18 1HE WHO willfully separates and estranges himself [from God and man] seeks his own desire and pretext to break out against all wise and sound judgment. 2A [self-confident] fool has no delight in understanding but only in revealing his personal opinions and himself. 3When the wicked comes in [to the depth of evil], he becomes a contemptuous despiser [of all that is pure and good], and with inner baseness comes outer shame and reproach. 4The words of a [discreet and wise] man’s mouth are like deep waters [plenteous and difficult to fathom], and the fountain of skillful and godly Wisdom is like a gushing stream [sparkling, fresh, pure, and life-giving]. 5To respect the person of the wicked and be partial to him, so as to deprive the [consistently] righteous of justice, is not good. 6A [self-confident] fool’s lips bring contention, and his mouth invites a beating. 7A [self-confident] fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to himself. 8The words of a whisperer or talebearer are as dainty morsels; they go down into the innermost parts of the body. 9He who is loose and slack in his work is brother to him who is a destroyer and [P]he who does not use his endeavors to heal himself is brother to him who commits suicide. 10The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the [consistently] righteous man [upright and in right standing with God] runs into it and is safe, high [above evil] and strong. 11The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and as a high protecting wall in his own imagination and conceit. 12Haughtiness comes before disaster, but humility before honor. 13He who answers a matter before he hears the facts--it is folly and shame to him. 14The strong spirit of a man sustains him in bodily pain or trouble, but a weak and broken spirit who can raise up or bear? 15The mind of the prudent is ever getting knowledge, and the ear of the wise is ever seeking (inquiring for and craving) knowledge. 16A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men. 17He who states his case first seems right, until his rival comes and cross-examines him. 18To cast lots puts an end to disputes and decides between powerful contenders. 19A brother offended is harder to be won over than a strong city, and [their] contentions separate them like the bars of a castle. 20A man’s [moral] self shall be filled with the fruit of his mouth; and with the consequence of his words he must be satisfied [whether good or evil]. 21Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life]. 22He who finds a [true] wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord. 23The poor man uses entreaties, but the rich answers roughly. 24The man of many friends [a friend of all the world] will prove himself a bad friend, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
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