Are You Living Wisely?
1A drunkard is obnoxious, loud, and argumentative;
you’re a fool to get intoxicated with strong drink.
2The rage of a king is like the roar of a lion.
Do you really want to go and make him angry?
3A person of honor # 20:3 Or “It is the glory of a man.” It’s better to keep a friend than to win a fight. will put an argument to rest.
Only the stupid want to pick a fight.
4If you’re too lazy to plant seed,
it’s too bad when you have no harvest on which to feed. # 20:4 The Aramaic and the Septuagint read “Rebuke a lazy man and he still has no shame, yet watch him go beg at harvest time.”
5A man of deep understanding will give good advice,
drawing it out from the well within.
6Many will tell you they’re your loyal friends,
but who can find one who is truly trustworthy? # 20:6 Or “A compassionate man is hard to find, but it’s even harder to find one who is faithful.”
7The lovers of God will walk in integrity,
and their children are fortunate
to have godly parents as their examples.
8A righteous king sits on his judgment seat.
He scatters evil away from his kingdom
by his wise discernment.
9Which one of us can truly say,
“I am free from sin in my life,
for my heart is clean and pure”? # 20:9 The Hebrew word translated “clean” can also mean “perfect” or “holy.” The word translated “pure” can also mean “clear,” “bright,” “shining,” or “unmixed.” Through God’s grace, by the blood of Jesus, believers have been purified, made holy, and set free from our sins.
10Mark it down:
God hates it when you demonstrate a double standard—
one for “them” and one for “you.”
11All children show what they’re really like by how they act.
You can discern their character,
whether they are pure or perverse.
12Lovers of God have been given eyes to see
and ears to hear from God.
13If you spend all your time sleeping, you’ll grow poor.
So wake up, sleepyhead! Don’t sleep on the job.
And then there will be plenty of food on your table.
14The buyer says, as he haggles over the price,
“That’s junk. It’s worthless!”
Then he goes out and brags,
“Look at the great bargain I got!”
15You may have an abundance of wealth,
piles of gold and jewels,
but there is something of far greater worth:
speaking revelation-words of knowledge.
16Anyone stupid enough to guarantee a loan for a stranger # 20:16 Some manuscripts have “a promiscuous woman.”
deserves to have his property held as security.
17What you obtain dishonestly may seem sweet at first,
but sooner or later you’ll live to regret it. # 20:17 Or “The bread of falsehood may taste sweet at first, but afterward you’ll have a mouth full of gravel.”
18If you solicit good advice, then your plans will succeed.
So don’t charge into battle without wisdom,
for wars are won by skillful strategy.
19A blabbermouth will reveal your secrets,
so stay away from people who can’t keep their mouths shut. # 20:19 The Aramaic adds a line: “One who is faithful in spirit hides a matter.”
20If you despise your father or mother,
your life will flicker out like a lamp,
extinguished into the deepest darkness.
21If an inheritance is gained too early in life,
it will not be blessed in the end.
22Don’t ever say, “I’m going to get even with them
if it’s the last thing I do!”
Wrap God’s grace around your heart
and he will be the one to vindicate you.
23The Lord hates double standards—
that’s hypocrisy at its worst! # 20:23 Or “The Lord hates differing weights, and dishonest scales are wicked.”
24It is the Lord who directs your life,
for each step you take is ordained by God
to bring you closer to your destiny.
So much of your life, then, remains a mystery! # 20:24 The Aramaic reads “So what man is capable of ordering his way?”
25Be careful in making a rash promise before God,
or you may be trapped by your vow and live to regret it.
26A wise king is able to discern corruption
and remove wickedness from his kingdom. # 20:26 Or “A wise king winnows the wicked and turns his chariot wheel over them.”
27The spirit God breathed into man # 20:27 Implied by the Hebrew word nishmat, also used in Gen. 2:7. is like a living lamp,
a shining light
searching into the innermost chamber of our being.
28Good leadership # 20:28 Or “A king’s throne.” is built on love and truth,
for kindness and integrity
are what keep leaders in their position of trust.
29We admire the young for their strength and beauty,
but the dignity of the old is their wisdom. # 20:29 Or “their gray hair.”
30When you are punished severely, you learn your lesson well—
for painful experiences do wonders to change your life.