1Anyone can claim to be your friend, but some people are friends in name only. 2The grief caused when a close friendship turns sour is as bad as death. 3This evil impulse we have! Why was it ever formed? How did it manage to cover the earth with deceit? 4Some people will be your friend as long as things are going well, but they will turn against you when trouble comes. 5A real#37.5: Hebrew real; Greek does not have this word. friend will help you against your enemies#37.5: Hebrew against your enemies; Greek hoping to get a meal. and protect you in the fight. 6Never forget such companions in battle;#37.6: Hebrew in battle; Greek in your soul. share the results of your victory with them.
Caution in Taking Advice
7Anyone can give advice, but some people do so only in their own interest. 8Be careful when somebody offers you advice. Find out first what his interest in the matter is, because you can be sure that he is thinking primarily of himself. Why should he come out on top instead of you?#37.8: Hebrew Why … you?; Greek He may use his influence against you. 9He will assure you that things look good, and then stand back to watch what happens to you.
10Don't ask advice of anyone who doesn't trust you, and don't give advice to anyone who is jealous of you.
11Don't ask a woman for advice about a rival of hers,
a coward about war,
a merchant about a bargain,
a buyer about selling,
a stingy person about gratitude,
a cruel person about kindness,
a lazy person about work,
a casual worker about finishing a job,
a lazy slave about a difficult task.
Pay no attention to any advice they may give.
12Instead, rely on someone who is religious and known to keep the Lord's commands, someone who is sympathetic with you, who will be sorry to see you fail. 13And trust your own judgment; no one's advice is more reliable. 14Sometimes your own intuition can tell you more than seven watchmen on a high tower. 15Above all, pray to the Most High that he will show you the right thing to do.
Wisdom and Confidence
16Planning and thought lie behind everything that is done. 17-18The mind concerns itself with four things: these are good and evil, life and death. They all begin in the mind,#37.17-18: Hebrew The mind … the mind; Greek There are four things that show the changes of the heart: good and evil, life and death. but the tongue is their absolute ruler.
19Someone may have the ability to teach, but still not be of much use to himself. 20He may be clever with words, but end up starving because people hate him. 21This may happen if he doesn't have good sense, if the Lord has not given him tact. 22Someone may consider himself wise and let you know that he is certain about what he knows. 23Anyone who really is wise will be the teacher of his people, and they can be certain that what he teaches is the truth. 24Everyone will praise such a person and speak of him as fortunate. 25A person's life has only a limited number of days, but the life of Israel cannot be measured in days at all. 26The wise will win the confidence of others, and will be remembered forever.
Controlling the Appetite
27My child, as you go through life, keep your appetite under control, and don't eat anything that you know is bad for you. 28All food doesn't agree with everyone, and everyone doesn't like the same kinds of food. 29Don't feel that you just have to have all sorts of fancy food, and don't be a glutton over any food. 30If you eat too much, you'll get sick; if you do it all the time, you'll always have stomach trouble. 31Gluttony has been the death of many people. Avoid it and live longer.