Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Contents

Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV) 1

How Proverbs Can Be Used

These are the proverbs
of King Solomon of Israel,
    the son of David.
Proverbs will teach you
    wisdom and self-control
    and how to understand
    sayings with deep meanings.
You will learn what is right
    and honest and fair.
From these, an ordinary person
    can learn to be smart,
    and young people can gain
    knowledge and good sense.

If you are already wise,
    you will become even wiser.
And if you are smart,
you will learn to understand
    proverbs and sayings,
as well as words of wisdom
    and all kinds of riddles.
Respect and obey the Lord!
This is the beginning
    of knowledge.[a]
    Only a fool rejects wisdom
    and good advice.

Warnings against Bad Friends

My child, obey the teachings
    of your parents,
and wear their teachings
as you would a lovely hat
    or a pretty necklace.
10 Don’t be tempted by sinners
    or listen 11 when they say,
“Come on! Let’s gang up
and kill somebody,
    just for the fun of it!
12 They’re well and healthy now,
    but we’ll finish them off
    once and for all.
13 We’ll take their valuables
    and fill our homes
    with stolen goods.
14 If you join our gang,
    you’ll get your share.”

15 Don’t follow anyone like that
    or do what they do.
16 They are in a big hurry
to commit some crime,
    perhaps even murder.
17 They are like a bird
that sees the bait,
    but ignores the trap.[b]
18 They gang up to murder someone,
    but they are the victims.
19 The wealth you get from crime
    robs you of your life.

Wisdom Speaks

20 Wisdom[c] shouts in the streets
    wherever crowds gather.
21 She shouts in the marketplaces
and near the city gates
    as she says to the people,
22 “How much longer
will you enjoy
    being stupid fools?
Won’t you ever stop sneering
    and laughing at knowledge?
23     Listen as I correct you
    and tell you what I think.
24 You completely ignored me
    and refused to listen;
25 you rejected my advice
and paid no attention
    when I warned you.

26 “So when you are struck
    by some terrible disaster,
27 or when trouble and distress
surround you like a whirlwind,
    I will laugh and make fun.
28 You will ask for my help,
    but I won’t listen;
    you will search,
    but you won’t find me.
29 No, you would not learn,
    and you refused
    to respect the Lord.
30 You rejected my advice
and paid no attention
    when I warned you.

31 “Now you will eat the fruit
    of what you have done,
    until you are stuffed full
    with your own schemes.
32 Sin and self-satisfaction
bring destruction and death
    to stupid fools.
33 But if you listen to me,
you will be safe and secure
    without fear of disaster.”

Footnotes

  1. 1.7 the beginning of knowledge: Or “what knowledge is all about.”
  2. 1.17 They are. . . trap: Or “Be like a bird that won’t go for the bait, if it sees the trap.”
  3. 1.20 Wisdom: In the book of Proverbs the word “wisdom” is sometimes used as though wisdom were a supernatural being who was with God at the time of creation.

Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV) 2

Wisdom and Bad Friends

My child, you must follow
and treasure
    my teachings
    and my instructions.
Keep in tune with wisdom
    and think what it means
    to have common sense.
Beg as loud as you can
    for good common sense.
Search for wisdom
    as you would search for silver
    or hidden treasure.
Then you will understand
what it means to respect
    and to know the Lord God.

All wisdom comes from the Lord,
    and so do common sense
    and understanding.
God gives helpful advice[a]
    to everyone who obeys him
    and protects all of those
    who live as they should.
God sees that justice is done,
    and he watches over everyone
    who is faithful to him.
With wisdom you will learn
    what is right
    and honest and fair.

10 Wisdom will control your mind,
    and you will be pleased
    with knowledge.
11 Sound judgment and good sense
    will watch over you.
12 Wisdom will protect you
    from evil schemes
and from those liars
13     who turned from doing good
    to live in the darkness.
14 Most of all they enjoy
    being mean and deceitful.
15 They are dishonest themselves,
    and all they do is crooked.

Wisdom and Sexual Purity

16 Wisdom will protect you
    from the smooth talk
    of a sinful woman,
17 who breaks her wedding vows
    and leaves the man she married
    when she was young.
18 The road to her house leads
down
    to the dark world
    of the dead.
19 Visit her, and you will never
    find the road to life again.

20 Follow the example
of good people
    and live an honest life.
21 If you are honest and innocent,
    you will keep your land;
22 if you do wrong
and can never be trusted,
    you will be rooted out.

Footnotes

  1. 2.7 helpful advice: Or “wisdom.”

Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV) 3

Trust God

My child, remember
my teachings and instructions
    and obey them completely.
They will help you live
    a long and prosperous life.
Let love and loyalty
always show like a necklace,
    and write them in your mind.
God and people will like you
    and consider you a success.

With all your heart
you must trust the Lord
    and not your own judgment.
Always let him lead you,
    and he will clear the road
    for you to follow.
Don’t ever think that you
    are wise enough,
    but respect the Lord
    and stay away from evil.
This will make you healthy,
    and you will feel strong.
Honor the Lord by giving him
your money
    and the first part
    of all your crops.
10 Then you will have
more grain and grapes
    than you will ever need.

11 My child, don’t turn away
or become bitter
    when the Lord corrects you.
12 The Lord corrects
    everyone he loves,
    just as parents correct
    their favorite child.

The Value of Wisdom

13 God blesses everyone
who has wisdom
    and common sense.
14 Wisdom is worth more
    than silver;
    it makes you much richer
    than gold.
15 Wisdom is more valuable
    than precious jewels;
    nothing you want
    compares with her.

16 In her right hand
    Wisdom holds a long life,
    and in her left hand
    are wealth and honor.
17 Wisdom makes life pleasant
    and leads us safely along.
18 Wisdom is a life-giving tree,
    the source of happiness
    for all who hold on to her.

19 By his wisdom and knowledge
    the Lord created
    heaven and earth.
20 By his understanding
he let the ocean break loose
    and clouds release the rain.
21 My child, use common sense
and sound judgment!
    Always keep them in mind.
22 They will help you to live
    a long and beautiful life.
23 You will walk safely
    and never stumble;
24     you will rest without a worry
    and sleep soundly.
25 So don’t be afraid
    of sudden disasters
    or storms that strike
    those who are evil.
26 You can be sure
    that the Lord
    will protect you from harm.

27 Do all you can for everyone
    who deserves your help.
28 Don’t tell your neighbor
to come back tomorrow,
    if you can help today.
29 Don’t try to be mean
    to neighbors who trust you.
30 Don’t argue just to be arguing,
    when you haven’t been hurt.
31 Don’t be jealous
of cruel people
    or follow their example.

32 The Lord doesn’t like
    anyone who is dishonest,
    but he lets good people
    be his friends.
33 He places a curse on the home
    of everyone who is evil,
    but he blesses the home
    of every good person.
34 The Lord sneers at those
    who sneer at him,
    but he is kind to everyone
    who is humble.
35 You will be praised
    if you are wise,
    but you will be disgraced
    if you are a stubborn fool.

Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV) 4

Advice to Young People

My child, listen closely
to my teachings
    and learn common sense.
My advice is useful,
    so don’t turn away.
When I was still very young
    and my mother’s favorite child,
    my father said to me:
“If you follow my teachings
    and keep them in mind,
    you will live.
Be wise and learn good sense;
    remember my teachings
    and do what I say.

If you love Wisdom
and don’t reject her,
    she will watch over you.
The best thing about Wisdom
    is Wisdom herself;
    good sense is more important
    than anything else.
If you value Wisdom
and hold tightly to her,
    great honors will be yours.
It will be like wearing
a glorious crown
    of beautiful flowers.

The Right Way and the Wrong Way

10 My child, if you listen
and obey my teachings,
    you will live a long time.
11 I have shown you the way
    that makes sense;
    I have guided you
    along the right path.
12 Your road won’t be blocked,
    and you won’t stumble
    when you run.
13 Hold firmly to my teaching
and never let go.
    It will mean life for you.
14 Don’t follow the bad example
    of cruel and evil people.
15     Turn aside and keep going.
    Stay away from them.
16 They can’t sleep or rest
until they do wrong
    or harm
    some innocent victim.
17 Their food and drink
    are violence and cruelty.

18 The lifestyle of good people
    is like sunlight at dawn
    that keeps getting brighter
    until broad daylight.
19 The lifestyle of the wicked
    is like total darkness,
    and they will never know
    what makes them stumble.

20 My child, listen carefully
    to everything I say.
21     Don’t forget a single word,
    but think about it all.
22 Knowing these teachings
    will mean true life
    and good health for you.
23 Carefully guard your thoughts
    because they are the source
    of true life.
24 Never tell lies or be deceitful
    in what you say.
25     Keep looking straight ahead,
    without turning aside.
26 Know where you are headed,
    and you will stay
    on solid ground.
27 Don’t make a mistake by turning
    to the right or the left.

Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV) 5

Be Faithful to Your Wife

My son, if you listen closely
    to my wisdom and good sense,
you will have sound judgment,
    and you will always know
    the right thing to say.
The words of an immoral woman
may be as sweet as honey
    and as smooth as olive oil.
But all that you really get
from being with her
    is bitter poison and pain.
If you follow her,
she will lead you down
    to the world of the dead.
She has missed the path
that leads to life
    and doesn’t even know it.

