1Many have committed sin for a trifle,a
and whoever seeks to get rich will avert his eyes.
2As a stake is driven firmly into a fissure between stones,
so sin is wedged in between selling and buying.
3If a man is not steadfast and zealous in the fear of the Lord,
his house will be quickly overthrown.
Tests in Life
4When a sieve is shaken, the refuse remains;
so a man's filth remains in his thoughts.
5The kiln tests the potter's vessels;
so the test of a man is in his reasoning.
6The fruit discloses the cultivation of a tree;
so the expression of a thought discloses the cultivation of a man's mind.
7Do not praise a man before you hear him reason,
for this is the test of men.
Reward and Retribution
8If you pursue justice, you will attain it
and wear it as a glorious robe.
9Birds flock with their kind;
so truth returns to those who practice it.
10A lion lies in wait for prey;
so does sin for the workers of iniquity.
Varieties of Speech
11The talk of the godly man is always wise,
but the fool changes like the moon.
12Among stupid people watch for a chance to leave,
but among thoughtful people stay on.
13The talk of fools is offensive,
and their laughter is wantonly sinful.
14The talk of men given to swearing makes one's hair stand on end,
and their quarrels make a man stop his ears.
15The strife of the proud leads to bloodshed,
and their abuse is grievous to hear.
16Whoever betrays secrets destroys confidence,
and he will never find a congenial friend.
17Love your friend and keep faith with him;
but if you betray his secrets, do not run after him.
18For as a man destroys his enemy,
so you have destroyed the friendship of your neighbor.
19And as you allow a bird to escape from your hand,
so you have let your neighbor go, and will not catch him again.
20Do not go after him, for he is too far off,
and has escaped like a gazelle from a snare.
21For a wound may be bandaged,
and there is reconciliation after abuse,
but whoever has betrayed secrets is without hope.
Hypocrisy and Retribution
22Whoever winks his eye plans evil deeds,
and no one can keep him from them.
23In your presence his mouth is all sweetness,
and he admires your words;
but later he will twist his speech
and with your own words he will give offense.
24I have hated many things, but none to be compared to him;
even the Lord will hate him.
25Whoever throws a stone straight up throws it on his own head;
and a treacherous blow opens up wounds.
26He who digs a pit will fall into it,
and he who sets a snare will be caught in it.
27If a man does evil, it will roll back upon him,
and he will not know where it came from.
28Mockery and abuse issue from the proud man,b
but vengeance lies in wait for him like a lion.
29Those who rejoice in the fall of the godly will be caught in a snare,
and pain will consume them before their death.
Anger and Vengeance
30Anger and wrath, these also are abominations,
and the sinful man will possess them.