Hear, my son, your father’s instruction,
and forsake not your mother’s teaching,
for they are a graceful garland for your head
and pendants for your neck.
The proverbs of Solomon.
A wise son makes a glad father,
but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.
Whoever troubles his own household will inherit the wind,
and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart.
A wise son makes a glad father,
but a foolish man despises his mother.
A servant who deals wisely
will rule over a son who acts shamefully
and will share the inheritance as one of the brothers.
Grandchildren are the crown of the aged,
and the glory of children is their fathers.
He who sires a fool gets himself sorrow,
and the father of a fool has no joy.
A foolish son is a grief to his father
and bitterness to her who bore him.
He who does violence to his father
and chases away his mother
is a son who brings shame and reproach.
If one curses his father or his mother,
his lamp will be put out in utter darkness.
Listen to your father who gave you life,
and do not despise your mother when she is old.
Buy truth, and do not sell it;
buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.
The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice;
he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him.
Let your father and mother be glad;
let her who bore you rejoice.
Whoever robs his father or his mother
and says, “That is no transgression,”
is a companion to a man who destroys.
Gray hair is a crown of glory;
it is gained in a righteous life.
The glory of young men is their strength,
but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.
Wives and Women
Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout
is a beautiful woman without discretion.
An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,
but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.
The wisest of women builds her house,
but folly with her own hands tears it down.
He who finds a wife finds a good thing
and obtains favor from the Lord.
A foolish son is ruin to his father,
and a wife’s quarreling
is a continual dripping of rain.
House and wealth are inherited from fathers,
but a prudent wife is from the Lord.
It is better to live in a corner of the housetop
than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.
It is better to live in a desert land
than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman.
A continual dripping on a rainy day
and a quarrelsome wife are alike;
to restrain her is to restrain the wind
or to grasp oil in one’s right hand.
Kings and Officials
In a multitude of people is the glory of a king,
but without people a prince is ruined.
A servant who deals wisely has the king’s favor,
but his wrath falls on one who acts shamefully.
An oracle is on the lips of a king;
his mouth does not sin in judgment.
It is an abomination to kings to do evil,
for the throne is established by righteousness.
Righteous lips are the delight of a king,
and he loves him who speaks what is right.
A king’s wrath is a messenger of death,
and a wise man will appease it.
In the light of a king’s face there is life,
and his favor is like the clouds that bring the spring rain.
Fine speech is not becoming to a fool;
still less is false speech to a prince.
An evil man seeks only rebellion,
and a cruel messenger will be sent against him.
A king’s wrath is like the growling of a lion,
but his favor is like dew on the grass.
The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion;
whoever provokes him to anger forfeits his life.
A king who sits on the throne of judgment
winnows all evil with his eyes.
A wise king winnows the wicked
and drives the wheel over them.
Steadfast love and faithfulness preserve the king,
and by steadfast love his throne is upheld.
The king’s heart is a stream of water
in the hand of the Lord;
he turns it wherever he will.
He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious,
will have the king as his friend.
When you sit down to eat with a ruler,
observe carefully what is before you,
and put a knife to your throat
if you are given to appetite.
Do not desire his delicacies,
for they are deceptive food.
My son, fear the Lord and the king,
and do not join with those who do otherwise,
for disaster from them will rise suddenly,
and who knows the ruin that will come from them both?
It is the glory of God to conceal things,
but the glory of kings is to search things out.
As the heavens for height, and the earth for depth,
so the heart of kings is unsearchable.
Take away the dross from the silver,
and the smith has material for a vessel;
take away the wicked from the presence of the king,
and his throne will be established in righteousness.
Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence
or stand in the place of the great,
for it is better to be told, “Come up here,”
than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.
When a land transgresses, it has many rulers,
but with a man of understanding and knowledge,
its stability will long continue.
A poor man who oppresses the poor
is a beating rain that leaves no food.
Like a roaring lion or a charging bear
is a wicked ruler over a poor people.
A ruler who lacks understanding is a cruel oppressor,
but he who hates unjust gain will prolong his days.
By justice a king builds up the land,
but he who exacts gifts tears it down.
If a ruler listens to falsehood,
all his officials will be wicked.
If a king faithfully judges the poor,
his throne will be established forever.
A wicked messenger falls into trouble,
but a faithful envoy brings healing.
Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest
is a faithful messenger to those who send him;
he refreshes the soul of his masters.
One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor,
but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,
but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
Leave the presence of a fool,
for there you do not meet words of knowledge.
A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for adversity.
A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Be not envious of evil men,
nor desire to be with them,
for their hearts devise violence,
and their lips talk of trouble.
Like a bird that strays from its nest
is a man who strays from his home.
Oil and perfume make the heart glad,
and the sweetness of a friend
comes from his earnest counsel.
Do not forsake your friend and your father’s friend,
and do not go to your brother’s house
in the day of your calamity.
Better is a neighbor who is near
than a brother who is far away.
The partner of a thief hates his own life;
he hears the curse, but discloses nothing.
The highway of the upright turns aside from evil;
whoever guards his way preserves his life.
The prudent sees danger and hides himself,
but the simple go on and suffer for it.
Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked;
whoever guards his soul will keep far from them.
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
and favor is better than silver or gold.
Argue your case with your neighbor himself,
and do not reveal another’s secret,
lest he who hears you bring shame upon you,
and your ill repute have no end.
Do not be afraid of sudden terror
or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes,
for the Lord will be your confidence
and will keep your foot from being caught.
The wicked is overthrown through his evildoing,
but the righteous finds refuge in his death.
The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside!
I shall be killed in the streets!”
If you faint in the day of adversity,
your strength is small.
The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road!
There is a lion in the streets!”
The wicked flee when no one pursues,
but the righteous are bold as a lion.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul,
but to turn away from evil is an abomination to fools.
Let not your heart envy sinners,
but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day.
Surely there is a future,
and your hope will not be cut off.
Holy Bible, English Standard Version,
as arranged in chronological order by F. Legard Smith