Concentrate on the Law, which has been given to you. You do not need to know about things which the Lord has not revealed, 23 so don't concern yourself with them. After all, what has been shown to you is beyond human power to understand. 24 Many people have been misled by their own opinions; their wrong ideas have warped their judgment. 26 Stubbornness will get you into trouble at the end. If you live dangerously, it will kill you. 27 A stubborn person will be burdened down with troubles. Sinners go on adding one sin to another. 28 There is no cure for the troubles that arrogant people have; wickedness has taken deep root in them. 29 Intelligent people will learn from proverbs and parables. They listen well because they want to learn. 30 Giving to the poor can make up for sin, just as water can put out a blazing fire. 31 Anyone who responds to others with acts of kindness is thinking of the future, because he will find help if he ever falls on hard times. 


1 My child, don't prevent the poor from making a living, or keep them waiting in their need. 2 Never give a hungry person any cause for resentment or anger. 3 Don't add to the troubles of someone who is already desperate. If he is in need, don't put off giving to him. 4 Don't refuse to help a beggar who is in distress. Don't turn your back on a poor person or give him any reason to curse you. 6 If he becomes so bitter that he does curse you, his Creator will hear his prayer. 7 Make yourself popular in the synagogue. Bow your head to men of authority. 8 Listen to what the poor have to say, and answer them politely. 9 Protect people from those who want to wrong them, and be firm in your judgments. 10 Be like a father to orphans, and provide widows with the help their husbands can no longer give them. Then you will be like a child of the Most High, and he will love you more than your own mother does. 11 Wisdom takes care of those who look for her; she raises them to greatness. 12 Loving her is loving life itself; rising early to look for her is pure joy. 13 Anyone who obtains Wisdom will be greatly honored. Wherever he goes, the Lord will bless him. 14 Wisdom's servants are the servants of the Holy One, and the Lord loves everyone who loves her. 15 Those who obey her will give sound judgments; those who pay attention to her have true security. 16 Put your trust in Wisdom, and you will possess her and pass her on to your descendants. 17 At first, Wisdom will lead you along difficult paths. She will make you so afraid that you will think you cannot go on. The discipline she demands will be tormenting, and she will put you to the test with her requirements until she trusts you completely. 18 Then she will come to you with no delay, reveal her secrets to you, and make you happy. 19 But if you go astray, she will abandon you and let you go to your own ruin. 20 Take advantage of opportunities, but guard yourself against evil. Don't underrate yourself. 21 Humility deserves honor and respect, but a low opinion of yourself leads to sin. 22 Do not let others have their way at your expense; do not bring on your own ruin by giving up your rights. 23 Never hesitate to speak out when the occasion calls for it. Don't hide your wisdom. 24 Your wisdom and education can be known only by what you say. 25 Do not, however, go against the truth, and remember that you do not know everything. 26 Don't be ashamed to confess your sins; there's no point in trying to stop a river from flowing. 27 Don't allow yourself to be dominated by someone who is stupid or show partiality to influential people. 28 Stand up for what is right, even if it costs you your life; the Lord God will be fighting on your side. 29 Don't be quick to speak or lazy and negligent in your work. 30 Don't act like a lion at home or be suspicious of your servants. 31 Don't stick out your hand to get something if you're going to be tightfisted when the time comes to pay it back. 


1 Don't rely on money to make you independent. 2 Don't think you have to have everything you want, and then spend your energy trying to get it. 3 Don't think that no one can exercise authority over you; if you do, the Lord is certain to punish you. 4 Don't think that you can sin and get away with it; the Lord does not mind waiting to punish you. 5 Don't be so certain of the Lord's forgiveness that you go on committing one sin after another. 6 Don't think that his mercy is so great that he will forgive your sins no matter how many they are. He does show mercy, but he also shows his furious anger with sinners. 7 Come back to the Lord quickly. Don't think that you can keep putting it off. His anger can come upon you suddenly, and you will die under his punishment. 8 Don't rely on dishonest wealth; it will do you no good on that day of disaster. 9 Be certain about what you believe and consistent in what you say. Don't try to please everyone or agree with everything people say. 11 Always be ready to listen, but take your time in answering. 12 Answer only if you know what to say, and if you don't know what to say, keep quiet. 13 Speaking can bring you either honor or disgrace; what you say can ruin you. 14 Don't get a reputation for being a gossip, and don't tell tales that will hurt people. Just as robbers will suffer disgrace, so liars will suffer severe condemnation. 15 Do nothing destructive, whether it seems insignificant or not, 


1 and do not be an enemy when you should be a friend. A bad reputation brings you the disgrace that lying sinners deserve. 2 Do not let your passions carry you away; this can tear your soul to pieces like a bull. 3 You will be left like a dead tree without any leaves or fruit. 4 Evil desire will destroy you and make you a joke to your enemies. 5 If you are polite and courteous, you will enjoy the friendship of many people. 6 Exchange greetings with many, but take advice from only one person out of a thousand. 7 When you make friends, don't be too quick to trust them; make sure that they have proved themselves. 8 Some people will be your friends only when it is convenient for them, but they won't stand by you in trouble. 9 Others will fall out with you over some argument, and then embarrass you by letting everyone know about it. 10 Others will sit at your table as long as things are going well; they will stick to you like your shadow and give orders to your servants, but they will not stand by you in trouble. 12 If your situation takes a turn for the worse, they will turn against you, and you won't be able to find them anywhere. 13 Stay away from your enemies and be on guard against your friends. 14 A loyal friend is like a safe shelter; find one, and you have found a treasure. 15 Nothing else is as valuable; there is no way of putting a price on it. 16 A loyal friend is like a medicine that keeps you in good health. Only those who fear the Lord can find such a friend. 17 A person who fears the Lord can make real friendships, because he will treat his friends as he does himself. 18 My child, learn to value Wisdom while you are young, and you will still be able to find her when you grow old. 19 Work as hard to find Wisdom as a farmer works to plow and plant his fields; then you can expect a good harvest. You will have to work at it for a while, but you will soon be enjoying what you have earned. 20 Undisciplined people find Wisdom's demands too hard and don't have enough determination to meet them. 21 Her requirements are a burden heavier than they are willing to bear, and they quickly lay them aside. 22 "Discipline" means just that - discipline, and not many people are able to discipline themselves. 23 My child, listen to me and take my advice. 24 Put Wisdom's chains around your feet and her yoke around your neck. 25 Carry her on your shoulder and don't be resentful of her bonds. 26 Follow Wisdom, and keep to her ways with all your heart. 27 Go looking for her, and she will reveal herself to you. Take hold of her and don't let go. 28 Then you will discover the peace of mind she offers, and she will become your joy. 29 The signs of slavery you wear will become signs of royal majesty. Her chains will be your protection, and you will wear her yoke like a magnificent robe. 31 You will wear Wisdom like a splendid crown. 32 My child, you can learn if you want to. You can be clever if you are determined to be. 33 If you are willing to listen, you will learn and become wise. 34 Go where the old people are; find someone who is wise, and stay with him. 35 Be ready to listen when religious people speak, and don't miss anything that shows insight. 36 If you find someone with understanding, get up early to call on him; wear out his doorstep with your visits. 37 Devote all your time to studying the Lord's commands and thinking about them. He will give you the insight and wisdom you are looking for. 


1 If you do no wrong, no wrong will ever come to you. 3 Do not plow the ground to plant seeds of injustice; you may reap a bigger harvest than you expect. 4 Don't ask the Lord for a place of honor or ask the king for an important position. 5 Don't try to convince the Lord that you are righteous or make a show of your wisdom before the king. 6 Don't set your heart on being a judge, unless you have the strength of character it takes to put an end to injustice. If you let yourself be influenced by someone in a position of power, your integrity will be damaged. 7 Don't commit any crime against the general public, and don't disgrace yourself among your townspeople. 8 Don't commit the same sin twice. The punishment you get the first time ought to be enough. 9 Don't think that God Most High is going to take into account how very generous you are and so accept any offering you decide to make. 10 Never get tired of praying, and never miss a chance to give to the poor. 11 Don't laugh at someone who has been humiliated. It is the Lord who humbles a person, but the Lord also raises him up again. 12 Don't think up lies to tell about your friends. 13 Don't tell lies at all. It never does any good. 14 In an official assembly, don't get up and talk a lot of nonsense. And don't repeat yourself when you pray. 15 Don't try to avoid farm work or other hard labor; the Most High has given us these jobs to do. 16 Don't join up with a crowd of sinners; remember that the Lord's punishment is sure to come. 17 Be very humble, because the decay of death awaits us all. 18 Don't betray a friend for money. Don't betray a real friend for all the gold in the world. 19 Don't miss your chance to marry a wise and good woman. A gracious wife is worth more than gold. 20 Don't mistreat servants who do their work well, or employees who do their best for you. 21 Show the same love to wise servants that you would show to yourself, and let them have their freedom. 22 Take good care of any animals you own. If they make money for you, keep them. 23 If you have sons, educate them. Teach them self-discipline while they are young. 24 If you have daughters, keep them virtuous, and don't be too indulgent with them. 25 When you give your daughter in marriage, you have finished a great task, but give her to a sensible man. 26 If you have a good wife, do not divorce her, but do not trust yourself to someone you don't love. 27 Honor your father with all your heart, and never forget how your mother suffered when you were born. 28 Remember that you owe your life to them. How can you ever repay them for all they have done for you? 29 Fear the Lord with all your heart, and have respect for his priests. 30 Love your Creator with all your strength, and give his ministers your support. 31 Honor the Lord and respect the priests. Supply them with what you have been commanded to give: the first produce, the offering for sin, the shoulder of the sacrificial animal - all the required sacrifices and offerings. 32 Give your help to the poor, and the Lord will give you his perfect blessing. 33 Be generous to every living soul, and be gracious to the memory of the dead. 34 Show sympathy to those who have lost a loved one, and mourn with them. 35 Do not hesitate to visit the sick. You will be loved for things like these. 36 Whatever you do, remember that some day you must die. As long as you keep this in mind, you will never sin. 


1 Do not challenge a person who has influence; you may fall into his power. 2 Do not quarrel with someone rich; he may bribe people to turn against you. Gold has destroyed many people and corrupted kings. 3 Don't argue with someone who talks too much; you will just be adding fuel to his fire. 4 Don't make fun of someone who has bad manners; he may insult your ancestors. 5 Don't criticize someone if he is already turning away from sin. Remember that we are all guilty. 6 Never think less of someone because he is old; some of us are growing old, too. 7 Don't be happy over the death of anyone; remember that all of us must die. 8 Do not disregard what the wise have said. Study their proverbs; from them you can learn to be cultured and to serve great people. 9 Pay attention to what old people say, for they learned from those who came before them. You can learn from them, and they can teach you how to have an answer ready when you need one. 10 You should not provide a sinner with more opportunity to sin. You might get hurt yourself; it's as easy as getting burned while adding logs to a fire. 11 You should not get up and walk out on someone who is insolent. He might twist your words and use them against you. 12 You should not lend anything to someone more powerful than you. If you do, you might as well consider it lost. 13 You should not guarantee anyone else's loan to an extent that you cannot afford. You must be prepared to pay any such guarantee. 14 You should not bring a lawsuit against a judge. He will win because of his position. 15 You should not travel with anyone who is reckless. It will cause you nothing but trouble. He will do any foolish thing he pleases, and you will die with him. 16 You should not get into an argument with anyone who has a hot temper or go to some place where the two of you will be alone. Violence means nothing to such a person, and he will attack you when there is no one to help you. 17 You should not ask a stupid person for advice. He will not be able to keep secret what you tell him. 18 You should not do anything in front of a stranger that should be kept secret. There is no way of knowing what will happen if you do. 19 You should not reveal your most private thoughts to anyone. If you do, you may as well throw away any chance of happiness. 


1 Don't be jealous of the wife you love. You will only be teaching her how to do you harm. 2 Do not surrender your dignity to any woman. 3 Keep away from other men's wives or they will trap you. 4 Don't keep company with female musicians; they will trick you. 5 Don't look too intently at a virgin, or you may find yourself forced to pay a bride price. 6 Don't give yourself to prostitutes, or you may lose everything you own. 7 So don't go looking about in the streets or wandering around in the run-down parts of town. 8 When you see a good-looking woman, look the other way; don't let your mind dwell on the beauty of any woman who is not your wife. Many men have been led astray by a woman's beauty. It kindles passion as if it were fire. 9 Don't sit down to eat with another man's wife or join her for a drink. You may give in to the temptation of her charms and be destroyed by your passion. 10 Never abandon old friends; you will never find a new one who can take their place. Friendship is like wine; it gets better as it grows older. 11 Don't be jealous of a sinner's success; you don't know what kind of disaster is in store for him. 12 Don't take pleasure in the things that make ungodly people happy; remember that they will be held guilty as long as they live. 13 If you keep away from someone who has the power to put you to death, you will not have to fear for your life; but if you must go near him, be very careful, or he may kill you. Be conscious that you are walking among hidden traps, that you are an easy target. 14 Get to know the people around you as well as you can, and take advice only from those who are qualified to give it. 15 Engage in conversation with intelligent people, and let the Law of the Most High be the topic of your discussions. 16 Choose righteous people for your dinner companions. Your chief pride should be your fear of the Lord. 17 A skilled worker is admired for the things he makes, and a leader's wisdom is proved by his words. 18 Someone who speaks rashly and recklessly is feared and hated by everyone in town. 


