Proverbs 18


18     An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends;

he defies all sound judgment.

2 A fool finds no pleasure in understanding

but delights in airing his own opinions.

I am frequently reminded of the importance to think first, then talk (or write).

3 When wickedness comes, so does contempt,

and with shame comes disgrace.

4 The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters,

but the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.

5 It is not good to be partial to the wicked

or to deprive the innocent of justice.

As God’s word shows many times, justice applies to both the innocent and the guilty. 

6 A fool’s lips bring him strife,

and his mouth invites a beating.

7 A fool’s mouth is his undoing,

and his lips are a snare to his soul.

8 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;

they go down to a man’s inmost parts.

I have gotten much better about avoiding gossip and being careful  not to start it.  I stop it when I can by asking pointed questions about the sources, accuracy and importance of the information offered. 

9 One who is slack in his work

is brother to one who destroys.

10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower;

the righteous run to it and are safe.

11 The wealth of the rich is their fortified city;

they imagine it an unscalable wall.

Most of you reading this may not feel rich, but you are probably in the 2% of the richest people who ever lived. 

12 Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud,

but humility comes before honor.

13 He who answers before listening—

that is his folly and his shame.

14 A man’s spirit sustains him in sickness,

but a crushed spirit who can bear?

15 The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge;

the ears of the wise seek it out.

16 A gift opens the way for the giver

and ushers him into the presence of the great.

17 The first to present his case seems right,

till another comes forward and questions him.

It is important to listen to both sides of a debate.  Sometimes I find myself going back and forth as I hear more information from both sides.  Some people are good at presenting false arguments in such a way that they appear to be true.

18 Casting the lot settles disputes

and keeps strong opponents apart.

19 An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city,

and disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.

20 From the fruit of his mouth a man’s stomach is filled;

with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied.

21 The tongue has the power of life and death,

and those who love it will eat its fruit.

22 He who finds a wife finds what is good

and receives favor from the Lord.

Amen to that!  I found a great wife and have been blessed by her.

23 A poor man pleads for mercy,

but a rich man answers harshly.

24 A man of many companions may come to ruin,

but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

There is apparently some wordplay here in the Hebrew.  It is better to have fewer friends who are authentic than many who are false.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

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