Chapter 12

1He who loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is brutish.   אאֹהֵ֣ב מ֖וּסָר אֹ֣הֵֽב דָּ֑עַת וְשׂנֵ֖א תוֹכַ֣חַת בָּֽעַר:
2A good man will obtain favor of the Lord, but a man of evil devices will condemn.   בט֗וֹב יָפִ֣יק רָ֖צוֹן מֵיְהוָ֑ה וְאִ֖ישׁ מְזִמּ֣וֹת יַרְשִֽׁיעַ:
A good man will obtain: Heb. יפיק. He will draw satisfaction from the Holy One, blessed be He, to bring goodness to the world.  
but a man of evil devices will condemn: One who has evil devices will condemn. He will condemn the people to bring evil [upon them], and so he states (Ecc. 9:18): “but one sinner destroys much good.”  
3A man will not be established with wickedness; but the root of the righteous will not be shaken loose.   גלֹא־יִכּ֣וֹן אָדָ֣ם בְּרֶ֑שַׁע וְשֹׁ֥רֶשׁ צַ֜דִּיקִ֗ים בַּל־יִמּֽוֹט:
A man will not be established with wickedness: Heb. יכון, will not be firmly established.  
4A virtuous woman is the crown of her husband, but an embarrassing one is like rot in his bones.   דאֵֽשֶׁת־חַ֖יִל עֲטֶ֣רֶת בַּעְלָ֑הּ וּכְרָקָ֖ב בְּעַצְמוֹתָ֣יו מְבִישָֽׁה:
is like rot: A worm that penetrates the bones and grinds them. So is an embarrassing, bad wife, whose deeds are shameful.  
5The thoughts of the righteous are justice; the devices of the wicked are deceit.   המַחְשְׁב֣וֹת צַדִּיקִ֣ים מִשְׁפָּ֑ט תַּחְבֻּל֖וֹת רְשָׁעִ֣ים מִרְמָֽה:
6The words of the wicked are to lurk for blood, but the mouth of the upright will save them.   ודִּבְרֵ֣י רְשָׁעִ֣ים אֱרָב־דָּ֑ם וּפִ֥י יְ֜שָׁרִ֗ים יַצִּילֵֽם:
The words of the wicked are to lurk for blood: They take counsel to murder directly or through false testimony.  
but the mouth of the upright: when they hear [the wicked’s] counsel, will save the victims, for they will reveal [the wicked’s] plot, or if they are witnesses, [the upright] will prove them to be collusive.  
7The wicked will be overthrown and they are no more, but the house of the righteous will stand.   זהָפ֣וֹךְ רְשָׁעִ֣ים וְאֵינָ֑ם וּבֵ֖ית צַדִּיקִ֣ים יַעֲמֹֽד:
The wicked will be overthrown: Heb. הפוך, like להפוך, to overthrow. Like a sudden overthrow they are overthrown [lit. like an overthrow in a second].  
and they are no more: They are destroyed, e.g. Sodom.  
but the house of the righteous will stand: Will endure.  
8According to his intelligence a man is praised, but he whose heart has turned away will be despised.   חלְֽפִי־שִׂ֖כְלוֹ יְהֻלַּל־אִ֑ישׁ וְנַעֲוֵה־לֵ֜֗ב יִהְיֶ֥ה לָבֽוּז:
According to his intelligence a man is praised: Whether he possesses little or much intelligence, he will receive his reward according to his intelligence.  
but he whose heart has turned away: He who moved his heart completely away from the Torah will be despised. Heb. נעוה, as in (Isa. 21: 3): “I have become confused (נעויתי) from hearing,” and similarly (I Sam. 20:30): “the son of a straying (נעות) woman deserving of punishment.” And it is possible to say that נעוה means one whose heart has strayed, from the expression נע ונד, moving and wandering, and as one says זעוה, horror, from the root זע, stirred.  
9Better is he who is lightly esteemed but is a slave to himself than one who is honored but lacks bread.   טט֣וֹב נִ֖קְלֶה וְעֶ֣בֶד ל֑וֹ מִ֜מְּתַכַּבֵּ֗ד וַחֲסַר־לָֽחֶם:
Better is he who is lightly esteemed: in his own eyes and became a slave to himself  
that one who is honored: in his own eyes and says, “It is disgraceful for me to toil at labor, for I am one of the great men,” -he will ultimately lack bread.  
