The Bible in Its Traditions

Proverbs 25:1–26:28

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These also are proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied out.

These are the miscellaneous instructions of Solomon, which the friends of Ezekias king of Judea copied out.

These, too, are parables of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah, king of Judah, transferred.

It is the glory of God to conceal a thing; but the glory of kings is to search out a matter.

The glory of God conceals a matter: but the glory of a king honours business.

It is to the glory of God to conceal a word, and it is to the glory of kings to investigate speech.

The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings is unsearchable.

Heaven is high, and earth is deep, and a king’s heart is unsearchable.

Heaven above, and earth below, and the heart of kings are each unsearchable.

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Take away the dross from the silver, and there cometh forth a vessel for the refiner;

Beat the drossy silver, and it shall be made entirely pure.

Purge dross from silver that it may come forth a pure vessel.

Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness.

Slay the ungodly from before the king, and his throne shall prosper in righteousness.

Let wicked men be driven from the presence of the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness.

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Glorify not thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men;

Be not boastful in the presence of the king, and remain not in the places of princes;

Do not appear glorious before the king, and do not stand in the place of the great.

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For better is it that it be said unto thee: 'Come up hither', than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince, whom thine eyes have seen.

For it is better that it should be said to you, “Ascend to here,” than that you should be humbled before the prince.

For it is better that it be said to you, Come up higher, than that you should be put lower. In the presence of the ruler report what your eyes have seen.

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Go not forth hastily to strive, lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof, when thy neighbour hath put thee to shame.

Get not suddenly into a quarrel, lest thou repent at last.

The things that your eyes have seen, do not offer hastily in a quarrel, lest afterward you may not be able to make amends, when you have dishonored your friend.

Debate thy cause with thy neighbour, but reveal not the secret of another;

Whenever thy friend shall reproach thee, retreat backward, despise him not;

Argue your case with your friend, and do not reveal the secret to an outsider,

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10  Lest he that heareth it revile thee, and thine infamy turn not away.

10  lest thy friend continue to reproach thee, so thy quarrel and enmity shall not depart, but shall be to thee like death. Favour and friendship set a man free, which do thou keep for thyself, lest thou be made liable to reproach; but take heed to thy ways peaceably.

10  Lest he who hears it reproach you and many people mock you.

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11  A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.

11  As a golden apple in a necklace of sardius, so is it to speak a wise word.

11  Whoever speaks a word at an opportune time is like apples of gold on beds of silver.

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12  As an ear-ring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.

12  Whoever reproves the wise and obedient ear is like an earring of gold with a shining pearl.

12  Like an earring of gold, and a precious sardius, so is the reproof of the wise men to a listening ear.

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13  As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to him that sendeth him; for he refresheth the soul of his master.

13  Just like the cold of snow in a time of harvest, so also is a faithful messenger to him who sent him: he causes his soul to rest.

14  As vapours and wind without rain, so is he that boasteth himself of a false gift.

14  A man who boasts and does not fulfill his promises is like clouds and wind, when rain does not follow.

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15  By long forbearing is a ruler persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.

15  In long-suffering is prosperity to kings, and a soft tongue breaks the bones.

15  By patience, a leader shall be appeased, and a soft tongue shall break hardness.

16  Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.

16  Having found honey, eat only what is enough, lest haply thou be filled, and vomit it up.

16  You have discovered honey; eat what is sufficient for you, lest perhaps, being filled up, you may vomit it.

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17  Let thy foot be seldom in thy neighbour's house; lest he be sated with thee, and hate thee.

17  Withdraw your feet from the house of your neighbor, lest, when he has had his fill, he may hate you.

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18  As a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow, so is a man that beareth false witness against his neighbour.

18  A man who speaks false testimony against his neighbor is like a dart and a sword and a sharp arrow.

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19  Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.

19  The way of the wicked and the foot of the transgressor shall perish in an evil day.

19  Whoever sets his hopes on the unfaithful in a day of anguish is like a rotten tooth and weary foot,

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20  As one that taketh off a garment in cold weather, and as vinegar upon nitre, so is he that singeth songs to a heavy heart.

