How to Live a Life of Wisdom
1A beautiful reputation is more to be desired than great riches, # 22:1 The Hebrew is simply “name preferred to wealth.” The Aramaic indicates it could be “the name [of God].”
and to be esteemed by others is more honorable
than to own immense investments. # 22:1 Or “silver and gold.” Remember, it is Solomon, one of the richest men to ever live, who penned these words.
2The rich and the poor have one thing in common:
the Lord God created each one.
3A prudent person with insight foresees danger coming
and prepares himself for it. # 22:3 Wise people solve problems before they happen.
But the senseless rush blindly forward
and suffer the consequences.
4Laying your life down in tender surrender before the Lord
will bring life, prosperity, and honor as your reward.
5Twisted and perverse lives are surrounded by demonic influence. # 22:5 Or “thorns and snares.” This becomes a metaphor for demonic curses and troubles. Thorns are associated with the fall of Adam. Jesus wore a crown of thorns and took away our curse. The snares picture the temptations of evil that the devil places in our path.
If you value your soul, stay far away from them.
6Dedicate your children to God
and point them in the way that they should go, # 22:6 Or “train them in the direction they are best suited to go.” Some Jewish scholars teach this means understanding your children’s talents and then seeing that they go into that field.
and the values they’ve learned from you will be with them for life.
7If you borrow money with interest,
you’ll end up serving the interests of your creditors, # 22:7 The Septuagint reads “the servant will lend to his own master.”
for the rich rule over the poor.
8Sin is a seed that brings a harvest;
you’ll reap a heap of trouble with every seed you plant.
For your investment in sins pays a full return—
the full punishment you deserve! # 22:8 As translated from the Septuagint.
9When you are generous # 22:9 The Hebrew word translated here as “generous” actually means “to have a bountiful eye.” It is a figure of speech for generosity, a life of helping others. to the poor,
you are enriched with blessings in return.
10Say goodbye to a troublemaker and you’ll say goodbye
to quarrels, strife, tension, and arguments,
for a troublemaker traffics in shame. # 22:10 As translated from the Aramaic.
11The Lord loves those whose hearts are holy,
and he is the friend of those whose ways are pure. # 22:11 As translated from the Septuagint. Followers of Jesus enjoy a relationship with our holy King as we live in the light and love to please him.
12God passionately watches # 22:12 Or “the eyes of the Lord [watch].” In the church today, prophets become eyes in the body of Christ. They see and reveal God’s heart for his people. over
his deep reservoir # 22:12 Although the concept of a reservoir is not found in the Hebrew, this translation adds it for poetic nuance. of revelation-knowledge,
but he subverts the lies of those who pervert the truth.
13A slacker always has an excuse for not working—
like “I can’t go to work. There’s a lion outside!
And murderers too!” # 22:13 This humorous verse uses both satire and a metaphor. There’s always an excuse for not working hard. The Aramaic text adds “And murderers too!”
14Sex with an adulteress is like falling into the abyss.
Those under God’s curse jump right in to their own destruction.
15Although rebellion # 22:15 The Aramaic word used here means “senseless.” is woven into a young man’s heart,
tough discipline can make him into a man.
16There are two kinds of people headed toward poverty:
those who exploit the poor
and those who bribe the rich. # 22:16 The Hebrew is literally “Oppressing the poor is gain; giving to the rich is loss. Both end up only in poverty.”
Sayings of the Wise Sages
17Listen carefully and open your heart. # 22:17 From this verse to 24:22 we have a collection of proverbs that lead to virtue. They are especially designed for the young person about to enter a career and start a family.
Drink in the wise revelation that I impart.
18You’ll become winsome and wise
when you treasure the beauty of my words.
And always be prepared to share them at the appropriate time.
19For I’m releasing these words to you this day,
yes, even to you, so that your living hope
will be found in God alone,
for he is the only one who is always true.
20-21Pay attention to these excellent sayings of three-fold things. # 22:20–21 As translated from the Aramaic. Most translators find this verse difficult to convey. The Hebrew can be “I have written excellent things,” “I have written three times,” “I write thirty sayings [proverbs],” “I have written you previously,” or “I have written you generals.” The Septuagint reads “You should copy these things three times.” If the Proverbs contain keys to understanding riddles and mysteries (see Prov. 1:2–6), then we have one of those keys given to us here. God speaks in threes, for he is a triune God. We have a body, soul, and spirit. God lived in a three-room house (the outer court, the Holy Place, and the chamber of the Most Holy Place). These three-fold dimensions are throughout the Bible.
For within my words you will discover true and reliable revelation.
They will give you serenity # 22:20–21 Serenity is only found in the Aramaic. so that you can reveal
the truth of the word of the one who sends you.
22Never oppress the poor
or pass laws with the motive of crushing the weak.
23For the Lord will rise to plead their case
and humiliate the one who humiliates the poor. # 22:23 As translated from the Aramaic. The Hebrew is “he will rob the soul of the one who robs the poor.”
24-25Walk away from an angry man
or you’ll embrace a snare in your soul # 22:24–25 As translated from the Aramaic.
by becoming bad-tempered just like him.
26Why would you ever guarantee a loan for someone else
or promise to be responsible for someone’s debts?
27For if you fail to pay you could lose your shirt! # 22:27 Or “bed.”
28The previous generation has set boundaries in place.
Don’t you dare move them just to benefit yourself. # 22:28 This refers to moving property lines of your neighbors to take more land, or it could mean moving landmarks and memorials placed there by ancestors. It also speaks to the moral boundaries that the previous generation modeled—they are to be upheld.
29If you are uniquely gifted in your work,
you will rise and be promoted.
You won’t be held back—
you’ll stand before kings!