10A righteous man has regard for the desire of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.   ייוֹדֵ֣עַ צַ֖דִּיק נֶ֣פֶשׁ בְּהֶמְתּ֑וֹ וְֽרַחֲמֵ֥י רְ֜שָׁעִ֗ים אַכְזָרִֽי:
A righteous man has regard for the desire of his beast: What his beasts and his household members need.  
11He who tills his soil will be sated with bread, but he who pursues empty things is devoid of sense.   יאעֹבֵ֣ד אַ֖דְמָתוֹ יִֽשְׂבַּֽע־לָ֑חֶם וּמְרַדֵּ֖ף רֵיקִ֣ים חֲסַר־לֵֽב:
He who tills his soil will be sated with bread: To be understood according to its apparent meaning, but according to its allegorical meaning, [this means] he who constantly reviews his studies lest they be forgotten.  
12The wicked man yearns for the prey of evil men, but the root of the righteous yields [fruit].   יבחָמַ֣ד רָ֖שָׁע מְצ֣וֹד רָעִ֑ים וְשֹׁ֖רֶשׁ צַדִּיקִ֣ים יִתֵּֽן:
The wicked man yearns: to gain sustenance and maintenance from the prey of the wicked, who prey on people with robbery and violence.  
but the root of the righteous yields: what it is fit to yield, and that is the fruit.  
13Because of the transgression of the lips there is an evil snare, but the righteous comes out of trouble.   יגבְּפֶ֣שַׁע שְׂ֖פָתַיִם מוֹקֵ֣שׁ רָ֑ע וַיֵּצֵ֖א מִצָּרָ֣ה צַדִּֽיק:
Because of the transgression of the lips: Because of the transgression of the lips of the generation of the Flood, who said (Job 21:15): “What is the Almighty that we should serve Him?” an evil snare came upon them, and Noah, the righteous man, came out of the trouble.  
14From the fruit of a man's mouth he will be sated with good, and He will return the reward of a man's hands to him.   ידמִפְּרִ֣י פִי־אִ֖ישׁ יִשְׂבַּע־ט֑וֹב וּגְמ֥וּל יְדֵי־אָ֜דָ֗ם [יָשִׁ֥וב] יָשִׁ֥יב לֽוֹ:
From the fruit of a man’s mouth: From the reward of the mouth of those who engage in the Torah, they eat the good of this world, and the principal remains intact for them for the world to come.  
15A fool's way is straight in his eyes, but he who listens to advice is a wise man.   טודֶּ֣רֶךְ אֱ֖וִיל יָשָׁ֣ר בְּעֵינָ֑יו וְשֹׁמֵ֖עַ לְעֵצָ֣ה חָכָֽם:
16A fool's anger is known within the day, but a clever man conceals his shame.   טזאֱוִ֗יל בַּ֖יּוֹם יִוָּדַ֣ע כַּעְס֑וֹ וְכֹסֶ֖ה קָל֣וֹן עָרֽוּם:
A fool’s anger is known within the day: On the day he is angry, on that very day he lets his anger be known, for he starts a quarrel and berates his fellow in public, and his anger has no restraint. But the clever man conceals the shame and does not hasten to quarrel. And the Midrash Aggadah states: On the day the first man was created, his sin was known, but the Holy One, blessed be He, Who is clever, did not wish to destroy His creatures. He concealed his shame and postponed His decree from Adam’s day to His day, which is one thousand years.  
17He who speaks the truth will testify justly, but a deceitful person will be a false witness.   יזיָפִ֣יחַ אֱ֖מוּנָה יַגִּ֣יד צֶ֑דֶק וְעֵ֖ד שְׁקָרִ֣ים מִרְמָֽה:
He who speaks the truth will testify justly: He who speaks the truth will testify just testimony at a trial to justify the innocent.  
18There is one who speaks like the jabs of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.   יחיֵ֣שׁ בּ֖וֹטֶה כְּמַדְקְר֣וֹת חָ֑רֶב וּלְשׁ֖וֹן חֲכָמִ֣ים מַרְפֵּֽא:
There is one who speaks: Heb. בוטה, speaks, as in (Lev. 5:4): “to pronounce (לבטה) with the lips.”  
like the jabs of a sword: For he stirs up the people and causes them to kill.  
but the tongue of the wise: which brings peace between one man and his fellow.  
brings healing: to that speech.  