1 A wise ruler will educate his people, and his government will be orderly. 2 All the officials and all the citizens will be like their ruler. 3 An uneducated king will ruin his people, but a government will grow strong if its rulers are wise. 4 The Lord sees to the government of the world and brings the right person to power at the right time. 5 The success of that person is in the Lord's hands. The Lord is the source of the honor given to any official. 6 Don't be angry with someone for every little thing he does wrong. Don't do anything out of injured pride. 7 Arrogance and injustice are hated by both the Lord and people. 8 Injustice, arrogance, and wealth cause nations to fall from power, and others then rise to take their place. 9 We are only dust and ashes; what have we got to be proud of? Our body decays even while we are alive. 10 A long illness puzzles the doctor. Even a king may be alive today and dead tomorrow. 11 When a person dies, all he then possesses is worms, flies, and maggots. 12 Pride has its beginning when a person abandons the Lord, his maker. 13 Pride is like a fountain pouring out sin, and whoever persists in it will be full of wickedness. That is why the Lord brought terrible punishments on some people and completely destroyed them. 14 The Lord has overthrown kings and put humbler people in their place. 15 The Lord has pulled up nations by the roots and established humbler ones in their place. 16 The Lord has overthrown empires and completely devastated their lands. 17 He destroyed some so completely that they are not even remembered any more. 18 The Creator never intended for human beings to be arrogant and violent. 19 Who deserves honor? The human race does, because people fear the Lord. Who does not deserve honor? The human race does not, because people break the Lord's commands. 20 A leader should be honored by those who follow him, and the Lord honors those who fear him. 22 Rich people, famous people, and poor people all take pride in their fear of the Lord. 23 It is not right to refuse honor to a poor person who is intelligent, and it is not right to give honor to a sinner. 24 People of influence, rulers, and judges will be honored, but none of them is greater than a person who fears the Lord. 25 A slave who is wise will have free citizens serving him; and if they are sensible, they will not resent it. 26 When you do your work, don't make a show of your skill, and don't try to put on a show when you are in trouble. 27 It is better to work and have more than you need than to go around boasting but hungry. 28 My child, keep your self-respect, but remain modest. Value yourself at your true worth. 29 There is no excuse for a person to run himself down. No one respects a person who has no respect for himself. 30 Poor people can be honored for their good sense, and rich people can be honored for their wealth. 31 If someone is honored while he is poor, think how much he will be honored if he becomes rich! If someone is despised while he is rich, think how much more he will be despised if he becomes poor! 


1 If a poor person is wise, he has good reason to be proud, and he will be thought of as someone great. 2 Do not compliment a person on his good looks. On the other hand, do not look down on someone who is unattractive. 3 Compared to most flying things, a bee is very small, but the honey it makes is the sweetest of foods. 4 Don't make fun of someone who has fallen on hard times and is dressed in rags. The Lord does wonderful things that human beings never notice. 5 Many are the kings who have ended their careers sitting on the ground, while their crowns were worn by those no one had heard of before. 6 Many are the rulers who have suffered disgrace. Many are the famous people who have fallen into the power of others. 7 Before you start criticizing, get your facts straight and think the matter through. 8 Don't interrupt while someone is speaking; hear what he has to say before you answer. 9 Don't get into an argument over something that is none of your business. Don't take part in decisions that are being made by sinners. 10 My child, don't get involved in too many things. If you try to do too much, you will suffer for it. You won't be able to finish your work, and you won't be able to get away from it either. 11 For instance, here is someone who never stops working like a slave, but gets further behind all the time. 12 On the other hand, someone else may be very poor and not up to his task. He may be slow, and he may need help, but the Lord is pleased with him and pulls him out of his bad situation. 13 When he is back on his feet again, everyone is astounded. 14 Everything comes from the Lord: success and failure, poverty and wealth, life and death. 15 Wisdom, understanding, knowledge of the Law, love, and the doing of good deeds - all these come from the Lord. 16 Error and darkness have been with sinners from the beginning, and those who enjoy evil will have it with them into their old age. 17 The Lord's gifts to religious people are gifts that endure. If he approves of you, you will always be successful. 18 Someone may grow rich by working hard and denying himself pleasure, but what does he get for it? 19 He says to himself, "Now I can finally sit back and enjoy what I have worked for." But he has no idea how long it will be before he must die and leave his wealth to others. 20 Stand by your duty and stick to it; grow old at your work. 21 Don't be jealous of what sinners achieve; just stick to your own work, and trust the Lord. It is very easy for the Lord to make a poor person suddenly rich. 22 Devout people will receive the Lord's blessing as their reward, and that blessing can be given in a moment. 23 Don't be concerned about what you need, or what success the future holds for you. 24 On the other hand, don't think that you have everything you need or that nothing can go wrong for you in the future. 25 When things are going well, people don't think about hard times; and when things are going badly, they forget about prosperity. 26 The Lord can easily wait until the day of our death to reward or punish us. 27 At that time our deeds are open for all to see; all our happiness can be erased in that one moment of misery. 28 So then, don't think of anyone's life as happy until it is over, because all the evidence is not in until the person is dead. 29 Be careful about the kind of person you invite into your home, because clever people can fool you in many ways. 30 A proud person is a decoy to lure you into danger; like a spy, he will look for your weaknesses. 31 He will make good appear evil and find fault with the noblest actions. 32 A single spark can set a pile of coals ablaze, and a sinner is just waiting for a chance to do violence. 33 Watch out for such people and their evil plans; they will ruin you permanently. 34 If you bring a stranger home with you, it will only cause trouble, even between you and your own family. 


1 When you do a good deed, make sure you know who is benefiting from it; then what you do will not be wasted. 2 You will be repaid for any kindness you show to a devout person. If he doesn't repay you, the Most High will. 3 No good ever comes to a person who gives comfort to the wicked; it is not a righteous act. 4 Give to religious people, but don't help sinners. 5 Do good to humble people, but don't give anything to those who are not devout. Don't give them food, or they will use your kindness against you. Every good thing you do for such people will bring you twice as much trouble in return. 6 The Most High himself hates sinners, and he will punish them. 7 Give to good people, but do not help sinners. 8 When things are going well, it is hard to tell who your real friends are, but in hard times you can recognize your enemies; 9 even your friends will leave you then. But when you are successful, your enemies will act like friends. 10 Never trust an enemy; his wickedness is as destructive as rust. 11 Watch out, and be on guard against him, even if he acts ever so humble. He is like a metal mirror that rusts away if you don't keep it polished. 12 Seat an enemy at your right hand, and the next thing you know he'll be trying to get your own place of honor. Put him next to you, and he will overthrow you. Then you will realize the truth of my words, and be stung with regret when you remember them. 13 Nobody feels sorry for snake charmers or wild animal tamers who get bitten, 14 and nobody will feel sorry for you if you run around with sinners and get involved in their wrongdoing. 15 An enemy will stay with you for a while, but not when trouble comes. 16 He will speak fine words while he plots how to trap you. He will pretend to share your sorrows, but he will kill you if he gets a chance. 17 If trouble comes your way, you will find him waiting, ready to trip you up while he pretends to help you. 18 He will be a different person then, rubbing his hands, nodding his head, and spreading rumors about you. 


1 If you touch tar, it will stick to you, and if you keep company with arrogant people, you will come to be just like them. 2 Don't try to lift something too heavy for you, and don't keep company with people who are richer and more powerful than you. You cannot keep a clay pot next to an iron kettle; the pot will break if it hits the kettle. 3 If a rich person wrongs someone, he can afford to add insult to injury; but if a poor person is wronged, he is forced to apologize for himself. 4 A rich person will use you as long as he can profit from it, but when you need him, he will leave you helpless. 5 He will live with you as long as you have anything and will gladly drain you dry. 6 If he needs you, he will trick you with his smiles and cheerful, kindly words. "Do you need anything?" he will ask. 7 He will feed you until you are embarrassed. Finally, when he has drained you two or three times over, he will laugh at you. If you see him later, he will pretend he doesn't know you, and will pass you by. 8 Be careful not to be misled; you can be enjoying yourself and suddenly find yourself humiliated. 9 If you are invited to the home of someone influential, be reserved in your behavior. Then he will invite you more often. 10 If you push yourself on him, he will put you in your place. On the other hand, if you keep your distance from him, he will forget about you. 11 Don't pretend to be his equal or trust everything he says. In spite of all of his long and polite conversation, he is testing you. 12 If a person does not keep confidences, he is cruel; he will not hesitate to hurt you or have you put in jail. 13 Keep your secrets to yourself and be very careful, for you are always walking on dangerous ground. 15 Every creature prefers its own kind, and people are no different. 16 Just as animals of the same species flock together, so people keep company with people like themselves. 17 A sinner has no more in common with a devout person than a wolf has with a lamb. 18 Rich people have no more in common with poor people than hyenas have with dogs. 19 The rich hunt down the poor just as lions hunt down wild donkeys in the open country. 20 Arrogant people have nothing but scorn for the humble, and the rich think of the poor in the same way. 21 When a rich person stumbles, his friends will steady him, but if a poor person falls, his friends will have nothing to do with him. 22 When someone rich makes a mistake, there are many people to cover up for him and explain away all the things he never should have said. But let someone poor make a mistake, and he gets nothing but criticism. Even if what he says makes good sense, nobody will listen. 23 When a rich person speaks, everyone is silent, and they praise him to the skies for what he says. But let a poor person speak, and everybody says, "Who is that?" They push him down if he so much as stumbles. 24 There is nothing wrong with being rich if you haven't sinned to get that way. But there is nothing sinful about being poor, either. Only the ungodly think so. 25 It's what is in your heart that makes the expression on your face happy or sad. 26 If you feel cheerful, you will look cheerful, although making up proverbs calls for some intense thought. 


1 If a person never says anything carelessly, he is to be congratulated; he doesn't need to feel guilty. 2 If a person has a clear conscience and never gives up hope, he is certainly to be congratulated! 3 It isn't right for someone who is selfish to be rich. What use is money to a stingy person? 4 If you deny yourself in order to accumulate wealth, you are only accumulating it for someone else. Others will use your riches to live in luxury. 5 How can you be generous with others if you are stingy with yourself, if you are not willing to enjoy your own wealth? 6 No one is worse off than someone who is stingy with himself; it is a sin that brings its own punishment. 7 When such a person does something good, it is only by accident; his selfishness will sooner or later be evident. 8 A selfish person is evil; he turns his back on people's needs 9 and is never satisfied with what he has. Greed will shrivel up a person's soul. 10 Some people are too stingy to put bread on their own table. 11 My child, treat yourself as well as you can, and bring worthy offerings to the Lord. 12 Remember that death is coming for you some day, and you haven't been told when that will be. 13 Before that day comes, be kind to your friends; be as generous as you can. 14 Don't deny yourself a single day's happiness. If there is something you want to do and it is lawful, go ahead! 15 Some day all that you have worked for will be divided up and given to others. 16 So be generous; but also be willing to receive from others. Enjoy yourself, for you will not find any pleasures in the world of the dead. 17 The human body wears out like a piece of clothing. The ancient law decrees that we must die. 18 Human beings are like leaves on a spreading tree. New growth takes the place of the fallen leaves; while some of us die, others are being born. 19 Everything made by human hands will decay and perish, along with the person who made it. 20 It is a happy person who is concerned with Wisdom and who uses good sense. 21 Anyone who studies the ways of Wisdom will also learn her secrets. 22 Go after Wisdom like a hunter looking for game. 23 Look into her windows and listen at her doors. 24 Camp as close to her house as you can get, 25 and you will have a fine place to live. 26 Build your home there, safe beneath her protecting branches, and shaded from the heat. 


1 If you fear the Lord, you will do this. Master his Law, and you will find Wisdom. 2 She will come to welcome you, like a mother or a young bride. 3 She will give you wisdom and knowledge like food and drink. 4 Rely on her for support, and you will never know the disgrace of failure. 5 She will make you more honored than all your neighbors; when you speak in the assembly, she will give you the right words. 6 You will find happiness and genuine joy; your name will be remembered forever. 7 But people who are foolish or sinful will never even catch sight of Wisdom. 8 She will have nothing to do with conceited people; she never enters the mind of liars. 9 It is not appropriate for a sinner to sing hymns of praise, because his worship is insincere. 10 A hymn should be an expression of wisdom, inspired by the Lord himself. 11 Don't blame the Lord for your sin; the Lord does not cause what he hates. 12 Don't claim that he has misled you; he doesn't need the help of sinners to accomplish his purposes. 13 The Lord hates evil in all its forms, and those who fear the Lord find nothing attractive in evil. 14 When, in the beginning, the Lord created human beings, he left them free to do as they wished. 15 If you want to, you can keep the Lord's commands. You can decide whether you will be loyal to him or not. 16 He has placed fire and water before you; reach out and take whichever you want. 17 You have a choice between life and death; you will get whichever you choose. 18 The Lord's wisdom and power are great and he sees everything. 19 He is aware of everything a person does, and he takes care of those who fear him. 20 He has never commanded anyone to be wicked or given anyone permission to sin. 


1 A large family is nothing to be desired if the children are worthless. Godless children are nothing to be proud of. 2 No matter how many children you have, don't look on them with pride unless they fear the Lord. 3 Don't put much hope in their future or expect them to live a long time. One child who does the Lord's will is better than a thousand who do not. It is better to go to your grave with no children at all than to have children who are godless. 4 A city's population may grow because of the wisdom of one person, while a whole tribe of lawless people disappears. 5 I have seen such things many times and have heard of even more striking examples. 6 The Lord's flaming anger will break out against a small gathering of sinners or a disobedient nation. 7 He did not forgive those ancient giants who rebelled against him, confident of their own strength. 8 He detested the arrogance of the people among whom Lot lived, and he did not spare them. 9 He showed no mercy on that nation which he doomed to destruction for its sins, 10 nor on those 600,000 people on the march through the wilderness who gathered together in stubborn rebellion. 11 Even if there had been only one stubborn person, it would have been a miracle if he had escaped punishment. The Lord is merciful, but he can also become angry. He can be overwhelming in his forgiveness or in his anger. 12 His punishment is as severe as his mercy is great. He judges people by what they have done. 13 No sinner can escape with what he has stolen. The Lord will reward the patience of devout people. 14 Every righteous person will be rewarded; everyone will get what he deserves. 17 Never say, "I will hide from the Lord. Nobody up there is going to give me a thought. How can I be noticed among so many people? The creation is so enormous, what am I worth? 18 When the Lord comes, everything will tremble: the earth and the great waters beneath it, the sky and the heavens above it. 19 The mountains will shake, and the foundations of the earth will shudder when he looks at them. 20 The Lord isn't going to give me a thought. Nobody cares what I do. 21 If I sin and am secretly disloyal, nobody will know it. 22 If I do what is right, nobody will tell the Lord about it. Who wants to wait for him, anyway? He is too slow in doing what he has said he would." 23 Only someone with very little sense, and foolishly misguided, would think things like that. 24 My child, listen and pay attention to me; you will gain knowledge if you do. 25 I will give you diligent and accurate instruction. 26 In the beginning the Lord did his work of creation, and gave everything a place of its own. 27 He arranged everything in an eternal order and decreed that it should be that way forever. Not one part of creation ever grows hungry; no part grows tired or stops its work. 28 The parts do not crowd one another, and they never disobey his word. 29 When the Lord had made all this, he looked at the earth and filled it with good things. 30 He covered it with all kinds of creatures that must die and return to the dust. 


