1If you get more stubborn every time you are corrected, one day you will be crushed and never recover.
2Show me a righteous ruler and I will show you a happy people. Show me a wicked ruler and I will show you a miserable people.
3If you appreciate wisdom, your father will be proud of you.
It is a foolish waste to spend money on prostitutes.
4When the king is concerned with justice, the nation will be strong, but when he is only concerned with money, he will ruin his country.
5If you flatter your friends, you set a trap for yourself.
6Evil people are trapped in their own sins, while honest people are happy and free.
7A good person knows the rights of the poor, but wicked people cannot understand such things.
8People with no regard for others can throw whole cities into turmoil. Those who are wise keep things calm.
9When an intelligent person brings a lawsuit against a fool, the fool only laughs and becomes loud and abusive.
10Bloodthirsty people hate anyone who's honest, but righteous people will protect the life of such a person.
11Stupid people express their anger openly, but sensible people are patient and hold it back.
12If a ruler pays attention to false information, all his officials will be liars.
13A poor person and his oppressor have this in common — the LORD gave eyes to both of them.
14If a king defends the rights of the poor, he will rule for a long time.
15Correction and discipline are good for children. If they have their own way, they will make their mothers ashamed of them.
16When evil people are in power, crime increases. But the righteous will live to see the downfall of such people.
17Discipline your children and you can always be proud of them. They will never give you reason to be ashamed.
18A nation without God's guidance is a nation without order. Happy are those who keep God's law!
19You cannot correct servants just by talking to them. They may understand you, but they will pay no attention.
20There is more hope for a stupid fool than for someone who speaks without thinking.
21If you give your servants everything they want from childhood on, some day they will take over everything you own.
22People with quick tempers cause a lot of quarrelling and trouble.
23Arrogance will bring your downfall, but if you are humble, you will be respected.
24A thief's partner is his own worst enemy. He will be punished if he tells the truth in court, and God will curse him if he doesn't.
25It is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you, but if you trust the LORD, you are safe.
26Everybody wants the good will of the ruler, but only from the LORD can you get justice.
27The righteous hate the wicked, and the wicked hate the righteous.
The Words of Agur
1These are the solemn words of Agur son of Jakeh:
“God is not with me, God is not with me,
and I am helpless.
2I am more like an animal than a human being;
I do not have the sense a human being should have.
3I have never learned any wisdom,
and I know nothing at all about God.
4Who has ever mastered heavenly knowledge?
Who has ever caught the wind in his hand?
Or wrapped up water in a piece of cloth?
Or fixed the boundaries of the earth?
Who is he, if you know? Who is his son?
5“God keeps every promise he makes. He is like a shield for all who seek his protection. 6If you claim that he said something that he never said, he will reprimand you and show that you are a liar.”
7I ask you, God, to let me have two things before I die: 8keep me from lying, and let me be neither rich nor poor. So give me only as much food as I need. 9If I have more, I might say that I do not need you. But if I am poor, I might steal and bring disgrace on my God.
10Never criticize servants to their master. You will be cursed and suffer for it.
11There are people who curse their fathers and do not show their appreciation for their mothers.
12There are people who think they are pure when they are as filthy as they can be.
13There are people who think they are so good — oh, how good they think they are!
14There are people who take cruel advantage of the poor and needy; that is the way they make their living.
15A leech has two daughters, and both are named “Give me!”
There are four things that are never satisfied:
16the world of the dead,
a woman without children,
dry ground that needs rain,
and a fire burning out of control.
17Those who make fun of their father or despise their mother in her old age ought to be eaten by vultures or have their eyes picked out by wild ravens.
18There are four things that are too mysterious for me to understand:
19an eagle flying in the sky,
a snake moving on a rock,
a ship finding its way over the sea,
and a man and a woman falling in love.
20This is how an unfaithful wife acts: she commits adultery, has a bath, and says, “But I haven't done anything wrong!”
21There are four things that the earth itself cannot tolerate:
22a slave who becomes a king,
a fool who has all he wants to eat,
23a hateful woman who gets married,
and a servant woman who takes the place of her mistress.
24There are four animals in the world that are small, but very, very clever:
25Ants: they are weak, but they store up their food in the summer.
26Rock-badgers: they are not strong either, but they make their homes among the rocks.
27Locusts: they have no king, but they move in formation.
28Lizards: you can hold one in your hand, but you can find them in palaces.
29There are four things that are impressive to watch as they walk:
30lions, strongest of all animals and afraid of none;
and kings in front of their people.
32If you have been foolish enough to be arrogant and plan evil, stop and think! 33If you churn milk, you get butter. If you hit someone's nose, it bleeds. If you stir up anger, you get into trouble.
Advice to a King
1These are the solemn words which King Lemuel's mother said to him:
2“You are my own dear son, the answer to my prayers. What shall I tell you? 3Don't spend all your energy on sex and all your money on women; they have destroyed kings. 4Listen, Lemuel. Kings should not drink wine or have a craving for alcohol. 5When they drink, they forget the laws and ignore the rights of people in need. 6Alcohol is for people who are dying, for those who are in misery. 7Let them drink and forget their poverty and unhappiness.
8“Speak up for people who cannot speak for themselves. Protect the rights of all who are helpless. 9Speak for them and be a righteous judge. Protect the rights of the poor and needy.”
The Capable Wife
10How hard it is to find a capable wife! She is worth far more than jewels!
11Her husband puts his confidence in her, and he will never be poor.
12As long as she lives, she does him good and never harm.
13She keeps herself busy making wool and linen cloth.
14She brings home food from out-of-the-way places, as merchant ships do.
15She gets up before daylight to prepare food for her family and to tell her servant women what to do.
16She looks at land and buys it, and with money she has earned she plants a vineyard.
17She is a hard worker, strong and industrious.
18She knows the value of everything she makes, and works late into the night.
19She spins her own thread and weaves her own cloth.
20She is generous to the poor and needy.
21She doesn't worry when it snows, because her family has warm clothing.
22She makes bedspreads and wears clothes of fine purple linen.
23Her husband is well known, one of the leading citizens.
24She makes clothes and belts, and sells them to merchants.
25She is strong and respected and not afraid of the future.
26She speaks with a gentle wisdom.
27She is always busy and looks after her family's needs.
28Her children show their appreciation, and her husband praises her.
29He says, “Many women are good wives, but you are the best of them all.”
30Charm is deceptive and beauty disappears, but a woman who honours the LORD should be praised.
31Give her credit for all she does. She deserves the respect of everyone.