18
1An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends
and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.
2Fools find no pleasure in understanding
but delight in airing their own opinions.
3When wickedness comes, so does contempt,
and with shame comes reproach.
4The words of the mouth are deep waters,
but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream.
5It is not good to be partial to the wicked
and so deprive the innocent of justice.
6The lips of fools bring them strife,
and their mouths invite a beating.
7The mouths of fools are their undoing,
and their lips are a snare to their very lives.
8The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
they go down to the inmost parts.
9One who is slack in his work
is brother to one who destroys.
10The name of the Lord is a fortified tower;
the righteous run to it and are safe.
11The wealth of the rich is their fortified city;
they imagine it a wall too high to scale.
12Before a downfall the heart is haughty,
but humility comes before honour.
13To answer before listening –
that is folly and shame.
14The human spirit can endure in times of illness,
but a crushed spirit who can bear?
15The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge,
for the ears of the wise seek it out.
16A gift opens the way
and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.
17In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right,
until someone comes forward and cross-examines.
18Casting the lot settles disputes
and keeps strong opponents apart.
19A brother wronged is more unyielding than a fortified city;
disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.
20From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled;
with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied.
21The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.
22He who finds a wife finds what is good
and receives favour from the Lord.
23The poor plead for mercy,
but the rich answer harshly.
24One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
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