The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.
2 For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.
3 A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.
4 They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.
5 Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the Lord understand all things.
6 Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.
7 Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father.
8 He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.
9 He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.
10 Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good things in possession.
11 The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out.
12 When righteous men do rejoice, there is great glory: but when the wicked rise, a man is hidden.
13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
14 Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.
15 As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people.
16 The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days.
17 A man that doeth violence to the blood of any person shall flee to the pit; let no man stay him.
18 Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved: but he that is perverse in his ways shall fall at once.
19 He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough.
20 A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.
21 To have respect of persons is not good: for for a piece of bread that man will transgress.
22 He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.
23 He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.
24 Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is no transgression; the same is the companion of a destroyer.
25 He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the Lord shall be made fat.
26 He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
27 He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.
28 When the wicked rise, men hide themselves: but when they perish, the righteous increase.
“Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool” (v. 26, ESV).
“Never rely on what you think you know” (3:5, TEV).
Should we not think our own thoughts?—or should we be so self-distrustful that we feel we’re wrong all the time?
The Message is helpful:
“If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure;
real survivors learn wisdom from others.”
The more we actually know, the more we realize we don’t know. A recognition of the vast expanse of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding waiting to be explored, will help to keep us teachable.Certainly humility will help us be even more willing to open our hearts to hear from other people, and allow ourselves to be changed by what they have learned and experienced.
Of course, we need to be able to assess whether someone is a “fool”—and not waste our time listening to those who have nothing to say in spite of all their words. After all, “Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions” (18:2, NLT).
Harsh? Jesus spoke about recognizing what a tree is like, by what kind of fruit it bears—and warned about following false prophets. (See Matthew 7:15-20.)
Even there, “It is foolish to be too confident.
Those who ask for advice are wise and will escape disaster” (28:26, ERV).
Virginia Davidson, Artist—designing and building stained glass windows
Spokane Valley Seventh-day Adventist Church, Washington State, USA