1 Then the Lord formed human beings from the dust and sent each of them back to it again. 2 He gave them only a limited time to live, but he gave them authority over everything on earth. 3 He made them to be like himself, and gave them his own strength. 4 He made all other creatures afraid of them; he gave them authority over all the animals and birds. 6 He gave them their tongues, their eyes, their ears, their minds, and their consciences. 7 He filled them with knowledge and understanding and showed them the difference between good and evil. 8 He gave them his own insight to let them see the majesty of his creation. 10 They will praise his holy name and proclaim the greatness of all he does. 11 He made knowledge available to them and gave them the Law as a source of life. 12 He made an eternal covenant with them and revealed his commands to them. 13 They saw the splendor of his majesty and heard the glory of his voice. 14 He warned them against unrighteousness and taught each person how to treat others. 15 The Lord is always aware of what people do; there is no way to hide from him. 17 He gave each nation its own ruler, but Israel is the Lord's own possession. 19 The Lord is always watching what people do; everything they do is as clear as day to him. 20 None of their sins are hidden from him; he is aware of them all. 22 When we give to the poor, the Lord considers it as precious as a valuable ring. Human kindness is as precious to him as life itself. 23 Later he will judge the wicked and punish them; they will get what they deserve. 24 But the Lord will allow those who repent to return to him. He always gives encouragement to those who are losing hope. 25 Come to the Lord, and leave your sin behind. Pray sincerely that he will help you live a better life. 26 Return to the Most High and turn away from sin. Have an intense hatred for wickedness. 27 Those who are alive can give thanks to the Lord, but can anyone in the world of the dead sing praise to the Most High? 28 A person who is alive and well can sing the Lord's praises, but the dead, who no longer exist, have no way to give him thanks. 29 How great is the Lord's merciful forgiveness of those who turn to him! 30 But this is not the nature of human beings; not one of us is immortal. 31 Nothing is brighter than the sun, but even the sun's light fails during an eclipse. How much easier it is for human thoughts to be eclipsed by evil! 32 The Lord can look out over all the stars in the sky. Human beings? They are dust and ashes. 


1 The Lord, who lives forever, created the whole universe, 2 and he alone is just. 4 He has given no one enough power to describe what he has done, and no one can investigate it completely. 5 Who can measure his majestic power? Who can tell the whole story of his merciful actions? 6 We cannot add to them; we cannot subtract from them. There is no way to comprehend the marvelous things the Lord has done. 7 When we come to the end of that story, we have not even begun; we are simply at a loss for words. 8 What are human beings? Of what use are we? The good that we do - the evil that we do - what does it all mean? 9 If we live a hundred years, we have lived an unusually long time, 10 but compared with all eternity, those years are like a drop of water in the ocean, like a single grain of sand. 11 That is why the Lord is so patient with us, why he is so free with his mercy. 12 He looks at us and knows that we are doomed to die; that is why he is so willing to forgive us. 13 We can show compassion to someone we know, but the Lord shows compassion for all humanity. He corrects us; he disciplines us; he teaches us. Like a shepherd tending sheep, he brings us back to himself. 14 He will have compassion on us if we accept his guidance and are eager for him to show us where we are wrong. 15 My child, when you help someone, don't reprimand him at the same time. When you make a gift, don't say anything that hurts. 16 Your words count for more than what you give. Even dew gives some relief during a spell of hot weather. 17 Yes, kind words are more effective than the best of gifts, and if you are really concerned, you will give both. 18 It is stupid to be unkind and insulting. No one's eyes are going to sparkle at a gift that you resent giving. 19 Know what you are talking about before you speak, and give attention to your health before you get sick. 20 Examine your conscience before the Lord judges you; then when that time comes, he will forgive you. 21 Humble yourself before you are punished with sickness. When you have sinned, show repentance. 22 If you make a promise to the Lord, keep it as soon as you can. Don't wait until you are about to die to set things straight. 23 But before you make such a promise, be prepared to keep it. Don't try to test the Lord's patience. 24 Think! Do you want him to be angry with you on the day you die? When you face his judgment, do you want him to turn his back on you? 25 When you have all you want, think what it is like to be hungry, what it is to be poor. 26 Things can change in a single day; the Lord can act very quickly. 27 If you are wise, you will be careful in everything you do. When sin is all around you, be especially careful that you do not become guilty. 28 Every intelligent person can recognize wisdom and will honor anyone who shows it. 29 If you appreciate wisdom when you hear it, you will become wise yourself, and your words will be a source of wisdom for others. 30 Don't be controlled by your lust; keep your passions in check. 31 If you allow yourself to satisfy your every desire, you will be a joke to your enemies. 32 Don't indulge in luxurious living; the expense of it will ruin you. 33 Don't make yourself a beggar by borrowing for expensive banquets when you don't have enough money of your own. 


1 If you do, you will never get rich; if you don't pay attention to small matters, you will gradually ruin yourself. 2 Wine and women make sensible men do foolish things. A man who goes to prostitutes gets more and more careless, 3 and that carelessness will cost him his life. Worms will feed on his decaying body. 4 It is silly to trust people too quickly. If you sin, you are hurting yourself. 5 If wickedness makes you happy, you will be condemned. 6 Avoid idle talk, and you will avoid a lot of trouble. 7 Never repeat what you hear, and you will have no regrets. 8 Don't tell it to your friends or your enemies unless it would be sinful to keep it to yourself. 9 Whoever hears you will take note of it, and sooner or later will hate you for it. 10 Have you heard a rumor? Let it die with you. Be brave! It won't make you explode. 11 A foolish person trying to keep a secret suffers like a woman in labor. 12 Any time he hears a secret, it's like an arrow stuck in his leg. 13 If you hear that a friend has done something wrong, ask him about it. Maybe it isn't true. If it is true, he won't do it again. 14 If you hear that a neighbor has said something he shouldn't, ask him about it. Maybe he didn't say it. If he did, he won't say it again. 15 If you hear something bad about a friend, ask him about it. It might be a lie. Don't believe everything you hear. 16 A person may say something carelessly and not really mean it. Everyone has sinned in this way at one time or another. 17 If you hear something that makes you angry with your neighbor, ask him about it before you threaten him. Leave the matter to the Law of the Most High. 20 Fear the Lord and keep his Law; that is what Wisdom is all about. 22 You may know everything there is to know about wickedness, but that does not make you wise. It is not sensible to follow the advice of sinners. 23 It is possible to use cleverness for wicked purposes, but some people act like fools because they don't know any better. 24 A devout person, even if he is not very intelligent, is better off than the cleverest of sinners. 25 It is possible to be marvelously clever and still be dishonest, or to get what you want by being absurdly polite. 26 Then there are those wicked people who go about looking very solemn and mournful, but who are only trying to deceive you. 27 They will turn their faces away and pretend not to hear you, but they'll take advantage of you when you least expect it. 28 If for some reason they are unable to sin now, they'll get around to it at the first opportunity. 29 You can know people by their appearance. The first time you look at them, you can tell if they have good sense. 30 Their character shows in the way they dress, the way they laugh, and the way they walk. 


1 A person can be rebuked in the wrong way; it may be wiser to keep quiet than to speak. 2 But it is much better to rebuke the person than to keep your anger bottled up. 3 Admit when you are wrong, and you will avoid embarrassment. 4 Using force to get a point across is like a castrated man trying to rape a young woman. 5 Some people are thought to be wise because they don't talk much; others are disliked because they talk too much. 6 Some people keep quiet because they don't have anything to say; others keep quiet because they know the right time to speak. 7 A wise person will not speak until the right moment, but a bragging fool doesn't know when that time is. 8 No one can stand a person who talks too long and will not give others a chance to speak. 9 Bad luck can sometimes lead to success, and a stroke of good luck can sometimes lead to loss. 10 Generosity will sometimes do you no good, but at other times it will repay you double. 11 Honor can be followed by disgrace, but there are people who have risen from obscurity to places of honor. 12 Sometimes what seems like a real bargain can turn out to be a very expensive mistake. 13 When a person with good judgment speaks, he wins friends. A stupid person, though, can shower compliments on everybody, and it won't help him a bit. 14 If such a person gives you something, it won't do any good; it won't be as valuable as he thinks it is. 15 He isn't generous with anything but criticism, which he will shout for all the world to hear. If he lends you something today, he'll want it back tomorrow. (Don't you hate people like that?) 16 Then that fool will say, "Nobody likes me. Nobody appreciates what I do for them. They'll take what I give them, but then talk about me behind my back." 17 And he's right - he's a constant joke to everyone. 18 A slip of the tongue is worse than a slip on the pavement; the wicked will go to ruin just as suddenly as a person slips and falls. 19 An impolite person is like one of those off-color stories that ignorant people are always telling. 20 Nobody takes a proverb seriously when some fool quotes it at the wrong time. 21 If a person is too poor to afford sin, he can rest without a guilty conscience. 22 You can lose all your self-respect by being reluctant to speak up in the presence of stupidity. 23 If you promise a friend something because you are too bashful to say no, you're needlessly making an enemy. 24 Lying is an ugly blot on a person's character, but ignorant people do it all the time. 25 A thief is better than a habitual liar, but both are headed for ruin. 26 A liar has no honor. He lives in constant disgrace. 27 Speak wisely, and you will get ahead in the world. Influential people appreciate good sense. 28 They will excuse your errors if they like you, so cultivate the soil and reap the harvest! 29 Gifts and bribes make even the wise blind to the truth, and prevent them from being honest in their criticism. 30 Wisdom that is not expressed is like a treasure that has been hidden - both are useless. 31 But a person who covers up his foolishness is better than one who keeps his wisdom to himself. 


1 My child, have you sinned? Don't do it again, and pray for forgiveness for what you have already done. 2 Avoid sin as if it were a snake. If you get too near, it will sink its teeth into your soul like a lion, and destroy you. 3 Every lawless act leaves an incurable wound, like one left by a double-edged sword. 4 If a person is insolent and arrogant, he may lose everything he has. 5 When poor people pray, God hears them and quickly answers their prayers. 6 If you refuse to accept correction, you are committing a sin; and if you fear the Lord, you will make a sincere change in your ways. 7 Someone may be famous as a good speaker, but when he is wrong, a sensible person will detect it. 8 Anyone who borrows money to build a house is just collecting stones for his own tomb. 9 A group of people who have no respect for the Law is like a pile of kindling; they will meet a fiery end. 10 The road that sinners walk is smooth and paved, but it leads to the world of the dead. 11 Whoever wants to keep the Law must learn what the Law means. If you fear the Lord in every sense of the term, you will have wisdom. 12 You have to be intelligent to learn anything; but there is such a thing as just pretending to be intelligent, which only makes people bitter. 13 A wise person's knowledge is like a river that never runs dry, like an everflowing stream of good advice. 14 A fool, on the other hand, has a mind like a jar with a hole in it; anything he learns is soon lost. 15 When an educated person hears something that shows insight, it stimulates his mind and leads him on to other ideas. But when someone who is satisfied with ignorance hears it, he won't like it, and will forget it as soon as he can. 16 Listening to a foolish person talk is like traveling with a heavy load on your back, but it is a pleasure to hear what intelligent people have to say. 17 The assembly will be eager to hear from an intelligent person and will take his opinion seriously. 18 To an ignorant person, wisdom is as useless as a house gone to ruin. He has never even thought about the things he is so sure of. 19 To a person without any sense, an education is like handcuffs, 20 but to a sensible person, it is like gold bracelets. An intelligent person will smile quietly while a fool roars with laughter. 22 A stupid person will peep into someone's house through the door and then march right in, but someone with experience and good manners will have enough respect to wait outside. 24 Eavesdropping at doors is bad manners, and anyone with a sense of decency would be ashamed to do it. 25 Presumptuous people talk about things that are none of their business, but the wise will consider the consequences of what they say. 26 Fools say whatever comes to mind; wise people think before they speak. 27 When a wicked person curses his enemy he is cursing himself. 28 A gossip ruins his own character, and everyone in the neighborhood hates him. 


1 Lazy people are no better than dung; they are repulsive, and no one wants to get near them. 3 It is a disgrace to a father to have an undisciplined child, especially if it is a daughter. 4 A sensible daughter will get a husband, but a shameless daughter brings her father grief. 5 A girl with no sense of propriety will disgrace both her husband and her father; neither will have any respect for her. 6 Lecturing your children can sometimes be as out of place as singing to people in mourning, but a whipping is a wise choice of discipline at any time. 7 Trying to teach a fool is like gluing a broken pot back together, like waking someone out of a deep sleep. 8 Explaining something to a fool is like explaining it to a sleepy person; when you have finished, he'll say, "What was that again?" 11 We mourn for the dead because they have no access to light. We ought to mourn for fools, because they have no access to intelligence. In fact, we should go into deeper mourning for fools, because the life they lead is worse than death. The dead are at least at rest. 12 For seven days we mourn the dead, but a foolish or ungodly person causes a lifetime of grief. 13 Don't visit stupid people or spend a lot of time talking with them. Avoid them; then they can't contaminate you, and you can live in peace without being troubled or worn down by their foolishness. 14 Such people are a heavier burden to bear than lead; and the only word that fits them is "fools." 15 It is easier to carry a load of sand, salt, and iron than to put up with a stupid person. 16 A wooden beam can be put into a building so firmly that an earthquake cannot shake it loose; a person can be trained to use reason and good sense so well that he keeps his head when a crisis comes. 17 A mind that thinks things through intelligently is like a firm wall, finely decorated. 18 Small stones on top of a wall will not stay put when the wind blows, and a person whose stupid ideas have made him timid will not be able to stand up to frightening situations. 19 If you stick something in your eye, tears will flow; and if you hurt a person deeply, you will discover his true feelings. 20 If you throw rocks at birds, you will scare them away; and if you insult a friend, you will break up the friendship. 21 Even if you have a violent argument with a friend, and speak sharply, all is not lost. You can still make up with him. But any friend will leave you if you insult him, if you are arrogant, if you reveal his secrets, or if you turn on him unexpectedly. 23 Gain the confidence of your neighbor if he is poor; then you can share his happiness if he becomes successful. Stand by him when he is in trouble if you want to share with him when better times come his way. 24 Fumes and smoke appear before the flames do; insults come before violence. 25 I will never be afraid to protect a friend, and I will never turn a friend away if he needs me. 26 If I suffer because of him, everyone who learns of it will be on guard against him. 27 I wish that a guard could be placed at my mouth, that my lips could be wisely sealed. It would keep me from making mistakes and prevent me from destroying myself with my own tongue! 


