1. The wisdom of a humble man will exalt his head,
And he will take his seat among the great,
2. Do not praise a man for his good looks,
And do not detest one because of his appearance.+
3. The bee is small among winged creatures,
But her fruit is first among sweet things.
4. Do not boast about your fine clothes,
Nor magnify yourself in the day you are honored;
Because the works of the Lord are wondrous,
And His works are hidden from men.
5. Many tyrants have sat on the ground,
But one never thought of has worn a crown.
6. Many rulers have suffered exceeding disgrace,
And honored men have been betrayed into the hands of others.
7. Do not find fault before you examine a situation.
First, understand it, and then make your judgment.
8. Do not answer before you have listened,
And do not interrupt someone while he is talking.
9. Do not argue about a matter that does not concern you,
And do not sit together with sinners when they judge a case.
10. My son, do not let your business involve too many things.
If you multiply them, you will not remain unpunished,
And if you pursue them, you will not overtake them;
And you will not escape by running away.+
11. There is a man who works and works
And keeps on working, but is in much more poverty.
12. There is another who is sluggish and in need of help;
And he lacks strength and abounds in poverty.
But the eyes of the Lord look upon him for his good
And restores his well-being from his humble state.
13. He raises up his head,
And many are amazed at this.
14. Good and bad, life and death, poverty and wealth -
These are from the Lord.
15. The gift of the Lord remains with the godly,
And His approval brings prosperity forever.
16. There is a man who grows rich
Because of his attention and restraint;
And this is the portion of his reward:+
17. When he says, "I have found rest,
And now I will partake of my good things."
Yet he does not know how much time will pass until he will die
And leave them behind to others.
18. Stand by your covenant and attend to it,
And grow old in your work.
19. Do not be amazed at the works of a sinner,
But trust in the Lord and remain at your work;
Because it is easy in the sight of the Lord
To make a poor man rich quickly and unexpectedly.
20. The blessing of the Lord is in the reward of a godly man,
And in an instant He makes his blessings flourish.
21. Do not say, "What do I need,
And what good things will be mine in the future?"
22. Do not say, "I am independent.
From now on, what will harm me?"+
23. In the day of good things,
There is forgetfulness of bad things,
And in the day of bad things,
There is no remembrance of good things.
24. For it is easy in the judgment of the Lord
To reward a man on the day of his death according to his ways.+
25. The ill-treatment of an hour makes one forget luxury,
And at the end of a man's life,
There shall be a revelation of his works.
26. Consider no man happy before his death,
And a man will be known in his children.
*Beware of Evildoers*
27. Do not bring every man into your home,
For the plots of the deceitful are many.
28. The heart of an arrogant man is like a decoy partridge in a cage,
And like a spy he watches for your fall.
29. For he lies in wait and turns good into evil,
And he will attach blame to the good one chooses.
30. From a spark of fire a charcoal fire is kindled,
And a sinful man lies in wait for bloodshed.
31. Beware of an evildoer and his schemes,
Lest he bring lasting blame upon you.
32. Receive a stranger into your home
And he will upset you with troubles.
And alienate your family from you.
+11:2-9 - This section deals with the age-old tendency to judge matters merely by external appearance. Woven in are warnings about boasting of a present possession or position.
+11:10 - We are to work faithfully and devotedly, but if we become involved in too many things they can overwhelm us. Rushing about to fulfill our obligations, we will keep falling further behind.
+11:16, 17 - As with 10:28, 29, one wonders if our Lord did not have this passage in mind when He spoke the parable in Lk 12:16-21.
+11:22 - Being independent in terms of freedom from dictatorship or oppression is a blessing. Here, however, is a spirit of independence from God, the "I've-got-it-made" syndrome.
+11:24, 25 - At the end of our life we will be judged for the whole of it. And those who remain watch for the revelation of the works of the departed. This helps explain why the Church waits long to glorify her saints.