Wise Words (parts 1-4 so far) The wise words of Sal, son of Dave, king of the Jews, that men may know what is wise and good, hear clear words, learn how to deal with what's wise, what's right, what's just, and what's fair; that care may come to the slow, facts and care to the youth; that the wise man too may hear and grow in what he knows, and the man of parts be skilled in what wise words and tales mean -- those words and quick tales of the wise. The fear of the Lord is the start of all that's known; fools hate what's wise and good. Hear, my son, your dad's words, and don't toss to one side what your mom taught, for they make a fair band for your head, and wear well on your neck. My son, if those who sin call to you, do not go. If they say, "Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood, let us jump like dogs on the clean, like Hell let us eat them up live and whole, as those who go down to the Pit; we'll all find rich goods, we'll fill our house with spoils; throw in your lot with us, we'll all have one purse" -- my son, don't walk with them, hold back your foot from their paths, for their feet run to the dark side and they make haste to shed blood. In vain is a net spread in sight of birds -- these men lie in wait for their own blood, they are set to jump on their own lives. Such are the ways of all who get gain by force -- it takes the lives of those who use it. The Wise One cries out in the street -- in the stalls she lifts up her voice, on the tops of walls she calls out, at the town gates she speaks: "How long, you dumb men, will you love the fact that you're dumb? How long will those who scoff love that they scoff, and fools hate what is wise? Hear how I scold you -- hark, I will tell you my thoughts, I will make my words known to you. Since I have called and you would not hear, since I've stretched out my hand and no one seen it, since you've paid no heed to my thoughts and would have none of my scolds -- I will laugh at you when things go bad; I will mock when fear strikes you, when fear comes down on you like a storm, and your woes come like a whirl of wind, when pains and ills come to you. Then they'll call for me, but I won't speak; they'll seek me with care but won't find me -- for they had hate for what's wise and did not choose to fear the Lord, would have none of my words and loathed all my scolds -- thus they shall eat the fruit of their ways and be full of their plans. For the dumb are killed when they turn from what's wise, and the pat thoughts of fools shall wreck them; but he who hears me will dwell save and at ease, with no dread of bad times." My son, if you hear my words and keep what I tell you to do, make your ear hear what's wise and bend your heart to what's clear -- yes, if you cry out for clear thoughts and raise your voice to know, if you seek it like coins and search for it as for a trove in a cave, then -- then you will know to fear the Lord and find you know God. For the Lord gives wise words: from his mouth comes what's known and heard. He stores up what's wise for the straight, he's a shield for those who walk right, he guards the paths of the just and keeps the way of his saints. Then you will know what's right and just and fair, all the good paths -- what's wise will come to your heart, and what you know will seem good to your soul; care will look out for you, thought will guard you -- keep you from the way of the dark side, from men with bent speech who leave the straight paths to walk in the ways of the dark, who laugh to do wrong and love the bad will of the dark side -- men whose paths are bent and who shift this way and that. You will be saved from loose broads, from the slut with her smooth words, who leaves the friend of her youth and thinks not of her bond with God -- for her house sinks down to death, and her paths to the shades; none who go to her come back, nor do they gain the paths of like once more. So you will walk the way of good men and keep to the paths of the straight. For the men of right will live in this land and straight men will stay here; but the bad men will be cut off from the land, and the who two time us will be kicked out. My son, don't lose sight of what I teach, but let your heart keep all I tell you to do -- for they will give you long years of life and good days of wealth. Let not good faith and trust leave you -- bind them round your neck, write them on the walls of your heart. Thus will you find good thoughts and a good name with God and men. Trust the Lord with all your heart and don't think well of your own smarts. In all your ways think of him, and he will make your paths straight. Don't try to be wise in your own eyes -- fear the Lord and turn from the dark side. This will heal your flesh and rest your bones. Give the Lord all you have and the first fruits of all your crops. If you do, your barns will be filled and your vats burst with wine. My son, don't despise the Lord's straight ways or tire of his harsh words, for the Lord scolds those he loves as a dad does the son of whom he's proud. Joy comes to the man who finds the Wise One and who sees her clear, for she's worth more than coins and her gain's more than gold. She is worth more than gems, and there's naught that you could want that can rank with her. Long life is her right hand; in her left hand are wealth and good name. Her ways are those of joy, and all her paths are peace. She is the tree of life to those who catch her -- those who hold her fast are, it is said, full of joy. With the Wise One the Lord made the earth; with clear sight he built the sky; with what he knew the deeps broke forth and the clouds drop down with dew. My son, keep sound wise thoughts and your lips sealed -- let them not leave your sight, and they will be life for your soul and look good on your neck. Then you will walk safe on your way and you foot won't slip. If you sit down, you won't fear; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet Don't fear the fast fear, or the wreck of the bad, when it comes, for the Lord will keep your will strong and your foot from the trap. Don't keep back good things from those to whom they're due, when you can. Do not say to he who lives near you, "Go, and come back this next day, for then I will give it" when you have it with you. Do not plan bad things for he who dwells near you with trust. Do not strive with a man for no cause, when he has done you no harm. Do not think well of a man of force and do not choose his ways, for the bent man is bad in the eyes of the Lord, but the straight are thought well of by him. The Lord's curse is on the house of the bad, but he will bless the house of the good. He scorns those who scorn, but to the meak he gives good. The wise will get good names, but fools will get bad ones. Hear, O sons, what a dad can teach and take note, that you may be have clear sight, for I give you good goals -- do not let go of what I teach. When I was a son with my dad, young, the sole child in the sight of my mom, he taught me and said to me, "Let your heart hold fast my words; keep all I tell you to do, and live; don't lose them, and don't turn from the words of my mouth. Get wise thoughts; get clear sight. Do not forsake the Wise One, and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you. The start of wise thoughts is this: get the Wise One, and what you may get, get clear sight. Prize her well, and she will lift you up -- she will grace you if you hold her tight. She will place on your head a fair band -- she will give you a bright crown." Hear, my son, and take my words, that the years of your life may be long. I have taught you the way of wise thoughts, I have led you in the straight paths. When you walk, your step won't be tripped up, and if you run, you won't fall. Keep hold of what's taught, do not let go -- guard her, for she is your life. Don't take the path of the bad, and don't walk the way of the dark side. Stay back, don't take it, turn from it and pass on. For they can't sleep till they've done wrong -- they are robbed of sleep but they've made a man fall -- for they eat the bread of the dark side and drink the wine of force. But the path of the straight is like the light of dawn, which shines bright and more bright till it's full day. The way of the bad is like the deep dark -- that don't know what it is they trip on. My son, take heed of my words, bend you ear to what I say -- let them not from your sight, keep them in your heart, for they are life to hom who finds them, and balm to all his flesh: * Keep your heart in sharp sight, for from it flow the springs of life. * Don't use bent words, and put far from you speech from the side of your mouth. * Let your eyes look straight to the front, and your gaze be straight on what's there. * Take heed to the path of your feet and all your ways will be sure. * Don't swerve to the right or to the left -- turn your foot from the dark side.