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

Chapter 19

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1A drunken workman will never grow rich; carelessness in small things leads by degrees to ruin. 2Wine and women rob the wise of their wits, and a frequenter of prostitutes becomes more and more reckless; 3decay and worms take possession of him; through his recklessness he is destroyed.

4To trust anyone hastily shows a shallow mind, and to sin is to do oneself an injury. 5To delight in wickedness is to court condemnation, 6but evil loses its hold on him who hates gossip. 7Never repeat what you hear, and you will never be the loser. 8Tell no tales before friend or foe; unless silence makes you an accomplice, never betray a secret. 9Suppose someone has heard you and learnt to distrust you, he will seize a chance to show his hatred. 10Have you heard a rumour? Let it die with you. Never fear, it will not make you burst! 11A fool with a rumour goes through agony like a woman in labour. 12As painful as an arrow through the thigh is a rumour in the heart of a fool. 13Put it to your friend; he may not have done it, or if he did, he will know not to do it again. 14Put it to your neighbour; he may not have said it, or if he did, he will know not to say it again. 15Put it to your friend; it will often turn out to be slander; so do not believe everything you hear. 16Someone may let slip what he does not intend; is anyone's tongue free from guilt? 17Put your case to your neighbour before you threaten him, and let the law of the Most High take its course a 19:17 its course: some witnesses add without giving way to anger. 18The fear of the Lord is the beginning of acceptance by him, and wisdom wins love from him. 19The knowledge of the Lord's commandments is discipline for life, and those who do what pleases him pluck the fruit of the tree of immortality. . 20All wisdom is the fear of the Lord and includes the fulfilling of the law b 19:20 the law: some witnesses add and a knowledge of his omnipotence. 21A servant who says to his master, ‘I will not do as you wish,’ even if he does it later, angers him who feeds him. . 22To know about wickedness is not wisdom, nor is there good sense in the advice of sinners. 23There is a cleverness that repels, and some fools are merely ignorant. 24Better to lack brains and be godfearing than to have great intelligence and transgress the law. 25A meticulous cleverness may lead to injustice, and crooked means may be used to uncover the right. 26A scoundrel may bow his head and wear mourning, but at heart be an out-and-out fraud. 27He hides his face and pretends to be deaf, but when no one is looking, he steals a march on you; 28and if lack of strength prevents him from doing wrong, he will still harm you at the first opportunity. 29You can tell a person by his appearance and recognize good sense at first sight. 30His clothes, the way he laughs, his gait—these reveal his character.

Notes:

a 19:17 its course: some witnesses add without giving way to anger. 18The fear of the Lord is the beginning of acceptance by him, and wisdom wins love from him. 19The knowledge of the Lord's commandments is discipline for life, and those who do what pleases him pluck the fruit of the tree of immortality.

b 19:20 the law: some witnesses add and a knowledge of his omnipotence. 21A servant who says to his master, ‘I will not do as you wish,’ even if he does it later, angers him who feeds him.

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