1 O Lord, my Father and Master of my life, do not leave me at the mercy of my own words; don't let them cause my downfall. 2 I wish I could be whipped for my thoughts, so that Wisdom could discipline my mind. I would not want to be spared when I am wrong; I would not want a single sin to be overlooked! 3 Then I would not keep on sinning, making one mistake after another. I could not fall to my enemies and be humiliated by them. 4 O Lord, my Father, God of my life, keep me from being arrogant 5 protect me from evil desires. 6 Keep me from being overcome by greed or lust; do not leave me at the mercy of these shameless passions. 7 My children, listen to what I have to say about proper speech; do as I teach you and you will never get trapped. 8 Sinners are caught by their own arrogant, insulting words. 9 Don't fall into the habit of taking oaths, and don't use God's holy name too freely. 10 A slave who is constantly beaten will never be free of bruises; someone who is always taking an oath by the Holy Name will never be free of sin. 11 Anyone who takes oaths all the time is sinful to the core, and punishment is never far away from his household. If he fails to fulfill his oath, he is guilty. If he ignores his oath, he is twice as guilty. If his oath was insincere in the first place, he cannot be pardoned and will have a house full of trouble. 12 There is one way of speaking that is like death itself - may no Israelite ever be guilty of it! Devout people do not wallow in such sin, and they will keep away from such behavior. 13 Don't fall into the habit of coarse, profane talk; it is sinful. 14 You might forget yourself while in the company of important people and make a fool of yourself with some foul word that comes to you naturally. Think how your parents would feel! You would curse the day you were born and wish you were dead 15 If you fall into the habit of using offensive language, you will never break yourself of it as long as you live. 16 There are any number of ways to sin and bring down the Lord's anger, but sexual passion is a hot, blazing fire that cannot be put out at will; it can only burn itself out. A man who lives for nothing but sexual enjoyment will keep on until that fire destroys him. 17 To such a man all women are desirable, and he can never get enough as long as he lives. 18 The man who is unfaithful to his wife thinks to himself, "No one will ever know. It's dark in here, and no one sees me. I have nothing to worry about. As for the Most High, he won't even notice." 19 This man is only afraid of other people. He doesn't realize that the eyes of the Lord are 10,000 times brighter than the sun, that he sees everything we do, even when we try to hide it 20 He knew everything before he created the world, as well as after. 21 That sinful man will be caught when he least expects it, and punished publicly 22 The same is true of a woman who is unfaithful to her husband and presents him with a child by another man. 23 In the first place, she has broken the Law of the Most High. In the second place, she has wronged her husband. And in the third place, she has made a whore of herself by committing adultery and bearing the child of a man not her husband. 24 The children will suffer for her sin. They will not be able to find a place in society or establish families. She herself will be brought before the assembly 26 and permanently disgraced. There will be a curse on her memory. After she is gone, 27 everyone will realize that nothing is better than fearing the Lord, nothing is sweeter than keeping his commands. 


1 Listen to Wisdom! She proudly sings her own praises among the Israelites, her own people, 2 in the assembly of the Most High, in the presence of his power. 3 "I am the word spoken by the Most High. I covered the earth like a mist. 4 I made my home in highest heaven, my throne on a pillar of cloud. 5 Alone I walked around the circle of the sky and walked through the ocean beneath the earth. 6 I ruled over all the earth and the ocean waves, over every nation, over every people. 7 I looked everywhere for a place to settle, some part of the world to make my home. 8 Then my Creator, who created the universe, told me where I was to live. "Make your home in Israel,' he said. "The descendants of Jacob will be your people.' 9 He created me in eternity, before time began, and I will exist for all eternity to come. 10 I served him in the Sacred Tent and then made my home on Mount Zion. 11 He settled me in the Beloved City and gave me authority over Jerusalem. 12 I put down roots among an honored people whom the Lord had chosen as his own. 13 I grew tall, like the cedars in Lebanon, like the cypresses on Mount Hermon, 14 like the palm trees of Engedi, like the roses of Jericho, like beautiful olive trees in the fields, like plane trees growing by the water. 15 My breath was the spicy smell of cinnamon, of sweet perfume and finest myrrh, of stacte, onycha, and galbanum, the fragrant incense in the Sacred Tent. 16 Like an oak I spread out my branches, magnificent and graceful. 17 Like a grapevine I put out lovely shoots; my blossoms gave way to rich and glorious fruit. 19 Come to me, all you that want me, and eat your fill of my fruit. 20 You will remember me as sweeter than honey, better than honey from the comb. 21 Eat me, and you will hunger for more; drink me, and you will thirst for more. 22 Obey me, and you will never have cause for embarrassment; do as I say, and you will be safe from sin." 23 Wisdom is the Law, the Law which Moses commanded us to keep, the covenant of God Most High, the inheritance of the synagogues of Israel. 25 The Law overflows with Wisdom like the Pishon River, like the Tigris at fruit-picking time. 26 The Law brims over with understanding like the Euphrates, like the Jordan at harvest time. 27 It sparkles with teachings like the Nile, like the Gihon at grape-picking time. 28 The first human being ever created never knew Wisdom completely, and the last person on earth will be no more successful. 29 The possibilities of Wisdom are vaster than the ocean; her resources are more profound than the deepest waters beneath the earth. 30 As for me, I thought of myself as an irrigation canal bringing water from a river into a garden. 31 I only intended to water my orchard and flower beds, but the canal soon became a river, and the river became a sea. 32 And so I present you with my learning; I hold it high, so that its light can be seen everywhere, like that of the rising sun. 33 Like an inspired prophet, I pour out my teachings, so that future generations can benefit from them. 34 Please realize that I have not done all this hard work for myself alone, but to help anyone who wants to be wise. 


1 There are three things in which I take special delight - things that are beautiful to the Lord and people alike: brothers who get along with each other, neighbors who are friends, <+->and a married couple who are happy together. 2 There are three kinds of people I cannot stand, whose behavior I find highly offensive: poor people who are arrogant, rich people who lie, <+->and foolish old men who commit adultery. 3 Unless you learn what you can while you are young, you will never be wise when you reach old age. 4 Sound judgment, good advice, and gray hair go together beautifully. 5 Wisdom, understanding, and sound counsel are appropriate to the aged and the respected. 6 Elderly people wear the crown of long experience, and they can boast of nothing finer than their fear of the Lord. 7 I will tell you about ten kinds of people that I feel fortunate to know, especially fortunate in the case of the tenth: someone who takes pride in his children, someone who lives to see his enemies fall, 8 a man fortunate enough to have an understanding wife, a married couple who are well-matched, a person who never speaks sinfully, a person who doesn't have to work for someone less competent than himself, 9 someone fortunate enough to have a real friend, a person that people are happy to listen to, 10 and the really great one: someone who is wise. But the greatest one of all is the person who fears the Lord. 11 Such a person has no equal, because the fear of the Lord is the most important thing in the world. 13 No wound is as serious as wounded love. No troubles are as serious as the troubles that women cause. 14 No sufferings are worse than the sufferings caused by people who hate you. No revenge is worse than revenge taken by an enemy. 15 No poison is deadlier than the poison of a snake, and no anger is deadlier than the anger of a woman. 16 I would rather live in the same house with a lion or a dragon than with a bad wife. 17 When a wife is in a bad mood, her expression changes until she looks like an angry bear. 18 Her husband has to go and eat with the neighbors, where he can't hold back his bitter sighs. 19 Compared with the troubles caused by a woman, any other trouble looks small. May such women suffer the fate of sinners! 20 A quiet man living with a nagging wife is like an old man climbing up a sandy hill. 21 Never lose your head over a woman's beauty, and don't try to win a woman because she is wealthy. 22 When a man is supported by his wife, there is sure to be anger, arrogance, and humiliation. 23 A bad wife will make her husband gloomy and depressed, and break his heart. Show me a timid man who can never make up his mind, and I will show you a wife who doesn't make her husband happy. 24 Sin began with a woman, and we must all die because of her. 25 Don't let a bad wife have her way, any more than you would allow water to leak from your cistern. 26 If she won't do as you tell her, divorce her. 


1 The husband of a good wife is a fortunate man; he will live twice as long because of her. 2 A fine wife is a joy to her husband, and he can live out his years in peace. 3 A good wife is among the precious blessings given to those who fear the Lord. 4 Whether such men are rich or poor, they will be happy and always look cheerful. 5 There are four things that scare me: vicious rumors spread around town, a gathering mob, false accusations - these are all worse than death. 6 But a woman jealous of another woman causes heartache and grief; her tongue lashes out at everyone. 7 A bad wife is like a yoke that doesn't fit. Trying to control her is like holding a scorpion. 8 A drunken woman is an infuriating sight; she can't conceal her shameless behavior. 9 You can tell an unfaithful wife by the bold and flirting look in her eyes. 10 If your daughter is determined to have her own way, keep a close watch on her. If you don't, she'll take advantage of any chance she gets. 11 If she is too self-willed, be on guard, and don't be surprised if she disappoints you. 12 She'll spread her legs anywhere for any man who wants her, just as a thirsty traveler will drink whatever water is available. 13 A gracious wife is her husband's delight; her abilities make him a stronger man. 14 A wife who doesn't talk too much is a gift from the Lord. Such restraint is admirable beyond words. 15 A modest wife has endless charm; it is a quality too precious to measure. 16 The beauty of a good wife in her well-kept home is like the noonday sun shining in the Lord's sky. 17 Her beautiful face and attractive figure are as lovely as the light from the sacred lampstand in the Temple, 18 and like its gold shaft set on its silver base are her shapely legs and strong ankles. , 28 There are two things that make me sad, and a third that makes me angry: a soldier who has become poor, intelligent people who are not respected, <+->and a righteous person who turns to evil. The Lord will punish such a person with death! 29 A merchant can hardly avoid doing wrong; every salesman is guilty of sin. 


1 Many people have sinned while looking for a profit; if you want to be rich you have to keep blinders on your eyes. 2 It is hard to remove a peg that is stuck between two stones of a house, and it is just as hard to remove dishonesty from buying and selling. 3 Unless you are determined in your fear of the Lord, your house is going to come down on you. 4 Your talk shows your faults; it is like a sieve that separates out the rubbish. 5 The way you think shows your character just as surely as a kiln shows any flaws in the pottery being fired. 6 You can tell how well a tree has been cared for by the fruit it bears, and you can tell a person's feelings by the way he expresses himself. 7 Never praise anyone before you hear him talk; that is the real test. 8 If you try to be honest, you can be, and it will improve your character as handsome clothing improves your appearance. 9 Birds come to roost with those of their own kind, and the habit of honesty comes to those who try to be honest. 10 Sin waits for those looking for a chance to sin, just as a lion waits for prey. 11 When devout people talk, what they say always makes sense, but foolish people are always contradicting themselves. 12 When you find yourself with stupid people, look for some excuse to leave, but when you are with serious-minded people, stay as long as you can. 13 The stories that foolish people tell are offensive, and they make jokes about the worst kinds of sin. 14 When such people curse, it is enough to make your hair stand on end, and when they start arguing among themselves, all you can do is to stop up your ears. 15 It is painful to listen to them insult each other, and such blustering can lead to violence. 16 If you repeat secrets that have been told to you, you are destroying the confidence others have in you, and you will never have a close friend. 17 Respect your friends, and keep faith with them. If you do betray a friend's confidence, you may as well forget you have a friend. 18 You have killed that friendship just as surely as if you had taken a weapon and killed an enemy. 19 Your friend is gone. You can no more get him back than you can get a bird to come back to your hand once you let it go. 20 Don't bother going after him. It's too late. He is gone, like a deer escaped from a trap. 21 Wounds can be bandaged and insults can be forgiven, but if you betray a confidence, it is hopeless. 22 When someone starts winking at you, he has something bad in mind, and nothing can stop him from going through with it. 23 When he's with you, his talk is so nice! He compliments you on every word you say. But behind your back it's a different story; he will take what you have said and turn it against you. 24 There is nothing in the world that I hate as much as a person like that - and the Lord hates him too. 25 Throw a stone straight up in the air and it will come down on your head. Strike a blow, and you yourself will be wounded. 26 People who set traps fall into them themselves. 27 People who hurt others will be hurt by their own actions and will have no idea why. 28 Arrogant people insult others and make fun of them, but someone is waiting like a lion for a chance to take revenge on them. 29 Those who are happy to witness the downfall of devout people are going to fall into a trap and die a painful death. 30 Anger and a hot temper are horrible things, but sinners have both. 


1 The Lord is taking note of your sins, and if you take vengeance on someone, the Lord will take vengeance on you. 2 But if you forgive someone who has wronged you, your sins will be forgiven when you pray. 3 You cannot expect the Lord to pardon you while you are holding a grudge against someone else. 4 You yourself are a sinner, and if you won't forgive another person, you have no right to pray that the Lord will forgive your sins. 5 If you cannot get rid of your anger, you have no hope of forgiveness - you are only a human being. 6 Think about it! Some day you will die, and your body will decay. So give up hate and live by the Lord's commands, 7 the commands in the covenant of the Most High. Instead of getting upset over your neighbor's faults, overlook them. 8 If you stay out of arguments, you will not sin so much, because a hot temper gets them started. 9 It is sinful to break up a friendship by creating hostility among people who get along well together. 10 The more fuel, the hotter the fire. The more stubbornness, the hotter the argument. And the stronger or richer people are, the angrier they can afford to become. 11 An argument that blazes out suddenly can lead to violence. 12 You can blow on a spark to make it glow, or you can spit on it to put it out. Either way, you do it with your mouth. 13 Gossips and liars deserve to be cursed, because they have been the ruin of many people who were minding their own business. 14 Many have had their lives ruined and have been driven from their homes because of people who meddled in their business. Such unwanted interference has resulted in the destruction of strong cities and the homes of respected people. 15 Meddlers have caused faithful wives to be divorced, robbed of everything they had worked for. 16 Anyone who pays attention to slander can never find peace of mind. 17 A whip can raise a welt, but a vicious tongue can break bones. 18 More people have died as a result of loose talk than were ever killed by swords. 19 Count yourself lucky if you have been spared the experience of having irresponsible talk directed against you - if you have never had that iron yoke around your neck or those heavy chains on your legs. 21 Slander leads to a miserable death; but in fact, you'd be better off dead. 22 Devout people, however, cannot be overcome by slander; they cannot be burned by its flames. 23 Its victims are those who have abandoned the Lord; once the fire of slander has been lit among them, it cannot be put out. Slander will pounce on them like a lion and tear them to pieces like a leopard. 24 Don't you fence in your property? Don't you lock up your money? 25 Well, be just as careful with what you say. Weigh every word, and have a lock ready for your mouth. 26 Someone may be waiting for you to slip, and if you are not careful, you will stumble over your own words and fall down in front of him. 


