30 wise sayings annotated

(the stuff in parenthesis are my comments which may not be as wise as the sayings themselves! They are there to promote thoughtful reflection on the wise saying. Comments are always welcome)

Proverbs 22:20-24:22 (Contemporary English Version)

20I have written thirty sayings

   filled with sound advice.

    21You can trust them completely

   to give you the right words

   for those in charge of you.



 22 Don’t take advantage   of the poor

   or cheat them in court.

    23The LORD is their defender,

   and what you do to them,

   he will do to you.

   (Walmart, homeless, Katrina)


 24 Don’t make friends with anyone   who has a bad temper.

    25You might turn out like them

   and get caught in a trap.

(root of bitterness)



 26 Don’t guarantee to pay   someone else’s debt.

    27If you don’t have the money,

   you might lose your bed.




 28 Don’t move a boundary marker [a] set up by your ancestors.

(respect for old standards and measurements, Jubilee principle)   


 29 If you do your job well,   you will work for a ruler

   and never be a slave.

  (work hard! work smart!)

Proverbs 23


 1 When you are invited   to eat with a king,

   use your best manners.

    2Don’t go and stuff yourself!

   That would be just the same

   as cutting your throat.

    3Don’t be greedy for all

   of that fancy food!

   It may not be so tasty.

   (good manners, others first, avoid gluttony)


 4 Give up trying so hard   to get rich.

    5Your money flies away

   before you know it,

   just like an eagle

   suddenly taking off.

   (You cannot serve both God and money)


 6 Don’t accept an invitation   to eat a selfish person’s food,

   no matter how good it is.

    7People like that take note

   of how much you eat. [b] They say, “Take all you want!”

   But they don’t mean it.

    8Each bite will come back up,

   and all your kind words

   will be wasted.

   (no such thing as a free lunch)


 9 Don’t talk to fools–   they will just make fun.

   (foolish chatter)


 10 Don’t move a boundary marker [c] or take the land   that belongs to orphans.

    11God All-Powerful is there

   to defend them against you.

   (Jubilee principle again – God sides with the have-nots. The WSJ sides with the haves)


 12 Listen to instruction   and do your best to learn.

   (you never stop a learner – pay attention!)


 13 Don’t fail to correct   your children.

   You won’t kill them

   by being firm,

    14and it may even

   save their lives.

   (children are not hurt by firmness – and may be helped by it)


 15 My children,   if you show good sense,

   I will be happy,

    16and if you are truthful,

   I will really be glad.

   (good sense is good – truthfulness is even better!)


 17 Don’t be jealous of sinners,   but always honor the LORD.

    18Then you will truly have hope

   for the future.

   (good life does not equal being a rich and famous sinner)


 19 Listen to me, my children!   Be wise and have enough sense

   to follow the right path.

    20Don’t be a heavy drinker

   or stuff yourself with food.

    21It will make you feel drowsy,

   and you will end up poor

   with only rags to wear.

(don’t drink too much or eat too much!)



 22 Pay attention to your father,   and don’t neglect your mother

   when she grows old.

    23Invest in truth and wisdom,

   discipline and good sense,

   and don’t part with them.

    24Make your father truly happy

   by living right

   and showing

   sound judgment.

    25Make your parents proud,

   especially your mother.

(mom’s are awesome!)



 26 My son, pay close attention,   and gladly follow

   my example.

    27Bad women and unfaithful wives

   are like a deep pit–

    28they are waiting to attack you

   like a gang of robbers

   with victim after victim.

   (avoid sexual temptations as well as falling into deep pits)


 29 Who is always in trouble?   Who argues and fights?

   Who has cuts and bruises?

   Whose eyes are red?

    30Everyone who stays up late,

   having just one more drink.

    31Don’t even look

   at that colorful stuff

   bubbling up in the glass!

   It goes down so easily,

    32but later it bites

   like a poisonous snake.

    33You will see weird things,

   and your mind

   will play tricks on you.

