Knowing When to Talk
1A person can be rebuked in the wrong way; it may be wiser to keep quiet than to speak. 2But it is much better to rebuke the person than to keep your anger bottled up. 3Admit when you are wrong, and you will avoid embarrassment. 4Using force to get a point across is like a castrated man trying to rape a young woman. 5Some people are thought to be wise because they don't talk much; others are disliked because they talk too much. 6Some people keep quiet because they don't have anything to say; others keep quiet because they know the right time to speak. 7A wise person will not speak until the right moment, but a bragging fool doesn't know when that time is. 8No one can stand a person who talks too long and will not give others a chance to speak.
Sudden Changes of Fortune
9Bad luck can sometimes lead to success, and a stroke of good luck can sometimes lead to loss.
10Generosity will sometimes do you no good, but at other times it will repay you double.
11Honor can be followed by disgrace, but there are people who have risen from obscurity to places of honor.
12Sometimes what seems like a real bargain can turn out to be a very expensive mistake.
13When a person with good judgment speaks, he wins friends. A stupid person, though, can shower compliments on everybody, and it won't help him a bit. 14If such a person gives you something, it won't do any good; it won't be as valuable as he thinks it is.#20.14: it won't be … it is; or he only expects to be repaid. 15He isn't generous with anything but criticism, which he will shout for all the world to hear. If he lends you something today, he'll want it back tomorrow. (Don't you hate people like that?) 16Then that fool will say, “Nobody likes me. Nobody appreciates what I do for them. They'll take what I give them, but then talk about me behind my back.” 17And he's right—he's a constant joke to everyone.
18A slip of the tongue is worse than a slip on the pavement; the wicked will go to ruin just as suddenly as a person slips and falls.
19An impolite person is like one of those off-color stories that ignorant people are always telling.
20Nobody takes a proverb seriously when some fool quotes it at the wrong time.
21If a person is too poor to afford sin, he can rest without a guilty conscience.
22You can lose all your self-respect by being reluctant to speak up in the presence of stupidity.
23If you promise a friend something because you are too bashful to say no, you're needlessly making an enemy.
24Lying is an ugly blot on a person's character, but ignorant people do it all the time. 25A thief is better than a habitual liar, but both are headed for ruin. 26A liar has no honor. He lives in constant disgrace.
Stewardship of Wisdom
27Speak wisely, and you will get ahead in the world. Influential people appreciate good sense. 28They will excuse your errors if they like you, so cultivate the soil and reap the harvest!
29Gifts and bribes make even the wise blind to the truth, and prevent them from being honest in their criticism.
30Wisdom that is not expressed is like a treasure that has been hidden—both are useless. 31But a person who covers up his foolishness is better than one who keeps his wisdom to himself.