My son, listen to me
    and do everything I say.
Stay away from a bad woman!
    Don’t even go near the door
    of her house.
You will lose your self-respect
    and end up in debt
    to some cruel person
    for the rest of your life.
10 Strangers will get your money
    and everything else
    you have worked for.
11 When it’s all over,
your body will waste away,
    as you groan 12 and shout,
“I hated advice and correction!
13 I paid no attention
    to my teachers,
14     and now I am disgraced
    in front of everyone.”

15 You should be faithful
    to your wife,
    just as you take water
    from your own well.[a]
16 And don’t be like a stream
    from which just any woman
    may take a drink.
17 Save yourself for your wife
    and don’t have sex
    with other women.
18 Be happy with the wife
you married
    when you were young.
19 She is beautiful and graceful,
    just like a deer;
    you should be attracted to her
    and stay deeply in love.

20 Don’t go crazy over a woman
    who is unfaithful
    to her own husband!
21 The Lord sees everything,
    and he watches us closely.
22 Sinners are trapped and caught
    by their own evil deeds.
23 They get lost and die
because of their foolishness
    and lack of self-control.

Footnotes

  1. 5.15 own well: In biblical times water was scarce and wells were carefully guarded.

Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV) 6

Don’t Be Foolish

My child, suppose you agree
to pay the debt of someone,
    who cannot repay a loan.
Then you are trapped
    by your own words,
    and you are now in the power
    of someone else.
Here is what you should do:
    Go and beg for permission
    to call off the agreement.
Do this before you fall asleep
    or even get sleepy.
Save yourself, just as a deer
or a bird
    tries to escape
    from a hunter.

You lazy people can learn
    by watching an anthill.
Ants don’t have leaders,
    but they store up food
    during harvest season.
How long will you lie there
    doing nothing at all?
    When are you going to get up
    and stop sleeping?
10 Sleep a little. Doze a little.
    Fold your hands
    and twiddle your thumbs.
11 Suddenly, everything is gone,
    as though it had been taken
    by an armed robber.

12 Worthless liars go around
13 winking
    and giving signals
    to deceive others.
14 They are always thinking up
something cruel and evil,
    and they stir up trouble.
15 But they will be struck
by sudden disaster
    and left without a hope.

16 There are six or seven
kinds of people
    the Lord doesn’t like:
17 Those who are too proud
    or tell lies or murder,
18     those who make evil plans
    or are quick to do wrong,
19 those who tell lies in court
    or stir up trouble
    in a family.

20 Obey the teaching
    of your parents—
21     always keep it in mind
    and never forget it.
22 Their teaching will guide you
    when you walk,
protect you when you sleep,
    and talk to you
    when you are awake.

23 The Law of the Lord is a lamp,
    and its teachings
    shine brightly.
Correction and self-control
    will lead you through life.
24 They will protect you
    from the flattering words
    of someone else’s wife.[a]
25 Don’t let yourself be attracted
by the charm
    and lovely eyes
    of someone like that.
26 A woman who sells her love
can be bought
    for as little
    as the price of a meal.
But making love
to another man’s wife
    will cost you everything.
27 If you carry burning coals,
    you burn your clothes;
28     if you step on hot coals,
    you burn your feet.
29 And if you go to bed
with another man’s wife,
    you pay the price.

30 We don’t put up with thieves,
    not even[b] with one who steals
    for something to eat.
31 And thieves who get caught
    must pay back
    seven times what was stolen
    and lose everything.
32 But if you go to bed
    with another man’s wife,
    you will destroy yourself
    by your own stupidity.
33 You will be beaten
    and forever disgraced,
34 because a jealous husband
can be furious and merciless
    when he takes revenge.
35 He won’t let you pay him off,
    no matter what you offer.

Footnotes

  1. 6.24 someone else’s wife: Or “an evil woman.”
  2. 6.30 not even: Or “except.”

Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV) 7

The Foolishness of Unfaithfulness

My son, pay close attention
    and don’t forget
    what I tell you to do.
Obey me, and you will live!
    Let my instructions be
    your greatest treasure.
Keep them at your fingertips
    and write them
    in your mind.
Let wisdom be your sister
    and make common sense
    your closest friend.
They will protect you
    from the flattering words
    of someone else’s wife.

From the window of my house,
    I once happened to see
    some foolish young men.
It was late in the evening,
    sometime after dark.
One of these young men
    turned the corner
    and was walking by the house
    of an unfaithful wife.
10 She was dressed fancy
like a woman of the street
    with only one thing in mind.
11 She was one of those women
who are loud and restless
    and never stay at home,
12     who walk street after street,
    waiting to trap a man.

13 She grabbed him and kissed him,
    and with no sense of shame,
    she said:
14 “I had to offer a sacrifice,
    and there is enough meat
    left over for a feast.
15 So I came looking for you,
    and here you are!
16 The sheets on my bed
    are bright-colored cloth
    from Egypt.
17 And I have covered it
with perfume
    made of myrrh,
    aloes, and cinnamon.

18 “Let’s go there
    and make love all night.
19     My husband is traveling,
    and he’s far away.
20 He took a lot of money along,
    and he won’t be back home
    before the middle
    of the month.”

21 And so, she tricked him
    with all of her sweet talk
    and her flattery.
22 Right away he followed her
    like an ox on the way
    to be slaughtered,
or like a fool on the way
to be punished[a]
23     and killed with arrows.
He was no more than a bird
    rushing into a trap,
    without knowing
    it would cost him his life.

24 My son, pay close attention
    to what I have said.
25 Don’t even think about
    that kind of woman
    or let yourself be misled
    by someone like her.
26 Such a woman has caused
the downfall
    and destruction
    of a lot of men.
27 Her house is a one-way street
leading straight down
    to the world of the dead.

Footnotes

  1. 7.22 a fool. . . punished: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV) 8

In Praise of Wisdom

With great understanding,
    Wisdom[a] is calling out
    as she stands at the crossroads
    and on every hill.
She stands by the city gate
    where everyone enters the city,
    and she shouts:
“I am calling out
    to each one of you!
Good sense and sound judgment
    can be yours.
    Listen, because what I say
    is worthwhile and right.
I always speak the truth
    and refuse to tell a lie.
Every word I speak is honest,
    not one is misleading
    or deceptive.

“If you have understanding,
    you will see that my words
    are just what you need.
10 Let instruction and knowledge
mean more to you
    than silver
    or the finest gold.
11 Wisdom is worth much more
than precious jewels
    or anything else you desire.”

Wisdom Speaks

12 I am Wisdom[b]—Common Sense
    is my closest friend;
    I possess knowledge
    and sound judgment.
13 If you respect the Lord,
    you will hate evil.
    I hate pride and conceit
    and deceitful lies.
14 I am strong,
    and I offer
sensible advice
    and sound judgment.
15 By my power kings govern,
    and rulers make laws
    that are fair.
16 Every honest leader rules
    with help from me.

17 I love everyone who loves me,
    and I will be found by all
    who honestly search.
18 I can make you rich and famous,
    important and successful.
19 What you receive from me
    is more valuable
    than even the finest gold
    or the purest silver.
20 I always do what is right,
21     and I give great riches
    to everyone who loves me.

22 From the beginning,
    I was with the Lord.[c]
    I was there before he began
23     to create the earth.
At the very first,
    the Lord gave life to[d] me.
24 When I was born,
    there were no oceans
    or springs of water.
25 My birth was before
mountains were formed
    or hills were put in place.
26 It happened long before God
    had made the earth
    or any of its fields
    or even the dust.

27 I was there when the Lord
    put the heavens in place
    and stretched the sky
    over the surface of the sea.
28 I was with him when he placed
    the clouds in the sky
    and created the springs
    that fill the ocean.
29 I was there when he set
boundaries for the sea
    to make it obey him,
    and when he laid foundations
    to support the earth.

30 I was right beside the Lord,
    helping him plan and build.[e]
I made him happy each day,
    and I was happy at his side.
31     I was pleased with his world
    and pleased with its people.

32 Pay attention, my children!
    Follow my advice,
    and you will be happy.
33 Listen carefully
to my instructions,
    and you will be wise.

34 Come to my home each day
and listen to me.
    You will find happiness.
35 By finding me, you find life,
    and the Lord will be pleased
    with you.
36 But if you don’t find me,
    you hurt only yourself,
    and if you hate me,
    you are in love with death.

Footnotes

  1. 8.1,12 Wisdom: See the note at 1.20.
  2. 8.1,12 Wisdom: See the note at 1.20.
  3. 8.22 From the beginning. . . with the Lord: Or “In the very beginning, the Lord created me.”
  4. 8.23 gave life to: Or “formed.”
  5. 8.30 helping. . . build: Or “like his own child.”

Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV) 9

Wisdom Gives a Feast

Wisdom has built her house
    with its seven columns.
She has prepared the meat
and set out the wine.
    Her feast is ready.

She has sent her servant women
    to announce her invitation
    from the highest hills:
“Everyone who is ignorant
    or foolish is invited!
    All of you are welcome
    to my meat and wine.
If you want to live,
    give up your foolishness
    and let understanding
    guide your steps.”

True Wisdom

Correct a worthless bragger,
    and all you will get
    are insults and injuries.
Any bragger you correct
    will only hate you.
But if you correct someone
who has common sense,
    you will be loved.
If you have good sense,
    instruction will help you
    to have even better sense.
And if you live right,
    education will help you
    to know even more.

10 Respect and obey the Lord!
    This is the beginning
    of wisdom.[a]
To have understanding,
    you must know the Holy God.
11 I am Wisdom.
    If you follow me,
    you will live a long time.
12 Good sense is good for you,
    but if you brag,
    you hurt yourself.

