Proverbs 20
Contemporary English Version

Words of Wisdom Are Better than Gold

1It isn't smart to get drunk!

Drinking makes a fool of you

and leads to fights.

2An angry ruler

is like a roaring lion—

make either one angry,

and you are dead.

3It makes you look good

when you avoid a fight—

only fools love to quarrel.

4If you are too lazy to plow,

don't expect a harvest.

5Someone's thoughts may be

as deep as the ocean,

but if you are smart,

you will discover them.

6There are many who say,

“You can trust me!”

But can they be trusted?

7Good people live right,

and God blesses the children

who follow their example.

8When rulers decide cases,

they weigh the evidence.

9Can any of us really say,

“My thoughts are pure,

and my sins are gone”?

10Two things the Lord hates

are dishonest scales

and dishonest measures.

11The good or bad

that children do

shows what they are like.

12Hearing and seeing

are gifts from the Lord.

13If you sleep all the time,

you will starve;

if you get up and work,

you will have enough food.

14Everyone likes to brag

about getting a bargain.

15Sensible words are better

than gold or jewels.

16You deserve to lose your coat

if you loan it to someone

to guarantee payment

for the debt of a stranger.

17The food you get by cheating

may taste delicious,

but it turns to gravel.

18Be sure you have sound advice

before making plans

or starting a war.

19Stay away from gossips—

they tell everything.

20Children who curse their parents

will go to the land of darkness

long before their time.

21Getting rich quick+

may turn out to be a curse.

22Don't try to get even.

Trust the Lord,

and he will help you.

23The Lord hates dishonest scales

and dishonest weights.

So don't cheat!

24How can we know

what will happen to us

when the Lord alone decides?

25Don't fall into the trap

of making promises to God

before you think!

26A wise ruler severely punishes

every criminal.

27Our inner thoughts are a lamp

from the Lord,

and they search our hearts.

28Rulers are protected

by God's mercy and loyalty,

but+ they must be merciful

for their kingdoms to last.

29Young people take pride

in their strength,

but the gray hairs of wisdom

are even more beautiful.

30A severe beating can knock all

of the evil out of you!


20.21 quick: Or “the wrong way.”
20.28 by God's mercy … but: Or “by their mercy … and.”

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

© 2006 American Bible Society.  All rights reserved.

Bible text from the Contemporary English Version 2nd Edition (CEV®) is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by American Bible Society, 101 North Independence Mall East, Floor 8, Philadelphia, PA 19106-2155  ( Learn more at Discover .BIBLE resources for your ministry at

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