1 Be kind enough to lend to your neighbor when he needs help. You are keeping the Lord's commands if you help him. 2 If he needs something, lend it to him. And when you are in debt, pay it back as soon as you can. 3 If you meet your obligations, you will always be able to borrow what you need. 4 Many people treat a loan as something they found and can keep, causing embarrassment to those who helped them. 5 Some people will speak politely, bow, and scrape until they get the loan they want, but when the time comes to pay it back, they'll put it off, say that it's inconvenient, and make a lot of worthless excuses. 6 If the lender insists on being paid, he can count himself lucky to get back half. If he doesn't insist, the borrower has robbed him and made an unnecessary enemy. All the lender will get from him are curses, insults, and disrespect, but never any gratitude. 7 Many people refuse to lend at all, not because they are stingy, but because they don't want to be cheated if they can avoid it. 8 Nevertheless, be understanding with those who are poor. Don't keep them waiting for your generosity. 9 The Lord has commanded us to help the poor; don't refuse them the help they need. 10 It is better to lose your money by helping a relative or a friend than to lose it by letting it rust away under a rock somewhere. 11 Use your wealth as the Most High has commanded; this will do you more good than keeping your money for yourself. 12 Count among your treasures the fact that you give to the poor. It will save you from all kinds of trouble 13 and will be a better defense against your enemies than the strongest shield or stoutest spear. 14 A good man is willing to guarantee his neighbor's debts. Only someone who has lost all sense of decency would refuse to do so. 15 If someone does this favor for you, don't forget it; he has risked his good name for you. 16 There are some ungrateful sinners who abandon those who stand behind them, and they cause them loss of property. 17 Guaranteeing loans has ruined many prosperous people and caused them unsettling storms of trouble. 18 Influential people have lost their homes over it and have had to go wandering in foreign countries. 19 A sinner who hopes to make a profit by guaranteeing a loan is going to find himself involved in lawsuits. 20 So help your neighbor as much as you can, but protect yourself against the dangers involved. 21 The necessities of life are water, food, clothing, and a home where you can have privacy. 22 It is better to be poor and live under your own crude roof than to enjoy lavish banquets in other people's homes. 23 Be happy with what you have, even if it isn't very much, and don't listen to anyone who would insult your home and family. 24 Going from house to house is a miserable way to live. Anywhere you go, you don't dare speak. 25 You welcome the guests and pour the drinks, and nobody thanks you. Instead, people humiliate you by saying things like: 26 "Stranger! Come here and set the table! I want to eat what you've got there! Give it here! 27 Go away, stranger! I've got an important guest! My brother is coming to visit, and I need the room!" 28 Being denied hospitality or having a moneylender hound you - these are hard things for any sensitive person to endure. 


1 A father who loves his son will whip him often, so that he can be proud of him later. 2 If a son is disciplined, he will be of some use, and his father can boast of him to his friends. 3 Anyone who gives good guidance to his son cannot only take pride in him among his friends, but he can make his enemies jealous. 4 While the father is alive, the sight of his son makes him happy, and when he dies, he has no regrets. He is not really dead, because his son is like him. 6 He has left someone to take vengeance on his enemies and to return the favors he owes his friends. 7 But anyone who spoils his son will have to bandage his wounds. His heart will stop every time he hears a shout. 8 An untamed horse is going to be stubborn, and an undisciplined son is no different. 9 If you pamper your child and play with him, he will be a disappointment and a source of grief. 10 Laugh with him now, and one day you will have to cry over him, grinding your teeth in regret. 11 Don't give him freedom while he is young, and don't overlook what he does wrong. 12 Whip him while he is still a child, and make him respect your authority. If you don't, he will be stubborn and disobedient and cause you nothing but sorrow. 13 So discipline your son and give him work to do, or else he will be an embarrassment to you. 14 It is better to be poor, but strong and healthy, than to be rich, but in poor health. 15 A sound, healthy body and a cheerful attitude are more valuable than gold and jewels. 16 Nothing can make you richer or give you greater happiness than those two things. 17 It would be better to be dead, asleep forever, than to live in the misery of chronic illness. 18 The finest food means nothing if you are too sick to eat it; it might as well be offered to an idol. 19 But there is no point in offering food to an idol; it can't eat it or smell it. It is just the same with someone whom the Lord has afflicted. 20 He looks at his food and sighs, like a castrated man hugging a young woman. 21 Don't deliberately torture yourself by giving in to depression. 22 Happiness makes for a long life and makes it worth living. 23 Enjoy yourself and be happy; don't worry all the time. Worry never did anybody any good, and it has destroyed many people. 24 It will make you old before your time. Jealousy and anger will shorten your life. 25 A cheerful person with a good attitude will have a good appetite and enjoy his food. 


1 Worrying about money will make you lose weight and lose sleep. 2 Worrying about business will keep you from sleeping just as surely as a serious illness does. 3 Rich people work hard to make a lot of money; then they can sit back and live in luxury. 4 Poor people work hard and have nothing to show for it, and when they rest, they are still poor. 5 No one who loves money can be judged innocent; his efforts to get rich have led him into sin. 6 Many people have been ruined because of money, brought face-to-face with disaster. 7 Money is a trap for those who are fascinated by it, a trap that every fool falls into. 8 A person who gets rich without sinfully chasing after money is fortunate. 9 Do you know anyone like that? If so, we will congratulate him for performing a miracle that no one else has ever been able to do. 10 If anyone has ever passed this test, he can well be proud. Has anyone ever known that he could get away with cheating someone, and not taken advantage of it? 11 If so, he deserves his wealth, and everyone will praise him for his generosity. 12 When you sit down at a fancy banquet, don't let your mouth hang open, and don't say, "Look at all that food!" 13 It is impolite to have a greedy eye; remember that. Nothing in creation is greedier than the eye; that is why it sheds tears so often. 14 Don't reach out for everything you see, and don't elbow people out of the way to get at the food. 15 Be considerate of the other people at the table and treat them the way you want to be treated. 16 When you get your food, eat it like a human being. Don't smack and slurp; nobody can stand that. 17 It's good manners to be the first to stop eating; stuffing yourself is offensive. 18 If there are many people present, don't try to be the first to be served. 19 A little bit is plenty for anyone with good manners. Besides, you won't be short of breath when you go to bed. 20 People who eat too much get stomach aches and cannot sleep. If you don't overeat, you can get a good night's sleep and wake up early the next morning feeling fine. 21 But if you do get a stomach ache from eating too much, go off and vomit and you will feel better. 22 My child, if you listen to what I am saying and put it into practice, one of these days you will thank me for it. Be moderate in everything you do, and you will never get sick. 23 People appreciate a generous host, and he deserves their praise. 24 But everybody in town will complain about a host who is stingy with food, and their complaints are justified. 25 Don't try to prove your manhood by how much you can drink. Wine has been the ruin of many. 26 An arrogant person's character shows through when he is in a drunken argument, in the same way that iron is tested when it is heated red-hot and then dipped in water. 27 Wine can put new life into you if you drink it in moderation. What would life be like without it? Wine was created to make us happy. 28 If you drink it in moderation and at the right time, it can lift your spirits and make you cheerful, 29 but if you drink when you are angry and upset, it leads to headaches, embarrassment, and disgrace. 30 A drunken fool can lose his temper and hurt himself. His drinking makes him weak and an easy target for angry blows. 31 Never rebuke a person when you have both been drinking. Don't hurt his feelings while he is having a good time. It's not the time to criticize anyone, or to ask him to pay back a debt. 


1 If you are chosen to preside at a banquet, don't put on airs. Just be like everyone else. Look after the guests before you sit down. 2 After you have performed your duties, you can sit down and enjoy yourself with the others. They will respect you for doing a good job. 3 If you are older than most of the guests, you may talk; that is your right. But you should know what you are talking about and not interrupt the music. 4 If entertainment is being provided, don't keep up a steady conversation; it's the wrong time to show off your wit. 5 Music at a banquet where wine is served is like a ruby set in gold. 6 Good music and good wine - an emerald set in gold. 7 If you are young, don't speak unless you have to, but never more than twice, and only if someone speaks to you first. 8 Come to the point and say it all in a few words. Show that you are well-informed, but stay quiet. 9 Don't treat important people as if you were their equal and don't make a nuisance of yourself by asking them a lot of questions. 10 The reputation of a modest person goes before him, as lightning before thunder. 11 Leave the party at the right time and never be the last to go. Don't linger at the door; just go straight home. 12 There you can enjoy yourself as you wish, but don't commit the sin of bragging. 13 And don't forget to thank your Creator for letting you enjoy so many good things. 14 If you fear the Lord, you will accept his correction. He will bless those who get up early in the morning to pray. 15 Study his Law, and you will master it, unless you are insincere about it, in which case you will fail. 16 If you fear the Lord, you will know what is right, and you will be famous for your fairness. 17 Sinners have no use for correction, and will interpret the Law to suit themselves. 18 Sensible people will consider every opinion, but arrogant people will let nothing stand in their way. 19 Never do anything without thinking it through, and once you have done something, don't look back and wish you had done something else. 20 Don't take a course of action that is dangerous, and don't make the same mistake twice. 21 Don't be too sure of yourself, even when the way looks easy. 22 Always watch where you are going. 23 Whatever you do be careful; this is keeping the Lord's commands. 24 Believing in the Law means keeping the Lord's commands. If you trust the Lord, you cannot lose. 


1 No evil will ever come to a person who fears the Lord; however often danger comes, the Lord will come to the rescue. 2 A person who has no use for the Law doesn't have good sense, and anyone who is insincere about it is going to be tossed about like a boat in a storm. 3 If you are wise, you will believe in the Law; you will find it as reliable as the sacred lots. 4 Prepare what you are going to say and people will listen to you. Use what you have learned before you start talking. 5 A foolish person's mind works like a cartwheel, going round and round in circles. 6 A sarcastic friend is like a wild horse that neighs no matter who tries to ride him. 7 Why are some days holier than others, even though the same sun rises on every day of the year? 8 It is because the Lord made them different by setting them apart as religious holidays and festivals. 9 He made some days holy and important, and made other days ordinary. 10 Every human being was made from the earth, just as Adam was. 11 But the Lord, in his wisdom, made them all different and gave them different tasks. 12 He blessed some, making them honored and holy, keeping them near him. Others he cursed, humbling them and removing them from their positions. 13 Just as clay is in the potter's hands for him to shape as he pleases, so we are in the hands of our Creator for him to do with as he wishes. 14 Good is the opposite of evil, life is the opposite of death, and sin is the opposite of devotion to the Lord. 15 Think about it: the Most High has made everything in pairs, each thing the opposite of something else. 16 As for me, I have been the last to come on duty, as if going through vineyards to gather whatever the grape-pickers had left behind. But the Lord blessed me, and I did well, like a grape-picker who has filled the wine press. 17 But I want you to know that I have not done all this work for myself alone, but for everyone who wants to learn. 18 Listen to me, all you great leaders! All you leaders of the assemblies, hear what I have to say! 19 Never, as long as you live, give anyone power over you - whether son, wife, brother, or friend. Don't give your property to anyone; you might change your mind and have to ask for it back. 20 As long as you have breath in your body, don't let anyone lead your life for you. 21 It is better that your children be dependent on you than the other way around. 22 Keep control over all that you do; don't let anything stain your reputation. 23 Wait until the last moment of your life, when you are breathing your last, and then divide your property among your heirs. 24 A donkey should be given its fodder and its burden, and it should be beaten. A slave should be given food and work, and should be disciplined. 25 If you make your slave work, you can set your mind at ease. If you don't keep him busy, he will be looking for freedom. 26 You can use a harness and yoke to tame an animal, and a slave can be tortured in the stocks. 27 Keep him at work, and don't let him be idle; idleness can only teach him how to make trouble. 28 Work is what he needs. If he won't obey you, put him in chains. 29 But don't be too severe with anyone, and never be unfair. 30 If you have a slave, treat him as you would want to be treated; you bought him with your hard-earned money. 31 Treat him as a brother; you need him as you need yourself. If you mistreat him and he runs away, where are you going to look for him? 


1 Foolish people are deceived by vain hopes, and dreams get them all excited. 2 A person who pays any attention at all to dreams is like someone who tries to catch shadows or chase the wind. 3 What you see in a dream is no more real than the reflection of your face in a mirror. 4 What is unreal can no more produce something real than what is dirty can produce something clean. 5 Dreams, divination, and omens are all nonsense. You see in them only what you want to see. 6 Unless the Most High has sent you the dream, pay no attention to it. 7 Dreams have misled many people; they put their faith in them, only to be disappointed. 8 The Law is complete without such falsehood. Wisdom, as spoken by the righteous, is also complete without it. 9 A well-traveled person with wide experience knows many things and talks sense. 10 You can't know much if you haven't experienced much, but travel can make you more clever. 11 In my own travels I have seen many things and learned more than I can put into words. 12 I have been in danger of death many times, but I have always been able to escape by relying on past experience. 13 Those who fear the Lord will live, because they have put their trust in the one who can save them. 14 Fear the Lord, and you will have nothing else to fear. If your trust is in him, you will never act like a coward. 15 People who fear the Lord are fortunate, because they know where they can look for help. 16 The Lord watches over those who love him; he is their strong protection and firm support. He shelters them from the heat, shades them from the noonday sun, and keeps them from stumbling and falling. 17 He makes them cheerful and puts a sparkle in their eyes. He blesses them with life and health. 18 If you offer as a sacrifice an animal that you have obtained dishonestly, it is defective and unacceptable. 19 The Most High gets no pleasure from sacrifices made by ungodly people; no amount of sacrifices can make up for their sins. 20 Anyone who steals an animal from the poor to offer as a sacrifice is like someone who kills a boy before his father's eyes. 21 Food means life itself to poor people, and taking it away from them is murder. 22 It is murder to deprive someone of his living or to cheat an employee of his wages. 23 When one person builds and somebody else tears down, has anything been accomplished but hard work? 24 When one person blesses and somebody else curses, which one is the Lord going to listen to? 25 If you touch a dead body and then purify yourself by washing, but then go and touch it again, what good did the washing do? 26 If you fast because of your sins, and then go out and commit the same sins over again, what have you gained by going without food? Who do you think is going to listen to your prayers? 