A Foolish Invitation

13 Stupidity[b] is reckless,
    senseless, and foolish.
14 She sits in front of her house
    and on the highest hills
    in the town.
15 She shouts to everyone
    who passes by,
16     “If you are stupid,
    come on inside!”
And to every fool she says,
17     “Stolen water tastes best,
    and the food you eat in secret
    tastes best of all.”
18 None who listen to Stupidity
understand
    that her guests
    are as good as dead.

Footnotes

  1. 9.10 the beginning of wisdom: Or “what wisdom is all about.”
  2. 9.13 Stupidity: Or “A foolish woman.”

Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV) 10

Solomon’s Wise Sayings

10 Here are some proverbs
    of Solomon:
Children with good sense
    make their parents happy,
    but foolish children
    make them sad.
What you gain by doing evil
    won’t help you at all,
    but being good[a]
    can save you from death.

If you obey the Lord,
    you won’t go hungry;
if you are wicked,
    God won’t let you have
    what you want.
Laziness leads to poverty;
    hard work makes you rich.
At harvest season
it’s smart to work hard,
    but stupid to sleep.

Everyone praises good people,
    but evil hides behind
    the words of the wicked.
Good people are remembered
    long after they are gone,
    but the wicked
    are soon forgotten.

If you have good sense,
    you will listen and obey;
    if all you do is talk,
    you will destroy yourself.
You will be safe,
    if you always do right,
    but you will get caught,
    if you are dishonest.
10 Deceit causes trouble,
    and foolish talk
    will bring you to ruin.[b]
11 The words of good people
    are a source of life,
    but evil hides behind
    the words of the wicked.

12 Hatred stirs up trouble;
    love overlooks the wrongs
    that others do.
13 If you have good sense,
    it will show when you speak.
    But if you are stupid,
you will be beaten
    with a stick.
14 If you have good sense,
    you will learn all you can,
    but foolish talk
    will soon destroy you.

15 Great wealth can be a fortress,
    but poverty
    is no protection at all.
16 If you live right,
    the reward is a good life;
    if you are evil,
    all you have is sin.

17 Accept correction,
    and you will find life;
    reject correction,
    and you will miss the road.
18 You can hide your hatred
    by telling lies,
    but you are a fool
    to spread lies.
19 You will say the wrong thing
    if you talk too much—
    so be sensible and watch
    what you say.
20 The words of a good person
    are like pure silver,
    but the thoughts
of an evil person
    are almost worthless.
21 Many are helped
    by useful instruction,
    but fools are killed
    by their own stupidity.

22 When the Lord blesses you
with riches,
    you have nothing to regret.[c]
23 Fools enjoy doing wrong,
    but anyone with good sense
    enjoys acting wisely.
24 What evil people dread most
    will happen to them,
    but good people will get
    what they want most.
25 Those crooks will disappear
    when a storm strikes,
    but God will keep safe
    all who obey him.
26 Having a lazy person on the job
    is like a mouth full of vinegar
    or smoke in your eyes.

27 If you respect the Lord,
    you will live longer;
    if you keep doing wrong,
    your life will be cut short.
28 If you obey the Lord,
    you will be happy,
    but there is no future
    for the wicked.
29 The Lord protects everyone
    who lives right,
    but he destroys anyone
    who does wrong.
30 Good people will stand firm,
    but the wicked
    will lose their land.
31 Honest people speak sensibly,
    but deceitful liars
    will be silenced.
32 If you obey the Lord,
    you will always know
    the right thing to say.
But no one will trust you
    if you tell lies.

Footnotes

  1. 10.2 good: Or “generous.”
  2. 10.10 and foolish. . . ruin: One ancient translation “but you can help people by correcting them.”
  3. 10.22 When. . . regret: Or “No matter how hard you work, your riches really come From the Lord.”

Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV) 11

Watch What You Say and Do

11 The Lord hates anyone
    who cheats,
    but he likes everyone
    who is honest.
Too much pride
can put you to shame.
    It’s wiser to be humble.
If you do the right thing,
    honesty will be your guide.
But if you are crooked,
    you will be trapped
    by your own dishonesty.

When God is angry,
    money won’t help you.
    Obeying God is the only way
    to be saved from death.
If you are truly good,
    you will do right;
if you are wicked,
    you will be destroyed
    by your own sin.
Honesty can keep you safe,
    but if you can’t be trusted,
    you trap yourself.
When the wicked die,
    their hopes die with them.
Trouble goes right past
the Lord’s people
    and strikes the wicked.

Dishonest people use gossip
    to destroy their neighbors;
    good people are protected
    by their own good sense.
10 When honest people prosper
and the wicked disappear,
    the whole city celebrates.
11 When God blesses his people,
    their city prospers,
    but deceitful liars
    can destroy a city.

12 It’s stupid to say bad things
    about your neighbors.
    If you are sensible,
    you will keep quiet.
13 A gossip tells everything,
    but a true friend
    will keep a secret.
14 A city without wise leaders
    will end up in ruin;
    a city with many wise leaders
    will be kept safe.

15 It’s a dangerous thing
    to guarantee payment
for someone’s debts.
    Don’t do it!
16 A gracious woman
    will be respected,
    but a man must work hard
    to get rich.[a]
17 Kindness is rewarded—
    but if you are cruel,
    you hurt yourself.
18 Meanness gets you nowhere,
    but goodness is rewarded.
19 Always do the right thing,
    and you will live;
    keep on doing wrong,
    and you will die.

20 The Lord hates sneaky people,
    but he likes everyone
    who lives right.
21 You can be sure of this:
    All crooks will be punished,
    but God’s people won’t.
22 A beautiful woman
    who acts foolishly
    is like a gold ring
    on the snout of a pig.
23 Good people want what is best,
    but troublemakers
    hope to stir up trouble.[b]

24 Sometimes you can become rich
by being generous
    or poor by being greedy.
25 Generosity will be rewarded:
    Give a cup of water,
    and you will receive
    a cup of water in return.
26 Charge too much for grain,
    and you will be cursed;
    sell it at a fair price,
    and you will be praised.
27 Try hard to do right,
    and you will win friends;
    go looking for trouble,
    and you will find it.
28 Trust in your wealth,
    and you will be a failure,
    but God’s people will prosper
    like healthy plants.

29 Fools who cause trouble
in the family
    won’t inherit a thing.
    They will end up as slaves
    of someone with good sense.
30 Live right, and you will eat
    from the life-giving tree.
    And if you act wisely,
    others will follow.[c]
31 If good people are rewarded[d]
    here on this earth,
    all who are cruel and mean
    will surely be punished.

Footnotes

  1. 11.16 but. . . rich: Or “a ruthless man will only get rich.”
  2. 11.23 Good people. . . trouble: Or “Good people do what is best, but troublemakers just stir up trouble.”
  3. 11.30 act. . . follow: Hebrew; one ancient translation “but violence leads to death.”
  4. 11.31 rewarded: Or “punished.”

Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV) 12

You Can’t Hide behind Evil

12 To accept correction is wise,
    to reject it is stupid.
The Lord likes everyone
    who lives right,
    but he punishes everyone
    who makes evil plans.
Sin cannot offer security!
    But if you live right,
    you will be as secure
    as a tree with deep roots.
A helpful wife is a jewel
    for her husband,
    but a shameless wife
    will make his bones rot.

Good people have kind thoughts,
    but you should never trust
    the advice of someone evil.
Bad advice is a deadly trap,
    but good advice
    is like a shield.
Once the wicked are defeated,
    they are gone forever,
    but no one who obeys God
    will ever be thrown down.
Good sense is worthy of praise,
    but stupidity is a curse.
It’s better to be ordinary
    and have only one servant[a]
    than to think you are somebody
    and starve to death.
10 Good people are kind
to their animals,
    but a mean person is cruel.

11 Hard working farmers have more
    than enough food;
    daydreamers are nothing more
    than stupid fools.
12 An evil person tries to hide
    behind evil;[b]
    good people are like trees
    with deep roots.
13 We trap ourselves
    by telling lies,
    but we stay out of trouble
    by living right.
14 We are rewarded or punished
    for what we say and do.
15 Fools think they know
    what is best,
    but a sensible person
    listens to advice.

16 Losing your temper is foolish;
    ignoring an insult is smart.
17 An honest person
    tells the truth in court,
    but a dishonest person
    tells nothing but lies.
18 Sharp words cut like a sword,
    but words of wisdom heal.
19 Truth will last forever;
    lies are soon found out.
20 An evil mind is deceitful,
    but gentle thoughts
    bring happiness.
21 Good people never have trouble,
    but troublemakers
    have more than enough.
22 The Lord hates every liar,
    but he is the friend of all
    who can be trusted.
23 Be sensible and don’t tell
    everything you know—
    only fools spread
    foolishness everywhere.

24 Work hard, and you
    will be a leader;
    be lazy, and you
    will end up a slave.
25 Worry is a heavy burden,
    but a kind word
    always brings cheer.
26 You are better off to do right,
    than to lose your way
    by doing wrong.[c]
27 Anyone too lazy to cook
    will starve,
    but a hard worker
    is a valuable treasure.[d]
28 Follow the road to life,
    and you won’t be bothered
    by death.

