1 and do not be an enemy when you should be a friend. A bad reputation brings you the disgrace that lying sinners deserve. 2 Do not let your passions carry you away; this can tear your soul to pieces like a bull. 3 You will be left like a dead tree without any leaves or fruit. 4 Evil desire will destroy you and make you a joke to your enemies.
5 If you are polite and courteous, you will enjoy the friendship of many people. 6 Exchange greetings with many, but take advice from only one person out of a thousand. 7 When you make friends, don't be too quick to trust them; make sure that they have proved themselves. 8 Some people will be your friends only when it is convenient for them, but they won't stand by you in trouble. 9 Others will fall out with you over some argument, and then embarrass you by letting everyone know about it. 10-11 Others will sit at your table as long as things are going well; they will stick to you like your shadow and give orders to your servants, but they will not stand by you in trouble. 12 If your situation takes a turn for the worse, they will turn against you, and you won't be able to find them anywhere.
13 Stay away from your enemies and be on guard against your friends. 14 A loyal friend is like a safe shelter; find one, and you have found a treasure. 15 Nothing else is as valuable; there is no way of putting a price on it. 16 A loyal friend is like a medicine that keeps you in good health. Only those who fear the Lord can find such a friend. 17 A person who fears the Lord can make real friendships, because he will treat his friends as he does himself.
Learn from Wisdom
18 My child, learn to value Wisdom while you are young, and you will still be able to find her when you grow old. 19 Work as hard to find Wisdom as a farmer works to plow and plant his fields; then you can expect a good harvest. You will have to work at it for a while, but you will soon be enjoying what you have earned. 20 Undisciplined people find Wisdom's demands too hard and don't have enough determination to meet them. 21 Her requirements are a burden heavier than they are willing to bear, and they quickly lay them aside. 22 “Discipline” means just that—discipline, and not many people are able to discipline themselves.
23 My child, listen to me and take my advice. 24 Put Wisdom's chains around your feet and her yoke around your neck. 25 Carry her on your shoulder and don't be resentful of her bonds. 26 Follow Wisdom, and keep to her ways with all your heart. 27 Go looking for her, and she will reveal herself to you. Take hold of her and don't let go. 28 Then you will discover the peace of mind she offers, and she will become your joy. 29-30 The signs of slavery you wear will become signs of royal majesty. Her chains will be your protection, and you will wear her yoke like a magnificent robe. 31 You will wear Wisdom like a splendid crown.
32 My child, you can learn if you want to. You can be clever if you are determined to be. 33 If you are willing to listen, you will learn and become wise. 34 Go where the old people are; find someone who is wise, and stay with him. 35 Be ready to listen when religious people speak, and don't miss anything that shows insight. 36 If you find someone with understanding, get up early to call on him; wear out his doorstep with your visits.
37 Devote all your time to studying the Lord's commands and thinking about them. He will give you the insight and wisdom you are looking for.