1 Keeping the Law is worth many offerings; it is a fellowship offering in itself. 2 Returning a kindness is like a grain offering; giving to the poor is like a thanksgiving offering. 3 Keeping away from sin will please the Lord and make atonement for sin. 4 But don't come to the Temple without an offering; 5 the Law requires that you bring one. 6 When someone righteous offers a sacrifice and the fat drips down on the altar, a pleasant smell rises to the Most High. 7 The Lord will accept the offerings made by a righteous person and will not forget them. 8 Praise the Lord by making generous offerings to him; don't be stingy with the first of your crops. 9 Be cheerful with every gift you make, and when you pay your tithes, do it gladly. 10 Give to the Most High as he has given to you, just as generously as you can. 11 The Lord always repays and will do it many times over. 12 But don't try to bribe him or rely on offerings that you have obtained dishonestly. He will not accept them. The Lord is fair and does not show partiality. 13 He is not prejudiced against the poor; when someone prays who has been wronged, the Lord listens. 14 When orphans and widows pour out their prayers, he does not ignore them. 15 The tears running down a widow's cheek cry out in accusation against the one who has caused her distress. 16 Serve the Lord willingly, and the Lord will accept you; your prayers will reach the skies. 17 The prayer of a humble person goes past the clouds and keeps on going until it reaches the Lord Most High, where it stays until he answers by seeing that justice is done and that the guilty are punished. 18 And the Lord will act quickly. He will show no patience with wicked people. He will take vengeance by crushing the heathen. He will completely wipe out the merciless and the arrogant, and will destroy the authority of the wicked. 19 He will give each of us what our thoughts and actions deserve. Because of the Lord's mercy, his people will be happy when he has judged their case. 20 In times of trouble his mercy is as welcome as rain after a long drought. 


1 O Lord God of the universe, look upon us and have mercy. 2 Make every nation stand in fear of you. 3 Take action against the foreign nations, and let them witness your power! 4 You have used us to show them how holy you are; now use them to show us how great you are. 5 Let them learn, as we have learned, that there is no God, O Lord, but you. 6 Give new signs, perform new miracles; show us your glorious strength! 7 Bring on that appointed time when everyone can talk about the great things you do. Pour out your furious, flaming anger, and let none of our enemies survive. Destroy those who have oppressed your people. 10 Crush all those enemy rulers who think they are the only people in the world who matter! 11 Gather the tribes of Israel together again, and give them back their land as you gave it to them long ago. 12 Lord, have mercy on Israel, the people who are known by your name, whom you called your first-born son. 13 Take pity on Jerusalem, your holy city, where you chose to stay. 14 Fill your Temple on Mount Zion with your glory and with hymns of praise. 15 Testify for your people, whom you created in the beginning; fulfill the prophecies that have been spoken in your name. 16 Reward those who have put their faith in you, and vindicate your prophets. 17 You have always been gracious to your people; listen to your servants as we pray. Then everyone on earth will recognize that you are the Lord, the God of the ages. 18 Any kind of food can be eaten, but some foods are better than others. 19 And just as the tongue can distinguish the flavors of different kinds of meat, so a sharp mind can detect lies. 20 A person with a warped mind causes trouble, but an experienced person knows how to pay it back. 21 A woman has to take any man as a husband, but a man must choose his wife carefully. 22 A woman's beauty makes a man happy; there is no fairer sight for the human eye to see. 23 If the woman is kind and gentle in her speech, her husband is the most fortunate of men. 24 When a man marries, he gets the finest thing he will ever have - a wife to help and encourage him. 25 If property is not fenced in, thieves will wander in and help themselves. And if a man has no wife, he is a sighing wanderer; 26 people have no more trust in a homeless person who sleeps in a different place every night than they have in a wandering thief who goes from town to town. 


1 Anyone can claim to be your friend, but some people are friends in name only. 2 The grief caused when a close friendship turns sour is as bad as death. 3 This evil impulse we have! Why was it ever formed? How did it manage to cover the earth with deceit? 4 Some people will be your friend as long as things are going well, but they will turn against you when trouble comes. 5 A real friend will help you against your enemies and protect you in the fight. 6 Never forget such companions in battle; share the results of your victory with them. 7 Anyone can give advice, but some people do so only in their own interest. 8 Be careful when somebody offers you advice. Find out first what his interest in the matter is, because you can be sure that he is thinking primarily of himself. Why should he come out on top instead of you? 9 He will assure you that things look good, and then stand back to watch what happens to you. 10 Don't ask advice of anyone who doesn't trust you, and don't give advice to anyone who is jealous of you. 11 Don't ask a woman for advice about a rival of hers, 37:a coward about war,37:a merchant about a bargain,37:a buyer about selling,37:a stingy person about gratitude,37:a cruel person about kindness,37:a lazy person about work,37:a casual worker about finishing a job,37:a lazy slave about a difficult task.Pay no attention to any advice they may give. 12 Instead, rely on someone who is religious and known to keep the Lord's commands, someone who is sympathetic with you, who will be sorry to see you fail. 13 And trust your own judgment; no one's advice is more reliable. 14 Sometimes your own intuition can tell you more than seven watchmen on a high tower. 15 Above all, pray to the Most High that he will show you the right thing to do. 16 Planning and thought lie behind everything that is done. 17 The mind concerns itself with four things: these are good and evil, life and death. They all begin in the mind, but the tongue is their absolute ruler. 19 Someone may have the ability to teach, but still not be of much use to himself. 20 He may be clever with words, but end up starving because people hate him. 21 This may happen if he doesn't have good sense, if the Lord has not given him tact. 22 Someone may consider himself wise and let you know that he is certain about what he knows. 23 Anyone who really is wise will be the teacher of his people, and they can be certain that what he teaches is the truth. 24 Everyone will praise such a person and speak of him as fortunate. 25 A person's life has only a limited number of days, but the life of Israel cannot be measured in days at all. 26 The wise will win the confidence of others, and will be remembered forever. 27 My child, as you go through life, keep your appetite under control, and don't eat anything that you know is bad for you. 28 All food doesn't agree with everyone, and everyone doesn't like the same kinds of food. 29 Don't feel that you just have to have all sorts of fancy food, and don't be a glutton over any food. 30 If you eat too much, you'll get sick; if you do it all the time, you'll always have stomach trouble. 31 Gluttony has been the death of many people. Avoid it and live longer. 


1 Give doctors the honor they deserve, for the Lord gave them their work to do. 2 Their skill came from the Most High, and kings reward them for it. 3 Their knowledge gives them a position of importance, and powerful people hold them in high regard. 4 The Lord created medicines from the earth, and a sensible person will not hesitate to use them. 5 Didn't a tree once make bitter water fit to drink, so that the Lord's power might be known? 6 He gave medical knowledge to human beings, so that we would praise him for the miracles he performs. 7 The druggist mixes these medicines, and the doctor will use them to cure diseases and ease pain. There is no end to the activities of the Lord, who gives health to the people of the world. 9 My child, when you get sick, don't ignore it. Pray to the Lord, and he will make you well. 10 Confess all your sins and determine that in the future you will live a righteous life. 11 Offer incense and a grain offering, as fine as you can afford. 12 Then call the doctor - for the Lord created him - and keep him at your side; you need him. 13 There are times when you have to depend on his skill. 14 The doctor's prayer is that the Lord will make him able to ease his patients' pain and make them well again. 15 As for the person who sins against his Creator, he deserves to be sick. 16 My child, when someone dies, you should mourn. Weep and wail to show how deeply you feel the loss. Prepare the body in the proper way, and be present at the burial. 17 Weep bitterly and passionately; observe the proper period of mourning for the person. Mourn for a whole day or maybe two, to keep people from talking, but then pull yourself together and reconcile yourself to the loss. 18 Grief can undermine your health and even lead to your own death. 19 Grief lingers on after the death of a loved one, but it is not wise to let it lead you into poverty. 20 Don't lose yourself in sorrow; drive it away. Remember that we must all die sometime. 21 There is no way to bring the dead person back. All your sorrow does him no good, and it hurts you. Don't forget that. 22 You will die, just as he did. Today it was his turn; tomorrow it will be yours. 23 When the dead have been laid to rest, let the memory of them fade. Once they are gone, take courage. 24 Scholars must have time to study if they are going to be wise; they must be relieved of other responsibilities. 25 How can a farm hand gain knowledge, when his only ambition is to drive the oxen and make them work, when all he knows to talk about is livestock? 26 He takes great pains to plow a straight furrow and will work far into the night to feed the animals. 27 It is the same with the artist and the craftsman, who work night and day engraving precious stones, carefully working out new designs. They take great pains to produce a lifelike image, and will work far into the night to finish the work. 28 It is the same with the blacksmith at his anvil, planning what he will make from a piece of iron. The heat from the fire sears his skin as he sweats away at the forge. The clanging of the hammer deafens him as he carefully watches the object he is working take shape. He takes great pains to complete his task, and will work far into the night to bring it to perfection. 29 It is the same with the potter, sitting at his wheel and turning it with his feet, always concentrating on his work, concerned with how many objects he can produce. 30 He works the clay with his feet until he can shape it with his hands; then he takes great pains to glaze it properly, and will work far into the night to clean out the kiln. 31 All of these people are skilled with their hands, each of them an expert at his own craft. 32 Without such people there could be no cities; no one would live or visit where these services were not available. 33 These people are not sought out to serve on the public councils, and they never attain positions of great importance. They do not serve as judges, and they do not understand legal matters. They have no education and are not known for their wisdom. You never hear them quoting proverbs. 34 But the work they do holds this world together. When they do their work, it is the same as offering prayer. 


1 But it is different with the person who devotes himself to studying the Law of the Most High. He examines the wisdom of all the ancient writers and concerns himself with the prophecies. 2 He memorizes the sayings of famous men and is a skilled interpreter of parables. 3 He studies the hidden meaning of proverbs and is able to discuss the obscure points of parables. 4 Great people call on him for his services, and he is seen in the company of rulers. He travels to foreign lands in his efforts to learn about human good and evil. 5 It is his practice to get up early and pray aloud to the Lord his Creator, asking the Most High to forgive his sins. 6 Then, if the great Lord is willing, he will be filled with understanding. He will pour out a stream of wise sayings, and give thanks to the Lord in prayer. 7 He will have knowledge to share and good advice to give, as well as insight into the Lord's secrets. 8 He will demonstrate his learning in what he teaches, and his pride will be in the Lord's Law and covenant. 9 He will be widely praised for his wisdom, and it will never be lost, because people for generations to come will remember him. 10 The Gentiles will talk about his wisdom, and he will be praised aloud in the assembly. 11 If he lives to old age, he will die famous, but if he is laid to rest before he is famous, he will be content. 12 Like the moon, I am full - full of more ideas to be discussed. 13 Listen to me, you devout children of mine, and blossom like a rosebush on a stream bank. 14 Bloom like a sweet-smelling lily, and send your fragrance into the air like incense. Sing the Lord's praises, and thank him for all that he has done. 15 Proclaim his glory in grateful praise! To the music of the harp, sing this song: 16 All that the Lord has done is very good; all that he commands is sooner or later done. 17 No one should ask why things are as they are; these questions will be answered at the right time. He commanded, and the water piled up high, great walls of water arose when he spoke. 18 Whatever he commands is promptly done; there are no limits to his power to save. 19 He sees all that every human being does; there is no way to hide from his sight. 20 He sees the whole of time, from beginning to end, and nothing takes him by surprise. 21 No one should ask why things are as they are; everything in creation has its purpose. 22 His blessings overflow like the Nile, enriching the world in a fertile flood. 23 He turns fresh water into salt water, and he turns his anger on the nations. 24 For the devout, his ways are straight; for the wicked, they are laid with traps. 25 From the beginning he has made good things for the good and terrible things for sinners. 26 The basic needs of life are these: water, fire, iron, and salt, flour, honey, and milk, wine, clothing, and oil. 27 All these things are good for those who are devout, but they turn into evils for sinners. 28 There are winds that were created to bring punishment, fierce enough to move mountains. In times of judgment, they unleash their strength and calm the anger of their maker. 29 Vicious animals, scorpions, and snakes; the sword that destroys the wicked; fire, hail, famine, and disease; these have all been created as punishments. 31 They are all glad to obey the Lord's command and are ready to serve him here on earth. When their times of duty come, they never disobey. (%0 32 I was long convinced of this, so after thinking it over I put it in writing.) 33 Everything made by the Lord is good; he meets every need at the proper time. 34 No one can claim that some things are worse than others, for everything is good in its proper place. 35 Now then, sing praises with all your heart, and praise the name of the Lord! 