Footnotes

  1. 12.9 It’s. . . servant: Or “It is better just to have an ordinary job.”
  2. 12.12 An evil. . . evil: Or “Evil people love what they get from being evil.”
  3. 12.26 wrong: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 26.
  4. 12.27 but. . . treasure: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV) 13

Wise Friends Make You Wise

13 Children with good sense
    accept correction
    from their parents,
    but stubborn children
    ignore it completely.
You will be well rewarded
    for saying something kind,
but all some people think about
    is how to be cruel and mean.
Keep what you know to yourself,
    and you will be safe;
    talk too much,
    and you are done for.
No matter how much you want,
    laziness won’t help a bit,
    but hard work will reward you
    with more than enough.
A good person hates deceit,
    but those who are evil
    cause shame and disgrace.
Live right, and you are safe!
    But sin will destroy you.

Some who have nothing
    may pretend to be rich,
    and some who have everything
    may pretend to be poor.
The rich may have
    to pay a ransom,
    but the poor don’t have
    that problem.
The lamp of a good person
    keeps on shining;
    the lamp of an evil person
    soon goes out.
10 Too much pride causes trouble.
    Be sensible and take advice.

11 Money wrongly gotten
    will disappear bit by bit;
    money earned little by little
    will grow and grow.
12 Not getting what you want
    can make you feel sick,
    but a wish that comes true
    is a life-giving tree.
13 If you reject God’s teaching,
    you will pay the price;
    if you obey his commands,
    you will be rewarded.

14 Sensible instruction
    is a life-giving fountain
    that helps you escape
    all deadly traps.
15 Sound judgment is praised,
    but people without good sense
    are on the way to disaster.[a]
16 If you have good sense,
you will act sensibly,
    but fools act like fools.
17 Whoever delivers your message
    can make things better
    or worse for you.

18 All who refuse correction
    will be poor and disgraced;
    all who accept correction
    will be praised.
19 It’s a good feeling
    to get what you want,
    but only a stupid fool
    hates to turn from evil.
20 Wise friends make you wise,
    but you hurt yourself
    by going around with fools.
21 You are in for trouble
    if you sin,
    but you will be rewarded
    if you live right.
22 If you obey God,
    you will have something
    to leave your grandchildren.
If you don’t obey God,
    those who live right
    will get what you leave.

23 Even when the land of the poor
    produces good crops,
    they get cheated
    out of what they grow.[b]
24 If you love your children,
    you will correct them;
    if you don’t love them,
    you won’t correct them.
25 If you live right,
    you will have plenty to eat;
    if you don’t live right,
    you will go away empty.

Footnotes

  1. 13.15 people. . . disaster: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 13.23 grow: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 23.

Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV) 14

Wisdom Makes Good Sense

14 A woman’s family
is held together
    by her wisdom,
    but it can be destroyed
    by her foolishness.
By living right, you show
    that you respect the Lord;
    by being deceitful, you show
    that you despise him.
Proud fools are punished
    for their stupid talk,
    but sensible talk
    can save your life.
Without the help of an ox
    there can be no crop,
    but with a strong ox
    a big crop is possible.
An honest witness
    tells the truth;
    a dishonest witness
    tells nothing but lies.

Make fun of wisdom,
    and you will never find it.
    But if you have understanding,
    knowledge comes easily.
Stay away from fools,
    or you won’t learn a thing.
Wise people have enough sense
to find their way,
    but stupid fools get lost.
Fools don’t care
    if they are wrong,[a]
    but God is pleased
    when people do right.

10 No one else can really know
    how sad or happy you are.
11 The tent of a good person
stands longer
    than the house
    of someone evil.
12 You may think you are
on the right road
    and still end up dead.
13 Sorrow may hide
    behind laughter,
    and happiness may end
    in sorrow.
14 You harvest what you plant,
    whether good or bad.

15 Don’t be stupid
    and believe all you hear;
    be smart and know
    where you are headed.
16 Only a stupid fool
    is never cautious—
    so be extra careful
    and stay out of trouble.
17 Fools have quick tempers,
    and no one likes you
    if you can’t be trusted.
18 Stupidity leads to foolishness;
    be smart and learn.

19 The wicked will come crawling
    to those who obey God.
20 You have no friends
    if you are poor,
    but you have lots of friends
    if you are rich.
21 It’s wrong to hate others,
    but God blesses everyone
    who is kind to the poor.
22 It’s a mistake
    to make evil plans,
    but you will have loyal friends
    if you want to do right.
23 Hard work is worthwhile,
    but empty talk
    will make you poor.
24 Wisdom can make you rich,
    but foolishness leads
    to more foolishness.
25 An honest witness
can save your life,
    but liars can’t be trusted.

26 If you respect the Lord,
you and your children
    have
a strong fortress
27 and a life-giving fountain
    that keeps you safe
    from deadly traps.

28 Rulers of powerful nations
    are held in honor;
    rulers of weak nations
    are nothing at all.
29 It’s smart to be patient,
    but it’s stupid
    to lose your temper.
30 It’s healthy to be content,
    but envy can eat you up.
31 If you mistreat the poor,
    you insult your Creator;
    if you are kind to them,
    you show him respect.
32 In times of trouble
    the wicked are destroyed,
    but even at death
    the innocent have faith.[b]

33 Wisdom is found in the minds
of people with good sense,
    but fools don’t know it.[c]
34 Doing right brings honor
to a nation,
    but sin brings disgrace.
35 Kings reward servants
    who act wisely,
    but they punish those
    who act foolishly.

Footnotes

  1. 14.9 Fools. . . wrong: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 14.32 but even. . . faith: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. Some ancient translations “but good people trust their innocence.”
  3. 14.33 but. . . it: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text; some ancient translations “but not in the mind of a fool.”

Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV) 15

The Lord Sees Everything

15 A kind answer
    soothes angry feelings,
    but harsh words
    stir them up.
Words of wisdom
come from the wise,
    but fools speak foolishness.

The Lord sees everything,
    whether good or bad.
Kind words are good medicine,
    but deceitful words
    can really hurt.
Don’t be a fool
and disobey your parents.
    Be smart! Accept correction.
Good people become wealthy,
    but those who are evil
    will lose what they have.
Words of wisdom
    make good sense;
    the thoughts of a fool
    make no sense at all.

The Lord is disgusted
    by gifts from the wicked,
    but it makes him happy
    when his people pray.
The Lord is disgusted
    with all who do wrong,
    but he loves everyone
    who does right.
10 If you turn from the right way,
    you will be punished;
    if you refuse correction,
    you will die.

11 If the Lord can see everything
in the world of the dead,
    he can see in our hearts.
12 Those who sneer at others
    don’t like to be corrected,
    and they won’t ask help
    from someone with sense.
13 Happiness makes you smile;
    sorrow can crush you.
14 Anyone with good sense
    is eager to learn more,
    but fools are hungry
    for foolishness.

15 The poor have a hard life,
    but being content is as good
    as an endless feast.
16 It’s better to obey the Lord
    and have only a little,
    than to be very rich
    and terribly confused.
17 A simple meal with love
is better than a feast
    where there is hatred.

18 Losing your temper
    causes a lot of trouble,
    but staying calm
    settles arguments.
19 Being lazy is like walking
    in a thorn patch,
    but everyone who does right
    walks on a smooth road.
20 Children with good sense
    make their parents happy,
    but foolish children
    are hateful to them.
21 Stupidity brings happiness
    to senseless fools,
    but everyone with good sense
    follows the straight path.

22 Without good advice
    everything goes wrong—
    it takes careful planning
    for things to go right.
23 Giving the right answer
at the right time
    makes everyone happy.
24 All who are wise follow a road
    that leads upward to life
    and away from death.

25 The Lord destroys the homes
    of those who are proud,
    but he protects the property
    of widows.
26 The Lord hates evil thoughts,
    but kind words please him.
27 Being greedy causes trouble
    for your family,
    but you protect yourself
    by refusing bribes.
28 Good people think
    before they answer,
    but the wicked speak evil
    without ever thinking.

29 The Lord never even hears
    the prayers of the wicked,
    but he answers the prayers
    of all who obey him.
30 A friendly smile
    makes you happy,
    and good news
    makes you feel strong.
31 Healthy correction is good,
    and if you accept it,
    you will be wise.
32 You hurt only yourself
    by rejecting instruction,
    but it makes good sense
    to accept it.
33 Showing respect to the Lord
    will make you wise,
    and being humble
    will bring honor to you.

Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV) 16

The Lord Has the Final Word

16 We humans make plans,
but the Lord
    has the final word.
We may think we know
    what is right,
    but the Lord is the judge
    of our motives.
Share your plans with the Lord,
    and you will succeed.

The Lord has a reason
    for everything he does,
    and he lets evil people live
    only to be punished.
The Lord doesn’t like
    anyone who is conceited—
    you can be sure
    they will be punished.
If we truly love God,
    our sins will be forgiven;
    if we show him respect,
    we will keep away from sin.
When we please the Lord,
    even our enemies
    make friends with us.
It’s better to be honest
    and poor
    than to be dishonest
    and rich.

We make our own plans,
    but the Lord decides
    where we will go.
10 Rulers speak with authority
    and are never wrong.
11     The Lord doesn’t like it
    when we cheat in business.
12 Justice makes rulers powerful.
    They should hate evil
13     and like honesty and truth.
14 An angry ruler
    can put you to death.
So be wise!
    Don’t make one angry.
15 When a ruler is happy
    and pleased with you,
    it’s like refreshing rain,
    and you will live.

