1 It is better to have nothing but a dry piece of bread to eat in peace than a whole house full of food with everyone arguing.
2 A smart servant will gain control over his master’s foolish son. He will be treated like a son and get a share of the inheritance.
3 Fire is used to make gold and silver pure, but a person’s heart is made pure by the LORD.
4 People who do evil listen to evil ideas. Liars listen to liars.
5 Whoever makes fun of beggars insults their Maker. Whoever laughs at someone else’s trouble will be punished.
6 Grandchildren are the pride and joy of old age, and children take great pride in their parents.
7 You wouldn’t expect to hear a fine speech from a fool, and you shouldn’t expect lies from a ruler.
8 Some people think a bribe is like a lucky charm—it seems to work wherever they go.
9 Forgive someone, and you will strengthen your friendship. Keep reminding them, and you will destroy it.
10 Smart people learn more from a single correction than fools learn from a hundred beatings.
11 Those who are evil only want to cause trouble. In the end, punishment without mercy will be sent to them.
12 It is better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool who is busy doing foolish things.
13 If you do wrong to those who were good to you, you will have trouble the rest of your life.
14 The start of an argument is like a small leak in a dam. Stop it before a big fight breaks out.
15 The LORD hates these two things: punishing the innocent and letting the guilty go free.
16 Money is wasted on fools. They cannot buy wisdom when they have no sense.
17 A friend loves you all the time, but a brother was born to help in times of trouble.
18 Only a fool would promise to pay for someone else’s debts.
19 A troublemaker loves to start arguments. Anyone who likes to brag is asking for trouble.
20 Crooks will not profit from their crimes, and those who plan to cause trouble will be trapped when it comes.
21 A man who has a fool for a son will be disappointed. A fool brings no joy to his father.
22 Happiness is good medicine, but sorrow is a disease.
23 A wicked judge will accept a bribe, and that keeps justice from being done.
24 Intelligent people think about what needs to be done here and now. Fools are always dreaming about faraway places.
25 Foolish children upset their parents and make them sad.
26 It is wrong to punish an innocent person or attack leaders for doing what is right.
27 Intelligent people choose their words carefully. Those who know what they are doing remain calm.* remain calm Literally, “have a cool spirit.”
28 Silent fools seem wise. They say nothing and appear to be smart.
*17:27 remain calm Literally, “have a cool spirit.”