1 Every person has been given a great deal of work to do. A heavy burden lies on all of us from the day of our birth until the day we go back to the earth, the mother of us all. 2 We are confused and fearful, dreading the day of our death - 3 all of us from the king on his splendid throne wearing royal robes and a crown, to the humblest person dressed in burlap and living in poverty. 5 All through our lives we meet anger, jealousy, and trouble. Things disturb us; we live with furious conflicts and with the fear of death. Even when we go to bed, we think up new troubles in our sleep. 6 We get little rest, if any at all. When we sleep, it is as if we were awake, disturbed by our imaginations. If we dream that we are running from an enemy, 7 just as we are about to be caught, we wake up and are relieved to find there is nothing to be afraid of. 8 Here is what all creatures, both human and animal, must face (but it is seven times worse for sinners): 9 death, violence, conflict, murder, disaster, famine, sickness, epidemic. 10 All these things were created because of the wicked; they are the ones who have caused destruction. 11 Everything that comes from the earth goes back to the earth, just as all water flows into the sea. 12 Nothing that comes from bribery or injustice will last, but the effects of loyalty will remain forever. 13 Wealth that has been obtained dishonestly is like a stream that runs full during a thunderstorm, 14 tumbling rocks along as it flows, but then suddenly goes dry. 15 The children of ungodly people will not leave large families; they are like plants trying to take root on rock, 16 like reeds along a river bank, withering before any other plant. 17 Acts of kindness and charity are as lasting as eternity. 18 Being independently wealthy or working for a living - both can make life pleasant, but it is better to find a treasure. 19 Your name can be preserved if you have children or if you establish a city, but finding Wisdom is a better way. Owning livestock and orchards will make you famous, but it is better to have a wife you love. 20 Wine and music can make you happy, but a happy marriage is even better. 21 Flutes and harps make fine music, but a pleasant voice is better than either. 22 Gracefulness and beauty please the eye, but not as much as new growth in the spring. 23 You can't go wrong with a good friend or neighbor, but an intelligent wife is better than either. 24 Relatives and helpers are good to have in times of trouble, but it will be an even greater help if you have made a practice of giving to the poor. 25 Gold and silver provide security, but good advice is better. 26 Wealth and strength give confidence, but the fear of the Lord can give you even greater confidence. When you fear the Lord you need nothing more; it is all the support you need. 27 The fear of the Lord is like a rich garden of blessings; you could not want a more glorious shelter. 28 My child, don't live the life of a beggar; it is better to die than to beg. 29 If you have to depend on someone else for your food, you are not really living your own life. You pollute yourself by accepting food from another. Begging is torture to the soul of any sensitive person. 30 A shameless person can make begging sound sweet, but something inside him burns. 


1 Death! The very thought of it is bitter to someone who is prosperous, living peacefully with his possessions, free of worries, and still able to enjoy his food. 2 Death! Its sentence is welcome to someone living in poverty, with failing health, very old, burdened with worries, blind, and without hope. 3 Do not be afraid of death's decree. Remember that it came to those before you and will come to those after you. 4 The Lord has decreed it for every living creature. Who are you to object to what the Most High wishes? In the world of the dead no one will care whether you lived ten years, a hundred, or a thousand. 5 The children of sinners, brought up in ungodly surroundings, turn out to be hateful people. 6 They will lose whatever they inherit, and their own descendants will live in permanent disgrace. 7 The children will put the blame for their disgrace on their ungodly parents. 8 You are doomed, you irreligious people who have abandoned the Law of the Most High God. 9 When you have children, disaster will strike them and you will be left with nothing but sorrow. There will be great joy whenever you stumble, and even after your death you will be cursed. 10 What comes into being from nothing will return to nothing; so it will be with the godless, doomed to extinction. 11 A person's body amounts to nothing, but a good reputation will last forever. 12 Protect your reputation; it will outlive you and last longer than a thousand treasures of gold. 13 A good life lasts only so long, but a good reputation will last forever. 14 My children, do as I teach you and live at peace. Wisdom that is not expressed is like a treasure that has been hidden - both are useless. 15 A person who covers up his foolishness is better than one who keeps his wisdom to himself. 16 My children, listen and I will teach you the circumstances when it is proper to be ashamed. Sometimes it is entirely out of place. 17 Before your parents, be ashamed of immoral behavior. Before a ruler or an important person, be ashamed of a lie. 18 Before a judge, be ashamed of criminal behavior. Before a public assembly, be ashamed of breaking the law. Before a friend or partner, be ashamed of dishonesty. 19 Before your neighbors, be ashamed of theft. Be ashamed of breaking a promise, of leaning on the dinner table with your elbows, of stinginess when you are asked for something, 20 of not returning a greeting, of staring at a prostitute, 21 of turning down a relative's request, of depriving someone of what is rightly his, of staring at another man's wife, 22 of playing around with his slave woman (keep away from her bed!) of insulting your friends, of following up your gifts with criticism, 23 of betraying secrets. These are times when it is proper for you to be ashamed, and people will respect you for it. 


1 On the other hand, it is possible to sin by giving in to other people too much. Here are some things you should not be ashamed of: 2 the Law of the Most High and his covenant, judging even godless people fairly, 3 sharing expenses with a business partner or a traveling companion, sharing an inheritance, 4 using accurate weights and measures, 5 making a profit, whether great or small, bargaining with a merchant, disciplining your children often, beating a disloyal slave until the blood flows. 6 It is wise to lock things up if you cannot trust your wife or if too many people are around. 7 Keep an accurate record of any deposits you make or of anything you give or receive. 8 Don't hesitate to correct someone who is acting foolishly or an old man who goes around with prostitutes. All of this is worthwhile advice, and if you follow it, everyone will approve of your behavior. 9 Although he will not let his daughter know it, a father will lie awake at night worrying about her. If she is young, he worries that she might not get married. If she is already married, he worries about her happiness. 10 If she is a virgin, he worries that she might be seduced and become pregnant while living in his house. If she is married, he worries that she might be unfaithful, or that she might not be able to have children. 11 Keep a close watch over your daughter if she is determined to have her own way. If you don't, she may make a fool of you in front of your enemies. You will be a constant joke to everyone in town, a public disgrace. Make sure that her room has no windows or any place where she can look out to the entrance of the house. 12 Don't let her show off her beauty in front of men, or spend her time talking with the women. 13 Women hurt other women just as moths damage clothing. 14 A man's wickedness is better than a woman's goodness; women bring shame and disgrace. 15 Now I will remind you of the works of the Lord and describe the things I have seen. The words of the Lord brought his works into being, and the whole creation obeys his commands. 16 The light of the sun shines down on everything, and everything is filled with the Lord's glory. 17 Not even to his holy angels has the Lord given power to describe all his mighty deeds, even though he has given them power to stand unharmed in his glorious presence. 18 He sees into the oceans and into the human heart, and he knows the secrets of both. The Most High knows everything that can be known and understands the signs of the ages. 19 He knows all that has ever been and all that ever will be; he uncovers the deepest of mysteries. 20 He takes notice of our every thought and hears our every word. 21 The orderly world shows the greatness of his wisdom; he is the same forever and ever. Nothing can be added to him, and nothing taken away; he needs no one to give him advice. 22 All his works are beautiful, down to the smallest and faintest spark of light. 23 All these things go on forever, and all of them have their purpose. 24 All things are in pairs, each the opposite of the other, but nothing the Lord made is incomplete. 25 Everything completes the goodness of something else. Could anyone ever see enough of this splendor? 


1 How beautiful is the bright, clear sky above us! What a glorious sight it is! 2 The sun, when it appears, proclaims as it rises how marvelous a thing it is, made by the Most High. 3 At noon it dries up the land; no one can stand its blazing heat. 4 The setting sun sets fire to the hilltops, like a metal furnace glowing from the heat. It sends out fiery rays, blinding the eyes with its brightness. 5 The Lord, who made it, is great; it speeds on its way at his command. 6 There is also the moon, marking the passage of time, an eternal sign of the changing seasons. 7 The moon determines the holy days. Its light grows full and then grows dim. 8 The "month" is named after the moon, marvelous to watch as it grows fuller each night, a signal light for the heavenly armies, shining out in the dome of the sky. 9 The shining stars make the night sky lovely, brilliant ornaments in the Lord's high heavens. 10 They stay in the places assigned to them by the Holy One and never relax their dutiful watch. 11 Look at the rainbow and praise its Creator! How magnificent, how radiant, its beauty! 12 Like a bow bent by the hands of the Most High, it spans the horizon in a circle of glory. 13 He commands, and snow begins to fall; lightning strikes to carry out his judgments. 14 The storerooms of the sky are thrown open, and the clouds roll out like flying birds. 15 With his power he forms great masses of clouds and shatters the ice into hailstones. 16 He speaks, and thunder twists the earth in pain; the mountains are shaken by his strength. Whenever he wishes, the south wind blows, whirlwinds come, and windstorms from the north. He sends the snow fluttering down like birds, like locusts lighting on the ground. 18 We marvel at its beautiful whiteness, and in fascination we watch it fall. 19 He sprinkles frost over the ground like salt, and it freezes into thorny flowers of ice. 20 He sends the cold north wind blowing and the water hardens into ice; every lake and pond freezes over, putting on a coat of icy armor. 21 He scorches the wilderness hills with drought, and the grass turns brown from its heat; 22 but a cloudy mist restores it all to life as the weather cools and dew appears. 23 By his wisdom he calmed the great oceans and placed the islands there. 24 Sailors tell about the dangers of the sea, and we listen to their tales in amazement. 25 In the sea are strange and marvelous creatures: huge monsters and all kinds of living things. 26 Each of the Lord's messengers succeeds at its task. Everything is held together by his word. 27 We could say much more and never finish, but it all means this: the Lord is everything. 28 How can we find the power to praise him? He is greater than all his creation. 29 The Lord is awesome in his greatness; his power is overwhelming. 30 Though you do your best to praise him, he is greater than you can ever express. Though you honor him tirelessly and with all your strength, you still cannot praise him enough. 31 No one has seen him, no one can describe him; no one can praise him as he deserves. 32 Mysteries greater than these are still unknown; we know only a fraction of his works. 33 The Lord made the universe and then gave wisdom to devout people. 


1 So let us now give praise to godly men, our ancestors of generations past, 2 those whom the Lord honored with great glory, in whom his greatness has been seen from the beginning of time. 3 There were some who ruled kingdoms, and some who were known for their strength. Some were wise advisers, and some spoke prophecies. 4 There were statesmen whose policies governed the people, rulers who issued decrees, scholars who spoke wise words, and those who used pointed proverbs, 5 poets, and composers of music, 6 rich and powerful men living peacefully at home. 7 All of these were famous in their own times, honored by the people of their day. 8 Some of them left a reputation, and people still praise them today. 9 There are others who are not remembered, as if they had never lived, who died and were forgotten, they, and their children after them. 10 But we will praise these godly men, whose righteous deeds have never been forgotten. 11 Their reputations will be passed on to their descendants, and this will be their inheritance. 12 Their descendants continue to keep the covenant and always will, because of what their ancestors did. 13 Their family line will go on forever, and their fame will never fade. 14 Their bodies were laid to rest, but their reputations will live forever. 15 Nations will tell about their wisdom, and God's people will praise them. 16 Enoch pleased the Lord and was taken up into heaven. He became an inspiration for repentance for all time to come. 17 Noah was a perfectly righteous man. After destruction came, he gave the human race a new start. Because of him there were people left on earth when the flood was over. 18 The Lord made an eternal covenant with him, promising that life would never again be destroyed by a flood. 19 Abraham was the great ancestor of many nations; his reputation was faultless. 20 He kept the Law of the Most High and made a covenant with him, a covenant marked on his body. When he was put to the test, he was found faithful. 21 And so the Lord made him a solemn promise that his descendants would be a blessing to the world; that their number would be countless, like the dust of the earth; that they would be honored more than any other people on earth; and that their land would extend from sea to sea, from the Euphrates to the ends of the earth. 22 The Lord renewed that covenant with Isaac, and then again with Jacob, repeating the promise that Abraham's descendants would be a blessing to the whole human race. The Lord assured Jacob that he would bless him; he gave him the land that would be his, dividing it into twelve parts, one for each of the tribes. 


1 From Jacob's descendants the Lord raised up a godly man who won the favor of everyone, loved by God and people alike. This man was Moses, whose very memory is a blessing. 2 The Lord made him as glorious as the angels and made his enemies fear him. 3 There in Egypt at his command the disaster struck. The Lord made kings hold him in respect. The Lord gave him his commands for his people and showed him the dazzling light of his presence. 4 The Lord chose Moses out of the whole human race and consecrated him because of his loyalty and humility. 5 He let him hear his voice and led him into the dark cloud, where, face-to-face, he gave him the commandments, the Law that gives life and knowledge, so that Moses might teach the covenant regulations to the Israelites. 6 The Lord raised up Aaron, a holy man like his brother Moses, of the tribe of Levi. 7 He made an eternal covenant with him, giving him the privilege of serving as priest to the Lord's people. He honored him by clothing him with magnificent robes and fine ornaments, 8 perfect in their splendor. He granted him the symbols of authority: the linen shorts, the shirt, and the robe with the pomegranates around the hem. 9 Gold bells were also around its hem, so that when he walked, their ringing would be heard in the Temple, and the Lord would remember his people. 10 The Lord gave Aaron the sacred robe with the gold, blue, and purple embroidery; the breastpiece with the Urim and Thummim; 11 the red yarn, spun by an expert; the precious stones with names engraved on them, mounted in a gold setting by a jeweler, placed on the breastpiece to remind the Lord of the twelve tribes of Israel. 12 He gave him the turban with the gold ornament engraved with the words "Dedicated to the Lord." It was expertly crafted, a beautiful work of art, and it was a high honor to wear it. 13 Before Aaron's time such beautiful things were never seen. No one but Aaron and his descendants ever wore them, or ever will. 14 The grain offering is to be presented twice a day and burned completely. 15 Moses ordained Aaron to office by pouring the sacred anointing oil over his head. An eternal covenant was made with him and his descendants, that they would serve the Lord as his priests and bless the people in the Lord's name. 16 The Lord chose Aaron out of the whole human race to offer sacrifices, to burn fragrant incense to remind the Lord of his people, and to take away their sins. 17 He entrusted the commandments to Aaron's keeping and gave him the authority to make legal decisions and to teach Israel the Law. 18 Once, while the people were in the wilderness, an angry group of jealous outsiders conspired against Moses. These were Dathan, Abiram, and Korah with their supporters. 19 The Lord saw what they were doing and became angry, so furious that he performed a miracle and destroyed them in a blazing fire. 20 Then he rewarded Aaron again, giving him a special honor: the right to the offerings of the first produce, so that the priests should have enough to eat. 21 Their food is the sacrifices offered to the Lord; the Lord gave this to Aaron and his descendants. 22 But Aaron, unlike the rest of the people, was to inherit no land, no special portion of his own. The Lord himself would be all he needed. 23 Only Moses and Aaron were more famous for their intense devotion to the Lord than Phinehas son of Eleazar. He brought about forgiveness for Israel's sin by standing firm in brave determination when everyone else was in rebellion. 24 And so the Lord made a covenant with him, valid for all time to come, that he should be in charge of the sanctuary and of his people, that he and his descendants should hold the office of High Priest forever. 25 Unlike the covenant made with David son of Jesse, from the tribe of Judah, where the kingship passed only from father to son, the priesthood was to pass from Aaron to all his descendants. 26 Now praise the Lord, who is good, who has crowned you with glory! May he give you wisdom to judge his people fairly, so that their success and your authority may continue for all time to come. 