16 It’s much better to be wise
and sensible
    than to be rich.
17 God’s people avoid evil ways,
    and they protect themselves
    by watching where they go.
18 Too much pride
    will destroy you.
19 You are better off
    to be humble and poor
    than to get rich
    from what you take by force.
20 If you know what you’re doing,[a]
    you will prosper.
    God blesses everyone
    who trusts him.
21 Good judgment proves
    that you are wise,
    and if you speak kindly,
    you can teach others.
22 Good sense is a fountain
    that gives life,
    but fools are punished
    by their foolishness.
23 You can persuade others
    if you are wise
    and speak sensibly.

24 Kind words are like honey—
    they cheer you up
    and make you feel strong.
25 Sometimes what seems right
    is really a road to death.
26     The hungrier you are,
    the harder you work.
27 Worthless people plan trouble.
    Even their words burn
    like a flaming fire.
28 Gossip is no good!
    It causes hard feelings
    and comes between friends.

29 Don’t trust violent people.
    They will mislead you
    to do the wrong thing.
30 When someone winks
or grins behind your back,
    trouble is on the way.
31 Gray hair is a glorious crown
    worn by those
    who have lived right.
32 Controlling your temper
is better than being a hero
    who captures a city.
33 We make our own decisions,
    but the Lord alone
    determines what happens.

Footnotes

  1. 16.20 know what. . . doing: Or “do what you’re taught.”

Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV) 17

Our Thoughts Are Tested by the Lord

17 A dry crust of bread eaten
    in peace and quiet
    is better than a feast eaten
    where everyone argues.
A hard-working slave
    will be placed in charge
    of a no-good child,
and that slave will be given
the same inheritance
    that each child receives.
Silver and gold are tested
    by flames of fire;
    our thoughts are tested
    by the Lord.
Troublemakers listen
to troublemakers,
    and liars listen to liars.
By insulting the poor,
    you insult your Creator.
You will be punished
    if you make fun
    of someone in trouble.
Grandparents are proud
    of their grandchildren,
    and children should be proud
    of their parents.

It sounds strange for a fool
    to talk sensibly,
    but it’s even worse
    for a ruler to tell lies.
A bribe works miracles
like a magic charm
    that brings good luck.
You will keep your friends
    if you forgive them,
but you will lose your friends
    if you keep talking about
    what they did wrong.
10 A sensible person
    accepts correction,
    but you can’t beat sense
    into a fool.

11 Cruel people want to rebel,
    and so vicious attackers
    will be sent against them.
12 A bear robbed of her cubs
is far less dangerous
    than a stubborn fool.
13 You will always have trouble
    if you are mean to those
    who are good to you.
14 The start of an argument
    is like a water leak—
    so stop it before
    real trouble breaks out.
15 The Lord doesn’t like those
who defend the guilty
    or condemn the innocent.
16 Why should fools have money
for an education
    when they refuse to learn?

17 A friend is always a friend,
    and relatives are born
    to share our troubles.
18 It’s stupid to guarantee
    someone else’s loan.
19 The wicked and the proud
love trouble
    and keep begging
    to be hurt.
20 Dishonesty does you no good,
    and telling lies
    will get you in trouble.
21 It’s never pleasant
to be the parent of a fool
    and have nothing but pain.
22 If you are cheerful,
    you feel good;
    if you are sad,
    you hurt all over.

23 Crooks accept secret bribes
    to keep justice
    from being done.
24 Anyone with wisdom knows
    what makes good sense,
    but fools can never
    make up their minds.
25 Foolish children bring sorrow
to their father
    and pain to their mother.
26 It isn’t fair
to punish the innocent
    and those who do right.
27 It makes a lot of sense
to be a person of few words
    and to stay calm.
28 Even fools seem smart
    when they are quiet.

Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV) 18

It’s Wrong to Favor the Guilty

18 It’s selfish and stupid
    to think only of yourself
    and to sneer at people
    who have sense.[a]
Fools have no desire to learn;
    they would much rather
    give their own opinion.
Wrongdoing leads to shame
    and disgrace.
Words of wisdom
are a stream
    that flows
    from a deep fountain.
It’s wrong to favor the guilty
    and keep the innocent
    from getting justice.

Foolish talk will get you
    into a lot of trouble.
Saying foolish things
is like setting a trap
    to destroy yourself.
There’s nothing so delicious
as the taste of gossip!
    It melts in your mouth.
Being lazy is no different
    from being a troublemaker.

10 The Lord is a mighty tower
where his people can run
    for safety—
11     the rich think their money
    is a wall of protection.

12 Pride leads to destruction;
    humility leads to honor.
13 It’s stupid and embarrassing
    to give an answer
    before you listen.
14 Being cheerful helps
    when we are sick,
    but nothing helps
    when we give up.
15 Everyone with good sense
    wants to learn.
16     A gift will get you in
    to see anyone.
17 You may think you have won
your case in court,
    until your opponent speaks.
18 Drawing straws is one way
    to settle a difficult case.
19 Making up with a friend
    you have offended[b]
    is harder than breaking
    through a city wall.

20 Make your words good—
    you will be glad you did.
21 Words can bring death or life!
    Talk too much, and you will eat
    everything you say.
22 A man’s greatest treasure
is his wife—
    she is a gift from the Lord.
23 The poor must beg for help,
    but the rich can give
    a harsh reply.
24 Some friends don’t help,[c]
    but a true friend is closer
    than your own family.

Footnotes

  1. 18.1 sense: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 1.
  2. 18.19 Making. . . offended: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. 18.24 Some. . . help: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV) 19

It’s Wise To Be Patient

19 It’s better to be poor
and live right
    than to be a stupid liar.
Willingness and stupidity
    don’t go well together.
    If you are too eager,
    you will miss the road.
We are ruined
by our own stupidity,
    though we blame the Lord.

The rich have many friends;
    the poor have none.
    Dishonest witnesses and liars
    won’t escape punishment.
Everyone tries to be friends
    of those who can help them.
If you are poor,
your own relatives reject you,
    and your friends are worse.
When you really need them,
    they are not there.[a]

Do yourself a favor
by having good sense—
    you will be glad you did.
Dishonest witnesses and liars
    will be destroyed.
10 It isn’t right for a fool
    to live in luxury
    or for a slave to rule
    in place of a king.
11 It’s wise to be patient
    and show what you are like
    by forgiving others.
12 An angry king roars
    like a lion,
    but when a king is pleased,
    it’s like dew on the crops.

13 A foolish son brings disgrace
    to his father.
A nagging wife goes on and on
    like the drip, drip, drip
    of the rain.
14 You may inherit all you own
    from your parents,
    but a sensible wife
    is a gift from the Lord.
15 If you are lazy
and sleep your time away,
    you will starve.

16 Obey the Lord’s teachings
and you will live—
    disobey and you will die.
17 Caring for the poor
is lending to the Lord,
    and you will be well repaid.
18 Correct your children
    before it’s too late;
    if you don’t punish them,
    you are destroying them.
19 People with bad tempers
    are always in trouble,
    and they need help
    over and over again.[b]
20 Pay attention to advice
and accept correction,
    so you can live sensibly.

21 We may make a lot of plans,
    but the Lord will do
    what he has decided.
22 What matters most is loyalty.
    It’s better to be poor
    than to be a liar.
23 Showing respect to the Lord
    brings true life—
    if you do it, you can relax
    without fear of danger.

24 Some people are too lazy
    to lift a hand
    to feed themselves.
25 Stupid fools learn good sense
    by seeing others punished;
    a sensible person learns
    by being corrected.
26 Children who bring disgrace
rob their father
    and chase their mother away.
27 If you stop learning,
    you will forget
    what you already know.
28 A lying witness makes fun
    of the court system,
    and criminals think crime
    is really delicious.
29 Every stupid fool
is just waiting
    to be punished.

Footnotes

  1. 19.7 When. . . there: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 19.19 and they. . . again: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV) 20

Words of Wisdom Are Better than Gold

20 It isn’t smart to get drunk!
    Drinking makes a fool of you
    and leads to fights.
An angry ruler
    is like a roaring lion—
    make either one angry,
    and you are dead.
It makes you look good
when you avoid a fight—
    only fools love to quarrel.
If you are too lazy to plow,
    don’t expect a harvest.
Someone’s thoughts may be
    as deep as the ocean,
    but if you are smart,
    you will discover them.

There are many who say,
“You can trust me!”
    But can they be trusted?
Good people live right,
    and God blesses the children
    who follow their example.
When rulers decide cases,
    they weigh the evidence.
Can any of us really say,
    “My thoughts are pure,
    and my sins are gone”?

10 Two things the Lord hates
are dishonest scales
    and dishonest measures.
11 The good or bad
that children do
    shows what they are like.
12 Hearing and seeing
    are gifts from the Lord.
13 If you sleep all the time,
    you will starve;
    if you get up and work,
    you will have enough food.
14 Everyone likes to brag
    about getting a bargain.
15     Sensible words are better
    than gold or jewels.

16 You deserve to lose your coat
    if you loan it to someone
to guarantee payment
    for the debt of a stranger.
17 The food you get by cheating
may taste delicious,
    but it turns to gravel.
18 Be sure you have sound advice
before making plans
    or starting a war.
19 Stay away from gossips—
    they tell everything.
20 Children who curse their parents
    will go to the land of darkness
    long before their time.
21 Getting rich quick[a]
    may turn out to be a curse.
22 Don’t try to get even.
    Trust the Lord,
    and he will help you.

