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Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler,

and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.


The dread anger of a king is like the growling of a lion;

anyone who provokes him to anger forfeits life itself.


It is honorable to refrain from strife,

but every fool is quick to quarrel.


The lazy person does not plow in season;

harvest comes, and there is nothing to be found.


The purposes in the human mind are like deep water,

but the intelligent will draw them out.


Many proclaim themselves loyal,

but who can find one worthy of trust?


The righteous walk in integrity—

happy are the children who follow them!


A king who sits on the throne of judgment

winnows all evil with his eyes.


Who can say, “I have made my heart clean;

I am pure from my sin”?


Diverse weights and diverse measures

are both alike an abomination to the Lord.


Even children make themselves known by their acts,

by whether what they do is pure and right.


The hearing ear and the seeing eye—

the Lord has made them both.


Do not love sleep, or else you will come to poverty;

open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread.


“Bad, bad,” says the buyer,

then goes away and boasts.


There is gold, and abundance of costly stones;

but the lips informed by knowledge are a precious jewel.


Take the garment of one who has given surety for a stranger;

seize the pledge given as surety for foreigners.


Bread gained by deceit is sweet,

but afterward the mouth will be full of gravel.


Plans are established by taking advice;

wage war by following wise guidance.


A gossip reveals secrets;

therefore do not associate with a babbler.


If you curse father or mother,

your lamp will go out in utter darkness.


An estate quickly acquired in the beginning

will not be blessed in the end.


Do not say, “I will repay evil”;

wait for the Lord, and he will help you.


Differing weights are an abomination to the Lord,

and false scales are not good.


All our steps are ordered by the Lord;

how then can we understand our own ways?


It is a snare for one to say rashly, “It is holy,”

and begin to reflect only after making a vow.


A wise king winnows the wicked,

and drives the wheel over them.


The human spirit is the lamp of the Lord,

searching every inmost part.


Loyalty and faithfulness preserve the king,

and his throne is upheld by righteousness.


The glory of youths is their strength,

but the beauty of the aged is their gray hair.


Blows that wound cleanse away evil;

beatings make clean the innermost parts.

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Pr 20:1-30.

1. mocker—scorner. Such men are made by wine.

strong drink—made by spicing wine (compare Isa 5:11, 22); and it may include wine.

raging—or boisterous as a drunkard.

deceived—literally, "erring," or reeling.

2. (Compare Pr 19:12). Men who resist authority injure themselves (Ro 13:2).

3. to cease from strife—or, better, "to dwell from or without strife," denoting the habit of life.

fool … meddling—(Pr 17:14).

4. shall … beg—literally, "ask" (in this sense, Ps 109:10).

5. Counsel … water—that is, deeply hidden (Pr 18:4; Ps 13:2). The wise can discern well.

6. Boasters are unreliable.

goodness—or, "kind disposition."

7. The conduct of good men proclaims their sound principles. God's covenant and their good example secure blessing to their children (Pr 4:26; Ps 112:1, 2).

8. As in Pr 14:35; 16:10, 15, this is the character of a good king, not of all kings.

9. The interrogation in the affirmative strengthens the implied negation (compare Job 15:14; Ec 7:20).

10. Various measures, implying that some are wrong (compare Pr 11:1; 16:11).

11. The conduct of children even is the best test of principle (compare Mt 7:16).

12. Hence, of course, God will know all you do (Ps 94:9).

13. Activity and diligence contrasted with sloth (Pr 6:9; 10:11).

lest … poverty—literally, "be deprived of inheritance."

14. when … his way—implying that he goes about boasting of his bargains.

15. The contrast denotes the greater value of knowledge (compare Pr 3:14-16).

16. Take his garment—implies severe exaction, justified by the surety's rashness.

a strange woman—by some readings "strangers," but the former here, and in Pr 27:13, is allowable, and strengthens the sense. The debauchee is less reliable than the merely careless.

17. Bread … sweet—either as unlawfully (Pr 9:17) or easily obtained.

mouth … gravel—well expresses the pain and grief given at last.

18. (Compare Pr 15:22). Be careful and considerate in important plans.

19. Those who love to tell news will hardly keep secrets.

flattereth … lips—(compare Margin; Pr 1:10).

meddle … him—literally, "join," or "associate with."

20. his lamp—(Compare Pr 13:9; 24:20).

21. gotten hastily—contrary to God's providence (Pr 28:20), implying its unjust or easy attainment; hence the man is punished, or spends freely what he got easily (compare Pr 20:17).

22. (Compare Ps 27:14; Ro 12:17-19).

23. (Compare Pr 20:10; 11:1).

24. Man's goings—literally, "Stately steppings of a strong man."

a man—any common man.

understand—or, "perceive."

25. devoureth … holy—or, better, "who rashly speaks promises," or "devotes what is holy," consecrating any thing. This suits better the last clause, which expresses a similar view of the results of rashly vowing.

26. (Compare Pr 20:8).

bringeth … over them—The wheel was used for threshing grain. The figure denotes severity (compare Am 1:3).

27. The spirit … Lord—Men's minds are God's gifts, and thus able to search one another (compare Pr 20:5; Pr 18:8, 17; 1Co 2:11).

28. (Compare Pr 3:3; 16:6, 12).

29. The glory of young men … the beauty of old men—Each age has its peculiar excellence (Pr 16:31).

30. blueness—literally, "joining," the process of uniting the edges of a wound throws off purulent matter.

stripes … belly—So punishment provides healing of soul (Pr 18:8), by deterring from evil courses.