Conduct Toward God and Neighbor*
1Do no evil, and evil will not overtake you;*
2avoid wickedness, and it will turn away from you.
3Do not sow in the furrows of injustice,
lest you harvest it sevenfold.a
4Do not seek from God authority
or from the king a place of honor.
5Do not parade your righteousness before the LORD,
and before the king do not flaunt your wisdom.b
6Do not seek to become a judge
if you do not have the strength to root out crime,
Lest you show fear in the presence of the prominent
and mar your integrity.
7Do not be guilty of any evil before the city court
or disgrace yourself before the assembly.
8Do not plot to repeat a sin;
even for one, you will not go unpunished.
9Do not say, “He will appreciate my many gifts;
the Most High God will accept my offerings.”c
10Do not be impatient in prayer
or neglect almsgiving.
11Do not ridicule the embittered;
Remember: there is One who exalts and humbles.*
12Do not plot mischief against your relative
or against your friend and companion.
13Refuse to tell lie after lie,
for it never results in good.
14Do not babble in the assembly of the elders
or repeat the words of your prayer.* d
15Do not hate hard work;
work was assigned by God.e
16Do not esteem yourself more than your compatriots;
remember, his wrath will not delay.
17More and more, humble your pride;
what awaits mortals is worms.* f
Duties of Family Life, Religion and Charity*
18Do not barter a friend for money,
or a true brother for the gold of Ophir.*
19Do not reject a sensible wife;
a gracious wife is more precious than pearls.
20Do not mistreat a servant who works faithfully,
or laborers who devote themselves to their task.g
21Love wise servants as yourself;
do not refuse them freedom.*
22Do you have livestock? Look after them;
if they are dependable, keep them.
23Do you have sons? Correct them
and cure their stubbornness* in their early youth.h
24Do you have daughters? Keep them chaste,
and do not be indulgent to them.i
25Give your daughter in marriage, and a worry comes to an end;
but give her to a sensible man.
26Do you have a wife? Do not mistreat her,
but do not trust the wife you hate.
27With your whole heart honor your father;
your mother’s birth pangs do not forget.j
28Remember, of these parents you were born;
what can you give them for all they gave you?
29With all your soul fear God
and revere his priests.
30With all your strength love your Maker
and do not neglect his ministers.
31Honor God and respect the priest;
give him his portion as you have been commanded:k
First fruits and contributions,
his portion of victims and holy offerings.*
32To the poor also extend your hand,
that your blessing may be complete.
33Give your gift to all the living,
and do not withhold your kindness from the dead.*
34Do not avoid those who weep,
but mourn with those who mourn.l
35Do not hesitate to visit the sick,
because for such things you will be loved.m
36In whatever you do, remember your last days,
and you will never sin.*
* [7:1–17] In the conduct of social relations wisdom forbids evil and injustice (vv. 1–3), pride (vv. 5, 15–17), ambition and partiality (vv. 4, 6), public disorder (v. 7), presumption and impatience toward God (vv. 9–10), ridicule (v. 11), mischief and deceit toward one’s neighbor (vv. 8, 12–13). See the several wisdom poems in Prv 1–9.
* [7:1] There is a play on “evil” which means both moral wrong and material calamity.
* [7:11] One who exalts and humbles: God; cf. 1 Sm 2:7; Ps 75:8; Lk 1:52.
* [7:14] Repeat…prayer: brevity of speech is a wisdom ideal; toward superiors and God it is a sign of respect; cf. Eccl 5:1; Mt 6:7.
* [7:17] Worms: i.e., corruption; the Septuagint adds “fire.”
* [7:18–36] Respect and appreciation, justice and kindness should characterize relations toward members of the household (vv. 18–28), God and the priests (vv. 29–31), the poor and afflicted, the living and the dead (vv. 32–35).
* [7:18] Ophir: the port, at present unidentified, to which the ships of Solomon sailed and from which they brought back gold and silver; cf. note on Ps 45:10.
* [7:21] After six years of service a Hebrew slave was entitled to freedom; cf. Ex 21:2; Dt 15:12–15.
* [7:23] Cure their stubbornness: keep them from rebellious pride; so with the Greek. Cf. 30:1–13. The Hebrew text, probably not original here, reads: “Choose wives for them while they are young.”
* [7:31] First fruits…holy offerings: cf. Ex 29:27; Lv 7:31–34; Nm 18:8–20; Dt 18:1–5.
* [7:33] This seems to refer to the observances ordained toward the dead, that is, proper mourning and burial. Cf. 2 Sm 21:12–14; Tb 1:17–18; 12:12.
* [7:36] Never sin: because the last days of the sinner, it was presumed, would be troubled.
a. [7:3] Jb 4:8; Prv 22:8; Hos 8:7.
b. [7:5] Jb 9:2; Ps 143:2; Prv 25:6; 1 Cor 4:4.
c. [7:9] Sir 34:21–24; 35:14–15.
d. [7:14] Sir 32:7–10; Mt 6:7.
f. [7:17] Sir 10:11; Jb 17:14; Is 66:24.
g. [7:20] Lv 19:13; Dt 24:14–15; Jas 5:4.
h. [7:23] Sir 30:1–13; Prv 13:24; 19:18; 23:13–14; 29:15, 17.
j. [7:27] Sir 3:1–16; Ex 20:12; Dt 5:16; Tb 4:3–4; Prv 23:22.