1 To the LORD, a king’s mind is like a ditch used to water the fields. He can lead the king wherever he wants him to go.
2 People think that whatever they do is right, but the LORD judges the reasons for everything they do.
3 Do what is right and fair. The LORD loves that more than sacrifices.
4 Proud looks and proud thoughts are sins. They show a person is evil.
5 Careful planning leads to profit. Acting too quickly leads to poverty.
6 Wealth that comes from telling lies disappears quickly and leads to death.
7 The bad things that evil people do will destroy them, because they refuse to do what is right.
8 Criminals cause trouble wherever they go, but good people are honest and fair.
9 It is better to live in a small corner on the roof than to share the house with a woman who is always arguing.
10 Evil people always want to do more evil, and they show no mercy to people around them.
11 When you punish a proud person who laughs at what is right, even fools will learn something.* Or “Punish a rude, arrogant person, and the others will become wise.” But a little instruction is enough for the wise to learn what they should.
12 God is good. He knows what the wicked are doing, and he will punish them.
13 Those who refuse to help the poor will not receive help when they need it themselves.
14 If anyone is angry with you, give them a gift in private. A gift given in secret will calm even the strongest anger.
15 A decision that is fair makes good people happy, but it makes those who are evil very afraid.
16 Whoever leaves the path of wisdom will be on their way to an early death.
17 Loving pleasure leads to poverty. Wine and luxury will never make you wealthy.
18 The wicked must pay for what happens to good people—the cheaters will be taken in exchange for the honest.
19 It is better to live alone in the desert than with a quick-tempered wife who loves to argue.
20 Wise people save the nice things they have. Fools use up everything as soon as they get it.
21 People who try hard to do good and be faithful will find life, goodness, and honor.
22 A wise person can defeat a city full of warriors and tear down the defenses they trust in.
23 People who are careful about what they say will save themselves from trouble.
24 Proud people think they are better than others. They show they are evil by what they do.
25 Lazy people will cause their own destruction because they refuse to work.
26 Some people are greedy and never have enough. Good people are generous and have plenty.
27 God hates sacrifices from the wicked, especially when their reason for offering them is evil.
28 Witnesses who lie will be caught and punished. A careful listener will always be there to speak up.
29 Good people know they are right, but the wicked have to pretend.
30 There is no one wise enough to make a plan that can succeed if the LORD is against it.
31 You can prepare your horses for battle, but only the LORD can give you the victory.
*21:11 Or “Punish a rude, arrogant person, and the others will become wise.”