The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Proverbs
Not for thee to emulate wrong-doers, and aspire to be of their company;
what minds are theirs, who think only of men’s undoing, what talk, whose every word is treachery!
No foundation for a house like wisdom, no buttress like discernment;
no furnishing may be found for the rooms of it so rare and so pleasant, as true knowledge.
Only the wise are strong; well taught is firm of sinew.
War must be planned first, before thou wage it, and he will prosper best who most takes counsel;
wisdom hangs high beyond the fool’s reach; tongue-tied he stands when there are consultations at the gate.✻
Consecrate close thought to evil ends, and thou wilt earn no better name than mischief-maker.
Craft of his own the fool has, but all used amiss; the insidious rogue✻ no man can stomach.
What, hang thy hands down in time of peril? Little shalt thou avail.
Thine to rescue the doomed, to cheat the gallows of its prey;
not plead thy lack of strength, when he, the Searcher of all hearts, the Saviour of thy life, knows all, sees all, and requites the actions of men.
Sweet to thy palate, my son, is honey from the comb; why then, eat;
but wise teaching is no less thy soul’s food, tomorrow’s resource, and a resource unfailing.
Lie not in wait, treacherously, to despoil the homes where honest men take their ease;
seven times the just may stumble, and rise to their feet again, it is the wicked fall headlong into ruin.
Not thine to triumph over a fallen foe; that thrill of rejoicing in thy heart over his calamity
the Lord will see, and little love; his vengeance may yet change its course.
Do not be impatient when the wicked thrive, do not envy the lot of evil-doers;
villainy has no hope in store, its light flickers and is gone.
Fear God, my son, and fear the king; have nothing to do with malcontents.
How sudden their ruin, how swift falls, from either hand, the blow!
More maxims of the wise. It is ill done, to let partiality sway thy judgement;
if thou acquit the guilty, what race will have a good word for thee, what people will love thee?
Condemn him, and thou shalt have renown, blessings shall fall on thy head.
The right word spoken seals all like a kiss on the lips.✻
Be thy first care what lies without; till thy lands first with all diligence; then build up thy home.
Do not come forward as a witness against thy neighbour; wouldst thou spread lying tales?
Nor be content to say, I am but serving him as he served me; I pay off old scores.
Passing by field or vineyard where idleness reigned and improvidence, what sights I have seen!
Nettles were everywhere, briers had covered the ground, the stone wall was ruinous.
That sight I took to heart, found a warning in that ill example.
Sleep on (thought I) a little longer, yawn a little longer, a little longer pillow head on hand;
ay, but poverty will not wait, the day of distress will not wait; like an armed vagabond it will fall upon thee!✻
The Holy Bible