It’s Right to Live for God
1To learn the truth you must long to be teachable, # 12:1 There are times when even the wise need correction, but they will appreciate its value.
or you can despise correction and remain ignorant.
2If your heart is right, favor flows from the Lord,
but a devious heart invites his condemnation.
3You can’t expect success by doing what’s wrong.
But the lives of his lovers are deeply rooted and firmly planted.
4The integrity and strength of a virtuous wife # 12:4 There is an amazing Hebrew word used here. It is more commonly used to describe warriors, champions, and mighty ones. Many translations read “an excellent wife.” But the meaning of the Hebrew word chayil is better translated “an army that is wealthy,” “strong,” “mighty,” “powerful,” “with substance,” “valiant,” “virtuous,” or “worthy.”
transforms her husband into an honored king. # 12:4 Or “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband.” By implication, her dignity makes him a king.
But the wife who disgraces her husband
weakens the strength of his identity. # 12:4 Or “she is like cancer in his bones.” Bones are a metaphor for inner strength, our inner being, or identity.
5The lovers of God are filled with good ideas
that are noble and pure,
but the schemes of the sinner
are crammed with nothing but lies.
6The wicked use their words to ambush and accuse, # 12:6 Or “lie in wait for blood.” This is a figure of speech for accusation.
but the lovers of God speak to defend and protect.
7The wicked are taken out, gone for good,
but the godly families shall live on.
8Everyone admires a man of principles,
but the one with a corrupt heart is despised.
9Just be who you are and work hard for a living,
for that’s better than pretending to be important
and starving to death.
10A good man takes care of the needs of his pets,
while even the kindest acts of a wicked man are still cruel.
11Work hard at your job and you’ll have what you need.
Following a get-rich-quick scheme is nothing but a fantasy.
12The cravings of the wicked are only for what is evil, # 12:12 As translated from the Septuagint. The Hebrew is “Thieves crave the loot of other thieves.”
but righteousness is the core motivation for the lovers of God,
and it keeps them content and flourishing. # 12:12 The meaning of the Hebrew text of v. 12 is uncertain.
Wisdom Means Being Teachable
13The wicked will get trapped by their words
of gossip, slander, and lies. # 12:13 The Hebrew is simply “sinful words,” which implies gossip, slander, and lies.
But for the righteous, honesty is its own defense.
14For there is great satisfaction in speaking the truth,
and hard work brings blessings back to you.
15A fool is in love with his own opinion,
but wisdom means being teachable.
Learning to Speak Wisely
16If you shrug off an insult and refuse to take offense,
you demonstrate discretion indeed. # 12:16 Or “A shrewd man conceals his shame.”
But the fool has a short fuse
and will immediately let you know when he’s offended.
17Truthfulness marks the righteous,
but the habitual liar can never be trusted.
18Reckless words are like the thrusts of a sword,
cutting remarks meant to stab and to hurt.
But the words of the wise soothe and heal.
19Truthful words will stand the test of time,
but one day every lie will be seen for what it is.
20Deception fills the hearts of those who plot harm,
but those who plan for peace # 12:20 Or “counselors of peace.” are filled with joy.
21Calamity is not allowed to overwhelm the righteous,
but there’s nothing but trouble waiting for the wicked.
22Live in the truth and keep your promises,
and the Lord will keep delighting in you,
but he detests a liar.
23Those who possess wisdom don’t feel the need
to impress others with what they know,
but foolish ones make sure their ignorance is on display.
24If you want to reign in life, # 12:24 The Hebrew word for “reign” (mashal) is the title of the book: Proverbs. See introduction and the footnote on Prov. 1:1.
don’t sit on your hands.
Instead, work hard at doing what’s right,
for the slacker will end up working to make someone else succeed.
25Anxious fear brings depression,
but a life-giving word of encouragement
can do wonders to restore joy to the heart. # 12:25 This insightful proverb can also be translated “Stop worrying! Think instead of what brings you gladness.” Our focus must never be on what we can’t change but on the everlasting joy we have in Christ. Sometimes we have to find the life-giving word of encouragement rising up in our own hearts. This is the secret of finding perpetual encouragement by the Word that lives in us.
26Lovers of God give good advice to their friends, # 12:26 As translated from older Aramaic manuscripts. The Hebrew is uncertain.
but the counsel of the wicked will lead them astray.
27A passive person won’t even complete a project,
but a passionate person makes good use
of his time, wealth, and energy. # 12:27 Implied in the text, paraphrased from an uncertain Hebrew phrase. An alternate translation would be “A lazy person won’t get to roast the game he caught, but the wealth of a diligent person is precious.”
28Abundant life is discovered by walking in righteousness,
but holding on to your anger leads to death. # 12:28 As translated from the Septuagint and the Aramaic. The Hebrew is uncertain.