Wisdom Far Better than Wickedness
1Respond gently when you are confronted
and you’ll defuse the rage of another.
Responding with sharp, cutting words # 15:1 Or “painful words.” will only make it worse.
Don’t you know that being angry
can ruin the testimony of even the wisest of men? # 15:1 This sentence is found only in the Septuagint.
2When wisdom speaks, understanding becomes attractive.
But the words of the fool make their ignorance look laughable. # 15:2 The Aramaic reads “The mouths of fools vomit a curse.”
3The eyes of the Lord # 15:3 “The eyes of the Lord” can also be a metaphor for his prophets. are everywhere
and he takes note of everything that happens.
He watches over his lovers,
and he also sees the wickedness of the wicked.
4When you speak healing words,
you offer others fruit from the tree of life.
But unhealthy, negative words do nothing but crush their hopes. # 15:4 Or “perverse words are the crushing of the spirit.”
5You’re stupid to mock the instruction of a father,
but welcoming correction will make you brilliant. # 15:5 The Septuagint adds a verse that is not found in the Hebrew: “In great righteousness there is great strength. But the ungodly will one day perish from the earth.”
6There is prosperity in the house of the righteous, # 15:6 The Septuagint and the Aramaic read “There is power in the house of the righteous.” Both concepts are valid.
but the house of the wicked is filled with trouble,
no matter how much money they have.
7When wisdom speaks, revelation-knowledge is released, # 15:7 Or “is scattered like seed.”
but finding true wisdom in the word of a fool is futile.
8It is despicable to the Lord
when people use the worship of the Almighty
as a cloak for their sin, # 15:8 Or “the sacrifice of the wicked”; that is, worshiping God with a wicked heart, only to hide sin. Our yielded hearts must be the sacrifice we offer to God.
but every prayer of the righteous is pleasing to his heart.
9The Lord detests the lifestyle of the wicked,
but he loves those who pursue purity. # 15:9 The Aramaic reads “he shows mercy to the one who practices righteousness.”
10Severe punishment awaits the one
who turns away from the truth,
and those who rebel against correction will die.
11Even hell itself holds no secrets from the Lord God,
for before his eyes, all is exposed—
and so much more the heart of every human being.
12The know-it-all never esteems the one who tries to correct him.
He refuses to seek good advice from the wise. # 15:12 Another way to say this is “The one who hates authority has no love for being taught.”
Living an Ascended Life
13A cheerful heart puts a smile on your face,
but a broken heart leads to depression.
14Lovers of God # 15:14 Or “The upright” (Aramaic). hunger after truth,
but those without understanding
feast on foolishness and don’t even realize it.
15Everything seems to go wrong
when you feel weak and depressed.
But when you choose to be cheerful,
every day will bring you more and more joy and fullness. # 15:15 The Septuagint reads quite differently: “And the good [heart] is always calm.”
16It’s much better to live simply,
surrounded in holy awe and worship of God,
than to have great wealth with a home full of trouble.
17It’s much better to have a meal of vegetables surrounded with love and grace
than a steak where there is hate.
18A touchy, hot-tempered man picks a fight,
but the calm, patient man knows how to silence strife.
19Nothing seems to work right # 15:19 Or “The way is blocked with thorns.” for the lazy man,
but life seems smooth and easy when your heart is virtuous.
20When a son learns wisdom,
a father’s heart is glad.
But the man who shames # 15:20 Or “despises.” his mother is a foolish son.
21The senseless fool treats life like a joke,
but the one with living-understanding makes good choices.
22Your plans will fall apart right in front of you
if you fail to get good advice.
But if you first seek out multiple counselors,
you’ll watch your plans succeed.
23Everyone enjoys giving great advice.
But how delightful it is to say the right thing at the right time!
24The life-paths of the prudent lift them progressively heavenward,
delivering them from the death spirals
that keep tugging them downward.
25The Lord champions the widow’s cause, # 15:25 Or “The Lord maintains the boundaries of the widow.”
but watch him as he smashes down the houses of the haughty!
26The Lord detests wicked ways of thinking, # 15:26 Or “the thoughts of the wicked.”
but he enjoys lovely and delightful words.
27The one who puts earning money above his family
will have trouble at home,
but those who refuse to exploit others
will live in peace.
28Lovers of God think before they speak,
but the careless blurt out wicked words meant to cause harm.
29The Lord doesn’t respond to the wicked,
but he’s moved to answer the prayers of the righteous.
30Eyes that focus on what is beautiful bring joy to the heart, # 15:30 As translated from the Septuagint. The Hebrew is “The light of the eyes brings joy.”
and hearing a good report
refreshes and strengthens the inner being. # 15:30 The Hebrew here literally means “makes fat your bones.” Bones picture our inner being.
31Accepting constructive criticism
opens your heart to the path of life,
making you right at home among the wise.
32Refusing constructive criticism shows
you have no interest in improving your life,
for revelation-insight only comes as you accept correction
and the wisdom that it brings.
33The source of revelation-knowledge is found
as you fall down in surrender before the Lord.
Don’t expect to see Shekinah glory
until the Lord sees your sincere humility. # 15:33 Or “Before honor is humility.” The Hebrew uses the word kabod, which is translated as “glory” 156 times in the Old Testament.
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