Passage: Proverbs 22, 23, 24 (RSV)

Proverbs 22

1A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.
2The rich and the poor meet together; the LORD is the maker of them all.
3A prudent man sees danger and hides himself; but the simple go on, and suffer for it.
4The reward for humility and fear of the LORD is riches and honor and life.
5Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; he who guards himself will keep far from them.
6Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
7The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.
8He who sows injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of his fury will fail.
9He who has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.
10Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out, and quarreling and abuse will cease.
11He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.
12The eyes of the LORD keep watch over knowledge, but he overthrows the words of the faithless.
13The sluggard says, "There is a lion outside! I shall be slain in the streets!"
14The mouth of a loose woman is a deep pit; he with whom the LORD is angry will fall into it.
15Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.
16He who oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, or gives to the rich, will only come to want.
17Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your mind to my knowledge;
18for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, if all of them are ready on your lips.
19That your trust may be in the LORD, I have made them known to you today, even to you.
20Have I not written for you thirty sayings of admonition and knowledge,
21to show you what is right and true, that you may give a true answer to those who sent you?
22Do not rob the poor, because he is poor, or crush the afflicted at the gate;
23for the LORD will plead their cause and despoil of life those who despoil them.
24Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man,
25lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.
26Be not one of those who give pledges, who become surety for debts.
27If you have nothing with which to pay, why should your bed be taken from under you?
28Remove not the ancient landmark which your fathers have set.
29Do you see a man skilful in his work? he will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.

Proverbs 23

1When you sit down to eat with a ruler, observe carefully what is before you;
2and put a knife to your throat if you are a man given to appetite.
3Do not desire his delicacies, for they are deceptive food.
4Do not toil to acquire wealth; be wise enough to desist.
5When your eyes light upon it, it is gone; for suddenly it takes to itself wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven.
6Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy; do not desire his delicacies;
7for he is like one who is inwardly reckoning. "Eat and drink!" he says to you; but his heart is not with you.
8You will vomit up the morsels which you have eaten, and waste your pleasant words.
9Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words.
10Do not remove an ancient landmark or enter the fields of the fatherless;
11for their Redeemer is strong; he will plead their cause against you.
12Apply your mind to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge.
13Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.
14If you beat him with the rod you will save his life from Sheol.
15My son, if your heart is wise, my heart too will be glad.
16My soul will rejoice when your lips speak what is right.
17Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the LORD all the day.
18Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.
19Hear, my son, and be wise, and direct your mind in the way.
20Be not among winebibbers, or among gluttonous eaters of meat;
21for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.
22Hearken to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old.
23Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.
24The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who begets a wise son will be glad in him.
25Let your father and mother be glad, let her who bore you rejoice.
26My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.
27For a harlot is a deep pit; an adventuress is a narrow well.
28She lies in wait like a robber and increases the faithless among men.
29Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes?
30Those who tarry long over wine, those who go to try mixed wine.
31Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly.
32At the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like an adder.
33Your eyes will see strange things, and your mind utter perverse things.
34You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, like one who lies on the top of a mast.
35"They struck me," you will say, "but I was not hurt; they beat me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake? I will seek another drink."

Proverbs 24

1Be not envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them;
2for their minds devise violence, and their lips talk of mischief.
3By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established;
4by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
5A wise man is mightier than a strong man, and a man of knowledge than he who has strength;
6for by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory.
7Wisdom is too high for a fool; in the gate he does not open his mouth.
8He who plans to do evil will be called a mischief-maker.
9The devising of folly is sin, and the scoffer is an abomination to men.
10If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.
11Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
12If you say, "Behold, we did not know this," does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not requite man according to his work?
13My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.
14Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off.
15Lie not in wait as a wicked man against the dwelling of the righteous; do not violence to his home;
16for a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again; but the wicked are overthrown by calamity.
17Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles;
18lest the LORD see it, and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him.
19Fret not yourself because of evildoers, and be not envious of the wicked;
20for the evil man has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out.
21My son, fear the LORD and the king, and do not disobey either of them;
22for disaster from them will rise suddenly, and who knows the ruin that will come from them both?
23These also are sayings of the wise. Partiality in judging is not good.
24He who says to the wicked, "You are innocent," will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations;
25but those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will be upon them.
26He who gives a right answer kisses the lips.
27Prepare your work outside, get everything ready for you in the field; and after that build your house.
28Be not a witness against your neighbor without cause, and do not deceive with your lips.
29Do not say, "I will do to him as he has done to me; I will pay the man back for what he has done."
30I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man without sense;
31and lo, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down.
32Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction.
33A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest,
34and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.

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