20  As vinegar is bad for a sore, so trouble befalling the body afflicts the heart. As a moth in a garment, and a worm in wood, so the grief of a man hurts the heart.

20  and like one who loosens his garment in cold weather. Whoever sings verses to a wicked heart is like vinegar on baking soda. Just like a moth to a garment, and a worm to wood, so too does the sadness of a man do harm to the heart.

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21  If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink;

21  If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink;

21  If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him water to drink.

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22  For thou wilt heap coals of fire upon his head, and YHWH will reward thee.

22  for so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord shall reward thee with good.

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23  The north wind bringeth forth rain, and a backbiting tongue an angry countenance.

23  The north wind raises clouds; so an impudent face provokes the tongue.

23  Like the north wind which brings forth rain, so are an evil countenance and a backbiting tongue.

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24  It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than in a house in common with a contentious woman.

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25  As cold waters to a faint soul, so is good news from a far country.

25  As cold water is agreeable to a thirsting soul, so is a good message from a land far off.

25  Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so too are good reports from a far away land.

26  As a troubled fountain, and a corrupted spring, so is a righteous man that giveth way before the wicked.

26  As if one should stop a well, and corrupt a spring of water, so is it unseemly for a righteous man to fall before an ungodly man.

26  The just falling down before the impious is like a fountain stirred up by feet and like a corrupted spring.

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27  It is not good to eat much honey; so for men to search out their own glory is not glory.

27  Just as whoever eats too much honey, it is not good for him, so also whoever is an investigator of what is majestic will be overwhelmed by glory.

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28  Like a city broken down and without a wall, so is he whose spirit is without restraint.

28  As a city whose walls are broken down, and which is unfortified, so is a man who does anything without counsel.

28  Just like a city lying in the open and without surrounding walls, so also is a man who is unable to restrain his own spirit in speaking.

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26:1  As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honour is not seemly for a fool.

In the manner of snow in the summer, and rain at the harvest, so also is glory unfit for the foolish.

26:2  As the wandering sparrow, as the flying swallow, so the curse that is causeless shall come home.

Like a bird flying away to another place, and like a sparrow that hurries away freely, so also a curse uttered against someone without cause will pass away.

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26:3  A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the back of fools.

As a whip for a horse, and a goad for an ass, so is a rod for a simple nation.

A whip is for a horse, and a muzzle is for donkey, and a rod is for the back of the imprudent.

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26:4  Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

Do not respond to the foolish according to his folly, lest you become like him.

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26:5  Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.

Respond to the foolish according to his folly, lest he imagine himself to be wise.

But answer a fool according to your wisdom, lest he think in himself that he is wise.

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26:6  He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off his own feet, and drinketh damage.

He that sends a message by a foolish messenger procures for himself a reproach from his own ways.

Whoever sends words by a foolish messenger has lame feet and drinks iniquity.

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26:7  The legs hang limp from the lame; so is a parable in the mouth of fools.

In the manner of a lame man who has beautiful legs to no purpose, so also is a parable unfit for the mouth of the foolish.

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26:8  As a small stone in a heap of stones, so is he that giveth honour to a fool.

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26:9  As a thorn that cometh into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools.

Thorns grow in the hand of a drunkard, and servitude in the hand of fools.

In the manner of a thorn, if it were to spring up from the hand of a drunkard, so also is a parable in the mouth of the foolish.

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26:10  A master performeth all things; but he that stoppeth a fool is as one that stoppeth a flood.

10  Judgment determines cases. And whoever imposes silence on the foolish mitigates anger.

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26:11  As a dog that returneth to his vomit, so is a fool that repeateth his folly.

11  As when a dog goes to his own vomit, and becomes abominable, so is fool who returns in his wickedness to his own sin. There is a shame that brings sin: and there is a shame that is glory and grace.

11  Like a dog that returns to his vomit, so also is the imprudent who repeats his foolishness.

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26:12  Seest thou a man wise in his own eyes? there is more hope of a fool than of him.

