The House of Wisdom
1Every wise woman encourages and builds up her family,
but a foolish woman over time will tear it down by her own actions.
2Lovers of truth follow the right path
because of their wonderment and worship of God.
But the devious display their disdain for him.
3The words of a proud fool will all come back to haunt him.
But the words of the wise
will become a shield of protection around them.
4The only clean stable is an empty stable.
So if you want the work of an ox and to enjoy an abundant harvest,
you’ll have a mess or two to clean up!
5An honest witness will never lie,
but a deceitful witness lies with every breath.
6The intellectually arrogant seek for wisdom,
but they never seem to discover
what they claim they’re looking for.
For revelation-knowledge flows to the one
who hungers for understanding.
7The words of the wise are like weapons of knowledge. # 14:7 As translated from the Aramaic.
If you need wise counsel, stay away from the fool.
8For the wisdom of the wise will keep life on the right track,
while the fool only deceives himself
and refuses to face reality.
9Fools mock the need for repentance, # 14:9 Or “Fools mock guilt [or guilt offering].” The Septuagint is “The house of the transgressor owes purification.”
while the favor of God rests upon all his lovers.
10Don’t expect anyone else to fully understand
both the bitterness and the joys
of all you experience in your life.
11The household of the wicked is soon torn apart,
while the family of the righteous flourishes.
12You can rationalize it all you want
and justify the path of error you have chosen,
but you’ll find out in the end that you took the road to destruction.
13Superficial laughter can hide a heavy heart,
but when the laughter ends, the pain resurfaces.
14Those who turn from the truth get what they deserve,
but a good person receives a sweet reward. # 14:14 As translated from Hebrew manuscripts. The Aramaic is “a good man will be filled from the awe of his soul.”
15A gullible person will believe anything,
but a sensible person will confirm the facts.
16A wise person is careful in all things and turns quickly from evil,
while the impetuous fool moves ahead with overconfidence.
17An impulsive person has a short fuse and can ruin everything,
but the wise show self-control. # 14:17 As translated from the Aramaic. The Hebrew is “and a crafty schemer is hated.” The Greek Septuagint is “a sensible man bears up under many things.”
18The naïve demonstrate a lack of wisdom,
but the lovers of wisdom are crowned with revelation-knowledge.
19Evil ones will pay tribute to good people
and eventually come to be servants of the godly. # 14:19 The Hebrew phrase literally means “they will come [or bow] at the gates of the righteous.”
20The poor are disliked even by their neighbors,
but everyone wants to get close to the wealthy.
21It’s a sin to despise one who is less fortunate than you, # 14:21 Implied in the Hebrew parallelism. The Hebrew phrase here literally means “your neighbor.”
but when you are kind to the poor,
you will prosper and be blessed.
22Haven’t you noticed how evil schemers always wander astray?
But kindness and truth come to those
who make plans to be pure in all their ways. # 14:22 Both the Aramaic and the Septuagint insert a verse here that is not found in the Hebrew: “The followers of evil don’t understand mercy and faith, but you’ll find kindness and faith with those who do good.”
23If you work hard at what you do,
great abundance will come to you.
But merely talking about getting rich
while living to only pursue your pleasures # 14:23 As translated from the Septuagint.
brings you face-to-face with poverty. # 14:23 There is an additional verse found here in the Aramaic that is missing from the Hebrew text: “The Lord Yahweh heals every sickness, but evil speaking makes you sick [harms you].”
24The true net worth of the wise # 14:24 Or “the crown of the wise.” is the wealth that wisdom imparts.
But the way of life for the fool is his foolishness. # 14:24 The Aramaic word translated here as “foolishness” can also mean “insanity.”
25Speak the truth and you’ll save souls,
but in the spreading of lies treachery thrives.
26Confidence and strength flood the hearts
of the lovers of God who live in awe of him,
and their devotion provides their children
with a place of shelter and security. # 14:26 To live as a passionate lover of God will bring benefit even to your children.
27To worship God in wonder and awe
opens a fountain of life within you,
empowering you to escape death’s domain. # 14:27 Or “empowering you to turn from the deadly snares.”
28A king glories in the number of his loyal followers,
but a dwindling population spells ruin for any leader.
29When your heart overflows with understanding
you’ll be very slow to get angry.
But if you have a quick temper,
your impatience will be quickly seen by all.
30A tender, tranquil heart will make you healthy, # 14:30 Or “A heart of healing is the life of the flesh.”
but jealousy can make you sick.
31Insult your Creator, will you?
That’s exactly what you do
every time you oppress the powerless! # 14:31 Or “slander the poor.” Every human being is made in God’s image, including the poor.
Showing kindness to the poor is equal to honoring your maker.
32The wicked are crushed by every calamity,
but the righteous find a strong hope
in the time of death. # 14:32 As translated from the Masoretic Text. Our strong hope is that our lives will continue in the presence of God in the resurrection glory. Both the Septuagint and the Aramaic read quite differently: “but the righteous have a refuge in their integrity.”
33Wisdom soothes the heart of the one with living-understanding,
but the heart of the fool just stockpiles stupidity.
34A nation is exalted by the righteousness of its people,
but sin heaps disgrace upon the land.
35A wise and faithful servant receives promotion from the king,
but the one who acts disgracefully
gets to taste the anger of the king. # 14:35 As translated from the Hebrew. The Septuagint reads “and by his good behavior shame is removed.”