    34You will feel tossed about

   like someone trying to sleep

   on a ship in a storm.

    35You will be bruised all over,

   without even remembering

   how it all happened.

   And you will lie awake asking,

   “When will morning come,

   so I can drink some more?”

   (avoid alcoholism!)

Proverbs 24


 1 Don’t be jealous of crooks   or want to be their friends.

    2All they think about

   and talk about

   is violence and cruelty.

   (bad friends corrupt good morals)


 3 Use wisdom and understanding   to establish your home;

    4let good sense fill the rooms

   with priceless treasures.

   (Better Homes and Gardens)


 5 Wisdom brings strength,   and knowledge gives power.

    6Battles are won

   by listening to advice

   and making a lot of plans.

   (strategize life. Make plans or plan to fail. Listen to advise)


 7 Wisdom is too much for fools!   Their advice is no good.

(Ignore bad advise)



 8 No one but troublemakers   think up trouble.

    9Everyone hates senseless fools

   who think up ways to sin.

   (good sense)


 10 Don’t give up and be helpless   in times of trouble.

  (Never Give Up! Never Give Up! Never Give Up! – Winston Churchill)


 11 Don’t fail to rescue those   who are doomed to die.

    12Don’t say, “I didn’t know it!”

   God can read your mind.

   He watches each of us

   and knows our thoughts.

   And God will pay us back

   for what we do.

   (Burma, China, Katrina, abortion, Uganda, slavery and human trafficking)


 13 Honey is good for you,   my children,

   and it tastes sweet.

    14Wisdom is like honey

   for your life–

   if you find it,

   your future is bright.

   (wisdom equals honey)


 15 Don’t be a cruel person   who attacks good people

   and hurts their families.

    16Even if good people

   fall seven times,

   they will get back up.

   But when trouble strikes

   the wicked,

   that’s the end of them.

   (good people fail but they get right back up)


 17 Don’t be happy   to see your enemies trip

   and fall down.

    18The LORD will find out

   and be unhappy.

   Then he will stop

   being angry with them.

(Love your enemies)



 19 Don’t let evil people   worry you

   or make you jealous.

    20They will soon be gone

   like the flame of a lamp

   that burns out.

   (Don’t be overwhelmed by injustice.)


 21 My children, you must respect   the LORD and the king,

   and you must not make friends

   with anyone

   who rebels

   against either of them.

    22Who knows what sudden disaster

   the LORD or a ruler

   might bring?

   (be careful of the temptation to side with the rebellious – it may backfire!)


  1. Proverbs 22:28 marker: In ancient Israel boundary lines were sacred because all property was a gift from the Lord (see Deuteronomy 19.14).
  2. Proverbs 23:7 People. . . eat: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. Proverbs 23:10 marker: See the note at 22.28.


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9 responses to “30 wise sayings annotated

  1. Jane America

    I ran across your wise sayings in my research for writing a 30 day devotional. In study I strongly suggest using the Authorized King James, as some meaning is changed with other English translations. I often use a 26 or so
    Bible versions reference also.

  2. Jane,
    Is there any specific proverb here that has a different meaning in this modern translation than from the KJ versions?

  3. A wise man once told me ” Pickles are good” than he fell asleep and I got to thinkin why am i callin you wise! LOL!

  4. Yandisa

    I enjoy reading wise words,and in the past it has helped me deal with life’s challenges confidently,and i’m pretty sure that if I would know at least half of the thirty wise sayings,I would conquor the world.

  5. Yandisa

    Thanks Mark,your reply has jst made me smile!Responsibility should’nt be a huge problem.I jst hope not!Anyway,thanx!

  6. Malizo

    Really like this page!

  7. Jon VanderWall

    Great Post! I reblogged this on my blog as I work through the Bible this year! Thank you so much! All credit goes to you!

  8. Pingback: Day 189: Proverbs 23-25; Thirty Sayings of the Wise | Overisel Reformed Church

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