1 Many people have sinned while looking for a profit; if you want to be rich you have to keep blinders on your eyes. 2 It is hard to remove a peg that is stuck between two stones of a house, and it is just as hard to remove dishonesty from buying and selling. 3 Unless you are determined in your fear of the Lord, your house is going to come down on you.
Speech Reflects True Feelings
4 Your talk shows your faults; it is like a sieve that separates out the rubbish. 5 The way you think shows your character just as surely as a kiln shows any flaws in the pottery being fired. 6 You can tell how well a tree has been cared for by the fruit it bears, and you can tell a person's feelings by the way he expresses himself. 7 Never praise anyone before you hear him talk; that is the real test.
8 If you try to be honest, you can be, and it will improve your character as handsome clothing improves your appearance. 9 Birds come to roost with those of their own kind, and the habit of honesty comes to those who try to be honest. 10 Sin waits for those looking for a chance to sin, just as a lion waits for prey.
Foolish Talk
11 When devout people talk, what they say always makes sense, but foolish people are always contradicting themselves. 12 When you find yourself with stupid people, look for some excuse to leave, but when you are with serious-minded people, stay as long as you can.
13 The stories that foolish people tell are offensive, and they make jokes about the worst kinds of sin. 14 When such people curse, it is enough to make your hair stand on end, and when they start arguing among themselves, all you can do is to stop up your ears. 15 It is painful to listen to them insult each other, and such blustering can lead to violence.
Betraying Secrets
16 If you repeat secrets that have been told to you, you are destroying the confidence others have in you, and you will never have a close friend. 17 Respect your friends, and keep faith with them. If you do betray a friend's confidence, you may as well forget you have a friend. 18 You have killed that friendship just as surely as if you had taken a weapon and killed an enemy. 19 Your friend is gone. You can no more get him back than you can get a bird to come back to your hand once you let it go. 20 Don't bother going after him. It's too late. He is gone, like a deer escaped from a trap. 21 Wounds can be bandaged and insults can be forgiven, but if you betray a confidence, it is hopeless.
22 When someone starts winking at you, he has something bad in mind, and nothing can stop him from going through with it. 23 When he's with you, his talk is so nice! He compliments you on every word you say. But behind your back it's a different story; he will take what you have said and turn it against you. 24 There is nothing in the world that I hate as much as a person like that—and the Lord hates him too.
25 Throw a stone straight up in the air and it will come down on your head. Strike a blow, and you yourself will be wounded. 26 People who set traps fall into them themselves. 27 People who hurt others will be hurt by their own actions and will have no idea why.
28 Arrogant people insult others and make fun of them, but someone is waiting like a lion for a chance to take revenge on them. 29 Those who are happy to witness the downfall of devout people are going to fall into a trap and die a painful death.
30 Anger and a hot temper are horrible things, but sinners have both.