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

Chapter 31

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1Wakeful nights make the rich person lose weight, when the cares of wealth drive sleep away; 2sleepless worry keeps him wide awake, just as serious illness banishes sleep. 3The rich man toils to amass a fortune, and when he relaxes he enjoys every luxury. 4The poor man toils to make a slender living, and when he relaxes he finds himself in want.

5Passion for gold can never be right; the pursuit of profit leads astray. 6Because of gold many a one has met his downfall and found himself face to face with ruin. 7Gold is a pitfall to those who make it their god, and every fool is ensnared by it. 8Happy are the rich who have remained blameless and have not let gold become their guide! 9Show us such a person, and we will congratulate him; he has performed a miracle among his people. 10Has anyone come through this test unscathed? Then he has good cause to be proud. Has anyone had it in his power to sin and refrained, to do wrong and not done it? 11Then he will be confirmed in his prosperity, and the assembly will hail him as a benefactor.

12 WHEN seated at a grand table do not smack your lips and exclaim, ‘What a feast!’ 13Remember, it is a bad thing to have a greedy eye. There is no greater evil in creation than the eye; for that reason it must shed tears at every turn. 14Do not reach for everything within sight, or jostle your fellow-guest at the dish; 15judge his feelings by your own, and always behave with consideration. 16Eat what is set before you, but not like a beast; do not munch your food and make yourself objectionable. 17Be the first to stop for good manners’ sake and do not be a glutton, or you will give offence. 18If you are dining in a large company, do not reach out your hand before others. 19A person of good upbringing is content with little, so when he goes to bed he is not short of breath. 20The moderate eater enjoys healthy sleep: he rises early, feeling refreshed; but sleeplessness, nausea, and colic are the lot of the glutton. 21If you cannot avoid overeating at a banquet, leave the table and find relief by vomiting.

22Listen to me, my son; do not disregard me, and in the end my words will come home to you. In all you do avoid extremes, and no illness will come your way. 23Everyone has a good word for a liberal host; the evidence of his generosity is convincing. 24The whole town grumbles at a mean host, and there is sure evidence of his meanness.

25Do not use wine to prove your manhood, for wine has been the ruin of many. 26As the furnace tests iron when it is being tempered, so wine tests character when boasters are wrangling. 27Wine puts life into anyone who drinks it in moderation. What is life to somebody deprived of wine? Was it not created to gladden the heart? 28Wine brings gaiety and high spirits if people know when to drink and when to stop; 29but wine in excess makes for bitter feelings and leads to offence and retaliation. 30Drunkenness inflames a fool's anger to his own hurt; it saps his strength and exposes him to injury. 31At a banquet do not rebuke your fellow-guest or make him feel small while he is enjoying himself. That is no time to upbraid him or pester him to pay his debts.

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