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

Chapter 37

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1Every friend says, ‘I too am your friend’; but some are friends in name only. 2What a mortal grief it is when a dear friend turns into an enemy! 3O propensity to evil, how did you creep in to cover the earth with treachery? 4A friend may be all smiles when you are joyful, but turn against you when trouble comes. 5Another shares your toil for the sake of a meal, and yet may shield you against an enemy. 6Do not forget a friend in the fight, and do not neglect him when prosperity comes your way.

7Every counsellor says his advice is best, but he may have in view his own advantage. 8Be on your guard against him who proffers advice; find out first where his interest lies, for his advice will be weighted in his own favour. He may tip the scales against you; 9he may say, ‘Your road is clear,’ and then stand aside to see what befalls you. 10Do not consult anyone who regards you with suspicion, or reveal your intentions to those who envy you. 11Never consult a woman about her rival or a coward about war, a merchant about a bargain or a buyer about a sale, a grudging person about gratitude or a hard-hearted person about a kind action, an idler about work of any sort, a seasonal worker about the end of the job, or a lazy servant about an exacting task— do not turn to them for any advice. 12Rely rather on a godfearing person whom you know to be a keeper of the commandments, one who is with you heart and soul and will show you sympathy if you have a setback. 13But trust your own judgement also, for you have no more reliable counsellor. 14One's own mind has sometimes a way of bringing word better than seven watchmen posted on a tower. 15But above all pray to the Most High to guide you on the path of truth.

16Every undertaking begins in discussion, and deliberation precedes every action. 17The roots of choice are in the heart: 18destiny takes four forms, good and evil, life and death; and always it is the tongue that decides the issue. 19Someone may be clever enough to teach many and yet be of no use to himself. 20A brilliant speaker may make enemies and end by dying of hunger, 21if the Lord has withheld grace and charm by depriving him of wisdom. 22If someone is wise in the conduct of his own life, his good sense can be trusted when he gives advice. 23If someone is wise and instructs his people, then his good sense can be trusted. 24A wise person will have praise heaped on him, and all who see him will count him happy. 25Human life can be numbered in days, but the days of Israel are countless. 26A person who is wise will possess the confidence of his people, and his name will live for ever.

27 MY son, test yourself all your life long; note what is bad for you, and do not indulge in it; 28for not everything is good for everyone, nor do we all enjoy the same things. 29Do not be greedy for every delicacy or eat without restraint, 30for illness is a sure result of overeating, and gluttony is next door to nausea. 31Gluttony has been the death of many, but he who is careful prolongs his life.

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