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

Chapter 18

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1who lives for ever is the Creator of the whole universe; 2the Lord alone will be proved supreme a 18:2 proved supreme: some witnesses add and there is none beside him 3who can steer the world with a touch of his hand, so that all things obey his will; as King of the universe, he has power to fix the bounds between what is holy and what is profane. . 4To whom is it given to unfold the story of his works? Who can fathom his mighty acts? 5No one can measure his majestic power, still less tell the full tale of his mercies. 6They can neither be diminished nor increased, and the wonders of the Lord cannot be fathomed. 7When anyone finishes he is still only beginning, and when he stops he will still be at a loss.

8What is a human being, and what use is he? His good or evil deeds, what do they signify? 9His span of life is at the most a hundred years; 10compared with unending time, his few years are like one drop from the ocean or a single grain of sand. 11That is why the Lord is patient with people; that is why he lavishes his mercy upon them. 12He sees and knows the harsh fate in store for them, and therefore gives full play to his forgiveness. 13Their compassion is only for their own kin, but the Lord's compassion is for all mankind. He corrects, disciplines and teaches, and brings them back as a shepherd brings his flock. 14He has compassion on those who accept discipline and are eager to obey his decrees.

15Do GOOD, my son, but without scolding; do not spoil your generosity with hurtful words. 16Does not the dew give respite from the scorching heat? So a word can do more than a gift. 17Does not a kind word count for more than a rich present? With someone gracious you will find both. 18A graceless fool must always be taunting, and a grudging giver makes no eyes sparkle.

19Before you speak, learn; before sickness comes, attend to your health. 20Before judgement, examine yourself, and you will find pardon in your hour of trial. 21Before you fall ill, humble yourself; whenever you sin, show your penitence. 22Let nothing hinder the prompt discharge of your vows; do not wait until death to be absolved. 23Before you make a vow, give it due thought; do not be like those who try the Lord's patience. 24Think of the wrath you must face in the hour of death, when the time of reckoning comes and he turns away his face. 25Remember in time of plenty the time of famine, poverty and need in your days of wealth. 26Between dawn and dusk times may alter; before the Lord all change comes quickly. 27The wise are always on their guard; when sin is rife they will beware of negligence. 28Everybody with sense makes acquaintance with wisdom, and to him who finds her she gives cause for thankfulness. 29They who are trained in learning prove wise themselves and pour forth apt proverbs.

30Do not let your passions be your guide; keep your lusts under control. 31If you indulge yourself with all that passion fancies, it will give your enemies cause to gloat over you. 32Do not revel in great luxury, or the expense of it may ruin you. 33Squandering and drunkenness will leave you with nothing in your purse.

Notes:

a 18:2 proved supreme: some witnesses add and there is none beside him 3who can steer the world with a touch of his hand, so that all things obey his will; as King of the universe, he has power to fix the bounds between what is holy and what is profane.

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