25 These proverbs of Solomon[a] were discovered and copied by the aides of King Hezekiah* of Judah:
2-3 It is God’s privilege to conceal things, and the king’s privilege to discover and invent. You cannot understand the height of heaven, the size of the earth, or all that goes on in the king’s mind!
4-5 When you remove dross from silver, you have sterling ready for the silversmith. When you remove corrupt men from the king’s court, his reign will be just and fair.
6-7 Don’t demand an audience with the king as though you were some powerful prince. It is better to wait for an invitation rather than to be sent back to the end of the line, publicly disgraced!
8-10 Don’t be hotheaded and rush to court! You may start something you can’t finish and go down before your neighbor in shameful defeat. So discuss the matter with him privately. Don’t tell anyone else, lest he accuse you of slander and you can’t withdraw what you said.
11 Timely advice is as lovely as gold apples in a silver basket.
12 It is a badge of honor to accept valid criticism.
13 A faithful employee is as refreshing as a cool day[b] in the hot summertime.
14 One who doesn’t give the gift he promised is like a cloud blowing over a desert without dropping any rain.
15 Be patient and you will finally win, for a soft tongue can break hard bones.
16 Do you like honey? Don’t eat too much of it, or it will make you sick!
17 Don’t visit your neighbor too often, or you will outwear your welcome!
18 Telling lies about someone is as harmful as hitting him with an ax, or wounding him with a sword, or shooting him with a sharp arrow.
19 Putting confidence in an unreliable man is like chewing with a sore tooth, or trying to run on a broken foot.
20 Being happy-go-lucky around a person whose heart is heavy is as bad as stealing his jacket in cold weather or rubbing salt in his wounds.[c]
21-22 If your enemy is hungry, give him food! If he is thirsty, give him something to drink! This will make him feel ashamed of himself, and God will reward you.
23 As surely as a wind from the north brings cold,[d] just as surely a retort causes anger!
24 It is better to live in a corner of an attic than in a beautiful home with a cranky, quarrelsome woman.
25 Good news from far away is like cold water to the thirsty.
26 If a godly man compromises with the wicked, it is like polluting a fountain or muddying a spring.
27 Just as it is harmful to eat too much honey, so also it is bad for men to think about all the honors they deserve!
28 A man without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken-down walls.