23 The Lord hates dishonest scales
and dishonest weights.
    So don’t cheat!
24 How can we know
what will happen to us
    when the Lord alone decides?
25 Don’t fall into the trap
    of making promises to God
    before you think!
26 A wise ruler severely punishes
    every criminal.
27 Our inner thoughts are a lamp
from the Lord,
    and they search our hearts.
28 Rulers are protected
    by God’s mercy and loyalty,
    but[b] they must be merciful
    for their kingdoms to last.
29 Young people take pride
    in their strength,
    but the gray hairs of wisdom
    are even more beautiful.
30 A severe beating can knock all
    of the evil out of you!

Footnotes

  1. 20.21 quick: Or “the wrong way.”
  2. 20.28 by God’s mercy. . . but: Or “by their mercy. . . and.”

Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV) 21

The Lord Is In Charge

21 The Lord controls rulers,
    just as he determines
    the course of rivers.
We may think we are doing
    the right thing,
    but the Lord always knows
    what is in our hearts.
Doing what is right and fair
    pleases the Lord
    more than an offering.
Evil people are proud
    and arrogant,
    but sin is the only crop
    they produce.[a]
If you plan and work hard,
    you will have plenty;
    if you get in a hurry,
    you will end up poor.

Cheating to get rich
is a foolish dream
    and no less than suicide.[b]
You destroy yourself
by being cruel and violent
    and refusing to live right.
All crooks are liars,
    but anyone who is innocent
    will do right.
It’s better to stay outside
    on the roof of your house
    than to live inside
    with a nagging wife.
10 Evil people want to do wrong,
    even to their friends.
11 An ignorant fool learns
    by seeing others punished;
    a sensible person learns
    by being instructed.

12 God is always fair!
He knows what the wicked do
    and will punish them.
13 If you won’t help the poor,
don’t expect to be heard
    when you cry out for help.
14 A secret bribe will save you
    from someone’s fierce anger.
15 When justice is done,
good citizens are glad
    and crooks are terrified.
16 If you stop using good sense,
    you will find yourself
    in the grave.
17 Heavy drinkers and others
who live only for pleasure
    will lose all they have.

18 God’s people will escape,
    but all who are wicked
    will pay the price.
19 It’s better out in the desert
    than at home with a nagging,
    complaining wife.
20 Be sensible and store up
    precious treasures—
    don’t waste them
    like a fool.
21 If you try to be kind and good,
    you will be blessed with life
    and goodness and honor.
22 One wise person can defeat
a city full of soldiers
    and capture their fortress.
23 Watching what you say
can save you
    a lot of trouble.
24 If you are proud and conceited,
    everyone will say,
    “You’re a snob!”

25 If you want too much
and are too lazy to work,
    it could be fatal.
26 But people who obey God
    are always generous.

27 The Lord despises the offerings
of wicked people
    with evil motives.
28 If you tell lies in court,
    you are done for;
    only a reliable witness
    can do the job.
29 Wicked people bluff their way,
    but God’s people think
    before they take a step.

30 No matter how much you know
or what plans you make,
    you can’t defeat the Lord.
31 Even if your army has horses
ready for battle,
    the Lord will always win.

Footnotes

  1. 21.4 but sin. . . produce: Or “but sin is the only light they ever follow.”
  2. 21.6 and. . . suicide: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV) 22

The Value of a Good Reputation

22 A good reputation and respect
    are worth much more
    than silver and gold.
The rich and the poor
are all created
    by the Lord.
When you see trouble coming,
    don’t be stupid
    and walk right into it—
    be smart and hide.

Respect and serve the Lord!
    Your reward will be wealth,
    a long life, and honor.
Crooks walk down a road
full of thorny traps.
    Stay away from there!
Teach your children
    right from wrong,
    and when they are grown
    they will still do right.
The poor are ruled by the rich,
    and those who borrow
    are slaves of moneylenders.
Troublemakers get in trouble,
    and their terrible anger
    will get them nowhere.

The Lord blesses everyone
    who freely gives food
    to the poor.
10 Arguments and fights
    will come to an end,
    if you chase away those
    who insult others.
11 The king is the friend of all
who are sincere
    and speak with kindness.

12 The Lord watches over everyone
    who shows good sense,
    but he frustrates the plans
    of deceitful liars.
13 Don’t be so lazy that you say,
    “If I go to work,
    a lion will eat me!”
14 The words of a bad woman
    are like a deep pit;
    if you make the Lord angry,
    you will fall right in.
15 All children are foolish,
    but firm correction
    will make them change.
16 Cheat the poor to make profit
or give gifts to the rich—
    either way you lose.

Thirty Wise Sayings

17 Here are some sayings
    of people with wisdom,
    so listen carefully
    as I teach.
18 You will be glad
that you know these sayings
    and can recite them.
19 I am teaching them today,
    so that you
    may trust the Lord.
20 I have written thirty sayings
    filled with sound advice.
21 You can trust them completely
    to give you the right words
    for those in charge of you.

-1-

22 Don’t take advantage
of the poor
    or cheat them in court.
23 The Lord is their defender,
    and what you do to them,
    he will do to you.

-2-

24 Don’t make friends with anyone
    who has a bad temper.
25 You might turn out like them
    and get caught in a trap.

-3-

26 Don’t guarantee to pay
    someone else’s debt.
27 If you don’t have the money,
    you might lose your bed.

-4-

28 Don’t move a boundary marker[a]
    set up by your ancestors.

-5-

29 If you do your job well,
    you will work for a ruler
    and never be a slave.

Footnotes

  1. 22.28 marker: In ancient Israel boundary lines were sacred because all property was a gift from the Lord (see Deuteronomy 19.14).

Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV) 23

-6-

23 When you are invited
to eat with a king,
    use your best manners.
Don’t go and stuff yourself!
    That would be just the same
    as cutting your throat.
Don’t be greedy for all
of that fancy food!
    It may not be so tasty.

-7-

Give up trying so hard
    to get rich.
Your money flies away
    before you know it,
    just like an eagle
    suddenly taking off.

-8-

Don’t accept an invitation
to eat a selfish person’s food,
    no matter how good it is.
People like that take note
    of how much you eat.[a]
    They say, “Take all you want!”
    But they don’t mean it.
Each bite will come back up,
    and all your kind words
    will be wasted.

-9-

Don’t talk to fools—
    they will just make fun.

-10-

10 Don’t move a boundary marker[b]
    or take the land
    that belongs to orphans.
11 God All-Powerful is there
    to defend them against you.

-11-

12 Listen to instruction
    and do your best to learn.

-12-

13 Don’t fail to correct
    your children.
You won’t kill them
    by being firm,
14     and it may even
    save their lives.

-13-

15 My children,
if you show good sense,
    I will be happy,
16     and if you are truthful,
    I will really be glad.

-14-

17 Don’t be jealous of sinners,
    but always honor the Lord.
18     Then you will truly have hope
    for the future.

-15-

19 Listen to me, my children!
    Be wise and have enough sense
    to follow the right path.
20 Don’t be a heavy drinker
    or stuff yourself with food.
21 It will make you feel drowsy,
    and you will end up poor
    with only rags to wear.

-16-

22 Pay attention to your father,
    and don’t neglect your mother
    when she grows old.
23 Invest in truth and wisdom,
discipline and good sense,
    and don’t part with them.
24 Make your father truly happy
by living right
    and showing
    sound judgment.
25 Make your parents proud,
    especially your mother.

-17-

26 My son, pay close attention,
    and gladly follow
    my example.
27 Bad women and unfaithful wives
    are like a deep pit—
28 they are waiting to attack you
    like a gang of robbers
    with victim after victim.

-18-

29 Who is always in trouble?
    Who argues and fights?
    Who has cuts and bruises?
    Whose eyes are red?
30 Everyone who stays up late,
    having just one more drink.
31 Don’t even look
at that colorful stuff
    bubbling up in the glass!
It goes down so easily,
32     but later it bites
    like a poisonous snake.
33 You will see weird things,
    and your mind
    will play tricks on you.
34 You will feel tossed about
    like someone trying to sleep
    on a ship in a storm.
35 You will be bruised all over,
    without even remembering
    how it all happened.
And you will lie awake asking,
    “When will morning come,
    so I can drink some more?”

Footnotes

  1. 23.7 People. . . eat: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 23.10 marker: See the note at 22.28.

Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV) 24

-19-

24 Don’t be jealous of crooks
    or want to be their friends.
All they think about
and talk about
    is violence and cruelty.

-20-

Use wisdom and understanding
    to establish your home;
    let good sense fill the rooms
    with priceless treasures.

-21-

Wisdom brings strength,
    and knowledge gives power.
Battles are won
by listening to advice
    and making a lot of plans.

-22-

Wisdom is too much for fools!
    Their advice is no good.

-23-

No one but troublemakers
    think up trouble.
Everyone hates senseless fools
    who think up ways to sin.

-24-

10 Don’t give up and be helpless
    in times of trouble.

-25-

11 Don’t fail to rescue those
    who are doomed to die.
12     Don’t say, “I didn’t know it!”
    God can read your mind.
He watches each of us
    and knows our thoughts.
    And God will pay us back
    for what we do.

-26-

13 Honey is good for you,
my children,
    and it tastes sweet.
14 Wisdom is like honey
    for your life—
    if you find it,
    your future is bright.

-27-

15 Don’t be a cruel person
who attacks good people
    and hurts their families.
16 Even if good people
fall seven times,
    they will get back up.
But when trouble strikes
the wicked,
    that’s the end of them.

