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Proverbs 28; Proverbs 29; Proverbs 30; Proverbs 31; Ecclesiastes 1 (New International Version)

1 The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion. 2 When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a man of understanding and knowledge maintains order. 3 A ruler who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain that leaves no crops. 4 Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but those who keep the law resist them. 5 Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully. 6 Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a rich man whose ways are perverse. 7 He who keeps the law is a discerning son, but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father. 8 He who increases his wealth by exorbitant interest amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor. 9 If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law, even his prayers are detestable. 10 He who leads the upright along an evil path will fall into his own trap, but the blameless will receive a good inheritance. 11 A rich man may be wise in his own eyes, but a poor man who has discernment sees through him. 12 When the righteous triumph, there is great elation; but when the wicked rise to power, men go into hiding. 13 He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. 14 Blessed is the man who always fears the LORD, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble. 15 Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked man ruling over a helpless people. 16 A tyrannical ruler lacks judgment, but he who hates ill-gotten gain will enjoy a long life. 17 A man tormented by the guilt of murder will be a fugitive till death; let no one support him. 18 He whose walk is blameless is kept safe, but he whose ways are perverse will suddenly fall. 19 He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty. 20 A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished. 21 To show partiality is not good-- yet a man will do wrong for a piece of bread. 22 A stingy man is eager to get rich and is unaware that poverty awaits him. 23 He who rebukes a man will in the end gain more favor than he who has a flattering tongue. 24 He who robs his father or mother and says, "It's not wrong"-- he is partner to him who destroys. 25 A greedy man stirs up dissension, but he who trusts in the LORD will prosper. 26 He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe. 27 He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses. 28 When the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding; but when the wicked perish, the righteous thrive. 1 A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed--without remedy. 2 When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan. 3 A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father, but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth. 4 By justice a king gives a country stability, but one who is greedy for bribes tears it down. 5 Whoever flatters his neighbor is spreading a net for his feet. 6 An evil man is snared by his own sin, but a righteous one can sing and be glad. 7 The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern. 8 Mockers stir up a city, but wise men turn away anger. 9 If a wise man goes to court with a fool, the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace. 10 Bloodthirsty men hate a man of integrity and seek to kill the upright. 11 A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. 12 If a ruler listens to lies, all his officials become wicked. 13 The poor man and the oppressor have this in common: The LORD gives sight to the eyes of both. 14 If a king judges the poor with fairness, his throne will always be secure. 15 The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother. 16 When the wicked thrive, so does sin, but the righteous will see their downfall. 17 Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul. 18 Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law. 19 A servant cannot be corrected by mere words; though he understands, he will not respond. 20 Do you see a man who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for him. 21 If a man pampers his servant from youth, he will bring grief in the end. 22 An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins. 23 A man's pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor. 24 The accomplice of a thief is his own enemy; he is put under oath and dare not testify. 25 Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe. 26 Many seek an audience with a ruler, but it is from the LORD that man gets justice. 27 The righteous detest the dishonest; the wicked detest the upright.

Sayings of Agur

1 The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh--an oracle: This man declared to Ithiel, to Ithiel and to Ucal: 2 "I am the most ignorant of men; I do not have a man's understanding. 3 I have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the Holy One. 4 Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of his hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and the name of his son? Tell me if you know! 5 "Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. 6 Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar. 7 "Two things I ask of you, O LORD; do not refuse me before I die: 8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. 9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the LORD?' Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God. 10 "Do not slander a servant to his master, or he will curse you, and you will pay for it. 11 "There are those who curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers; 12 those who are pure in their own eyes and yet are not cleansed of their filth; 13 those whose eyes are ever so haughty, whose glances are so disdainful; 14 those whose teeth are swords and whose jaws are set with knives to devour the poor from the earth, the needy from among mankind. 15 "The leech has two daughters. 'Give! Give!' they cry. "There are three things that are never satisfied, four that never say, 'Enough!': 16 the grave, the barren womb, land, which is never satisfied with water, and fire, which never says, 'Enough!' 17 "The eye that mocks a father, that scorns obedience to a mother, will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley, will be eaten by the vultures. 18 "There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand: 19 the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a maiden. 20 "This is the way of an adulteress: She eats and wipes her mouth and says, 'I've done nothing wrong.' 21 "Under three things the earth trembles, under four it cannot bear up: 22 a servant who becomes king, a fool who is full of food, 23 an unloved woman who is married, and a maidservant who displaces her mistress. 24 "Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: 25 Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer; 26 coneys are creatures of little power, yet they make their home in the crags; 27 locusts have no king, yet they advance together in ranks; 28 a lizard can be caught with the hand, yet it is found in kings' palaces. 29 "There are three things that are stately in their stride, four that move with stately bearing: 30 a lion, mighty among beasts, who retreats before nothing; 31 a strutting rooster, a he-goat, and a king with his army around him. 32 "If you have played the fool and exalted yourself, or if you have planned evil, clap your hand over your mouth! 33 For as churning the milk produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife."

Sayings of King Lemuel

1 The sayings of King Lemuel--an oracle his mother taught him: 2 "O my son, O son of my womb, O son of my vows, 3 do not spend your strength on women, your vigor on those who ruin kings. 4 "It is not for kings, O Lemuel-- not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer, 5 lest they drink and forget what the law decrees, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights. 6 Give beer to those who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish; 7 let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more. 8 "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. 9 Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy."

Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character

10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. 12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. 13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. 15 She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. 16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. 18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. 19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. 20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. 22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. 26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. 27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 31 Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Everything Is Meaningless

1 The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem: 2 "Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless." 3 What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun? 4 Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. 5 The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. 6 The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. 7 All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again. 8 All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. 9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there anything of which one can say, "Look! This is something new"? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. 11 There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow.

Wisdom Is Meaningless

12 I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on men! 14 I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. 15 What is twisted cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted. 16 I thought to myself, "Look, I have grown and increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge." 17 Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. 18 For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.
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