Chapter 20

1Wine is a scoffer, strong drink a roisterer; He who is muddled by them will not grow wise.

אלֵץ הַיַּין הֹמֶה שֵׁכָר וְכָל־שֹׁגֶה בּוֹ לֹא יֶחְכָּם׃

2The terror of a king is like the roar of a lion; He who provokes his anger risks his life.

בנַהַם כַּכְּפִיר אֵימַת מֶלֶךְ מִתְעַבְּרוֹ חוֹטֵא נַפְשׁוֹ׃

3It is honorable for a man to desist from strife, But every fool becomes embroiled.

גכָּבוֹד לָאִישׁ שֶׁבֶת מֵרִיב וְכָל־אֱוִיל יִתְגַּלָּע׃

4In winter the lazy man does not plow; At harvesttime he seeks, and finds nothing.

דמֵחֹרֶף עָצֵל לֹא־יַחֲרֹשׁ ישאל [וְשָׁאַל] בַּקָּצִיר וָאָיִן׃

5The designs in a man's mind are deep waters But a man of understanding can draw them out.

המַיִם עֲמֻקִּים עֵצָה בְלֶב־אִישׁ וְאִישׁ תְּבוּנָה יִדְלֶנָּה׃

6He calls many a man his loyal friend, But who can find a faithful man?

ורָב־אָדָם יִקְרָא אִישׁ חַסְדּוֹ וְאִישׁ אֱמוּנִים מִי יִמְצָא׃

7The righteous man lives blamelessly; Happy are his children who come after him.

זמִתְהַלֵּךְ בְּתֻמּוֹ צַדִּיק אַשְׁרֵי בָנָיו אַחֲרָיו׃

8The king seated on the throne of judgment Can winnow out all evil by his glance.

חמֶלֶךְ יוֹשֵׁב עַל־כִּסֵּא־דִין מְזָרֶה בְעֵינָיו כָּל־רָע׃

9Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart, I am purged of my sin”?

טמִי־יֹאמַר זִכִּיתִי לִבִּי טָהַרְתִּי מֵחַטָּאתִי׃

10False weights and false measures, Both are an abomination to Hashem.

יאֶבֶן וָאֶבֶן אֵיפָה וְאֵיפָה תּוֹעֲבַת יְהֹוָה גַּם־שְׁנֵיהֶם׃

11A child may be dissembling in his behavior Even though his actions are blameless and proper.

יאגַּם בְּמַעֲלָלָיו יִתְנַכֶּר־נָעַר אִם־זַךְ וְאִם־יָשָׁר פָּעֳלוֹ׃

12The ear that hears, the eye that sees— Hashem made them both.

יבאֹזֶן שֹׁמַעַת וְעַיִן רֹאָה יְהֹוָה עָשָׂה גַם־שְׁנֵיהֶם׃

13Do not love sleep lest you be impoverished; Keep your eyes open and you will have plenty of food.

יגאַל־תֶּאֱהַב שֵׁנָה פֶּן־תִּוָּרֵשׁ פְּקַח עֵינֶיךָ שְׂבַע־לָחֶם׃

14“Bad, bad,” says the buyer, But having moved off, he congratulates himself.

ידרַע רַע יֹאמַר הַקּוֹנֶה וְאֹזֵל לוֹ אָז יִתְהַלָּל׃

15Gold is plentiful, jewels abundant, But wise speech is a precious object.

טויֵשׁ זָהָב וְרָב־פְּנִינִים וּכְלִי יְקָר שִׂפְתֵי־דָעַת׃

16Seize his garment, for he stood surety for another; Take it as a pledge, [for he stood surety] for an unfamiliar woman.

טזלְקַח־בִּגְדוֹ כִּי־עָרַב זָר וּבְעַד נכרים [נָכְרִיָּה] חַבְלֵהוּ׃

17Bread gained by fraud may be tasty to a man, But later his mouth will be filled with gravel.

