1 Death! The very thought of it is bitter to someone who is prosperous, living peacefully with his possessions, free of worries, and still able to enjoy his food.
2 Death! Its sentence is welcome to someone living in poverty, with failing health, very old, burdened with worries, blind, and without hope.
3 Do not be afraid of death's decree. Remember that it came to those before you and will come to those after you. 4 The Lord has decreed it for every living creature. Who are you to object to what the Most High wishes? In the world of the dead no one will care whether you lived ten years, a hundred, or a thousand.
The Fate of the Wicked
5 The children of sinners, brought up in ungodly surroundings, turn out to be hateful people. 6 They will lose whatever they inherit, and their own descendants will live in permanent disgrace. 7 The children will put the blame for their disgrace on their ungodly parents.
8 You are doomed, you irreligious people who have abandoned the Law of the Most High God. 9 When you have children, disaster will strike them and you will be left with nothing but sorrow. There will be great joy whenever you stumble, and even after your death you will be cursed. 10 What comes into being from nothing will return to nothing; so it will be with the godless, doomed to extinction.
11 A person's body amounts to nothing, but a good reputation will last forever. 12 Protect your reputation; it will outlive you and last longer than a thousand treasures of gold. 13 A good life lasts only so long, but a good reputation will last forever.
A Sense of Decency
14 My children, do as I teach you and live at peace. Wisdom that is not expressed is like a treasure that has been hidden—both are useless. 15 A person who covers up his foolishness is better than one who keeps his wisdom to himself.
16 My children, listen and I will teach you the circumstances when it is proper to be ashamed. Sometimes it is entirely out of place.
17 Before your parents, be ashamed of immoral behavior.
Before a ruler or an important person, be ashamed of a lie.
18 Before a judge, be ashamed of criminal behavior.
Before a public assembly, be ashamed of breaking the law.
Before a friend or partner, be ashamed of dishonesty.
19 Before your neighbors, be ashamed of theft.
Be ashamed of breaking a promise,
of leaning on the dinner table with your elbows,
of stinginess when you are asked for something,
20 of not returning a greeting,
of staring at a prostitute,
21 of turning down a relative's request,
of depriving someone of what is rightly his,
of staring at another man's wife,
22 of playing around with his slave woman (keep away from her bed!)
of insulting your friends,
of following up your gifts with criticism,
23 of betraying secrets.
These are times when it is proper for you to be ashamed, and people will respect you for it.