The Word Made Fresh
1Accurate scales are a delight to the LORD,
but false ones are an abomination.
2Pride is followed by disgrace;
humility is followed by wisdom.
3The righteous are guided by integrity;
the false are destroyed by disloyalty.
4Riches are not helpful when everything goes awry,
but even death is assuaged by right living.
5The blameless walk a straight path,
but the wicked are tripped up by their own wickedness.
6The righteous are rescued by their upright lives, but
those who live treacherously are undone by their own behavior.
7Death destroys the hopes of the wicked,
and erases the plans of the godless.
8Those who live right are rescued from trouble
while those who are wicked are immersed in it.
9The godless try to destroy their neighbors with their lies,
but the righteous are delivered by their honesty.
10The people rejoice when the righteous are rewarded,
and also when the wicked are defeated.
11The city is blessed by the work of the righteous,
but can be overthrown by the lies of the wicked.
12It is a senseless thing to belittle another;
it is more intelligent to simply remain silent.
13Gossips love to tell others’ secrets,
but the one who can keep a secret is the one who can be trusted.
14A mighty army will fail without leadership,
but many counselors provide security.
15It is foolish to guarantee a loan for a stranger;
it is wise to refuse to do so.
16A graceful woman is honored,
but the one who scorns virtue will be put to shame.
17Those who are kind are rewarded,
but those who are cruel hurt themselves.
18The gain of the wicked is fleeting,
but the reward of the righteous is assured.
19Those who constantly strive to live right will live long;
those who constantly pursue an evil path will perish.
20The LORD hates those who constantly plan evil,
but delights in those whose ways are blameless.
21You can be sure the wicked will not go unpunished,
and the righteous need not be punished.
22A beautiful woman with no discretion
is like a gold ring in a pig’s snout.
23The righteous desire only what ends in good;
the wicked, however, are constantly looking for selfish gain.
24Some who give liberally grow richer still,
while others who are stingy are always in need.
25Generosity will be rewarded in return;
those who give water get water in return.
26Neighbors curse those who hold onto their grain,
but bless those who sell it.
27Everyone who steadfastly seeks what is good will find favor,
but those who seek only favor will fail.
28Those who trust only in wealth will fail,
while those who live right will flourish like new spring growth.
29Those who bring grief to their families will inherit nothing but wind;
the fool is always subservient to the wise.
30Those who are righteous will produce a posterity of life;
those who are violent only take lives away.
31If those who are righteous are to be repaid during their lives;
how much more the wicked and the sinful.
1-31: The contrasts continue, and once again the primary pairing is between wickedness and righteousness (verses 3, 5-11, 18-21, 23, 27, 30-31). Other contrasting pairs are honesty vs. dishonesty (verse 1); pride vs. humility (verse 2); righteousness vs. wealth (verse 4); gossip vs. confidentiality (verses 12-13); kindness vs. cruelty (verse 17); and generosity vs. stinginess (24-26). The wisdom of seeking counsel is upheld in verse 14. The folly of assuming someone else’s debt is decried in verse 15. Women are honored for graciousness and good sense more than for physical appearance (16, 22). Aggressiveness is valued above timidity in the area of trade. Trusting in riches is said to be folly (verse 28), and family members are advised not to be a burden on the family (verse 29).
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” comes to mind as we read Solomon’s proverbs. Treat others the way you wish to be treated. Generosity, not hoarding, produces wealth – counterintuitive, perhaps, but true, because wealth and poverty are community traits, not just individual traits.