Chapter 16

1The preparations of the heart are man's, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.   אלְאָדָ֥ם מַֽעַרְכֵי־לֵ֑ב וּ֜מֵיְהוָ֗ה מַעֲנֵ֥ה לָשֽׁוֹן:
The preparations of the heart are man’s: He arranges his counsel and his words in his heart.  
but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord: When he comes to answer, the Holy One, blessed be He, causes him to stumble with his words-or if he merits, He prepares a good reply for him.  
2All ways of man are pure in his eyes, but the Lord counts the spirits.   בכָּֽל־דַּרְכֵי־אִ֖ישׁ זַ֣ךְ בְּעֵינָ֑יו וְתֹכֵ֖ן רוּח֣וֹת יְהוָֽה:
but the Lord counts the spirits: and counts the hearts; who is the good one, and who is the bad one.  
3Commit your affairs to the Lord, and your plans will be established.   גגֹּ֣ל אֶל־יְהוָ֣ה מַעֲשֶֹ֑יךָ וְ֜יִכֹּ֗נוּ מַחְשְׁבֹתֶֽיךָ:
Commit your affairs to the Lord: גל. Roll and cast your necessities upon Him, and your plans will be established. Another explanation:  
Commit your affairs to the Lord: pray to Him for all your necessities.  
will be established: Will be founded and will endure.  
4The Lord made everything for His praise-even the wicked man for the day of evil.   דכֹּ֤ל פָּעַ֣ל יְ֖הוָה לַֽמַּעֲנֵ֑הוּ וְגַם־רָ֜שָׁ֗ע לְי֣וֹם רָעָֽה:
The Lord made everything for His praise: Heb. למענהו. He made everything for His praise, as in (Ps. 147:7): “Praise (ענו) the Lord with thanksgiving.” Another explanation: To testify concerning Him. That is to say that His work testifies concerning Him, about His mighty acts. Both are in the Aggadah of Psalms (Midrash Tehillim 19:1).  
even the wicked man: He made, to leave him for the day of evil. All this is for His praise.  
5Everyone of haughty heart is an abomination of the Lord; hand to hand he will not go unpunished.   התּוֹעֲבַ֣ת יְ֖הוָה כָּל־גְּבַהּ־לֵ֑ב יָ֥ד לְ֜יָ֗ד לֹ֣א יִנָּקֶֽה:
hand to hand he will not go unpunished: From hand to hand the punishment for his haughtiness will come to him.  
6With loving-kindness and truth will iniquity be expiated, and through fear of the Lord turn away from evil.   ובְּחֶ֣סֶד וֶ֖אֱמֶת יְכֻפַּ֣ר עָוֹ֑ן וּבְיִרְאַ֥ת יְ֜הוָ֗ה ס֣וּר מֵרָֽע:
and through fear of the Lord turn away from evil: Through the fear of the Lord turn away from evil.  
7When the Lord accepts a person's ways, He will cause even his enemies to make peace with him.   זבִּרְצ֣וֹת יְ֖הוָה דַּרְכֵי־אִ֑ישׁ גַּם־א֜וֹיְבָ֗יו יַשְׁלִ֥ם אִתּֽוֹ:
When the Lord accepts a person’s ways, He will cause even his enemies to make peace with him: He will appease [them] for him that they should make peace with him.  
8Better a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice.   חטוֹב־מְ֖עַט בִּצְדָקָ֑ה מֵרֹ֥ב תְּ֜בוּא֗וֹת בְּלֹ֣א מִשְׁפָּֽט:
9A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord prepares his step.   טלֵ֣ב אָ֖דָם יְחַשֵּׁ֣ב דַּרְכּ֑וֹ וַֽ֜יהוָ֗ה יָכִ֥ין צַעֲדֽוֹ:
A man’s heart plans his way: to walk on the straight way.  
but the Lord prepares his step: as we learned: He who comes to purify himself is granted assistance.  
10There is magic on a king's lips; his mouth commits no treachery in judgment.   יקֶ֤סֶם עַֽל־שִׂפְתֵי־מֶ֑לֶךְ בְּ֜מִשְׁפָּ֗ט לֹ֣א יִמְעַל־פִּֽיו:
There is magic on a king’s lips: On the lips of a wise man sitting in judgment.  
11The balance and scales of justice are the Lord's; all the weights in the bag are His work.   יאפֶּ֤לֶס וּמֹאזְנֵ֣י מִ֖שְׁפָּט לַֽיהוָ֑ה מַ֜עֲשֵֹ֗הוּ כָּל־אַבְנֵי־כִֽיס:
The balance and scales of justice are the Lord’s etc.: to requite a person according to his deed. משפט is (justice in French, in German Gerechtigkeit, and so in Isaiah 7,) the retribution for a person’s sins with a balance and scales.  
all the weights in the bag: Just as among the weights in the bag, there are large weights and small ones, so is everything according to a person’s deeds.  
