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Things to Avoid in Life

23 Whenever you sit down to dine with a ruler,
carefully think about what is before you.
Put a knife to your own throat,
    if you have a big appetite.[a]
Don’t crave his delicacies,
    because the meal is deceptive.

Don’t exhaust yourself acquiring wealth;
    be smart enough to stop.
When you fix your gaze on it, it’s gone,
    for it sprouts wings for itself
        and flies to the sky like an eagle.

Don’t consume food provided by a miserly[b] person,
    and don’t desire his delicacies,
for as he thinks within himself, so he is.
    “Eat and drink!” he’ll say to you,
        but his heart won’t be with you.
You’ll vomit up what little you’ve eaten,
    and your compliments will have been wasted.

Don’t speak when a fool is listening,
    because he’ll despise your wise words.

10 Don’t move ancient boundaries
    or invade fields belonging to orphans;
11 for strong is their Redeemer
    who will take up their case against you.

12 Learn diligently,
    and listen to words of knowledge.

13 Don’t withhold discipline from a child;
    if you punish him with a rod,
        he won’t die.
14 Punish him with a rod,
    and you will rescue his soul from Sheol.[c]

On Listening to Your Parents

15 My son, if your heart is wise,
    my own heart will greatly rejoice.
16 My innermost being will be glad
    when your lips speak what is right.

17 Never let yourself envy sinners;
    instead, remain[d] in fear of the Lord every day,
18 for there is surely a future life,
    and what you hope for will not be cut off.

19 Listen, my son, and be wise,
    commit yourself to live God’s[e] way.
20 Don’t associate with heavy drinkers
    or dine with gluttons,
21 because drunks and gluttons tend to become poor,
    and drowsiness will clothe them in rags.

22 Listen to the one who fathered you,
    and don’t despise your mother in her old age.

23 Purchase truth, but don’t sell it;
    store up[f] wisdom, instruction, and understanding.

24 The father of a righteous person will greatly rejoice;
    whoever fathers a wise son will be glad because of him.
25 Let your father and mother rejoice;
    make the one who gave birth to you happy.

26 Give me your heart, my son,
    and keep your eyes fixed on my ways,
27 because a prostitute is a deep pit,
    and the adulterous[g] woman a narrow well.
28 Surely she lies in wait like a bandit,
    increasing those who are faithless among mankind.

On Sobriety

29 Who has woe? Who has grief?
    Who has contention? Who has complaints?
Who has wounds without cause?
    Who has bloodshot eyes?
30 Those who linger over their wine,
    who consume mixed drinks.
31 Don’t stare into red wine,
    when it sparkles in the cup
        and goes down smoothly.
32 Eventually it will bite like a snake
    and sting like a serpent.
33 Your eyes will see strange things,
    and with slurred words you’ll speak what you really believe.
34 You will be like someone who lies down in the sea,
    or like someone who sleeps on top of a mast.
35 “They struck me,” you will say,[h]
    “but I never felt it.
They beat me,
    but I never knew it.
When will I wake up?
    I want another drink.”

Footnotes

  1. Proverbs 23:2 Lit. a master of an appetite
  2. Proverbs 23:6 Lit. by the evil eyed
  3. Proverbs 23:14 I.e. the realm of the dead
  4. Proverbs 23:17 The Heb. lacks remain
  5. Proverbs 23:19 Lit. live in the
  6. Proverbs 23:23 The Heb. lacks store up
  7. Proverbs 23:27 Lit. foreign
  8. Proverbs 23:35 The Heb. lacks you will say

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