Passage: Proverbs 16, 17, 18 (RSV)

Proverbs 16

1The plans of the mind belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.
2All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirit.
3Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.
4The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.
5Every one who is arrogant is an abomination to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished.
6By loyalty and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil.
7When a man's ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
8Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice.
9A man's mind plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.
10Inspired decisions are on the lips of a king; his mouth does not sin in judgment.
11A just balance and scales are the LORD's; all the weights in the bag are his work.
12It is an abomination to kings to do evil, for the throne is established by righteousness.
13Righteous lips are the delight of a king, and he loves him who speaks what is right.
14A king's wrath is a messenger of death, and a wise man will appease it.
15In the light of a king's face there is life, and his favor is like the clouds that bring the spring rain.
16To get wisdom is better than gold; to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.
17The highway of the upright turns aside from evil; he who guards his way preserves his life.
18Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
19It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.
20He who gives heed to the word will prosper, and happy is he who trusts in the LORD.
21The wise of heart is called a man of discernment, and pleasant speech increases persuasiveness.
22Wisdom is a fountain of life to him who has it, but folly is the chastisement of fools.
23The mind of the wise makes his speech judicious, and adds persuasiveness to his lips.
24Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.
25There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
26A worker's appetite works for him; his mouth urges him on.
27A worthless man plots evil, and his speech is like a scorching fire.
28A perverse man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.
29A man of violence entices his neighbor and leads him in a way that is not good.
30He who winks his eyes plans perverse things, he who compresses his lips brings evil to pass.
31A hoary head is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.
32He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
33The lot is cast into the lap, but the decision is wholly from the LORD.

Proverbs 17

1Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.
2A slave who deals wisely will rule over a son who acts shamefully, and will share the inheritance as one of the brothers.
3The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the LORD tries hearts.
4An evildoer listens to wicked lips; and a liar gives heed to a mischievous tongue.
5He who mocks the poor insults his Maker; he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.
6Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of sons is their fathers.
7Fine speech is not becoming to a fool; still less is false speech to a prince.
8A bribe is like a magic stone in the eyes of him who gives it; wherever he turns he prospers.
9He who forgives an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter alienates a friend.
10A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.
11An evil man seeks only rebellion, and a cruel messenger will be sent against him.
12Let a man meet a she-bear robbed of her cubs, rather than a fool in his folly.
13If a man returns evil for good, evil will not depart from his house.
14The beginning of strife is like letting out water; so quit before the quarrel breaks out.
15He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the LORD.
16Why should a fool have a price in his hand to buy wisdom, when he has no mind?
17A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
18A man without sense gives a pledge, and becomes surety in the presence of his neighbor.
19He who loves transgression loves strife; he who makes his door high seeks destruction.
20A man of crooked mind does not prosper, and one with a perverse tongue falls into calamity.
21A stupid son is a grief to a father; and the father of a fool has no joy.
22A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.
23A wicked man accepts a bribe from the bosom to pervert the ways of justice.
24A man of understanding sets his face toward wisdom, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.
25A foolish son is a grief to his father and bitterness to her who bore him.
26To impose a fine on a righteous man is not good; to flog noble men is wrong.
27He who restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
28Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

Proverbs 18

1He who is estranged seeks pretexts to break out against all sound judgment.
2A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.
3When wickedness comes, contempt comes also; and with dishonor comes disgrace.
4The words of a man's mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a gushing stream.
5It is not good to be partial to a wicked man, or to deprive a righteous man of justice.
6A fool's lips bring strife, and his mouth invites a flogging.
7A fool's mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to himself.
8The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.
9He who is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys.
10The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.
11A rich man's wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall protecting him.
12Before destruction a man's heart is haughty, but humility goes before honor.
13If one gives answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.
14A man's spirit will endure sickness; but a broken spirit who can bear?
15An intelligent mind acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
16A man's gift makes room for him and brings him before great men.
17He who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.
18The lot puts an end to disputes and decides between powerful contenders.
19A brother helped is like a strong city, but quarreling is like the bars of a castle.
20From the fruit of his mouth a man is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips.
21Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
22He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the LORD.
23The poor use entreaties, but the rich answer roughly.
24There are friends who pretend to be friends, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

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