יזעָרֵב לָאִישׁ לֶחֶם שָׁקֶר וְאַחַר יִמָּלֵא־פִיהוּ חָצָץ׃

18Plans laid in council will succeed; Wage war with stratagems.

יחמַחֲשָׁבוֹת בְּעֵצָה תִכּוֹן וּבְתַחְבֻּלוֹת עֲשֵׂה מִלְחָמָה׃

19He who gives away secrets is a base fellow; Do not take up with a garrulous man.

יטגּוֹלֶה־סּוֹד הוֹלֵךְ רָכִיל וּלְפֹתֶה שְׂפָתָיו לֹא תִתְעָרָב׃

20One who reviles his father or mother, Light will fail him when darkness comes.

כמְקַלֵּל אָבִיו וְאִמּוֹ יִדְעַךְ נֵרוֹ באישון [בֶּאֱשׁוּן] חֹשֶׁךְ׃

21An estate acquired in haste at the outset Will not be blessed in the end.

כאנַחֲלָה מבחלת [מְבֹהֶלֶת] בָּרִאשֹׁנָה וְאַחֲרִיתָהּ לֹא תְבֹרָךְ׃

22Do not say, “I will requite evil”; Put your hope in Hashem and He will deliver you.

al to-MAR a-sha-l'-mah RA ka-VAY la-do-NAI v'-YO-sha LAKH

כבאַל־תֹּאמַר אֲשַׁלְּמָה־רָע קַוֵּה לַיהֹוָה וְיֹשַׁע לָךְ׃

 20:22   Put your hope in Hashem and He will deliver you

Sometimes we see wrongdoing in this world, and it bothers us. This verse teaches that it is not up to man to avenge evil, rather, this is Hashem’s duty. However, the fourteenth-century sage Rabbi Levi ben Gershon, better known as Ralbag, points out that we should not wish for God’s vengeance against our enemies, but only for salvation from their harm. Similarly, the Talmud (Berachot 10a) comments, regarding the verse in Sefer Tehillim (104:35), that we should not pray for our enemies’ demise, but for them to repent of their evil ways.

23False weights are an abomination to Hashem; Dishonest scales are not right.

כגתּוֹעֲבַת יְהֹוָה אֶבֶן וָאָבֶן וּמֹאזְנֵי מִרְמָה לֹא־טוֹב׃

24A man's steps are decided by Hashem; What does a man know about his own way?

כדמֵיהֹוָה מִצְעֲדֵי־גָבֶר וְאָדָם מַה־יָּבִין דַּרְכּוֹ׃

25It is a snare for a man to pledge a sacred gift rashly And to give thought to his vows only after they have been made.

כהמוֹקֵשׁ אָדָם יָלַע קֹדֶשׁ וְאַחַר נְדָרִים לְבַקֵּר׃

26A wise king winnows out the wicked, And turns the wheel upon them.

כומְזָרֶה רְשָׁעִים מֶלֶךְ חָכָם וַיָּשֶׁב עֲלֵיהֶם אוֹפָן׃

27The lifebreath of man is the lamp of Hashem Revealing all his inmost parts.

כזנֵר יְהֹוָה נִשְׁמַת אָדָם חֹפֵשׂ כָּל־חַדְרֵי־בָטֶן׃

28Faithfulness and loyalty protect the king; He maintains his throne by faithfulness.

כחחֶסֶד וֶאֱמֶת יִצְּרוּ־מֶלֶךְ וְסָעַד בַּחֶסֶד כִּסְאוֹ׃

29The glory of youths is their strength; The majesty of old men is their gray hair.

כטתִּפְאֶרֶת בַּחוּרִים כֹּחָם וַהֲדַר זְקֵנִים שֵׂיבָה׃

30Bruises and wounds are repayment for evil, Striking at one's inmost parts.

לחַבֻּרוֹת פֶּצַע תמריק [תַּמְרוּק] בְּרָע וּמַכּוֹת חַדְרֵי־בָטֶן׃