1Solomon’s proverbs, published by the scribes of King Hezekiah:
2God conceals the revelation of his word
in the hiding place of his glory.
But the honor of kings is revealed
by how they thoroughly search out
the deeper meaning of all that God says.
3The heart of a king is full of understanding,
like the heavens are high and the ocean is deep.
4If you burn away the impurities from silver,
a sterling vessel will emerge from the fire.
5And if you purge corruption from the kingdom,
a king’s reign will be established in righteousness.
6Don’t boast in the presence of a king
or promote yourself by taking a seat at the head table
and pretend that you’re someone important.
7For it is better for the king to say to you,
“Come, you should sit at the head table,”
than for him to say in front of everyone,
“Please get up and move—
you’re sitting in the place of the prince.”
8Don’t be hasty to file a lawsuit.
By starting something you wish you hadn’t,
you could be humiliated when you lose your case.
9Don’t reveal another person’s secret
just to prove a point in an argument,
or you could be accused of being a gossip
10and gain a reputation for being one
who betrays the confidence of a friend.
11Winsome words spoken at just the right time
are as appealing as apples gilded in gold
and surrounded with silver.
12To humbly receive wise correction
adorns your life with beauty
and makes you a better person.
13A reliable, trustworthy messenger
refreshes the heart of his master,
like a gentle breeze blowing at harvest time—
cooling the sweat from his brow.
14Clouds that carry no water
and a wind that brings no refreshing rain—
that’s what you’re like when you boast
of a gift that you don’t have.
Wisdom Practices Self-Control
15Use patience and kindness when you want to persuade leaders
and watch them change their minds right in front of you.
For your gentle wisdom will quell the strongest resistance.
16When you discover something sweet,
don’t overindulge and eat more than you need,
for excess in anything can make you sick of even a good thing.
17Don’t wear out your welcome
by staying too long at the home of your friends,
or they may get fed up with always having you there
and wish you hadn’t come.
18Lying about and slandering people
are as bad as hitting them with a club,
or wounding them with an arrow,
or stabbing them with a sword.
19You can’t depend on an unreliable person
when you really need help.
It can be compared to biting down on an abscessed tooth
or walking with a sprained ankle.
20When you sing a song of joy to someone suffering
in the deepest grief and heartache,
it can be compared to disrobing in the middle of a blizzard
or rubbing salt in a wound.
21Is your enemy hungry? Buy him lunch.
Win him over with your kindness.
22Your surprising generosity will awaken his conscience
and God will reward you with favor.
23As the north wind brings a storm,
saying things you shouldn’t brings a storm to any relationship.
24It’s better to live all alone in a rundown shack
than to share a castle with a crabby spouse!
25Like a drink of cool water to a weary, thirsty soul,
so hearing good news revives the spirit.
26When a lover of God gives in and compromises with wickedness,
it can be compared to contaminating a stream with sewage
or polluting a fountain.
27It’s good to eat sweet things,
but you can take too much.
It’s good to be honored,
but to seek words of praise is not honor at all.
28If you live without restraint
and are unable to control your temper,
you’re as helpless as a city with broken-down defenses,
open to attack.