Proverbs 24-26 The Message Bible

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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!"

Comparisons and Moral Lessons

25 1  There are also these proverbs of Solomon, collected by scribes of Hezekiah, king of Judah.

2  God delights in concealing things; scientists delight in discovering things. 3  Like the horizons for breadth and the ocean for depth, the understanding of a good leader is broad and deep.

4  Remove impurities from the silver and the silversmith can craft a fine chalice; 5  Remove the wicked from leadership and authority will be credible and God-honoring.

6  Don't work yourself into the spotlight; don't push your way into the place of prominence. 7  It's better to be promoted to a place of honor than face humiliation by being demoted.

8  Don't jump to conclusions - there may be a perfectly good explanation for what you just saw. 9  In the heat of an argument, don't betray confidences; 10  Word is sure to get around, and no one will trust you.

11  The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry, 12  And a wise friend's timely reprimand is like a gold ring slipped on your finger.

13  Reliable friends who do what they say are like cool drinks in sweltering heat - refreshing!

14  Like billowing clouds that bring no rain is the person who talks big but never produces.

15  Patient persistence pierces through indifference; gentle speech breaks down rigid defenses. A Person Without Self-Control

16  When you're given a box of candy, don't gulp it all down; eat too much chocolate and you'll make yourself sick;

17  And when you find a friend, don't outwear your welcome; show up at all hours and he'll soon get fed up.

18  Anyone who tells lies against the neighbors in court or on the street is a loose cannon.

19  Trusting a double-crosser when you're in trouble is like biting down on an abscessed tooth.

20  Singing light songs to the heavyhearted is like pouring salt in their wounds.

21  If you see your enemy hungry, go buy him lunch; if he's thirsty, bring him a drink. 22  Your generosity will surprise him with goodness, and God will look after you.

23  A north wind brings stormy weather, and a gossipy tongue stormy looks.

24  Better to live alone in a tumbledown shack than share a mansion with a nagging spouse.

25  Like a cool drink of water when you're worn out and weary is a letter from a long-lost friend.

26  A good person who gives in to a bad person is a muddied spring, a polluted well.

27  It's not smart to stuff yourself with sweets, nor is glory piled on glory good for you.

28  A person without self-control is like a house with its doors and windows knocked out.

26 1  We no more give honors to fools than pray for snow in summer or rain during harvest.

2  You have as little to fear from an undeserved curse as from the dart of a wren or the swoop of a swallow.

3  A whip for the racehorse, a tiller for the sailboat - and a stick for the back of fools!

4  Don't respond to the stupidity of a fool; you'll only look foolish yourself. 5  Answer a fool in simple terms so he doesn't get a swelled head.

6  You're only asking for trouble when you send a message by a fool. 7  A proverb quoted by fools is limp as a wet noodle. 8  Putting a fool in a place of honor is like setting a mud brick on a marble column. 9  To ask a moron to quote a proverb is like putting a scalpel in the hands of a drunk.

10  Hire a fool or a drunk and you shoot yourself in the foot.

11  As a dog eats its own vomit, so fools recycle silliness.

12  See that man who thinks he's so smart? You can expect far more from a fool than from him.

13  Loafers say, "It's dangerous out there! Tigers are prowling the streets!" and then pull the covers back over their heads.

14  Just as a door turns on its hinges, so a lazybones turns back over in bed.

15  A shiftless sluggard puts his fork in the pie, but is too lazy to lift it to his mouth. Like Glaze on Cracked Pottery

16  Dreamers fantasize their self-importance; they think they are smarter than a whole college faculty.

17  You grab a mad dog by the ears when you butt into a quarrel that's none of your business.

18  People who shrug off deliberate deceptions, saying, "I didn't mean it, I was only joking," 19  Are worse than careless campers who walk away from smoldering campfires.

20  When you run out of wood, the fire goes out; when the gossip ends, the quarrel dies down. 21  A quarrelsome person in a dispute is like kerosene thrown on a fire. 22  Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy; do you want junk like that in your belly?

23  Smooth talk from an evil heart is like glaze on cracked pottery.

24  Your enemy shakes hands and greets you like an old friend, all the while conniving against you. 25  When he speaks warmly to you, don't believe him for a minute; he's just waiting for the chance to rip you off. 26  No matter how cunningly he conceals his malice, eventually his evil will be exposed in public.

27  Malice backfires; spite boomerangs.

28  Liars hate their victims; flatterers sabotage trust.

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