Laziness and Foolishness
1-2Lazy people are no better than dung; they are repulsive, and no one wants to get near them.
3It is a disgrace to a father to have an undisciplined child, especially if it is a daughter. 4A sensible daughter will get a husband, but a shameless daughter brings her father grief. 5A girl with no sense of propriety will disgrace both her husband and her father; neither will have any respect for her.
6Lecturing your children can sometimes be as out of place as singing to people in mourning, but a whipping is a wise choice of discipline at any time.
7Trying to teach a fool is like gluing a broken pot back together, like waking someone out of a deep sleep. 8Explaining something to a fool is like explaining it to a sleepy person; when you have finished, he'll say, “What was that again?”#22.8: Some manuscripts add verses 9-10: Children who are brought up well do not show the humble origin of their parents. 10 Children who are not brought up well, who are arrogant and conceited, are a stain on the noblest family.
11We mourn for the dead because they have no access to light. We ought to mourn for fools, because they have no access to intelligence. In fact, we should go into deeper mourning for fools, because the life they lead is worse than death. The dead are at least at rest. 12#Gn 50.10; Jdt 16.24 For seven days we mourn the dead, but a foolish or ungodly person causes a lifetime of grief.
13Don't visit stupid people or spend a lot of time talking with them. Avoid them; then they can't contaminate you, and you can live in peace without being troubled or worn down by their foolishness. 14Such people are a heavier burden to bear than lead; and the only word that fits them is “fools.” 15It is easier to carry a load of sand, salt, and iron than to put up with a stupid person.
16A wooden beam can be put into a building so firmly that an earthquake cannot shake it loose; a person can be trained to use reason and good sense so well that he keeps his head when a crisis comes. 17A mind that thinks things through intelligently is like a firm wall, finely decorated. 18Small stones on top of a wall#22.18: Small … wall; some manuscripts have A fence on top of a hill. will not stay put when the wind blows, and a person whose stupid ideas have made him timid will not be able to stand up to frightening situations.
19If you stick something in your eye, tears will flow; and if you hurt a person deeply, you will discover his true feelings. 20If you throw rocks at birds, you will scare them away; and if you insult a friend, you will break up the friendship. 21-22Even if you have a violent argument with a friend, and speak sharply, all is not lost. You can still make up with him. But any friend will leave you if you insult him, if you are arrogant, if you reveal his secrets, or if you turn on him unexpectedly.
23Gain the confidence of your neighbor if he is poor; then you can share his happiness if he becomes successful. Stand by him when he is in trouble if you want to share with him when better times come his way.
24Fumes and smoke appear before the flames do; insults come before violence.
25I will never be afraid to protect a friend, and I will never turn a friend away if he needs me. 26If I suffer because of him, everyone who learns of it will be on guard against him.
A Prayer for Help against Sin
27I wish that a guard could be placed at my mouth, that my lips could be wisely sealed. It would keep me from making mistakes and prevent me from destroying myself with my own tongue!