Love righteousness, you rulers of the earth, think of the Lord in goodness and seek him with sincerity of heart;
because he is found by those who do not put him to the test, and manifests himself to those who do not distrust him.
For perverse thoughts separate people from God, and when his power is tested, it exposes the foolish;
because wisdom will not enter a deceitful soul, or dwell in a body enslaved to sin.
For a holy and disciplined spirit will flee from deceit, and will leave foolish thoughts behind, and will be ashamed at the approach of unrighteousness.
For wisdom is a kindly spirit, but will not free blasphemers from the guilt of their words; because God is witness of their inmost feelings, and a true observer of their hearts, and a hearer of their tongues.
Because the spirit of the Lord has filled the world, and that which holds all things together knows what is said,
therefore those who utter unrighteous things will not escape notice, and justice, when it punishes, will not pass them by.
For inquiry will be made into the counsels of the ungodly, and a report of their words will come to the Lord, to convict them of their lawless deeds;
because a jealous ear hears all things, and the sound of grumbling does not go unheard.
Beware then of useless grumbling, and keep your tongue from slander; because no secret word is without result, a and a lying mouth destroys the soul.
Do not invite death by the error of your life, or bring on destruction by the works of your hands;
because God did not make death, and he does not delight in the death of the living.
For he created all things so that they might exist; the generative forces b of the world are wholesome, and there is no destructive poison in them, and the dominion c of Hades is not on earth.
For righteousness is immortal.
But the ungodly by their words and deeds summoned death; d considering him a friend, they pined away and made a covenant with him, because they are fit to belong to his company.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (New Revised Standard w/ Apocrypha)