19A true tongue will be established forever, but a lying tongue, just for a moment.   יטשְֹֽפַת־אֱ֖מֶת תִּכּ֣וֹן לָעַ֑ד וְעַד־אַ֜רְגִּ֗יעָה לְשׁ֣וֹן שָֽׁקֶר:
A true tongue will be established forever: It will be established and will endure.  
just for a moment: In a fleeting moment, it perishes and leaves, for falsehood has no feet.  
20There is deceit in the heart of those who plot evil, but for the counselors of peace there is joy.   כמִרְמָה בְּלֶב־חֹ֣רְשֵׁי רָ֑ע וּֽלְיֹעֲצֵ֖י שָׁל֣וֹם שִׂמְחָֽה:
There is deceit in the heart of those who plot evil: and since they are occupied with their thoughts of deceit, they have no joy-but for the counselors of peace, there is joy.  
21No wrong shall be caused for the righteous, but the wicked are full of evil.   כאלֹא־יְאֻנֶּ֣ה לַצַּדִּ֣יק כָּל־אָ֑וֶן וּ֜רְשָׁעִ֗ים מָ֣לְאוּ רָֽע:
No wrong shall be caused for the righteous: It will not happen. No sin will chance before him inadvertently.  
22False lips are an abomination of the Lord, but those who work faithfully are His delight.   כבתּוֹעֲבַ֣ת יְ֖הוָה שִׂפְתֵי־שָׁ֑קֶר וְעֹשֵֹ֖י אֱמוּנָ֣ה רְצוֹנֽוֹ:
23A cunning man conceals knowledge, but the heart of the fools calls out foolishness.   כגאָדָ֣ם עָ֖רוּם כֹּ֣סֶה דָּ֑עַת וְלֵ֥ב כְּ֜סִילִ֗ים יִקְרָ֥א אִוֶּֽלֶת:
A cunning man conceals knowledge: Even in his wisdom, he is discreet-he surely conceals words of foolishness; but the heart of the fool announces foolishness aloud.  
24The hand of the diligent will rule, but deceit will lead to payment of tribute.   כדיַד־חָרוּצִ֥ים תִּמְשׁ֑וֹל וּ֜רְמִיָּ֗ה תִּהְיֶ֥ה לָמַֽס:
The hand of the diligent: The upright.  
will rule: Will make wealthy.  
25If there is concern in a man's heart, let him cast it down, and a good word will make it cheerful.   כהדְּאָגָ֣ה בְלֶב־אִ֣ישׁ יַשְׁחֶ֑נָּה וְדָבָ֖ר ט֣וֹב יְשַׂמְּחֶֽנָּה:
If there is concern in a man’s heart, let him cast it down: Let him divert his attention from it.  
and a good word will make it cheerful: Let him engage in the Torah which will cause the concern in his heart to rejoice and save him therefrom. And according to the one who says, “he should tell it to others,” this is [the meaning of] the end of the verse: And a good word with which his friend consoles him will cause the concern to rejoice.  
26The righteous is more generous than his neighbor, and the way of the wicked will lead them astray.   כויָתֵ֣ר מֵרֵעֵ֣הוּ צַדִּ֑יק וְדֶ֖רֶךְ רְשָׁעִ֣ים תַּתְעֵֽם:
The righteous is more generous than his neighbor: Heb. יתר. The righteous renounces his measures and passes over them. יתר large in French. That is freigebig in German, generous.  
the wicked: who is accustomed to harming will lead them astray.  
27He will not roast his prey of deceit, but the wealth of an honest man is precious.   כזלֹא־יַחֲרֹ֣ךְ רְמִיָּ֣ה צֵיד֑וֹ וְהוֹן־אָדָ֖ם יָקָ֣ר חָרֽוּץ:
He will not roast: This is connected to the above verse; that is to say that the way of the wicked will mislead him, and he will not roast the prey of his deceit. He will not roast; he will not succeed with his deceit. As he [Solomon] spoke with a figure of prey, an expression of roasting is appropriate, for the successful hunter hunts the birds and roasts them in fire.  
but the wealth of an honest man is precious: Heb. יקר חרוץ. This is an inverted verse. But the wealth of a man who is honest is precious.  
honest: Heb. חרוץ, one who deals honestly, as in (10:4): “and the hand of those who make true decisions (חרוצים) will make [them] rich.”  
28In the road of charity is life, and [on] the way of its path there is no death.   כחבְּאֹֽרַח־צְדָקָ֥ה חַיִּ֑ים וְדֶ֖רֶךְ נְתִיבָ֣ה אַל־מָֽוֶת:
In the road of charity is life, and [on] the way of its path: of charity.  
there is no death: He will not die.