Proverbs 20

Words of Wisdom Are Better than Gold

20 It isn’t smart to get drunk! Drinking makes a fool of you
        and leads to fights.
2 An angry ruler
        is like a roaring lion—
    make either one angry,
        and you are dead.
3 It makes you look good
    when you avoid a fight—
        only fools love to quarrel.
4 If you are too lazy to plow,
    don’t expect a harvest.
5 Someone’s thoughts may be
        as deep as the ocean,
    but if you are smart,
        you will discover them.

6 There are many who say,
    “You can trust me!”
        But can they be trusted?
7 Good people live right,
    and God blesses the children
        who follow their example.
8 When rulers decide cases,
        they weigh the evidence.
9 Can any of us really say,
    “My thoughts are pure,
        and my sins are gone”?

10 Two things the Lord hates
    are dishonest scales
        and dishonest measures.
11 The good or bad
    that children do
        shows what they are like.
12 Hearing and seeing
        are gifts from the Lord.
13 If you sleep all the time,
        you will starve;
    if you get up and work,
        you will have enough food.
14 Everyone likes to brag
        about getting a bargain.
15 Sensible words are better
        than gold or jewels.

16 You deserve to lose your coat
        if you loan it to someone
    to guarantee payment
        for the debt of a stranger.
17 The food you get by cheating
    may taste delicious,
        but it turns to gravel.
18 Be sure you have sound advice
    before making plans
        or starting a war.
19 Stay away from gossips—
        they tell everything.
20 Children who curse their parents
    will go to the land of darkness
        long before their time.
21 Getting rich quick
        may turn out to be a curse.
22 Don’t try to get even.
    Trust the Lord,
        and he will help you.

23 The Lord hates dishonest scales
    and dishonest weights.
        So don’t cheat!
24 How can we know
    what will happen to us
        when the Lord alone decides?
25 Don’t fall into the trap
    of making promises to God
        before you think!
26 A wise ruler severely punishes
        every criminal.
27 Our inner thoughts are a lamp
    from the Lord,
        and they search our hearts.
28 Rulers are protected
        by God’s mercy and loyalty,
    but they must be merciful
        for their kingdoms to last.
29 Young people take pride
        in their strength,
    but the gray hairs of wisdom
        are even more beautiful.
30 A severe beating can knock all
        of the evil out of you!

The Contemporary English Version, c1995 by the American Bible Society.
Selected texts provided for use with the Hypertext Bible Commentary