1No evil will befall the man who fears the Lord,
but in trial he will deliver him again and again.
2A wise man will not hate the law,
but he who is hypocritical about it is like a boat in a storm.
3A man of understanding will trust in the law;
for him the law is as dependable as an inquiry by means of Urim.
4Prepare what to say, and thus you will be heard;
bind together your instruction, and make your answer.
5The heart of a fool is like a cart wheel,
and his thoughts like a turning axle.
6A stallion is like a mocking friend;
he neighs under every one who sits on him.
Differences in Nature and in Mankind
7Why is any day better than another,
when all the daylight in the year is from the sun?
8By the Lord's decision they were distinguished,
and he appointed the different seasons and feasts;
9some of them he exalted and hallowed,
and some of them he made ordinary days.
10All men are from the ground,
and Adam was created of the dust.
11In the fulness of his knowledge the Lord distinguished them
and appointed their different ways;
12some of them he blessed and exalted,
and some of them he made holy and brought near to himself;
but some of them he cursed and brought low,
and he turned them out of their place.
13As clay in the hand of the potter-
for all his ways are as he pleases-
so men are in the hand of him who made them,
to give them as he decides.
14Good is the opposite of evil,
and life the opposite of death;
so the sinner is the opposite of the godly.
15Look upon all the works of the Most High;
they likewise are in pairs, one the opposite of the other.
16I was the last on watch;
I was like one who gleans after the grape-gatherers;
by the blessing of the Lord I excelled,
and like a grape-gatherer I filled my wine press.
17Consider that I have not labored for myself alone,
but for all who seek instruction.
18Hear me, you who are great among the people,
and you leaders of the congregation, hearken.
The Advantage of Independence
19To son or wife, to brother or friend,
do not give power over yourself, as long as you live;
and do not give your property to another,
lest you change your mind and must ask for it.
20While you are still alive and have breath in you,
do not let any one take your place.
21For it is better that your children should ask from you
than that you should look to the hand of you sons.
22Excel in all that you do;
bring no stain upon your honor.
23At the time when you end the days of your life,
in the hour of death, distribute your inheritance.
The Treatment of Slaves
24Fodder and a stick and burdens for an ass;
bread and discipline and work for a servant.
25Set your slave to work, and you will find rest;
leave his hands idle, and he will seek liberty.
26Yoke and thong will bow the neck,
and for a wicked servant there are racks and tortures.
27Put him to work, that he may not be idle,
for idleness teaches much evil.
28Set him to work, as is fitting for him,
and if he does not obey, make his fetters heavy.
29Do not act immoderately toward anybody,
and do nothing without discretion.
30If you have a servant, let him be as yourself,
because you have bought him with blood.
31If you have a servant, treat him as a brother,
for as your own soul you will need him.
If you ill-treat him, and he leaves and runs away,
which way will you go to seek him?