12It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness, for with righteousness the throne is established.   יבתּוֹעֲבַ֣ת מְ֖לָכִים עֲשֹ֣וֹת רֶ֑שַׁע כִּ֥י בִ֜צְדָקָ֗ה יִכּ֥וֹן כִּסֵּֽא:
It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: It is an abominable thing for judges, and it is not proper for them to commit wickedness.  
13Righteous lips are the delight of kings, and he loves the one who speaks honestly.   יגרְצ֣וֹן מְ֖לָכִים שִׂפְתֵי־צֶ֑דֶק וְדֹבֵ֖ר יְשָׁרִ֣ים יֶאֱהָֽב:
14The king's wrath is [like] messengers of death, but a wise man will pacify it.   ידחֲמַת־מֶ֥לֶךְ מַלְאֲכֵי־מָ֑וֶת וְאִ֖ישׁ חָכָ֣ם יְכַפְּרֶֽנָּה:
The king’s wrath: is like messengers of death, like messengers of death [but not angels of death].  
will pacify it: Will placate it.  
15In the light of the King's countenance is life, and His delight is like a cloud of the late rain.   טובְּאוֹר־פְּנֵי־מֶ֥לֶךְ חַיִּ֑ים וּ֜רְצוֹנ֗וֹ כְּעָ֣ב מַלְקֽוֹשׁ:
In the light of the King’s countenance is life: The one to whom the Holy One, blessed be He, shows a bright countenance-it is life to him. Therefore, a person must straighten his way before Him.  
and His delight is like a cloud of the late rain: Whoever is accepted by Him-His delight is beneficial to him like the cloud that brings the rain.  
16How much better is it to acquire wisdom than gold! And to acquire understanding is preferable to silver.   טזקְֽנֹה־חָכְמָ֗ה מַה־טּ֥וֹב מֵחָר֑וּץ וּקְנ֥וֹת בִּ֜ינָ֗ה נִבְחָ֥ר מִכָּֽסֶף:
17The highway of the upright is to turn away from evil; he who guards his soul watches his way.   יזמְסִלַּ֣ת יְ֖שָׁרִים ס֣וּר מֵרָ֑ע שֹׁמֵ֥ר נַ֜פְשׁ֗וֹ נֹצֵ֥ר דַּרְכּֽוֹ:
18Before destruction comes pride, and before stumbling [comes] a haughty spirit.   יחלִפְנֵי־שֶׁ֥בֶר גָּא֑וֹן וְלִפְנֵ֥י כִ֜שָּׁל֗וֹן גֹּ֣בַהּ רֽוּחַ:
19It is better to be of humble spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoils with the haughty.   יטט֣וֹב שְׁפַל־ר֖וּחַ אֶת־עֲנָיִ֑ים עֲנָוִ֑ים מֵֽחַלֵּ֥ק שָׁ֜לָ֗ל אֶת־גֵּאִֽים:
It is better to be of humble spirit: It is better to join the lowly and to be of humble spirit with them than to divide spoils with the haughty.  
20He who considers a matter will find good, and he who trusts in the Lord is fortunate.   כמַשְׂכִּ֣יל עַל־דָּ֖בָר יִמְצָא־ט֑וֹב וּבוֹטֵ֖חַ בַּיהוָ֣ה אַשְׁרָֽיו:
He who considers a matter: One who sets his heart to consider his matters, to weigh his ways, will find good.  
and he who trusts in the Lord is fortunate: When he weighs his ways and sees that a commandment involves danger or monetary loss, but he trusts in the Holy One, blessed be He, and [still] does that good deed.  
is fortunate: They are his fortunes.  
21The wise-hearted shall be called understanding; and the sweetness of speech increases learning.   כאלַחֲכַם־לֵ֖ב יִקָּרֵ֣א נָב֑וֹן וּמֶ֥תֶק שְׂ֜פָתַ֗יִם יֹסִ֥יף לֶֽקַח:
The wise- hearted shall be called understanding: He who learned wisdom from his teacher shall be called understanding. Ultimately, he will be understanding in matters and keen in his wisdom, and they will call him understanding.  
and the sweetness of speech increases learning: When a person explains his words to a pupil and makes his words sweet with reasons, he increases learning.  
22Intelligence is a fountain of life to one who has it, but the chastisement of the fools is folly.   כבמְק֣וֹר חַ֖יִּים שֵֹ֣כֶל בְּעָלָ֑יו וּמוּסַ֖ר אֱוִלִ֣ים אִוֶּֽלֶת:
Intelligence is a fountain of life to one who has it: lit. a fountain of life is the intelligence of its possessor. And this is the interpretation of the verse: The intelligence of the one who has it is a fountain of life to him.  
but the chastisement of the fools is folly: But the chastisement of the fools comes to them because of folly. And this is the apparent meaning: Folly is chastisement to the fools.  
