Proverbs 22-24 The Message Bible

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22 1  A sterling reputation is better than striking it rich; a gracious spirit is better than money in the bank.

2  The rich and the poor shake hands as equals - God made them both!

3  A prudent person sees trouble coming and ducks; a simpleton walks in blindly and is clobbered.

4  The payoff for meekness and Fear-of-God is plenty and honor and a satisfying life.

5  The perverse travel a dangerous road, potholed and mud-slick; if you know what's good for you, stay clear of it.

6  Point your kids in the right direction - when they're old they won't be lost.

7  The poor are always ruled over by the rich, so don't borrow and put yourself under their power.

8  Whoever sows sin reaps weeds, and bullying anger sputters into nothing.

9  Generous hands are blessed hands because they give bread to the poor.

10  Kick out the troublemakers and things will quiet down; you need a break from bickering and griping!

11  God loves the pure-hearted and well-spoken; good leaders also delight in their friendship.

12  God guards knowledge with a passion, but he'll have nothing to do with deception.

13  The loafer says, "There's a lion on the loose! If I go out I'll be eaten alive!"

14  The mouth of a whore is a bottomless pit; you'll fall in that pit if you're on the outs with God.

15  Young people are prone to foolishness and fads; the cure comes through tough-minded discipline.

16  Exploit the poor or glad-hand the rich - whichever, you'll end up the poorer for it. The Thirty Precepts of the Sages Don't Move Back the Boundary Lines

Precepts and Warnings

17  Listen carefully to my wisdom; take to heart what I can teach you. You'll treasure its sweetness deep within; 18  you'll give it bold expression in your speech. 19  To make sure your foundation is trust in God, I'm laying it all out right now just for you. 20  I'm giving you thirty sterling principles - tested guidelines to live by. 21  Believe me - these are truths that work, and will keep you accountable to those who sent you.

22  Don't walk on the poor just because they're poor, and don't use your position to crush the weak, 23  Because God will come to their defense; the life you took, he'll take from you and give back to them.

24  Don't hang out with angry people; don't keep company with hotheads. 25  Bad temper is contagious - don't get infected.

26  Don't gamble on the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, hocking your house against a lucky chance. 27  The time will come when you have to pay up; you'll be left with nothing but the shirt on your back.

28  Don't stealthily move back the boundary lines staked out long ago by your ancestors.

29  Observe people who are good at their work - skilled workers are always in demand and admired; they don't take a back seat to anyone.

23 1  When you go out to dinner with an influential person, mind your manners: 2  Don't gobble your food, don't talk with your mouth full. 3  And don't stuff yourself; bridle your appetite.

4  Don't wear yourself out trying to get rich; restrain yourself 5  Riches disappear in the blink of an eye; wealth sprouts wings and flies off into the wild blue yonder.

6  Don't accept a meal from a tightwad; don't expect anything special. 7  He'll be as stingy with you as he is with himself; he'll say, "Eat! Drink!" but won't mean a word of it. 8  His miserly serving will turn your stomach when you realize the meal's a sham.

9  Don't bother talking sense to fools; they'll only poke fun at your words.

10  Don't stealthily move back the boundary lines or cheat orphans out of their property, 11  For they have a powerful Advocate who will go to bat for them.

12  Give yourselves to disciplined instruction; open your ears to tested knowledge. 13  Don't be afraid to correct your young ones; a spanking won't kill them. 14  A good spanking, in fact, might save them from something worse than death 15  Dear child, if you become wise, I'll be one happy parent. 16  My heart will dance and sing to the tuneful truth you'll speak.

17  Don't for a minute envy careless rebels; soak yourself in the Fear-of-God - 18  That's where your future lies. Then you won't be left with an armload of nothing.

19  Oh listen, dear child - become wise; point your life in the right direction 20  Don't drink too much wine and get drunk; don't eat too much food and get fat. 21  Drunks and gluttons will end up on skid row, in a stupor and dressed in rags. Buy Wisdom, Education, Insigh 22  Listen with respect to the father who raised you, and when your mother grows old, don't neglect her. 23  Buy truth - don't sell it for love or money; buy wisdom, buy education, buy insight. 24  Parents rejoice when their children turn out well; wise children become proud parents. 25  So make your father happy! Make your mother proud! 26  Dear child, I want your full attention; please do what I show you. 27  A whore is a bottomless pit; a loose woman can get you in deep trouble fast. 28  She'll take you for all you've got; she's worse than a pack of thieves.

29  Who are the people who are always crying the blues? Who do you know who reeks of self-pity? Who keeps getting beat up for no reason at all? Whose eyes are bleary and bloodshot? 30  It's those who spend the night with a bottle, for whom drinking is serious business. 31  Don't judge wine by its label, or its bouquet, or its full-bodied flavor. 32  Judge it rather by the hangover it leaves you with - the splitting headache, the queasy stomach. 33  Do you really prefer seeing double, with your speech all slurred, 34  Reeling and seasick, drunk as a sailor? 35  "They hit me," you'll say, "but it didn't hurt; they beat on me, but I didn't feel a thing. When I'm sober enough to manage it, bring me another drink!"

24 1  Don't envy bad people; don't even want to be around them. 2  All they think about is causing a disturbance; all they talk about is making trouble.

3  It takes wisdom to build a house, and understanding to set it on a firm foundation; 4  It takes knowledge to furnish its rooms with fine furniture and beautiful draperies. 5  It's better to be wise than strong; intelligence outranks muscle any day. 6  Strategic planning is the key to warfare; to win, you need a lot of good counsel.

7  Wise conversation is way over the head of fools; in a serious discussion they haven't a clue. 8  The person who's always cooking up some evil soon gets a reputation as prince of rogues. 9  Fools incubate sin; cynics desecrate beauty. Rescue the Perishing

10  If you fall to pieces in a crisis, there wasn't much to you in the first place.

11  Rescue the perishing; don't hesitate to step in and help. 12  If you say, "Hey, that's none of my business," will that get you off the hook? Someone is watching you closely, you know - Someone not impressed with weak excuses.

13  Eat honey, dear child - it's good for you - and delicacies that melt in your mouth. 14  Likewise knowledge, and wisdom for your soul - Get that and your future's secured, your hope is on solid rock.

15  Don't interfere with good people's lives; don't try to get the best of them. 16  No matter how many times you trip them up, God-loyal people don't stay down long; Soon they're up on their feet, while the wicked end up flat on their faces.

17  Don't laugh when your enemy falls; don't crow over his collapse. 18  God might see, and become very provoked, and then take pity on his plight.

19  Don't bother your head with braggarts or wish you could succeed like the wicked. 20  Those people have no future at all; they're headed down a dead-end street.

21  Fear God, dear child - respect your leaders; don't be defiant or mutinous. 22  Without warning your life can turn upside-down, and who knows how or when it might happen?

23  It's wrong, very wrong, to go along with injustice. 24  Whoever whitewashes the wicked gets a black mark in the history books, 25  But whoever exposes the wicked will be thanked and rewarded. 26  An honest answer is like a warm hug.

27  First plant your fields; then build your barn.

28  Don't talk about your neighbors behind their backs - no slander or gossip, please. 29  Don't say to anyone, "I'll get back at you for what you did to me. I'll make you pay for what you did!"

30  One day I walked by the field of an old lazybones, and then passed the vineyard of a lout; 31  They were overgrown with weeds, thick with thistles, all the fences broken down. 32  I took a long look and pondered what I saw; the fields preached me a sermon and I listened: 33  "A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there, sit back, take it easy - do you know what comes next? 34  Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life, with poverty as your permanent houseguest!"

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