1Death! The very thought of it is bitter to someone who is prosperous, living peacefully with his possessions, free of worries, and still able to enjoy his food.
2Death! Its sentence is welcome to someone living in poverty, with failing health, very old, burdened with worries, blind, and without hope.#41.2: Hebrew blind, and without hope; Greek rebellious and without patience.
3Do not be afraid of death's decree. Remember that it came to those before you and will come to those after you. 4The Lord has decreed it for every living creature. Who are you to object to what the Most High wishes? In the world of the dead no one will care whether you lived ten years, a hundred, or a thousand.
The Fate of the Wicked
5The children of sinners, brought up in ungodly surroundings, turn out to be hateful people. 6They will lose whatever they inherit, and their own descendants will live in permanent disgrace. 7The children will put the blame for their disgrace on their ungodly parents.
8You are doomed, you irreligious people who have abandoned the Law of the Most High God. 9When you have children, disaster will strike them and you will be left with nothing but sorrow. There will be great joy whenever you stumble,#41.9: Hebrew When you have … stumble; Greek You are born under a curse. and even after your death you will be cursed. 10What comes into being from nothing#41.10: Hebrew nothing; Greek earth. will return to nothing;#41.10: Hebrew nothing; Greek earth. so it will be with the godless, doomed to extinction.
11A person's body amounts to nothing,#41.11: Hebrew A person's … nothing; Greek The death of a person's body is mourned. but a good reputation will last forever. 12Protect your reputation; it will outlive you and last longer than a thousand treasures of gold. 13A good life lasts only so long, but a good reputation will last forever.
A Sense of Decency
14My children, do as I teach you and live at peace. Wisdom that is not expressed is like a treasure that has been hidden—both are useless. 15A person who covers up his foolishness is better than one who keeps his wisdom to himself.
16My children, listen and I will teach you the circumstances when it is proper to be ashamed.#41.16: Hebrew My children … ashamed; Greek Show respect for what I say. Sometimes it is entirely out of place.
17Before your parents, be ashamed of immoral behavior.
Before a ruler or an important person, be ashamed of a lie.
18Before a judge, be ashamed of criminal behavior.
Before a public assembly, be ashamed of breaking the law.
Before a friend or partner, be ashamed of dishonesty.
19Before your neighbors, be ashamed of theft.
Be ashamed of breaking a promise,#41.19: Hebrew of breaking a promise; Greek of yourself before the truth of God.
of leaning on the dinner table with your elbows,
of stinginess when you are asked for something,
20of not returning a greeting,
of staring at a prostitute,
21of turning down a relative's request,
of depriving someone of what is rightly his,
of staring at another man's wife,
22of playing around with his slave woman (keep away from her bed!)
of insulting your friends,
of following up your gifts with criticism,
23of betraying secrets.
These are times when it is proper for you to be ashamed, and people will respect you for it.