28 The wicked flee when no one is pursuing them,
but the righteous are as bold as a lion.
2 When a land is in rebellion, it has many rulers,
but with a discerning and knowledgeable person, it endures.
3 A destitute leader[a] who oppresses the poor
is like a driving rain that leaves no food.
4 Those who reject the law praise the wicked,
but those who keep the law pit themselves against them.
5 The evil do not understand justice,
but those who seek the Lord understand everything.
6 Better the poor person who lives with integrity
than the rich one who distorts right and wrong.[b]
7 A discerning son keeps the law,
but a companion of gluttons humiliates his father.
8 Whoever increases his wealth through excessive interest
collects it for one who is kind to the poor.
9 Anyone who turns his ear away from hearing the law—
even his prayer is detestable.
10 The one who leads the upright into an evil way
will fall into his own pit,
but the blameless will inherit what is good.
11 A rich person is wise in his own eyes,
but a poor one who has discernment sees through him.
12 When the righteous triumph,
there is great rejoicing,[c]
but when the wicked come to power,
13 The one who conceals his sins
will not prosper,
but whoever confesses and renounces them
will find mercy.
14 Happy is the one who is always reverent,
but one who hardens his heart falls into trouble.
15 A wicked ruler over a helpless people
is like a roaring lion or a charging bear.
16 A leader who lacks understanding
is very oppressive,
but one who hates dishonest profit
prolongs his life.
17 Someone burdened by bloodguilt[d]
will be a fugitive until death.
Let no one help him.
18 The one who lives with integrity will be helped,
but one who distorts right and wrong[e]
will suddenly fall.
19 The one who works his land
will have plenty of food,
but whoever chases fantasies
will have his fill of poverty.
20 A faithful person will have many blessings,
but one in a hurry to get rich
will not go unpunished.
21 It is not good to show partiality—
yet even a courageous person may sin for a piece of bread.
22 A greedy one[f] is in a hurry for wealth;
he doesn’t know that poverty will come to him.
23 One who rebukes a person will later find more favor
than one who flatters with his tongue.
24 The one who robs his father or mother
and says, “That’s no sin,”
is a companion to a person who destroys.
25 A greedy person stirs up conflict,
but whoever trusts in the Lord will prosper.
26 The one who trusts in himself[g] is a fool,
but one who walks in wisdom will be safe.
27 The one who gives to the poor
will not be in need,
but one who turns his eyes away[h]
will receive many curses.
28 When the wicked come to power,
but when they are destroyed,
the righteous flourish.
29 One who becomes stiff-necked,
after many reprimands
will be shattered instantly—
2 When the righteous flourish, the people rejoice,
but when the wicked rule, people groan.
3 A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father,
but one who consorts with prostitutes destroys his wealth.
4 By justice a king brings stability to a land,
but a person who demands “contributions”[i]
5 A person who flatters his neighbor
spreads a net for his feet.
6 An evil person is caught by sin,
but the righteous one sings and rejoices.
7 The righteous person knows the rights[j] of the poor,
but the wicked one does not understand these concerns.
8 Mockers inflame a city,
but the wise turn away anger.
9 If a wise person goes to court with a fool,
there will be ranting and raving but no resolution.[k]
10 Bloodthirsty men hate an honest person,
but the upright care about him.[l]
11 A fool gives full vent to his anger,[m]
but a wise person holds it in check.
12 If a ruler listens to lies,
all his officials will be wicked.
13 The poor and the oppressor have this in common:[n]
the Lord gives light to the eyes of both.
14 A king who judges the poor with fairness—
his throne will be established forever.
15 A rod of correction imparts wisdom,
but a youth left to himself[o]
is a disgrace to his mother.
16 When the wicked increase, rebellion increases,
but the righteous will see their downfall.
17 Discipline your child, and it will bring you peace of mind
and give you delight.
18 Without revelation[p] people run wild,
but one who follows divine instruction will be happy.
19 A servant cannot be disciplined by words;
though he understands, he doesn’t respond.
20 Do you see someone who speaks too soon?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.
21 A servant pampered from his youth
will become arrogant[q] later on.
22 An angry person stirs up conflict,
and a hot-tempered one[r] increases rebellion.
23 A person’s pride will humble him,
but a humble spirit will gain honor.
24 To be a thief’s partner is to hate oneself;
he hears the curse but will not testify.
25 The fear of mankind is a snare,
but the one who trusts in the Lord is protected.[s]
26 Many desire a ruler’s favor,
but a person receives justice from the Lord.
27 An unjust person is detestable to the righteous,
and one whose way is upright
is detestable to the wicked.
The Words of Agur
30 The words of Agur son of Jakeh. The pronouncement.[t]
The man’s oration to Ithiel, to Ithiel and Ucal:[u]
2 I am more stupid than any other person,[v]
and I lack a human’s ability to understand.
3 I have not gained wisdom,
and I have no knowledge of the Holy One.
