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Proverbs 22 (The Message)

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1 A sterling reputation is better than striking it rich; a gracious spirit is better than money in the bank. 2 The rich and the poor shake hands as equals - God made them both! 3 A prudent person sees trouble coming and ducks; a simpleton walks in blindly and is clobbered. 4 The payoff for meekness and Fear-of-God is plenty and honor and a satisfying life. 5 The perverse travel a dangerous road, potholed and mud-slick; if you know what's good for you, stay clear of it. 6 Point your kids in the right direction - when they're old they won't be lost. 7 The poor are always ruled over by the rich, so don't borrow and put yourself under their power. 8 Whoever sows sin reaps weeds, and bullying anger sputters into nothing. 9 Generous hands are blessed hands because they give bread to the poor. 10 Kick out the troublemakers and things will quiet down; you need a break from bickering and griping! 11 God loves the pure-hearted and well-spoken; good leaders also delight in their friendship. 12 God guards knowledge with a passion, but he'll have nothing to do with deception. 13 The loafer says, "There's a lion on the loose! If I go out I'll be eaten alive!" 14 The mouth of a whore is a bottomless pit; you'll fall in that pit if you're on the outs with God. 15 Young people are prone to foolishness and fads; the cure comes through tough-minded discipline. 16 Exploit the poor or glad-hand the rich - whichever, you'll end up the poorer for it. The Thirty Precepts of the Sages Don't Move Back the Boundary Lines 17 Listen carefully to my wisdom; take to heart what I can teach you. You'll treasure its sweetness deep within; 18 you'll give it bold expression in your speech. 19 To make sure your foundation is trust in God, I'm laying it all out right now just for you. 20 I'm giving you thirty sterling principles - tested guidelines to live by. 21 Believe me - these are truths that work, and will keep you accountable to those who sent you. 22 Don't walk on the poor just because they're poor, and don't use your position to crush the weak, 23 Because God will come to their defense; the life you took, he'll take from you and give back to them. 24 Don't hang out with angry people; don't keep company with hotheads. 25 Bad temper is contagious - don't get infected. 26 Don't gamble on the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, hocking your house against a lucky chance. 27 The time will come when you have to pay up; you'll be left with nothing but the shirt on your back. 28 Don't stealthily move back the boundary lines staked out long ago by your ancestors. 29 Observe people who are good at their work - skilled workers are always in demand and admired; they don't take a back seat to anyone.
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