The Word Made Fresh
1Never boast about tomorrow;
you have no idea what it might really bring.
2Don’t praise yourself; let someone else do it.
A stranger rather than your own mouth is best.
3Stones are heavy, and even sand can be weighty,
but encouragement from a fool can be heavier than both.
4Anger and wrath can be cruel and hurtful,
but jealousy is even worse.
5An open scolding is better than hidden admiration.
6Wounds inflicted by a friend can be well meant,
but an enemy’s kisses never are.
7One whose appetite has been fed can turn down honey,
but even bitter food is sweet to one who is starving.
8A child who strays from home
is like a bird who strays from the nest.
9Perfume and incense make the heart glad,
but the pleasant company of a friend is even sweeter.
10Don’t forsake your friends or your parents’ friends;
and do not go to your kinfolks’ home when calamity comes.
11Be wise, children. Make my heart glad
and I can respond to whoever accuses me.
12Those who are intelligent see danger and hide;
the simple stay on the same path and suffer for it.
13You may take the cloak one has given as surety for a stranger;
but seize the pledge given as surety for a foreigner.
14If you loudly commend a neighbor early in the morning
it will be perceived as a curse.
15A constant dripping on a rainy day
is like a contentious spouse.
16Trying to restrain it is like trying to control the wind
or hang on to oil in your right hand.
17Iron sharpens iron,
just as one of you can sharpen the wits of the other.
18Whoever tends a fig tree may partake of its fruit,
and whoever attends one’s master will be honored.
19Water reflects the face
just as one heart reflects another.
20Death and the grave are never satisfied;
nor are a person’s eyes ever satisfied.
21The crucible is for silver. The furnace is for gold.
And a person is refined by praise.
22You can crush a fool with grain in a mortar with a pestle;
but you can’t drive out the fool’s folly.
23Know the condition of your flocks,
and always attend to your herds,
24for wealth is not permanent through the generations;
neither is a crown.
25When the grass has been grazed and new growth appears,
and the herbs are gathered from the mountains,
26the lambs will be sufficient for your clothing,
and the goats will be worth the price of the field;
27there will be enough goats’ milk for your meals,
and to feed your household,
and provide nourishment for your servants.
1: This proverb forms the basis for some of Jesus’ sayings — notably the parable of the rich fool in Luke 12:13-21.
2-10: Assorted proverbs dealing with relationships, most of which we have seen before in slightly different form.
11: This verse illustrates a primary factor in Israelite culture (and in ancient cultures in general) — the importance of lineage in a family’s honor. A wise son brings honor to the family, enabling the parents to defeat any effort to sully the family’s reputation.
13: If someone wishes to cosign a loan you make to a stranger or a foreigner, don’t let a promise suffice but rather insist on holding the collateral.
14: Timing is everything.
15-19: More sayings on proper —and improper — behavior in various relationships, including marriage, friendship, and servanthood.
20: Eyes keep seeing, the grave keeps receiving.
21: How you handle praise says as much about your character as how you handle rebuke.
23-27: Diligence guards against changes in fortune.
Repetition, repetition, repetition, has always been the core method of teaching in families.