18

1Unfriendly people care only about themselves;

they lash out at common sense.

2Fools have no interest in understanding;

they only want to air their own opinions.

3Doing wrong leads to disgrace,

and scandalous behavior brings contempt.

4Wise words are like deep waters;

wisdom flows from the wise like a bubbling brook.

5It is not right to acquit the guilty

or deny justice to the innocent.

6Fools’ words get them into constant quarrels;

they are asking for a beating.

7The mouths of fools are their ruin;

they trap themselves with their lips.

8Rumors are dainty morsels

that sink deep into one’s heart.

9A lazy person is as bad as

someone who destroys things.

10The name of the Lord is a strong fortress;

the godly run to him and are safe.

11The rich think of their wealth as a strong defense;

they imagine it to be a high wall of safety.

12Haughtiness goes before destruction;

humility precedes honor.

13Spouting off before listening to the facts

is both shameful and foolish.

14The human spirit can endure a sick body,

but who can bear a crushed spirit?

15Intelligent people are always ready to learn.

Their ears are open for knowledge.

16Giving a gift can open doors;

it gives access to important people!

17The first to speak in court sounds right—

until the cross-examination begins.

18Flipping a coin*18:18 Hebrew Casting lots.  can end arguments;

it settles disputes between powerful opponents.

19An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city.

Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.

20Wise words satisfy like a good meal;

the right words bring satisfaction.

21The tongue can bring death or life;

those who love to talk will reap the consequences.

22The man who finds a wife finds a treasure,

and he receives favor from the Lord.

23The poor plead for mercy;

the rich answer with insults.

24There are “friends” who destroy each other,

but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.