1Do not rely on your wealth,
or say, “I have the power.”a
2Do not rely on your strength
in following the desires of your heart.
3Do not say, “Who can prevail against me?”
for the LORD will exact punishment.
4Do not say, “I have sinned, yet what has happened to me?”
for the LORD is slow to anger!
5Do not be so confident of forgiveness
that you add sin upon sin.
6Do not say, “His mercy is great;
my many sins he will forgive.”
For mercy and anger alike are with him;
his wrath comes to rest on the wicked.
7Do not delay turning back to the LORD,
do not put it off day after day.
For suddenly his wrath will come forth;
at the time of vengeance, you will perish.
8Do not rely on deceitful wealth,
for it will be no help on the day of wrath.b
Use and Abuse of the Tongue*
9Do not winnow in every wind,
nor walk in every path.*
10Be steadfast regarding your knowledge,
and let your speech be consistent.
11Be swift to hear,
but slow to answer.c
12If you can, answer your neighbor;
if not, place your hand over your mouth!
13Honor and dishonor through speaking!
The tongue can be your downfall.
14Do not be called double-tongued;
and with your tongue do not slander a neighbor.
For shame has been created for the thief,
and sore disgrace for the double-tongued.
15In little or in much, do not act corruptly;
* [5:1–8] The vices of the rich are pride and independence (vv. 1–2), presumption (v. 3), false security (vv. 4–6), and impenitence (v. 7), which cannot escape the divine wrath (vv. 7–8). Cf. Prv 18:23; 19:1; 28:6.
* [5:9–6:1] Proper use of the tongue requires constancy in speech (v. 10), prudence (vv. 11–12), good judgment (v. 13), charity (5:15; 6:1); detraction, calumny (v. 14), and double-talk bring shame and disgrace (5:14; 6:1).
* [5:9] The metaphors indicate careless behavior.