Old Testament

Proverbs 22
Wise and Foolish Behaviors
221A good name is worth more than great wealth.
Respect is worth more than silver and gold.
2Rich and poor have this in common:
The Lord is the Maker of them all.
3A sensible person sees trouble and hides,
but the naïve keep going and pay the penalty.
4The outcome of humility and of the fear of the Lord
is wealth, honor, and life.
5Thorns and traps are on the road followed by the crooked.
Whoever guards his soul[] will stay far away from them.
6Dedicate[] a child to the way he should go,
and even when he becomes old, he will not turn away from it.
7A rich person rules over poor people,
and a borrower is a slave to a lender.
8Whoever sows injustice reaps trouble,
and the rod that inflicts his fury will be destroyed.
9A generous person will be blessed,
because he gives some of his food to the poor.
10Drive away a scoffer, and conflict leaves.
Quarrels and insults cease.
11A person who loves a pure heart and whose lips are gracious
will have a king as his friend.
12The eyes of the Lord watch over knowledge.
He overturns the words of a treacherous person.
13A lazy person says, “There's a lion outside!
I'll be murdered in the streets!”
14The mouth of an immoral woman is a deep pit.
The man who is under the Lord's wrath will fall there.
15Foolishness is bound tightly to a child's heart.
A rod of discipline will drive it far from him.
16Whoever oppresses the poor to become great,
and whoever gives gifts to the rich—
both are sure to suffer loss.
Sayings of the Wise
17Open your ears and listen to the words of the wise,
and set your heart on the knowledge that I offer,
18for it is pleasant when you keep my words deep within you,[]
and you have them ready on your lips.
19Today I make my words known to you—yes, to you,
so that your trust will be in the Lord.
20Have I not written to you already[] with advice and knowledge,
21in order to make accurate, true words known to you,
so that you may reply with true words to those who sent you?
22Do not rob a poor person because he is poor,
and do not crush an oppressed person in court,[]
23because the Lord will defend their cause,
and he will rob those who rob them of their lives.
24Do not be friends with a hothead.
Do not go along with someone who has a hot temper.
25If you do, you will learn his ways
and set a trap for yourself.[]
26Do not be among those who shake hands to guarantee debts.
27If you do not have enough to repay,
why should your bed be taken out from under you?
28Do not move an ancient boundary marker that your ancestors made.
29Do you see a person who is efficient in his work?
He will serve kings.
He will not serve nobodies.[]


  • 22:5 Or his life
  • 22:6 Or consecrate. The Hebrew word used here is not one of the usual words for teaching or training, but it is the same word used for dedicating a temple. It adds the connotation of entrusting the child to the Lord, as Hannah did.
  • 22:18 Literally in your belly
  • 22:20 The translation already follows the main Hebrew reading (literally the day before yesterday). An alternate Hebrew reading is Have I not written to you excellent sayings? Many recent English translations emend the text to read: Have I not written to you thirty wise sayings? This change is based on the belief that thirty sayings follow this heading. The supposed divisions between these thirty sayings are marked by spacer lines in the translation.
  • 22:22 Literally in the city gate
  • 22:25 Or for your soul
  • 22:29 Or unimportant people