-28-

17 Don’t be happy
to see your enemies trip
    and fall down.
18 The Lord will find out
    and be unhappy.
    Then he will stop
    being angry with them.

-29-

19 Don’t let evil people
worry you
    or make you jealous.
20 They will soon be gone
    like the flame of a lamp
    that burns out.

-30-

21 My children, you must respect
    the Lord and the king,
and you must not make friends
with anyone
    who rebels
    against either of them.
22 Who knows what sudden disaster
    the Lord or a ruler
    might bring?

More Sayings That Make Good Sense

23 Here are some more sayings
    that make good sense:
    When you judge,
    you must be fair.
24 If you let the guilty
    go free,
    people of all nations
    will hate and curse you.
25 But if you punish the guilty,
    things will go well for you,
    and you will prosper.
26 Giving an honest answer
is a sign
    of true friendship.
27 Get your fields ready
    and plant your crops
    before starting a home.
28 Don’t accuse anyone
    who isn’t guilty.
Don’t ever tell a lie
29 or say to someone,
    “I’ll get even with you!”

30 I once walked by the field
and the vineyard
    of a lazy fool.
31 Thorns and weeds
    were everywhere,
    and the stone wall
    had fallen down.
32 When I saw this,
    it taught me a lesson:
33 Sleep a little. Doze a little.
    Fold your hands
    and twiddle your thumbs.
34 Suddenly poverty hits you
    and everything is gone!

Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV) 25

More of Solomon’s Wise Sayings

25 Here are more
    of Solomon’s proverbs.
They were copied by the officials
    of King Hezekiah of Judah.
God is praised
    for being mysterious;
    rulers are praised
    for explaining mysteries.
Who can fully understand
    the thoughts of a ruler?
    They reach beyond the sky
    and go deep in the earth.

Silver must be purified
    before it can be used
    to make something of value.
Evil people must be removed
    before anyone can rule
    with justice.

Don’t try to seem important
    in the court of a ruler.
It’s better for the ruler
    to give you a high position
    than for you to be embarrassed
    in front of royal officials.
Be sure you are right
    before you sue someone,
    or you might lose your case
    and be embarrassed.

When you and someone else
can’t get along,
    don’t gossip about it.[a]
10 Others will find out,
    and your reputation
    will then be ruined.

11 The right word
    at the right time
    is like precious gold
    set in silver.
12 Listening to good advice
    is worth much more
    than jewelry made of gold.
13 A messenger you can trust
is just as refreshing
    as cool water in summer.
14 Broken promises
are worse than rain clouds
    that don’t bring rain.
15 Patience and gentle talk
can convince a ruler
    and overcome any problem.

16 Eating too much honey
    can make you sick.
17 Don’t visit friends too often,
    or they will get tired of it
    and start hating you.
18 Telling lies about friends
    is like attacking them
    with clubs and swords
    and sharp arrows.
19 A friend you can’t trust
    in times of trouble
    is like having a toothache
    or a sore foot.
20 Singing to someone
    in deep sorrow
    is like pouring vinegar
    in an open cut.[b]

21 If your enemies are hungry,
    give them something to eat.
    And if they are thirsty,
give them something
    to drink.
22 This will be the same
as piling burning coals
    on their heads.
    And the Lord
    will reward you.
23 As surely as rain blows in
    from the north,
    anger is caused
    by cruel words.
24 It’s better to stay outside
    on the roof of your house
    than to live inside
    with a nagging wife.

25 Good news from far away
refreshes like cold water
    when you are thirsty.
26 When a good person gives in
    to the wicked,
    it’s like dumping garbage
    in a stream of clear water.
27 Don’t eat too much honey
    or always want praise.[c]
28 Losing self-control
leaves you as helpless
    as a city without a wall.

Footnotes

  1. 25.9 When. . . it: Or “Settle a problem privately between you and your neighbor and don’t involve others.”
  2. 25.20 cut: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 20.
  3. 25.27 or. . . praise: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV) 26

Don’t Be a Fool

26 Expecting snow in summer
    and rain in the dry season
    makes more sense
    than honoring a fool.
A curse you don’t deserve
will take wings
    and fly away
    like a sparrow or a swallow.
Horses and donkeys
must be beaten and bridled—
    and so must fools.
Don’t make a fool of yourself
    by answering a fool.
But if you answer any fools,
show how foolish they are,
    so they won’t feel smart.

Sending a message by a fool
    is like chopping off your foot
    and drinking poison.
A fool with words of wisdom
    is like an athlete
    with legs that can’t move.[a]
Are you going to honor a fool?
    Why not shoot a slingshot
    with the rock tied tight?
A thornbush waved around
    in the hand of a drunkard
    is no worse than a proverb
    in the mouth of a fool.

10 It’s no smarter to shoot arrows
    at every passerby
    than it is to hire a bunch
    of worthless nobodies.[b]
11 Dogs return to eat their vomit,
    just as fools repeat
    their foolishness.
12 There is more hope for a fool
    than for someone who says,
    “I’m really smart!”

13 Don’t be lazy and keep saying,
    “There’s a lion outside!”
14 A door turns on its hinges,
    but a lazy person
    just turns over in bed.
15 Some of us are so lazy
    that we won’t lift a hand
    to feed ourselves.
16 A lazy person says,
“I am smarter
    than everyone else.”

17 It’s better to take hold
    of a mad dog by the ears
    than to take part
    in someone else’s argument.
18 It’s no crazier to shoot
    sharp and flaming arrows
19     than to cheat someone and say,
    “I was only fooling!”

20 Where there is no fuel
    a fire goes out;
    where there is no gossip
    arguments come to an end.
21 Troublemakers start trouble,
    just as sparks and fuel
    start a fire.
22 There is nothing so delicious
as the taste of gossip!
    It melts in your mouth.

23 Hiding hateful thoughts
    behind smooth[c] talk
    is like coating a clay pot
    with a cheap glaze.
24 The pleasant talk
    of an enemy
hides more evil plans
25 than can be counted—
    so don’t believe a word!
26 Everyone will see through
    those evil plans.
27 If you dig a pit,
    you will fall in;
    if you start a stone rolling,
    it will roll back on you.
28 Watch out for anyone
who tells lies and flatters—
    they are out to get you.

Footnotes

  1. 26.7 with. . . move: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 26.10 nobodies: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 10.
  3. 26.23 smooth: One ancient translation; Hebrew “hateful.”

Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV) 27

Don’t Brag about Tomorrow

27 Don’t brag about tomorrow!
    Each day brings
    its own surprises.
Don’t brag about yourself—
    let others praise you.
Stones and sand are heavy,
    but trouble caused by a fool
    is a much heavier load.
An angry person is dangerous,
    but a jealous person
    is even worse.

A truly good friend
    will openly correct you.
You can trust a friend
    who corrects you,
    but kisses from an enemy
    are nothing but lies.
If you have had enough to eat,
    honey doesn’t taste good,
    but if you are really hungry,
    you will eat anything.

When you are far from home,
    you feel like a bird
    without a nest.
The sweet smell of incense
    can make you feel good,
    but true friendship
    is better still.[a]
10 Don’t desert an old friend
    of your family
    or visit your relatives
    when you are in trouble.
A friend nearby is better
    than relatives far away.

11 My child, show good sense!
    Then I will be happy
    and able to answer anyone
    who criticizes me.
12 Be cautious and hide
    when you see danger—
    don’t be stupid and walk
    right into trouble.
13 Don’t loan money to a stranger
    unless you are given something
    to guarantee payment.
14 A loud greeting
early in the morning
    is the same as a curse.
15 The steady dripping of rain
and the nagging of a wife
    are one and the same.
16 It’s easier to catch the wind
or hold olive oil in your hand
    than to stop a nagging wife.

17 Just as iron sharpens iron,
    friends sharpen the minds
    of each other.
18 Take care of a tree,
    and you will eat its fruit;
    look after your master,
    and you will be praised.
19 You see your face in a mirror
    and your thoughts
    in the minds of others.
20 Death and the grave
are never satisfied,
    and neither are we.
21 Gold and silver are tested
in a red-hot furnace,
    but we are tested by praise.
22 No matter how hard
    you beat a fool,
    you can’t pound out
    the foolishness.

23 You should take good care
    of your sheep and goats,
24     because wealth and honor
    don’t last forever.
25 After the hay is cut
and the new growth appears
    and the harvest is over,
26     you can sell lambs and goats
    to buy clothes and land.
27 From the milk of the goats,
    you can make enough cheese
    to feed your family
    and all your servants.

Footnotes

  1. 27.9 still: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 9.

Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV) 28

The Law of God Makes Sense

28 Wicked people run away
    when no one chases them,
    but those who live right
    are as brave as lions.
In time of civil war
    there are many leaders,
    but a sensible leader
    restores law and order.[a]
When someone poor takes over
    and mistreats the poor,
    it’s like a heavy rain
    destroying the crops.

Lawbreakers praise criminals,
    but law-abiding citizens
    always oppose them.
Criminals don’t know
    what justice means,
    but all who respect the Lord
    understand it completely.
It’s better to be poor
    and live right,
    than to be rich
    and dishonest.

It makes good sense
    to obey the Law of God,
but you disgrace your parents
    if you make friends
    with worthless nobodies.
If you make money by charging
    high interest rates,
    you will lose it all to someone
    who cares for the poor.
God cannot stand the prayers
    of anyone who disobeys
    his Law.
10 By leading good people to sin,
    you dig a pit for yourself,
    but all who live right
    will have a bright future.

