The Lord is in charge
1The Lord controls rulers,
just as he determines
the course of rivers.
2We may think we are doing
the right thing,
but the Lord always knows
what is in our hearts.
3Doing what is right and fair
pleases the Lord
more than an offering.
4Evil people are proud
and arrogant,
but sin is the only crop
they produce.#21.4 but sin … produce: Or “but sin is the only light they ever follow.”
5If you plan and work hard,
you will have plenty;
if you get in a hurry,
you will end up poor.
6Cheating to get rich
is a foolish dream
and no less than suicide.#21.6 and … suicide: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
7You destroy yourself
by being cruel and violent
and refusing to live right.
8All crooks are liars,
but anyone who is innocent
will do right.
9It's better to stay outside
on the roof of your house
than to live inside
with a nagging wife.
10Evil people want to do wrong,
even to their friends.
11An ignorant fool learns
by seeing others punished;
a sensible person learns
by being instructed.
12God is always fair!
He knows what the wicked do
and will punish them.
13If you won't help the poor,
don't expect to be heard
when you cry out for help.
14A secret bribe will save you
from someone's fierce anger.
15When justice is done,
good citizens are glad
and crooks are terrified.
16If you stop using good sense,
you will find yourself
in the grave.
17Heavy drinkers and others
who live only for pleasure
will lose all they have.
18God's people will escape,
but all who are wicked
will pay the price.
19It's better out in the desert
than at home with a nagging,
complaining wife.
20Be sensible and store up
precious treasures—
don't waste them
like a fool.
21If you try to be kind and good,
you will be blessed with life
and goodness and honour.
22One wise person can defeat
a city full of soldiers
and capture their fortress.
23Watching what you say
can save you
a lot of trouble.
24If you are proud and conceited,
everyone will say,
“You're a snob!”
25If you want too much
and are too lazy to work,
it could be fatal.
26But people who obey God
are always generous.
27The Lord despises the offerings
of wicked people
with evil motives.
28If you tell lies in court,
you are done for;
only a reliable witness
can do the job.
29Wicked people bluff their way,
but God's people think
before they take a step.
30No matter how much you know
or what plans you make,
you can't defeat the Lord.
31Even if your army has horses
ready for battle,
the Lord will always win.
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