12  If you should see a man wise in his own eyes, a fool is much better than he.

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26:13  The sluggard saith: 'There is a lion in the way; yea, a lion is in the streets.'

13  A sluggard when sent on a journey says, There is a lion in the ways, and there are murderers in the streets.

13  The lazy one says, “There is a lion along the way, and a lioness in the roads.”

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26:14  The door is turning upon its hinges, and the sluggard is still upon his bed.

14  As a door turns on the hinge, so does a sluggard on his bed.

14  Just as a door turns upon its hinges, so also does the lazy one turn upon his bed.

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26:15  The sluggard burieth his hand in the dish; it wearieth him to bring it back to his mouth.

15  A sluggard having hid his hand in his bosom, will not be able to bring it up to his mouth.

15  The lazy one conceals his hand under his arms, and it is a labor for him to move it to his mouth.

26:16  The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men that give wise answer.

16  A sluggard seems to himself wiser than one who most satisfactorily brings back a message.

16  The lazy one seems wiser to himself than seven men speaking judgments.

26:17  He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife not his own, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.

17  As he that lays hold of a dog’s tail, so is he that makes himself the champion of another’s cause.

17  Just like one who takes hold of a dog by the ears, so also is he who crosses impatiently and meddles in the quarrels of another.

26:18  As a madman who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death;

18  As those who need correction put forth fair words to men, and he that first falls in with the proposal will be overthrown;

18  Just as he is guilty who let loose the arrows and the lances unto death,

26:19  So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith: 'Am not I in sport?'

19  so are all that lay wait for their own friends, and when they are discovered, say, I did it in jest.

19  so also is the man who harms his friend by deceitfulness. And when he has been apprehended, he says, “I did it jokingly.”

26:20  Where no wood is, the fire goeth out; and where there is no whisperer, contention ceaseth.

20  With much wood fire increases; but where there is not a double-minded man, strife ceases.

20  When the wood fails, the fire will be extinguished. And when the gossiper is taken away, conflicts will be quelled.

26:21  As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.

21  A hearth for coals, and wood for fire; and railing man for the tumult of strife.

21  Just as charcoals are to burning coals, and wood is to fire, so also is an angry man who stirs up quarrels.

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26:22  The words of a whisperer are as dainty morsels, and they go down into the innermost parts of the body.

22  The words of cunning knaves are soft; but they smite even to the inmost parts of the bowels.

22  The words of the malicious stir up trouble; they go down into the innermost parts of the heart.

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26:23  Burning lips and a wicked heart are like an earthen vessel overlaid with silver dross.

23  Silver dishonestly given is to be considered as a potsherd: smooth lips cover a grievous heart.

23  In the same manner as an earthen vessel, if it were adorned with impure silver, conceited lips are allied with a wicked heart.

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26:24  He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, but he layeth up deceit within him.

24  A weeping enemy promises all things with his lips, but in his heart he contrives deceit.

24  He who hates is known by his own speech; in his heart he entertains deceit;

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26:25  When he speaketh fair, believe him not; for there are seven abominations in his heart.

25  Though thine enemy intreat thee with a loud voice, consent not: for there are seven abominations in his heart.

25  When he will have lowered his voice, do not believe him, for there are seven vices in his heart.

26:26  Though his hatred be concealed with deceit, his wickedness shall be revealed before the congregation.

26  He that hides enmity frames deceit: but being easily discerned, exposes his own sins in the public assemblies.

26  Whoever covers hatred with deceit, his malice shall be revealed in the assembly.

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26:27  Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein; and he that rolleth a stone, it shall return upon him.

27  He that digs a pit for his neighbour shall fall into it: and he that rolls a stone, rolls it upon himself.

27  Whoever digs a pit will fall into it. And whoever rolls a stone, it will roll back to him.

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26:28  A lying tongue hateth those that are crushed by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.

28  A lying tongue hates the truth; and an unguarded mouth causes tumults.

28  A false tongue does not love truth. And a slippery mouth works ruin.