Prudence and Common Sense
1Do not contend with a powerful man,
lest you fall into his hands.
2Do not quarrel with a rich man,
lest his resources outweigh yours;
for gold has ruined many,
and has perverted the minds of kings.
3Do not argue with a chatterer,
nor heap wood on his fire.
4Do not jest with an ill-bred person,
lest your ancestors be disgraced.
5Do not reproach a man who is turning away from sin;
remember that we all deserve punishment.
6Do not disdain a man when he is old,
for some of us are growing old.
7Do not rejoice over any one's death;
remember that we all must die.
8Do not slight the discourse of the sages,
but busy yourself with their maxims;
because from them you will gain instruction
and learn how to serve great men.
9Do not disregard the discourse of the aged,
for they themselves learned from their fathers;
because from them you will gain understanding
and learn how to give an answer in time of need.
10Do not kindle the coals of a sinner,
lest you be burned in his flaming fire.
11Do not get up and leave an insolent fellow,
lest he lie in ambush against your words.
12Do not lend to a man who is stronger than you;
but if you do lend anything, be as one who has lost it.
13Do not give surety beyond your means,
but if you give surety, be concerned as one who must pay.
14Do not go to law against a judge,
for the decision will favor him because of his standing.
15Do not travel on the road with a foolhardy fellow,
lest he be burdensome to you;
for he will act as he pleases,
and through his folly you will perish with him.
16Do not fight with a wrathful man,
and do not cross the wilderness with him;
because blood is as nothing in his sight,
and where no help is at hand, he will strike you down.
17Do not consult with a fool,
for he will not be able to keep a secret.
18In the presence of a stranger do nothing that is to be kept secret,
for you do not know what he will divulge.a
19Do not reveal your thoughts to every one,
lest you drive away your good luck.b