1 Joshua son of Nun was a great soldier and the next of the prophets after Moses. He lived up to the meaning of his name as the great deliverer of the Lord's chosen people. He defeated the enemies that attacked them, so that Israel could claim its land. 2 How magnificent it was when he raised his arm and then led the attacks on the cities! 3 No one could stand up to him; he was fighting a holy war for the Lord. 4 Remember how he held back the sun and made one day as long as two? 5 When his enemies were threatening him from every side, he prayed to the mighty Lord Most High, and his prayer was answered with a hailstorm of devastating force. 6 The Lord hurled the hail down on the enemy and destroyed them at the pass at Beth Horon, so that the nations would realize how strong Joshua was, since he was fighting as a devoted follower of the Lord. 7 Joshua was loyal as long as Moses lived, both he and Caleb son of Jephunneh. They stood up to the whole community, made them stop their ungrateful complaining, and kept them from sinning. 8 Out of the 600,000 Israelites who marched through the wilderness, these two were the only ones spared and allowed to enter the rich and fertile land that was to be theirs. 9 The Lord made Caleb strong, and when he was an old man, he was still strong enough to go up into the hill country and capture it for himself and his descendants. 10 Then all of Israel could see how good it is to follow the Lord. 11 Then there were the judges, each of them famous in their own right, who never fell into idolatry and never abandoned the Lord. 12 May their memory be honored! May these whom we honor spring from the grave to new life in their descendants! 13 Samuel was loved by the Lord. As the Lord's prophet he established the kingdom and appointed rulers for the people. 14 He judged the nation in accordance with the Law of the Lord, and the Lord protected Israel. 15 Because Samuel was faithful, he was accepted as a true prophet. People trusted him as a seer because of his words. 16 When his enemies were threatening him from every side, he called upon the mighty Lord and offered him a young lamb as a sacrifice. 17 Then the Lord thundered from heaven with a mighty roar 18 and destroyed all the enemy rulers of Philistia. 19 When Samuel was about to die, he gave assurances before the Lord and the anointed king that he had never taken anyone's property, not even so much as a pair of shoes, and no one contradicted him. 20 Even after he died, he prophesied to King Saul how he would die. Out of the grave he spoke as a prophet, to blot out his people's wickedness. 


1 After him came Nathan, who was a prophet at the time of David. 2 As the choice fat portion of the fellowship offering is reserved for the Lord, so David was chosen from among the Israelites. 3 He played with lions and bears as if they were lambs or little goats. 4 When he was still a boy, he killed a giant to rescue his people. He put a stone in his sling, took aim, and put an end to Goliath's bragging. 5 He prayed to the Lord, the Most High, and was given the strength to kill that famous soldier, so that the nations would have respect for the power of his people. 6 The people honored him for killing his tens of thousands, and when he was crowned king, they praised him for being chosen by the Lord. 7 He wiped out all his enemies and permanently crushed the Philistines, so that they never again became a threat. 8 In everything David did, he gave thanks and praise to the Holy Lord, the Most High. He loved his Creator and sang praises to him with all his heart. 9 He put singers at the altar to provide beautiful music. 10 He set the times of the festivals throughout the year and made them splendid occasions; the Temple rang with the Lord's praises all day long. 11 The Lord forgave David's sin and established his power forever. He made a covenant with him that he and his descendants would reign in splendor over Israel. 12 David prepared the way well for his son, a wise man, to rule after him. 13 There was no war while Solomon was king. God gave him peace on all his borders, so that he could build for the Lord a Temple which would stand forever. 14 How wise you were, Solomon, when you were young! Your knowledge was like the Nile in flood. 15 Your influence reached over all the world; your proverbs and riddles were known everywhere. 16 You were famous everywhere, and people loved you for bringing peace. 17 Nations around the world held you in admiration for your songs, proverbs, parables, and witty sayings. 18 You gathered silver and gold as if it were tin or lead, all in the name of the Lord God of Israel. 19 But your lust for women was your downfall. 20 You stained your reputation and that of your descendants. They suffered punishment for that foolishness of yours, which caused them so much grief. 21 It divided the nation, and a rival kingdom arose in northern Israel. 22 But the Lord will always be merciful and keep all his promises. He will never destroy the descendants of David, whom he chose and who loved him. So for Israel's sake he allowed David's family to survive. 23 Solomon followed his ancestors in death and left one of his sons to rule after him. This was Rehoboam, a man of little intelligence and great foolishness, whose policies caused a rebellion. There was also the unspeakable Jeroboam, who led northern Israel in sinful ways. 24 His people became so sinful that they were exiled from their land. 25 They tried all kinds of wickedness until the Lord took vengeance on them. 


1 Then there arose the fiery prophet Elijah, whose words blazed like a torch. 2 He brought a famine on the people, and many of them died because of his persistence. 3 Speaking in the name of the Lord, he kept the rain from coming, and on three occasions he called down fire. 4 Elijah, your miracles were marvelous! No one else can boast of such deeds! 5 In the name of the Most High, you brought a dead man back to life. 6 You brought a famous king down to sickness and death. 7 At Sinai you heard the Lord rebuke you and declare his determination to punish his enemies. 8 You anointed a king to be the instrument of that punishment, and a prophet to take your place. 9 You were taken up to heaven in a fiery whirlwind, a chariot drawn by fiery horses. 10 The scripture says that you are ready to appear at the designated time, to cool God's anger before it breaks out in fury; that you "will bring parents and children together again," and restore the tribes of Israel. 11 Fortunate are those who live to see you come, as well as those who have already died in love, for we too shall live. 12 When Elijah was hidden by the whirlwind, Elisha was filled with his spirit. As long as he lived, he was not afraid of rulers, and they could not make him do as they wished. 13 Nothing was too hard for him. Even when he was dead, his body worked a miracle. 14 In life and in death he performed amazing miracles. 15 But in spite of all this, the people did not abandon their sinful ways until they were taken from their land as prisoners and scattered all over the world. This left the nation few in number, but those who remained were still ruled by the descendants of David. 16 Some of the people did what was pleasing to the Lord, but others committed sin after sin. 17 Hezekiah prepared his city to resist a siege and provided it with a water supply. He had a tunnel built through solid rock with iron tools and had cisterns built to hold the water. 18 During his reign Sennacherib attacked the city and sent his chief official from Lachish. He challenged Jerusalem and boasted arrogantly. 19 The people lost their courage and shook with fear; they were in pain, like a woman in labor. 20 But they prayed to the merciful Lord, the Holy One in heaven, who quickly answered their prayers and sent Isaiah to save them. 21 The Lord struck the Assyrian camp; his angel wiped them out. 22 Yes, Hezekiah did what was pleasing to the Lord and firmly followed the example of his ancestor David. This was what was commanded by the great prophet Isaiah, whose visions were trusted. 23 He made the sun move backward and lengthened the king's life. 24 He comforted the mourners in Jerusalem. His powerful spirit looked into the future, 25 and he predicted what was to happen before the end of time, hidden things that had not yet occurred. 


1 The memory of Josiah is as sweet as the fragrance of expertly blended incense, sweet as honey to the taste, like music with wine at a banquet. 2 He followed the correct policy of reforming the nation and removed the horrors of idolatry. 3 He was completely loyal to the Lord and strengthened true religion in those wicked times. 4 All the kings, except David, Hezekiah, and Josiah, were terrible sinners, because they abandoned the Law of the Most High to the very end of the kingdom. 5 They surrendered their power and honor to foreigners, 6 who set fire to the holy city and left its streets deserted, just as Jeremiah had predicted. 7 Jeremiah had been badly treated, even though he was chosen as a prophet before he was born, "to uproot and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow," but also "to build and to plant." 8 It was Ezekiel who was shown the vision of the divine glory over the chariot and the living creatures. 9 He also referred to the prophet Job, who always did the right thing. 10 May the bones of the twelve prophets rise to new life, because these men encouraged the people of Israel and saved them with confident hope. 11 How can we praise Zerubbabel? He was like a signet ring on the Lord's right hand, 12 as was Joshua son of Jehozadak. They rebuilt the Lord's holy Temple, destined for eternal fame. 13 The memory of Nehemiah is also great. He rebuilt the ruined walls of Jerusalem, installing the gates and bars. He rebuilt our homes. 14 No one else like Enoch has ever walked the face of the earth, for he was taken up from the earth. 15 No one else like Joseph has ever been born; even his bones were honored. 16 Shem, Seth, and Enosh were highly honored, but Adam's glory was above that of any other living being. 


1 The greatest of his brothers and the pride of his people was the High Priest Simon son of Onias, who repaired the Temple 2 and laid the foundation for the high double wall and the fortifications of the Temple. 3 The reservoir, as big as the bronze tank, was dug while he was in office. 4 He made plans to protect his people from attack and fortified the city so that it could withstand a siege. 5 How glorious he was when he came out of the Most Holy Place! 6 He was like the morning star shining through the clouds, like the full moon, 7 like the sun shining on the Temple of the Most High, like the rainbow gleaming in glory against the clouds, 8 like roses in springtime, like lilies beside a stream, like the cedars of Lebanon in summer, 9 like burning incense, like a cup made of hammered gold and decorated with all kinds of jewels, 10 like an olive tree loaded with fruit, like a cypress tree towering into the clouds. 11 When Simon put on his magnificent robe and went up to the holy altar dressed in perfect splendor, he made the Temple courtyard a majestic sight. 12 When the priests handed him the portions of the sacrifice as he stood beside the altar with his assistants circling him like a wreath, he was like a young cedar of Lebanon surrounded by palm trees. 13 Those were the descendants of Aaron in their splendid garments, standing before the whole assembly of Israel, holding in their hands the offering made to the Lord. 14 When he had finished the service at the altar and had arranged the sacrifice to the Most High, the Almighty, 15 he reached for a cup and poured out sweet-smelling wine at the foot of the altar as an offering to the Most High, the universal King. 16 Then the priests shouted and blew their trumpets of hammered silver. They made a loud noise that the Most High would hear. 17 All the people immediately bowed down with their faces to the ground to worship their Lord, the Almighty, the Most High. 18 Then the choir began to sing his praises, and the beautiful music rang out. 19 The people kept praying to the merciful Lord Most High until the service of worship had come to a close. 20 Then Simon came down from the altar, raised his hands over the whole assembly of Israel, and reverently pronounced the blessing from the Lord, 21 while the people bowed a second time in worship to receive that blessing from the Most High. 22 Now then, give praise to the God of the universe, who has done great things everywhere, who brings us up from the time we are born, and deals with us mercifully. 23 May he give us happiness and allow us to have peace in Israel forever. 24 May he continue his mercy to us and rescue us in our time of need. 25 There are two nations that I detest, and a third that does not even deserve to be called a nation. 26 These are the Edomites, the inhabitants of the Philistine cities, and the stupid Samaritans. 27 I, Jesus son of Sirach Eleazar of Jerusalem, put all my wisdom into writing this book to provide instruction and knowledge for others. 28 May God bless everyone who gives attention to these teachings. Whoever takes them to heart will become wise. 29 Whoever lives by them will be strong enough for any occasion, because he will be walking in the light of the Lord. 


1 I give you thanks, O Lord and King; I praise you as my God and Savior. I give you thanks, 2 for you have helped me and protected me. You have rescued me from death, from dangerous lies and slander. 3 You helped me when no one else would; in your great mercy you saved me from the many troubles I have known: from the glaring hatred of my enemies, who wanted to put an end to my life; 4 from suffocation in oppressive smoke rising from fires that I did not light; 5 from death itself; from vicious slander reported to the king. 6 I was once brought face-to-face with death; 7 enemies surrounded me everywhere. I looked for someone to help me, but there was no one there. 8 But then, O Lord, I remembered how merciful you are and what you had done in times past. I remembered that you rescue those who rely on you, that you save them from their enemies. 9 Then from here on earth I prayed to you to rescue me from death. 10 I prayed, "O Lord, you are my father; do not abandon me to my troubles when I am helpless against arrogant enemies. 11 I will always praise you and sing hymns of thanksgiving." You answered my prayer, 12 and saved me from the threat of destruction. And so I thank you and praise you. O Lord, I praise you! 13 When I was still young, before I started out on my travels, I boldly prayed for Wisdom. 14 I went to the Temple and asked for her, and I will look for her as long as I live. 15 From my blossoming youth to my ripe old age she has been my delight. I have followed directly in her path ever since I was young. 16 I received Wisdom as soon as I began listening for her, and I have been rewarded with great knowledge. 17 I have always been a learner and am grateful to everyone who has been my teacher. 18 I was determined to live wisely and was devoted to the cause of goodness. I have no regrets. 19 I fought for Wisdom and was strict in my conduct. When I prayed, I sadly confessed how far short of Wisdom I fell. 20 But I was determined to have her, and I found her by keeping myself free from sin. I have grown in Wisdom since first I found her, and I will never be without her. 21 Because I was driven by the desire to find her, I have been richly rewarded. 22 The Lord gave me a gift for words, and I have used it in his praise. 23 Come to me, all you that need instruction, and learn in my school. 24 Why do you admit that you are ignorant and do nothing about it? 25 Here is what I say: It costs nothing to be wise. 26 Put on the yoke, and be willing to learn. The opportunity is always near. 27 See for yourselves! I have really not studied very hard, but I have found great contentment. 28 No matter how much it costs you to get Wisdom, it will be well worth it. 29 Be joyfully grateful for the Lord's mercy, and never be ashamed to praise him. 30 Do your duty at the proper time, and the Lord, at the time he thinks proper, will give you your reward.