11 The rich think highly
    of themselves,
    but anyone poor and sensible
    sees right through them.
12 When an honest person wins,
    it’s time to celebrate;
    when crooks are in control,
    it’s best to hide.
13 If you don’t confess your sins,
    you will be a failure.
But God will be merciful
    if you confess your sins
    and give them up.
14 The Lord blesses everyone
    who is afraid to do evil,
    but if you are cruel,
    you will end up in trouble.

15 A ruler who mistreats the poor
is like a roaring lion
    or a bear hunting for food.
16 A heartless leader is a fool,
    but anyone who refuses
to get rich by cheating others
    will live a long time.
17 Don’t give help to murderers!
    Make them stay on the run
    for as long as they live.[b]

18 Honesty will keep you safe,
    but everyone who is crooked
    will suddenly fall.
19 Work hard, and you will have
    a lot of food;
    waste time, and you will have
    a lot of trouble.

20 God blesses his loyal people,
    but punishes all who want
    to get rich quick.
21 It isn’t right to be unfair,
but some people can be bribed
    with only a piece of bread.
22 Don’t be selfish
    and eager to get rich—
    you will end up worse off
    than you can imagine.

23 Honest correction
is appreciated
    more than flattery.
24 If you cheat your parents
and don’t think it’s wrong,
    you are a common thief.
25 Selfish people cause trouble,
    but you will live a full life
    if you trust the Lord.
26 Only fools would trust
    what they alone think,
    but if you live by wisdom,
    you will do all right.

27 Giving to the poor
    will keep you from poverty,
but if you close your eyes
to their needs,
    everyone will curse you.
28 When crooks are in control,
    everyone tries to hide,
    but when they lose power,
    good people are everywhere.

Footnotes

  1. 28.2 but. . . order: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 28.17 live: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 17.

Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV) 29

Use Good Sense

29 If you keep being stubborn
    after many warnings,
    you will suddenly discover
    you have gone too far.
When justice rules a nation,
    everyone is glad;
    when injustice rules,
    everyone groans.
If you love wisdom
    your parents will be glad,
    but chasing after bad women
    will cost you everything.
An honest ruler
    makes the nation strong;
    a ruler who takes bribes
    will bring it to ruin.

Flattery is nothing less
    than setting a trap.
Your sins will catch you,
    but everyone who lives right
    will sing and celebrate.
The wicked don’t care
about the rights of the poor,
    but good people do.
Sneering at others is a spark
    that sets a city on fire;
    using good sense can put out
    the flames of anger.

Be wise and don’t sue a fool.
    You won’t get satisfaction,
    because all the fool will do
    is sneer and shout.
10 A murderer hates everyone
who is honest
    and lives right.[a]
11 Don’t be a fool
and quickly lose your temper—
    be sensible and patient.

12 A ruler who listens to lies
    will have corrupt officials.
13 The poor and all who abuse them
    must each depend on God
    for light.
14 Kings who are fair to the poor
    will rule forever.

15 Correct your children,
    and they will be wise;
    children out of control
    disgrace their mothers.
16 Crime increases
    when crooks are in power,
    but law-abiding citizens
    will see them fall.
17 If you correct your children,
    they will bring you peace
    and happiness.

18 Without guidance from God
    law and order disappear,
    but God blesses everyone
    who obeys his Law.
19 Even when servants are smart,
    it takes more than words
    to make them obey.
20 There is more hope for a fool
    than for someone who speaks
    without thinking.
21 Slaves that you treat kindly
from their childhood
    will cause you sorrow.[b]
22 A person with a quick temper
stirs up arguments
    and commits a lot of sins.

23 Too much pride brings disgrace;
    humility leads to honor.
24 If you take part in a crime
    you are your worst enemy,
    because even under oath
    you can’t tell the truth.
25 Don’t fall into the trap
    of being a coward—
    trust the Lord,
    and you will be safe.
26 Many try to make friends
    with a ruler,
    but justice comes
    from the Lord.
27 Good people and criminals
    can’t stand each other.

Footnotes

  1. 29.10 and lives right: Or “and those who live right are friends of honest people.”
  2. 29.21 will. . . sorrow: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV) 30

The Sayings of Agur

30 These are the sayings
    and the message
    of Agur son of Jakeh.
Someone cries out to God,
    “I am completely worn out!
    How can I last?[a]
I am far too stupid
    to be considered human.
I never was wise,
    and I don’t understand
    what God is like.”

Has anyone gone up to heaven
    and come back down?
    Has anyone grabbed hold
    of the wind?
Has anyone wrapped up the sea
    or marked out boundaries
    for the earth?
If you know of any
    who have done such things,
    then tell me their names
    and their children’s names.

Everything God says is true—
    and it’s a shield for all
    who come to him for safety.
Don’t change what God has said!
    He will correct you and show
    that you are a liar.

There are two things, Lord,
    I want you to do for me
    before I die:
Make me absolutely honest
and don’t let me be too poor
    or too rich.
    Give me just what I need.
If I have too much to eat,
    I might forget about you;
if I don’t have enough,
    I might steal
    and disgrace your name.

10 Don’t tell a slave owner
something bad
    about one
    of the slaves.
That slave will curse you,
    and you will be in trouble.

11 Some people curse their father
    and even their mother;
12 others think they are perfect,
    but they are stained by sin.
13 Some people are stuck-up
    and act like snobs;
14 others are so greedy
that they gobble down
    the poor and homeless.

15 Greed[b] has twins,
    each named “Give me!”
There are three or four things
    that are never satisfied:
16     The world of the dead
    and a childless wife,
    the thirsty earth
    and a flaming fire.

17 Don’t make fun of your father
    or disobey your mother—
crows will peck out your eyes,
    and buzzards will eat
    the rest of you.

18 There are three or four things
    I cannot understand:
19 How eagles fly so high
    or snakes crawl on rocks,
    how ships sail the ocean
    or people fall in love.

20 An unfaithful wife says,
    “Sleeping with another man
    is as natural as eating.”

21 There are three or four things
    that make the earth tremble
    and are unbearable:
22 A slave who becomes king,
    a fool who eats too much,
23 a hateful woman
    who finds a husband,
and a slave
    who takes the place
    of the woman who owns her.

24 On this earth four things
    are small but very wise:
25 Ants, who seem to be feeble,
    but store up food
    all summer long;
26 badgers, who seem to be weak,
    but live among the rocks;
27     locusts, who have no king,
    but march like an army;
28 lizards,[c] which can be caught
in your hand,
    but sneak into palaces.

29 Three or four creatures
    really strut around:
30 Those fearless lions
    who rule the jungle,
31     those proud roosters,
    those mountain goats,
    and those rulers
    who have no enemies.[d]

32 If you are foolishly bragging
or planning something evil,
    then stop it now!
33 If you churn milk
    you get butter;
if you pound on your nose,
    you get blood—
    and if you stay angry,
    you get in trouble.

Footnotes

  1. 30.1 last: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 1.
  2. 30.15 Greed: Or “A leech.”
  3. 30.28 lizards: Or “spiders.”
  4. 30.31 enemies: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 31.

Proverbs Contemporary English Version (CEV) 31

What King Lemuel’s Mother Taught Him

31 These are the sayings
that King Lemuel of Massa
    was taught by his mother.
My son Lemuel, you were born
in answer to my prayers,
    so listen carefully.
Don’t waste your life
chasing after women!
    This has ruined many kings.

Kings and leaders
should not get drunk
    or even want to drink.
Drinking makes you forget
your responsibilities,
    and you mistreat the poor.
Beer and wine are only
for the dying
    or for those
    who have lost all hope.
Let them drink
    and forget
how poor and miserable
    they feel.
But you must defend
those who are helpless
    and have no hope.
Be fair and give justice
    to the poor and homeless.

In Praise of a Good Wife

10 A truly good wife
is the most precious treasure
    a man can find!
11 Her husband depends on her,
    and she never
    lets him down.
12 She is good to him
    every day of her life,
13     and with her own hands
    she gladly makes clothes.

14 She is like a sailing ship
    that brings food
    from across the sea.
15 She gets up before daylight
to prepare food
    for her family
    and for her servants.[a]
16 She knows how to buy land
and how to plant a vineyard,
17     and she always works hard.
18 She knows when to buy or sell,
    and she stays busy
    until late at night.
19 She spins her own cloth,
20     and she helps the poor
    and the needy.
21 Her family has warm clothing,
    and so she doesn’t worry
    when it snows.
22 She does her own sewing,
    and everything she wears
    is beautiful.

23 Her husband is a well-known
and respected leader
    in the city.
24 She makes clothes to sell
    to the shop owners.
25 She is strong and graceful,[b]
    as well as cheerful
    about the future.
26 Her words are sensible,
    and her advice
    is thoughtful.
27 She takes good care
of her family
    and is never lazy.
28 Her children praise her,
    and with great pride
    her husband says,
29 “There are many good women,
    but you are the best!”

30 Charm can be deceiving,
    and beauty fades away,
but a woman
who honors the Lord
    deserves to be praised.
31 Show her respect—
    praise her in public
    for what she has done.

Footnotes

  1. 31.15 and. . . servants: Or “and to tell her servants what to do.”
  2. 31.25 She. . . graceful: Or “The clothes she makes are attractive and of good quality.”

Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society