1 Dead flies can make a whole bottle of perfume stink, and a little stupidity can cancel out the greatest wisdom. 2 It is natural for the wise to do the right thing and for fools to do the wrong thing. 3 Their stupidity will be evident even to strangers they meet along the way; they let everyone know that they are fools. 4 If your ruler becomes angry with you, do not hand in your resignation; serious wrongs may be pardoned if you keep calm. 5 Here is an injustice I have seen in the world - an injustice caused by rulers. 6 Stupid people are given positions of authority while the rich are ignored. 7 I have seen slaves on horseback while noblemen go on foot like slaves. 8 If you dig a pit, you fall in it; if you break through a wall, a snake bites you. 9 If you work in a stone quarry, you get hurt by stones. If you split wood, you get hurt doing it. 10 If your ax is dull and you don't sharpen it, you have to work harder to use it. It is smarter to plan ahead. 11 Knowing how to charm a snake is of no use if you let the snake bite first. 12 What the wise say brings them honor, but fools are destroyed by their own words. 13 They start out with silly talk and end up with pure madness. 14 A fool talks on and on. No one knows what is going to happen next, and no one can tell us what will happen after we die. 15 Only someone too stupid to find his way home would wear himself out with work. 16 A country is in trouble when its king is a youth and its leaders feast all night long. 17 But a country is fortunate to have a king who makes his own decisions and leaders who eat at the proper time, who control themselves and don't get drunk. 18 When you are too lazy to repair your roof, it will leak, and the house will fall in. 19 Feasting makes you happy and wine cheers you up, but you can't have either without money. 20 Don't criticize the king, even silently, and don't criticize the rich, even in the privacy of your bedroom. A bird might carry the message and tell them what you said.
1 Invest your money in foreign trade, and one of these days you will make a profit. 2 Put your investments in several places - many places even - because you never know what kind of bad luck you are going to have in this world. 3 No matter which direction a tree falls, it will lie where it fell. When the clouds are full, it rains. 4 If you wait until the wind and the weather are just right, you will never plant anything and never harvest anything. 5 God made everything, and you can no more understand what he does than you understand how new life begins in the womb of a pregnant woman. 6 Do your planting in the morning and in the evening, too. You never know whether it will all grow well or whether one planting will do better than the other. 7 It is good to be able to enjoy the pleasant light of day. 8 Be grateful for every year you live. No matter how long you live, remember that you will be dead much longer. There is nothing at all to look forward to. 9 Young people, enjoy your youth. Be happy while you are still young. Do what you want to do, and follow your heart's desire. But remember that God is going to judge you for whatever you do. 10 Don't let anything worry you or cause you pain. You aren't going to be young very long.
1 So remember your Creator while you are still young, before those dismal days and years come when you will say, "I don't enjoy life." 2 That is when the light of the sun, the moon, and the stars will grow dim for you, and the rain clouds will never pass away. 3 Then your arms, that have protected you, will tremble, and your legs, now strong, will grow weak. Your teeth will be too few to chew your food, and your eyes too dim to see clearly. 4 Your ears will be deaf to the noise of the street. You will barely be able to hear the mill as it grinds or music as it plays, but even the song of a bird will wake you from sleep. 5 You will be afraid of high places, and walking will be dangerous. Your hair will turn white; you will hardly be able to drag yourself along, and all desire will be gone. We are going to our final resting place, and then there will be mourning in the streets. 6 The silver chain will snap, and the golden lamp will fall and break; the rope at the well will break, and the water jar will be shattered. 7 Our bodies will return to the dust of the earth, and the breath of life will go back to God, who gave it to us. 8 Useless, useless, said the Philosopher. It is all useless. 9 But because the Philosopher was wise, he kept on teaching the people what he knew. He studied proverbs and honestly tested their truth. 10 The Philosopher tried to find comforting words, but the words he wrote were honest. 11 The sayings of the wise are like the sharp sticks that shepherds use to guide sheep, and collected proverbs are as lasting as firmly driven nails. They have been given by God, the one Shepherd of us all. 12 My child, there is something else to watch out for. There is no end to the writing of books, and too much study will wear you out. 13 After all this, there is only one thing to say: Have reverence for God, and obey his commands, because this is all that we were created for. 14 God is going to judge everything we do, whether good or bad, even things done in secret.
1 From Paul, whose call to be an apostle did not come from human beings or by human means, but from Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from death. 2 All the believers who are here join me in sending greetings to the churches of Galatia: 3 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. 4 In order to set us free from this present evil age, Christ gave himself for our sins, in obedience to the will of our God and Father. 5 To God be the glory forever and ever! Amen. 6 I am surprised at you! In no time at all you are deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ, and are accepting another gospel. 7 Actually, there is no "other gospel," but I say this because there are some people who are upsetting you and trying to change the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel that is different from the one we preached to you, may he be condemned to hell! 9 We have said it before, and now I say it again: if anyone preaches to you a gospel that is different from the one you accepted, may he be condemned to hell! 10 Does this sound as if I am trying to win human approval? No indeed! What I want is God's approval! Am I trying to be popular with people? If I were still trying to do so, I would not be a servant of Christ. 11 Let me tell you, my friends, that the gospel I preach is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any human being, nor did anyone teach it to me. It was Jesus Christ himself who revealed it to me. 13 You have been told how I used to live when I was devoted to the Jewish religion, how I persecuted without mercy the church of God and did my best to destroy it. 14 I was ahead of most other Jews of my age in my practice of the Jewish religion, and was much more devoted to the traditions of our ancestors. 15 But God in his grace chose me even before I was born, and called me to serve him. And when he decided 16 to reveal his Son to me, so that I might preach the Good News about him to the Gentiles, I did not go to anyone for advice, 17 nor did I go to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before me. Instead, I went at once to Arabia, and then I returned to Damascus. 18 It was three years later that I went to Jerusalem to obtain information from Peter, and I stayed with him for two weeks. 19 I did not see any other apostle except James, the Lord's brother. 20 What I write is true. God knows that I am not lying! 21 Afterward I went to places in Syria and Cilicia. 22 At that time the members of the churches in Judea did not know me personally. 23 They knew only what others were saying: "The man who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith that he once tried to destroy!" 24 And so they praised God because of me.