Don’t Be Stubborn
1Stubborn people who repeatedly refuse to accept correction
will suddenly be broken and never recover.
2Everyone rejoices when the lovers of God flourish,
but the people groan when the wicked rise to power.
3When you love wisdom, your father is overjoyed.
But when you associate with prostitutes,
you waste your wealth in exchange for disgrace. # 29:3 See Luke 15:11–24.
4A godly leader who values justice
is a great strength and example to the people.
But the one who sells his influence for money
tears down what is right. # 29:4 See 1 Tim. 6:10.
5Flattery can often be used as a trap to hide ulterior motives
and take advantage of you.
6The wicked always have a trap laid for others,
but the lovers of God escape as they sing and shout
in joyous triumph!
7God’s righteous people will pour themselves out for the poor, # 29:7 The Hebrew text implies standing up for the legal rights of the poor.
but the ungodly make no attempt to understand or help the needy.
You Can’t Argue with a Fool
8Arrogant cynics love to pick fights,
but the humble and wise love to pursue peace.
9There’s no use arguing with a fool, # 29:9 The Hebrew implies an argument in a court of law.
for his ranting and raving prevent you from making a case
and settling the argument in a calm way.
10Violent men hate those with integrity,
but the lovers of God esteem those who are holy. # 29:10 As translated from the Septuagint.
11You can recognize fools by the way
they give full vent to their rage
and let their words fly!
But the wise bite their tongues and hold back all they could say.
12When leaders listen to false accusations,
their associates become scoundrels.
13Poor people and their oppressors
have only one thing in common—
God made them both. # 29:13 A figure of speech in Hebrew that can literally be translated “God gave them both the gift of eyesight.” The Septuagint is “The contracts between lenders and debtors are observed by the Lord.”
14The best insurance for a leader’s longevity
is to demonstrate justice for the poor.
15Experiencing many corrections and rebukes will make you wise.
But if left to your own ways, you’ll bring disgrace to your parents. # 29:15 As translated from the Septuagint. The Hebrew is “your mother.”
16When the wicked are in power, lawlessness abounds.
But the patient lovers of God will one day watch in triumph
as their stronghold topples!
17Correct your child and one day you’ll find he has changed
and will bring you great delight.
18When there is no clear prophetic vision, # 29:18 The Hebrew word used here can refer to a “vision of the night,” “dream,” “oracle,” or “revelation.” The Septuagint reads “where there is no prophetic seer [or interpreter].”
people quickly wander astray. # 29:18 Or “let loose,” “strip,” or “made themselves naked.” The Septuagint reads “the people become lawless.”
But when you follow the revelation of the Word,
heaven’s bliss fills your soul.
19A stubborn servant can’t be corrected by words alone.
For even if he understands, he pays no attention to you.
20There’s only one kind of person who is worse than a fool:
the impetuous one who speaks without thinking first.
21If you pamper your servants,
don’t be surprised when they expect to be treated as sons. # 29:21 Or “If you pamper your servant when he is young, he’ll become a weakling in the end.” The Septuagint reads “If you live in luxury as a child, you’ll become a domestic [servant] and at last will be grieved with yourself.” The Aramaic states, “You’ll be uprooted in the end.”
22The source of strife is found in an angry heart,
for sin surrounds the life of a furious man. # 29:22 The Hebrew word translated as “a furious man” can also mean “lord of fury” or “Baal of wrath.”
23Lift yourself up with pride and you will soon be brought low, # 29:23 Or “to depression.”
but a meek and humble spirit will add to your honor.
24You are your own worst enemy when you partner with a thief,
for a curse of guilt will come upon you
when you fail to report a crime. # 29:24 Or “when under oath to testify but you do not talk.”
25Fear and intimidation is a trap that holds you back.
But when you place your confidence in the Lord,
you will be seated in the high place.
26Everyone curries favor with leaders.
But God is the judge, and justice comes from him.
27The wicked hate those who live a godly life,
but the righteous hate injustice wherever it’s found.