The Word Made Fresh
1People are constantly making plans,
but the LORD always provides good advice.
2Your ways may be pure in your own eyes,
but the LORD carefully examines the spirit.
3Dedicate your work to the LORD
and your plans will be well laid.
4The LORD has a purpose for everything;
even wicked people have a day of trouble planned for them.
5Arrogant people are disgusting to the LORD.
You can be certain they will not go unpunished.
6Loyalty and faithfulness atone for mistakes
and we avoid evil through fear of the LORD.
7When the people live to please the LORD
even their enemies will be at peace with them.
8A little gain through right living
is better than much gain through injustice.
9People can make plans,
but the LORD directs the outcome.
10A king may make inspired decisions,
as long as his judgment is free from sin.
11Honest weights and scales belong to the LORD,
and are employed for the LORD’s work.
12When kings are evil it damages the kingdom,
because the throne is made strong through righteousness.
13Honest words are the king’s delights,
and he loves those who speak honestly.
14A king’s anger may threaten death,
and those who are wise will take care before it.
15There is life in the light of a king’s countenance,
and the king’s favor is like the rains of spring.
16It is better to gain wisdom than to gain gold.
Understanding is much better than silver.
17The way of the righteous steers clear of evil,
and those who carefully guard their way extend their lives.
18Pride leads inevitably to a fall,
and an arrogant attitude leads to destruction.
19It is better to live among the poor with a humble attitude
than to share riches with the proud.
20Pay attention to things going on around you
and trust in the LORD, and you will be rewarded.
21Those who are wise are perceptive to what is happening around them,
and when they speak pleasantly, they are persuasive.
22One who has wisdom has a fountain of life,
while foolishness is the fate of fools.
23The wise speak with justice
and their words are persuasive.
24Pleasant speech is like the honeycomb;
it is sweet to the soul and health to the body.
25Some ways appear before you that seem to be right,
but take care – it may be the way to death.
26Workers have an appetite that benefits them;
their hunger is what urges them on.
27Evil people are always planning evil deeds,
and their words are like a spreading fire.
28Opinionated people spread discontent,
and whisperers divide close friends.
29Violent people lure their neighbors
in ways that are destructive.
30A winking eye cannot be trusted.
Pursed lips are planning evil.
31Gray hair is a crown of glory
that is the result of a righteous life.
32It is better to be slow to anger than to have a temper;
it is better to control anger than to capture a city.
33The lots may be cast into the lap,
but the LORD makes the decisions.
Chapters 16-21 and down to 22:16 comprise a section often referred to as the Royal Collection because of the frequent mention of God and the king.
1-3: Consider God’s way before making your plans.
4: Why some things exist in this world is a puzzle, but the Bible is confident that all things in God’s creation have a purpose, even wicked people (although why there has to be a “day of trouble” is hard to understand).
5-6: Arrogance is a character flaw that inevitably results in a comedown, but loyalty and faithfulness have no downsides.
7: God does have the power to make peace, but we must be receptive to that power.
8: Lots of money doesn’t justify wrongdoing.
9: “Man (sic) proposes, but God disposes.”
10: Only a king could have come up with this one!
11: Honesty in general is a reflection of God’s own nature.
12: Amen to this one!
14: Don’t dis the king.
15: Again, only a king could have come up with this one!
16: The fool quickly squanders his gold.
17: Doing the right thing is in the end the safest way to live.
18: This one is often shortened to “pride goes before a fall.”
19: The poor are better company than the proud.
20: Do rather than be done to. In other words, be proactive.
21: Remember this one next time you have a talk with your teenager.
22: The punishment of fools is their foolishness.
23: You persuade others more effectively when you make sense …
24: … and when you are pleasant.
25: Look before you leap.
26: If you want to eat, work.
27: Compare this to the speech of the wise in verse 23.
28: You’ve heard of “whisper campaigns?” They are carried out by perverse people.
29: I’m not sure how a violent person can entice anyone. Frighten, yes, but entice?
30: Stay clear of winkers and lip pursers.
32: Keep your cool.
33: “Man (sic) proposes, but God disposes.”
More sage advice from Solomon, et al.