23The heart of a wise man give his mouth intelligence and adds learning to his lips.   כגלֵ֣ב חָ֖כָם יַשְׂכִּ֣יל פִּ֑יהוּ וְעַל־שְׂ֜פָתָ֗יו יֹסִ֥יף לֶֽקַח:
The heart of a wise man gives his mouth intelligence: His heart teaches his mouth to speak lucidly.  
24Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.   כדצוּף־דְּ֖בַשׁ אִמְרֵי־נֹ֑עַם מָת֥וֹק לַ֜נֶּפֶשׁ וּמַרְפֵּ֥א לָעָֽצֶם:
a honeycomb: Heb. צוף דבש, sweet as honey (bresche in O.F.).  
Pleasant words: Words of Torah.  
25There is a way [that is] straight in a man's view, but its end is ways of death.   כהיֵ֤שׁ דֶּ֣רֶךְ יָ֖שָׁר לִפְנֵי־אִ֑ישׁ וְ֜אַחֲרִיתָ֗הּ דַּרְכֵי־מָֽוֶת:
There is a way: that is straight in a man’s view.  
26The soul of a laborer labors for him, when his mouth forces him.   כונֶ֣פֶשׁ עָ֖מֵל עָ֣מְלָה לּ֑וֹ כִּֽי־אָכַ֖ף עָלָ֣יו פִּֽיהוּ:
labors for him: It labors for his needs.  
when his mouth forces him: When his mouth forces him and demands food, then his labor stands up for him, for he eats what he has already worked for.  
27An ungodly man digs up evil, and on his lips is a kind of searing fire.   כזאִ֣ישׁ בְּ֖לִיַּעַל כֹּרֶ֣ה רָעָ֑ה וְעַל־שְׂ֜פָתֹ֗יו שְׂפָת֗וֹ כְּאֵ֣שׁ צָרָֽבֶת:
digs up evil: In his heart, he plots evil.  
and on his lips is a kind of searing fire: The evil burns on his lips until he expresses it with his mouth and executes it.  
a kind of searing fire: Heb. צרבת burning, as in (Ezek. 21:3): “And all faces shall be scorched (ונצרבו) by it.”  
28A perverse man incites quarrel, and a grumbler alienates the Lord.   כחאִ֣ישׁ תַּ֖הְפֻּכוֹת יְשַׁלַּ֣ח מָד֑וֹן וְ֜נִרְגָּ֗ן מַפְרִ֥יד אַלּֽוּף:
and a grumbler alienates the Lord: And through his grumbling, he alienates the Lord of the world from himself.  
29A man of violence entices his neighbor and leads him on a way that is not good.   כטאִ֣ישׁ חָ֖מָס יְפַתֶּ֣ה רֵעֵ֑הוּ וְ֜הוֹלִיכ֗וֹ בְּדֶ֣רֶךְ לֹא־טֽוֹב:
30He winks his eyes to think perverse thoughts; he purses his lips, bringing evil to pass.   לעֹצֶ֣ה עֵ֖ינָיו לַחְשֹׁ֣ב תַּהְפֻּכ֑וֹת קֹרֵ֥ץ שְׂ֜פָתָ֗יו כִּלָּ֥ה רָעָֽה:
He winks his eyes: Heb. עצה, an expression of winking, and so (Ps. 32:8): “I will wink (איעצה) to you my eye.”  
bringing evil to pass: כלה, as in (Esther 7:7) “that the evil was determined (כלתה) against him by the king.” He causes evil to come to the world.  
31A hoary head is a crown of glory; it will be found in the way of righteousness.   לאעֲטֶ֣רֶת תִּפְאֶ֣רֶת שֵׂיבָ֑ה בְּדֶ֥רֶךְ צְ֜דָקָ֗ה תִּמָּצֵֽא:
it will be found in the way of righteousness: Through righteousness, they live long.  
32One who is slow to anger is better than a mighty man, and one who rules over his spirit [is better] than one who conquers a city.   לבט֤וֹב אֶ֣רֶךְ אַ֖פַּיִם מִגִּבּ֑וֹר וּמשֵׁ֥ל בְּ֜רוּח֗וֹ מִלֹּכֵ֥ד עִֽיר:
and one who rules over his spirit: He conquers his evil inclination.  
33The lot is cast in the lap, but all his judgment is from the Lord.   לגבַּחֵיק יוּטַ֣ל אֶת־הַגּוֹרָ֑ל וּ֜מֵיְהוָ֗ה כָּל־מִשְׁפָּטֽוֹ:
The lot is cast in the lap: By himself, a person cast lots.  
but all his judgment: to choose for each one his share.