4 Who has gone up to heaven and come down?
Who has gathered the wind in his hands?
Who has bound up the waters in a cloak?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name,
and what is the name of his son—
if you know?
5 Every word of God is pure;[w]
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
6 Don’t add to his words,
or he will rebuke you, and you will be proved a liar.
7 Two things I ask of you;
don’t deny them to me before I die:
8 Keep falsehood and deceitful words far from me.
Give me neither poverty nor wealth;
feed me with the food I need.
9 Otherwise, I might have too much
and deny you, saying, “Who is the Lord?”
or I might have nothing and steal,
profaning[x] the name of my God.
10 Don’t slander a servant to his master
or he will curse you, and you will become guilty.
11 There is a generation that curses its father
and does not bless its mother.
12 There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes,
yet is not washed from its filth.
13 There is a generation—how haughty its eyes
and pretentious its looks.[y]
14 There is a generation whose teeth are swords,
whose fangs are knives,
devouring the oppressed from the land
and the needy from among mankind.
15 The leech has two daughters: “Give, Give!”
Three things are never satisfied;
four never say, “Enough!”:
16 Sheol; a childless womb;
earth, which is never satisfied with water;
and fire, which never says, “Enough!”
17 As for the eye that ridicules a father
and despises obedience to a mother,
may ravens of the valley pluck it out
and young vultures eat it.
18 Three things are too wondrous for me;
four I can’t understand:
19 the way of an eagle in the sky,
the way of a snake on a rock,
the way of a ship at sea,
and the way of a man with a young woman.
20 This is the way of an adulteress:
she eats and wipes her mouth
and says, “I’ve done nothing wrong.”
21 The earth trembles under three things;
it cannot bear up under four:
22 a servant when he becomes king,
a fool when he is stuffed with food,
23 an unloved woman when she marries,
and a servant girl when she ousts her queen.
24 Four things on earth are small,
yet they are extremely wise:
25 ants are not a strong people,
yet they store up their food in the summer;
26 hyraxes are not a mighty people,
yet they make their homes in the cliffs;
27 locusts have no king,
yet all of them march in ranks;
28 a lizard[z] can be caught in your hands,
yet it lives in kings’ palaces.
29 Three things are stately in their stride;
four are stately in their walk:
30 a lion, which is mightiest among beasts
and doesn’t retreat before anything;
31 a strutting rooster;[aa] a goat;
and a king at the head of his army.[ab]
32 If you have been foolish by exalting yourself
or if you’ve been scheming,
put your hand over your mouth.
33 For the churning of milk produces butter,
and twisting a nose draws blood,
and stirring up anger produces strife.
The Words of Lemuel
31 The words of King Lemuel,
a pronouncement[ac] that his mother taught him:
2 What should I say, my son?
What, son of my womb?
What, son of my vows?
3 Don’t spend your energy on women
or your efforts on those who destroy kings.
4 It is not for kings, Lemuel,
it is not for kings to drink wine
or for rulers to desire beer.
5 Otherwise, he will drink,
forget what is decreed,
and pervert justice for all the oppressed.[ad]
6 Give beer to one who is dying
and wine to one whose life is bitter.
7 Let him drink so that he can forget his poverty
and remember his trouble no more.
8 Speak up[ae] for those who have no voice,[af]
for the justice of all who are dispossessed.[ag]
9 Speak up, judge righteously,
and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy.
In Praise of a Wife of Noble Character
10 Who can find a wife of noble character?[ah]
She is far more precious than jewels.[ai]
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will not lack anything good.
12 She rewards him with good, not evil,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from far away.
15 She rises while it is still night
and provides food for her household
and portions[aj] for her female servants.
16 She evaluates a field and buys it;
she plants a vineyard with her earnings.[ak]
17 She draws on her strength[al]
and reveals that her arms are strong.
18 She sees that her profits are good,
and her lamp never goes out at night.
19 She extends her hands to the spinning staff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20 Her hands reach[am] out to the poor,
and she extends her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid for her household when it snows,
for all in her household are doubly clothed.[an]
22 She makes her own bed coverings;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known at the city gates,
where he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes and sells linen garments;
she delivers belts[ao] to the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing,
and she can laugh at the time to come.
26 Her mouth speaks wisdom,
and loving instruction[ap] is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the activities of her household
and is never idle.[aq]
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also praises her:
29 “Many women[ar] have done noble deeds,
but you surpass them all!”
30 Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting,
but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.
31 Give her the reward of her labor,[as]
and let her works praise her at the city gates.
Proverbs 28:2 2 When a land is in rebellion, it has many rulers, but with a discerning and knowledgeable person, it endures. Is this verse not appropriate for the day we are living in? There is rebellion and chaos at every corner of our nation, and the Bible tells us during that time the nation will endure with discerning and knowledgable people. Pledge to be one of those people today. Don’t take your talking points from the right or the left, be a discerning person who walks in wisdom and you will be one of the ones who helps the nation endure.