1 If you touch tar, it will stick to you, and if you keep company with arrogant people, you will come to be just like them. 2 Don't try to lift something too heavy for you, and don't keep company with people who are richer and more powerful than you. You cannot keep a clay pot next to an iron kettle; the pot will break if it hits the kettle. 3 If a rich person wrongs someone, he can afford to add insult to injury; but if a poor person is wronged, he is forced to apologize for himself. 4 A rich person will use you as long as he can profit from it, but when you need him, he will leave you helpless. 5 He will live with you as long as you have anything and will gladly drain you dry. 6 If he needs you, he will trick you with his smiles and cheerful, kindly words. “Do you need anything?” he will ask. 7 He will feed you until you are embarrassed. Finally, when he has drained you two or three times over, he will laugh at you. If you see him later, he will pretend he doesn't know you, and will pass you by.
8 Be careful not to be misled; you can be enjoying yourself and suddenly find yourself humiliated. 9 If you are invited to the home of someone influential, be reserved in your behavior. Then he will invite you more often. 10 If you push yourself on him, he will put you in your place. On the other hand, if you keep your distance from him, he will forget about you. 11 Don't pretend to be his equal or trust everything he says. In spite of all of his long and polite conversation, he is testing you.
12 If a person does not keep confidences, he is cruel; he will not hesitate to hurt you or have you put in jail. 13 Keep your secrets to yourself and be very careful, for you are always walking on dangerous ground.
15 Every creature prefers its own kind, and people are no different. 16 Just as animals of the same species flock together, so people keep company with people like themselves. 17 A sinner has no more in common with a devout person than a wolf has with a lamb. 18 Rich people have no more in common with poor people than hyenas have with dogs. 19 The rich hunt down the poor just as lions hunt down wild donkeys in the open country. 20 Arrogant people have nothing but scorn for the humble, and the rich think of the poor in the same way. 21 When a rich person stumbles, his friends will steady him, but if a poor person falls, his friends will have nothing to do with him. 22 When someone rich makes a mistake, there are many people to cover up for him and explain away all the things he never should have said. But let someone poor make a mistake, and he gets nothing but criticism. Even if what he says makes good sense, nobody will listen. 23 When a rich person speaks, everyone is silent, and they praise him to the skies for what he says. But let a poor person speak, and everybody says, “Who is that?” They push him down if he so much as stumbles.
24 There is nothing wrong with being rich if you haven't sinned to get that way. But there is nothing sinful about being poor, either. Only the ungodly think so. 25 It's what is in your heart that makes the expression on your face happy or sad. 26 If you feel cheerful, you will look cheerful, although making up proverbs calls for some intense thought.