1Here are more of Solomon's proverbs, copied by scribes at the court of King Hezekiah of Judah.2We honor God for what he conceals; we honor kings for what they explain.3You never know what a king is thinking; his thoughts are beyond us, like the heights of the sky or the depths of the ocean.4Take the impurities out of silver and the artist can produce a thing of beauty.5Keep evil advisers away from the king and his government will be known for its justice.6When you stand before the king, don't try to impress him and pretend to be important. 7It is better to be asked to take a higher position than to be told to give your place to someone more important.8Don't be too quick to go to court about something you have seen. If another witness later proves you wrong, what will you do then?9If you and your neighbor have a difference of opinion, settle it between yourselves and do not reveal any secrets.10Otherwise everyone will learn that you can't keep a secret, and you will never live down the shame.11An idea well-expressed is like a design of gold, set in silver.12A warning given by an experienced person to someone willing to listen is more valuable than gold rings or jewelry made of the finest gold.13A reliable messenger is refreshing to the one who sends him, like cold water in the heat of harvest time.14People who promise things that they never give are like clouds and wind that bring no rain.15Patient persuasion can break down the strongest resistance and can even convince rulers.16Never eat more honey than you need; too much may make you vomit.17Don't visit your neighbors too often; they may get tired of you and come to hate you.18A false accusation is as deadly as a sword, a club, or a sharp arrow.19Depending on an unreliable person in a crisis is like trying to chew with a loose tooth or walk with a crippled foot.20Singing to a person who is depressed is like taking off a person's clothes on a cold day or like rubbing salt in a wound.21If your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them a drink. 22You will make them burn with shame, and the Lord will reward you.23Gossip brings anger just as surely as the north wind brings rain.24Better to live on the roof than share the house with a nagging wife.25Finally hearing good news from a distant land is like a drink of cold water when you are dry and thirsty.26A good person who gives in to someone who is evil reminds you of a polluted spring or a poisoned well.27Too much honey is bad for you, and so is trying to win too much praise. 28If you cannot control your anger, you are as helpless as a city without walls, open to attack.
1Praise for a fool is out of place, like snow in summer or rain at harvest time.2Curses cannot hurt you unless you deserve them. They are like birds that fly by and never light.3You have to whip a horse, you have to bridle a donkey, and you have to beat a fool.4If you answer a silly question, you are just as silly as the person who asked it.5Give a silly answer to a silly question, and the one who asked it will realize that he's not as smart as he thinks.6If you let a fool deliver a message, you might as well cut off your own feet; you are asking for trouble.7A fool can use a proverb about as well as crippled people can use their legs.8Praising someone who is stupid makes as much sense as tying a stone in a sling.9A fool quoting a wise saying reminds you of a drunk trying to pick a thorn out of his hand.10An employer who hires any fool that comes along is only hurting everybody concerned. 11A fool doing some stupid thing a second time is like a dog going back to its vomit. 12The most stupid fool is better off than those who think they are wise when they are not.13Why don't lazy people ever get out of the house? What are they afraid of? Lions?14Lazy people turn over in bed. They get no farther than a door swinging on its hinges.15Some people are too lazy to put food in their own mouths.16A lazy person will think he is smarter than seven men who can give good reasons for their opinions.17Getting involved in an argument that is none of your business is like going down the street and grabbing a dog by the ears.18Someone who tricks someone else and then claims that he was only joking is like a crazy person playing with a deadly weapon.20Without wood, a fire goes out; without gossip, quarreling stops.21Charcoal keeps the embers glowing, wood keeps the fire burning, and troublemakers keep arguments alive.22Gossip is so tasty! How we love to swallow it!23Insincere talk that hides what you are really thinking is like a fine glaze on a cheap clay pot.24A hypocrite hides hate behind flattering words.25They may sound fine, but don't believe him, because his heart is filled to the brim with hate.26He may disguise his hatred, but everyone will see the evil things he does.27People who set traps for others get caught themselves. People who start landslides get crushed. 28You have to hate someone to want to hurt him with lies. Insincere talk brings nothing but ruin.
1There is really no need for me to write you about the help being sent to God's people in Judea.2I know that you are willing to help, and I have boasted of you to the people in Macedonia. "The believers in Achaia," I said, "have been ready to help since last year." Your eagerness has stirred up most of them.3Now I am sending these believers, so that our boasting about you in this matter may not turn out to be empty words. But, just as I said, you will be ready with your help.4However, if the people from Macedonia should come with me and find out that you are not ready, how ashamed we would be - not to speak of your shame - for feeling so sure of you!5So I thought it was necessary to urge these believers to go to you ahead of me and get ready in advance the gift you promised to make. Then it will be ready when I arrive, and it will show that you give because you want to, not because you have to.6Remember that the person who plants few seeds will have a small crop; the one who plants many seeds will have a large crop.7You should each give, then, as you have decided, not with regret or out of a sense of duty; for God loves the one who gives gladly. 8And God is able to give you more than you need, so that you will always have all you need for yourselves and more than enough for every good cause.9As the scripture says, "He gives generously to the needy; his kindness lasts forever."10And God, who supplies seed for the sower and bread to eat, will also supply you with all the seed you need and will make it grow and produce a rich harvest from your generosity. 11He will always make you rich enough to be generous at all times, so that many will thank God for your gifts which they receive from us.12For this service you perform not only meets the needs of God's people, but also produces an outpouring of gratitude to God.13And because of the proof which this service of yours brings, many will give glory to God for your loyalty to the gospel of Christ, which you profess, and for your generosity in sharing with them and everyone else.14And so with deep affection they will pray for you because of the extraordinary grace God has shown you.15Let us thank God for his priceless gift!