*The Reckless Soul*
1. A working man who is a drunk will not become wealthy,
And he who despises small things will fail little by little.+
2. Wine and women will draw away intelligent men,
And he who joins himself to prostitutes shall become very reckless.
3. Decay and worms will inherit him,
And his reckless soul will be carried away.
4. He who trusts quickly is unwise in heart,
And he who sins will err against his own soul.
5. He who rejoices in evil shall be condemned,
6. And he who hates talkativeness will sin less.
7. Never repeat a word and you will lose nothing at all;
8. With friend or enemy, do not report it,
And unless it is a sin for you, do not reveal it.+
9. For someone heard you and watched you,
And in time will hate you.
10. Have you heard a word? Let it die with you.
Take courage; it will not burst you.
11. But a fool will suffer birth-pangs because of such a word,
Like a woman in labor with a child.
12. Like an arrow stuck in the flesh of a thigh,
So is a word inside a fool.
13. Question a friend; perhaps he did not do it.
And if he did something, perhaps he will not repeat it.+
14. Question a neighbor; perhaps he did not say it.
And if he did say it, may he not say it twice.
15. Question a friend, for often it is slander,
So do not believe every word.
16. A person slips, but it was not his intention;
For who has not sinned with his tongue?
17. Question your neighbor before you threaten him,
And give place to the law of the Most High.
*The Wise and the Clever*
18. All wisdom is the fear of the Lord,
And in all wisdom there is the doing of the Law.+
19. Wisdom is not the knowledge of evil,
Nor is there discernment in the counsel of sinners.
20. There is a cleverness that is an abomination,
And there is a fool who is lacking in wisdom.
21. Better is a man who is afraid but lacks understanding,
Than a man who abounds in discernment but transgresses the law.
22. There is a precise cleverness which itself is unjust;
And there is one who is offensive that justice may be revealed.
23. There is an evildoer bowed down in mourning,
But inwardly he is full of deceit.
24. He covers his face and pretends to be deaf,
But when no one notices, he will take advantage of you.
25. If he is prevented from sinning because he lacks strength,
When he later finds an opportunity, he will do evil.
26. A man will be known by his appearance,
And a man of intelligence will be known
By his countenance when you meet him.+
27. The clothing of a man and the way he laughs and walks
Give indication of who he is.
+19:1 - One who has self-control will not dissipate his wealth in drunkenness, nor will he be careless about small things. "Faithfulness in small things is no small thing" (Aug).
+19:8 - The one exception to not passing on hearsay is when keeping quiet about a sin.
+19:13-17 - These verses urge careful examination. The KJV uses "admonish" for the Greek elegzon, which we have rendered question. Some would consider it "reprove" or "examine." However, true friendship requires that we gently and tactfully ask a friend or a neighbor about a potential false charge or hurtful statement. We always give the benefit of the doubt to our neighbor or friend, remembering that we all slip and sin with our tongue far more often than we realize (v. 16).
+19:18-27 - This passage affirms the nature of true wisdom by contrasting it with false wisdom. All wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord (v. 18).
+19:26, 27 - Outward appearance can be an indicator of wisdom.