Chapter 18

1He who isolates himself pursues his desires; He disdains all competence.

אלְתַאֲוָה יְבַקֵּשׁ נִפְרָד בְּכָל־תּוּשִׁיָּה יִתְגַּלָּע׃

2The fool does not desire understanding, But only to air his thoughts.

בלֹא־יַחְפֹּץ כְּסִיל בִּתְבוּנָה כִּי אִם־בְּהִתְגַּלּוֹת לִבּוֹ׃

3Comes the wicked man comes derision, And with the rogue, contempt.

גבְּבוֹא־רָשָׁע בָּא גַם־בּוּז וְעִם־קָלוֹן חֶרְפָּה׃

4The words a man speaks are deep waters, A flowing stream, a fountain of wisdom.

דמַיִם עֲמֻקִּים דִּבְרֵי פִי־אִישׁ נַחַל נֹבֵעַ מְקוֹר חָכְמָה׃

5It is not right to be partial to the guilty And subvert the innocent in judgment.

השְׂאֵת פְּנֵי־רָשָׁע לֹא־טוֹב לְהַטּוֹת צַדִּיק בַּמִּשְׁפָּט׃

6The words of a fool lead to strife; His speech invites blows.

ושִׂפְתֵי כְסִיל יָבֹאוּ בְרִיב וּפִיו לְמַהֲלֻמוֹת יִקְרָא׃

7The fool's speech is his ruin; His words are a trap for him.

זפִּי־כְסִיל מְחִתָּה־לוֹ וּשְׂפָתָיו מוֹקֵשׁ נַפְשׁוֹ׃

8The words of a querulous man are bruising; They penetrate one's inmost parts.

חדִּבְרֵי נִרְגָּן כְּמִתְלַהֲמִים וְהֵם יָרְדוּ חַדְרֵי־בָטֶן׃

9One who is slack in his work Is a brother to a vandal.

טגַּם מִתְרַפֶּה בִמְלַאכְתּוֹ אָח הוּא לְבַעַל מַשְׁחִית׃

10The name of Hashem is a tower of strength To which the righteous man runs and is safe.

ימִגְדַּל־עֹז שֵׁם יְהֹוָה בּוֹ־יָרוּץ צַדִּיק וְנִשְׂגָּב׃

11The wealth of a rich man is his fortress; In his fancy it is a protective wall.

יאהוֹן עָשִׁיר קִרְיַת עֻזּוֹ וּכְחוֹמָה נִשְׂגָּבָה בְּמַשְׂכִּיתוֹ׃

12Before ruin a man's heart is proud; Humility goes before honor.

יבלִפְנֵי־שֶׁבֶר יִגְבַּהּ לֵב־אִישׁ וְלִפְנֵי כָבוֹד עֲנָוָה׃

13To answer a man before hearing him out Is foolish and disgraceful.

יגמֵשִׁיב דָּבָר בְּטֶרֶם יִשְׁמָע אִוֶּלֶת הִיא־לוֹ וּכְלִמָּה׃

14A man's spirit can sustain him through illness; But low spirits—who can bear them?

ידרוּחַ־אִישׁ יְכַלְכֵּל מַחֲלֵהוּ וְרוּחַ נְכֵאָה מִי יִשָּׂאֶנָּה׃

15The mind of an intelligent man acquires knowledge; The ears of the wise seek out knowledge.

טולֵב נָבוֹן יִקְנֶה־דָּעַת וְאֹזֶן חֲכָמִים תְּבַקֶּשׁ־דָּעַת׃

16A man's gift eases his way And gives him access to the great.

טזמַתָּן אָדָם יַרְחִיב לוֹ וְלִפְנֵי גְדֹלִים יַנְחֶנּוּ׃

17The first to plead his case seems right Till the other party examines him.

יזצַדִּיק הָרִאשׁוֹן בְּרִיבוֹ יבא־[וּבָא־] רֵעֵהוּ וַחֲקָרוֹ׃

18The lot puts an end to strife And separates those locked in dispute.

יחמִדְיָנִים יַשְׁבִּית הַגּוֹרָל וּבֵין עֲצוּמִים יַפְרִיד׃

19A brother offended is more formidable than a stronghold; Such strife is like the bars of a fortress.

יטאָח נִפְשָׁע מִקִּרְיַת־עֹז ומדונים [וּמִדְיָנִים] כִּבְרִיחַ אַרְמוֹן׃

20A man's belly is filled by the fruit of his mouth; He will be filled by the produce of his lips.

כמִפְּרִי פִי־אִישׁ תִּשְׂבַּע בִּטְנוֹ תְּבוּאַת שְׂפָתָיו יִשְׂבָּע׃

21Death and life are in the power of the tongue; Those who love it will eat its fruit.

כאמָוֶת וְחַיִּים בְּיַד־לָשׁוֹן וְאֹהֲבֶיהָ יֹאכַל פִּרְיָהּ׃

22He who finds a wife has found happiness And has won the favor of Hashem.

ma-TZA i-SHAH MA-tza TOV va-YA-fek ra-TZON may-a-do-NAI

כבמָצָא אִשָּׁה מָצָא טוֹב וַיָּפֶק רָצוֹן מֵיְהֹוָה׃

 18:22   He who finds a wife has found happiness

This verse is a parallel to the verse in which Hashem says, “It is not good for man to be alone; I will make a fitting helper for him” (Genesis 2:18). God wants man to find a wife who will serve as his partner in life. When he does, Hashem will bless that union, as it fulfils His will. The Hebrew word for ‘man’ is eesh (איש), and the word for ‘woman’ is eeshah (אשה). The two words share two out of three Hebrew letters, א and ש. The other two letters, י and ה, spell one of the names of God. The Sages (Sotah 17a) teach that when man and woman unite in marriage and work together, the presence of the Lord resides with them.

23The poor man speaks beseechingly; The rich man's answer is harsh.

כגתַּחֲנוּנִים יְדַבֶּר־רָשׁ וְעָשִׁיר יַעֲנֶה עַזּוֹת׃

24There are companions to keep one company, And there is a friend more devoted than a brother.

כדאִישׁ רֵעִים לְהִתְרֹעֵעַ וְיֵשׁ אֹהֵב דָּבֵק מֵאָח׃