Proverbs 30; Proverbs 31; 2 Corinthians 11:1-15

1 These are the solemn words of Agur son of Jakeh: "God is not with me, God is not with me, and I am helpless. 2 I am more like an animal than a human being; I do not have the sense we humans should have. 3 I have never learned any wisdom, and I know nothing at all about God. 4 Have any ever mastered heavenly knowledge? Have any ever caught the wind in their hands? Or wrapped up water in a piece of cloth? Or fixed the boundaries of the earth? Who are they, if you know? Who are their children? 5 "God keeps every promise he makes. He is like a shield for all who seek his protection. 6 If you claim that he said something that he never said, he will reprimand you and show that you are a liar." 7 I ask you, God, to let me have two things before I die: 8 keep me from lying, and let me be neither rich nor poor. So give me only as much food as I need. 9 If I have more, I might say that I do not need you. But if I am poor, I might steal and bring disgrace on my God. 10 Never criticize servants to their master. You will be cursed and suffer for it. 11 There are people who curse their fathers and do not show their appreciation for their mothers. 12 There are people who think they are pure when they are as filthy as they can be. 13 There are people who think they are so good - oh, how good they think they are! 14 There are people who take cruel advantage of the poor and needy; that is the way they make their living. 15 A leech has two daughters, and both are named "Give me!" There are four things that are never satisfied: 16 the world of the dead, a woman without children, dry ground that needs rain, and a fire burning out of control. 17 If you make fun of your father or despise your mother in her old age, you ought to be eaten by vultures or have your eyes picked out by wild ravens. 18 There are four things that are too mysterious for me to understand: 19 an eagle flying in the sky, a snake moving on a rock, a ship finding its way over the sea, and a man and a woman falling in love. 20 This is how an unfaithful wife acts: she commits adultery, takes a bath, and says, "But I haven't done anything wrong!" 21 There are four things that the earth itself cannot tolerate: 22 a slave who becomes a king, a fool who has all he wants to eat, 23 a hateful woman who gets married, and a servant woman who takes the place of her mistress. 24 There are four animals in the world that are small, but very, very clever: 25 Ants: they are weak, but they store up their food in the summer. 26 Rock badgers: they are not strong either, but they make their homes among the rocks. 27 Locusts: they have no king, but they move in formation. 28 Lizards: you can hold one in your hand, but you can find them in palaces. 29 There are four things that are impressive to watch as they walk: 30 lions, strongest of all animals and afraid of none; 31 goats, strutting roosters, and kings in front of their people. 32 If you have been foolish enough to be arrogant and plan evil, stop and think! 33 If you churn milk, you get butter. If you hit someone's nose, it bleeds. If you stir up anger, you get into trouble.
1 These are the solemn words which King Lemuel's mother said to him: 2 "You are my own dear son, the answer to my prayers. What shall I tell you? 3 Don't spend all your energy on sex and all your money on women; they have destroyed kings. 4 Listen, Lemuel. Kings should not drink wine or have a craving for alcohol. 5 When they drink, they forget the laws and ignore the rights of people in need. 6 Alcohol is for people who are dying, for those who are in misery. 7 Let them drink and forget their poverty and unhappiness. 8 "Speak up for people who cannot speak for themselves. Protect the rights of all who are helpless. 9 Speak for them and be a righteous judge. Protect the rights of the poor and needy." 10 How hard it is to find a capable wife! She is worth far more than jewels! 11 Her husband puts his confidence in her, and he will never be poor. 12 As long as she lives, she does him good and never harm. 13 She keeps herself busy making wool and linen cloth. 14 She brings home food from out-of-the-way places, as merchant ships do. 15 She gets up before daylight to prepare food for her family and to tell her servant women what to do. 16 She looks at land and buys it, and with money she has earned she plants a vineyard. 17 She is a hard worker, strong and industrious. 18 She knows the value of everything she makes, and works late into the night. 19 She spins her own thread and weaves her own cloth. 20 She is generous to the poor and needy. 21 She doesn't worry when it snows, because her family has warm clothing. 22 She makes bedspreads and wears clothes of fine purple linen. 23 Her husband is well known, one of the leading citizens. 24 She makes clothes and belts, and sells them to merchants. 25 She is strong and respected and not afraid of the future. 26 She speaks with a gentle wisdom. 27 She is always busy and looks after her family's needs. 28 Her children show their appreciation, and her husband praises her. 29 He says, "Many women are good wives, but you are the best of them all." 30 Charm is deceptive and beauty disappears, but a woman who honors the Lord should be praised. 31 Give her credit for all she does. She deserves the respect of everyone.
1 I wish you would tolerate me, even when I am a bit foolish. Please do! 2 I am jealous for you, just as God is; you are like a pure virgin whom I have promised in marriage to one man only, Christ himself. 3 I am afraid that your minds will be corrupted and that you will abandon your full and pure devotion to Christ - in the same way that Eve was deceived by the snake's clever lies. 4 For you gladly tolerate anyone who comes to you and preaches a different Jesus, not the one we preached; and you accept a spirit and a gospel completely different from the Spirit and the gospel you received from us! 5 I do not think that I am the least bit inferior to those very special so-called "apostles" of yours! 6 Perhaps I am an amateur in speaking, but certainly not in knowledge; we have made this clear to you at all times and in all conditions. 7 I did not charge you a thing when I preached the Good News of God to you; I humbled myself in order to make you important. Was that wrong of me? 8 While I was working among you, I was paid by other churches. I was robbing them, so to speak, in order to help you. 9 And during the time I was with you I did not bother you for help when I needed money; the believers who came from Macedonia brought me everything I needed. As in the past, so in the future: I will never be a burden to you! 10 By Christ's truth in me, I promise that this boast of mine will not be silenced anywhere in all of Achaia. 11 Do I say this because I don't love you? God knows I love you! 12 I will go on doing what I am doing now, in order to keep those other "apostles" from having any reason for boasting and saying that they work in the same way that we do. 13 Those men are not true apostles - they are false apostles, who lie about their work and disguise themselves to look like real apostles of Christ. 14 Well, no wonder! Even Satan can disguise himself to look like an angel of light! 15 So it is no great thing if his servants disguise themselves to look like servants of righteousness. In the end they will get exactly what their actions deserve.
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