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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 11

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1Someone poor but wise can hold his head high and take his seat among the great.

2Do not overrate one person for his good looks or be repelled by another's appearance. 3The bee is small among winged creatures, yet her produce takes first place for sweetness. 4Do not brag about your fine clothes or be elated when honours come your way. Remember, the Lord can perform marvels which are hidden from mortal eyes: 5many a king has been reduced to sitting on the ground, while crowns have gone where least expected; 6many a ruler has been stripped of every honour, and the eminent have found themselves at the mercy of others.

7Do not find fault before examining the evidence; think first, and criticize afterwards. 8Do not answer without first listening, and do not interrupt while another is speaking. 9Never take sides in a quarrel not your own or become involved in the disputes of the wicked.

10My son, do not engage in too many transactions; attempting too much, you will come to grief; in pursuit you will not overtake; in flight you will not escape. 11One person slaves and toils and presses on, and yet falls farther behind. 12Another is slow and in need of help, poor in strength, rich only in poverty; yet the Lord turns on him a kindly eye, lifts him up out of his miserable plight, 13and, to the amazement of many, raises him to dignity.

14Good fortune and bad, life and death, poverty and wealth, all are from the Lord a 11:14 from the Lord: some witnesses add 15From the Lord come wisdom, understanding, and knowledge of the law, love, and the doing of good works. 16Error and darkness have been with sinners from their birth, and evil grows old with them who delight in it. . 17His gifts to the devout endure; his approval brings unending prosperity. 18Someone may grow rich by stinting and sparing, but what does he get for his pains? 19When he says, ‘I have earned my rest and now I can live on my savings,’ he does not know how long it will be before he must die and leave them to others.

20Stand by your contract and give your mind to it; grow old at your work. 21Do not envy the wicked their achievements; trust the Lord and stick to your job, for it is very easy for the Lord to make the poor rich all in a moment. 22Piety is rewarded by the Lord's blessing, which blossoms in a single hour. 23Do not say, ‘What use am I? What good can the future hold for me?’ 24And do not say, ‘I am self-sufficient; nothing can ever go wrong for me.’ 25Hardship is forgotten in time of prosperity, and prosperity in time of hardship. 26Even on the day a person dies it is easy for the Lord to give him what he deserves. 27An hour's misery wipes out all memory of delight, and someone's end reveals how he has lived. 28Call no one happy before he dies, for not until death is a person known for what he is.

29 DO NOT invite all comers into your home; dishonesty wears many a guise. 30A proud person's mind is like a decoy partridge in its cage, or like a spy watching for a false step; 31he waits for a chance to twist good into evil or to cast blame on praiseworthy actions. 32One spark kindles many coals, and a plot laid by a bad man ends in bloodshed. 33Beware of a scoundrel and his evil schemes, or he may ruin your reputation forever. 34Admit a stranger to your home and he will stir up trouble and estrange you from your own flesh and blood.

Notes:

a 11:14 from the Lord: some witnesses add 15From the Lord come wisdom, understanding, and knowledge of the law, love, and the doing of good works. 16Error and darkness have been with sinners from their birth, and evil grows old with them who delight in it.

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