Chapter 19

1Better a poor man who walks innocently than one with perverse lips, who is a fool.   אטֽוֹב־רָ֖שׁ הוֹלֵ֣ךְ בְּתֻמּ֑וֹ מֵעִקֵּ֥שׁ שְׂ֜פָתָ֗יו וְה֣וּא כְסִֽיל:
2It is also not good that a soul be without knowledge, and he who hastens with his feet sins.   בגַּ֤ם בְּלֹא־דַ֣עַת נֶ֣פֶשׁ לֹא־ט֑וֹב וְאָ֖ץ בְּרַגְלַ֣יִם חוֹטֵֽא:
It is also not good that a soul be without knowledge: It is not good for a person to be without Torah.  
and he who hastens with his feet sins: The sinner treads and tramples the sins with his heels and says, “This is of minor import; I will transgress it.” And our Sages explained: It is also… without knowledge, as referring to one who compels his wife to copulate with him against her will.  
and he who hastens with his feet sins: This refers to one who performs the sex act and repeats it. Another explanation: One who walks on grass on the Sabbath.  
3A man's folly perverts his way, but his heart is wroth with the Lord.   גאִוֶּ֣לֶת אָ֖דָם תְּסַלֵּ֣ף דַּרְכּ֑וֹ וְעַל־יְ֜הוָ֗ה יִזְעַ֥ף לִבּֽוֹ:
A man’s folly perverts his way: Harm comes upon him because of his sin, because his folly perverts his way and he commits sins for which he is punished; and when the trouble befalls him, his heart is wroth with the Holy One, blessed be He, and he questions the Divine standard of justice, e.g. Joseph’s brothers, who said (Gen. 42:28): “ What is this that God has done to us?”  
4Wealth adds many friends, but a poor man is separated from his friend.   דה֗וֹן יֹ֖סִיף רֵעִ֣ים רַבִּ֑ים וְ֜דָ֗ל מֵרֵ֥עֵהוּ יִפָּרֵֽד:
Wealth adds many friends: Heb. רעים רבים, many lovers. And it can be interpreted as concerning one who learned Torah.  
5A false witness will not go unpunished, and one who speaks lies will not escape.   העֵ֣ד שְׁ֖קָרִים לֹ֣א יִנָּקֶ֑ה וְיָפִ֥יחַ כְּ֜זָבִ֗ים לֹ֣א יִמָּלֵֽט:
6The great will beg the favor of a generous man, and everyone is a friend to a man who gives gifts.   ורַבִּים יְחַלּ֣וּ פְנֵֽי־נָדִ֑יב וְכָל־הָ֜רֵ֗עַ לְאִ֣ישׁ מַתָּֽן:
The great will beg the favor of a generous man, and everyone is a friend: All become friends to a man who gives gifts. This may be interpreted as referring to those who give charity, and it may also be interpreted as referring to those who disseminate the Torah.  
7All the kinsmen of a poor man hate him; surely his friends distance themselves from him; he pursues statements that are fit for him.   זכָּ֥ל אֲחֵי־רָ֨שׁ שְֹֽנֵאֻ֗הוּ אַ֤ף כִּ֣י מְ֖רֵעֵהוּ רָחֲק֣וּ מִמֶּ֑נּוּ מְרַדֵּ֖ף אֲמָרִ֣ים לֹא־לוֹ־הֵֽמָּה:
All the kinsmen of a poor man: lit. the brothers, the kinsmen.  
surely his friends distance themselves: Surely his friends, his companions, and his lovers.  
he pursues statements that are fit for him: He says, “So-and-so and so-and-so are my relatives. So- and-so and so-and-so are my friends.” And all are words of futility. This can be interpreted as concerning one who is poor in Torah and in good deeds.  
he pursues statements which are futile: He seeks to promulgate the halachah, but it is not in his possession. The midrash interprets it as concerning Joseph, who spread slander about his brothers. He would say to his father that they were suspected of [eating] limbs from a living animal. Therefore, they hated him, and he was called a poor man because he would spread false rumors about them and look for statements that were not true (לא המה). We read לו, “to him,” for he would pursue statements for his own benefit, and in Joseph’s matter, they were his, because his slander returned upon him. He would say that they ate limbs from a living animal, but Scripture testifies about them that even in the time of sin, they would slaughter a kid, as it is said: (Gen. 37: 31) “and they slaughtered a kid.” He would say that they degraded the sons of the maidservants. Therefore, Joseph was sold as a slave. He would say that they gazed upon the women of the land. Said the Holy One, blessed be He, “By your life, I will incite a bear upon you.” Therefore, (ibid. 39:7) “his master’s wife lifted, etc.” [This appears] in Genesis Rabbah [see 84:7].  
8He who acquires sense loves his soul; he who guards understanding will eventually find good.   חקֹֽנֶה־לֵּ֖ב אֹהֵ֣ב נַפְשׁ֑וֹ שֹׁמֵ֥ר תְּ֜בוּנָ֗ה לִמְצֹא־טֽוֹב:
9A false witness will not go unpunished, and one who speaks lies will perish.   טעֵ֣ד שְׁ֖קָרִים לֹ֣א יִנָּקֶ֑ה וְיָפִ֖יחַ כְּזָבִ֣ים יֹאבֵֽד:
10Pleasure does not befit a fool, much less a slave to rule over princes.   ילֹֽא־נָאוֶ֣ה לִכְסִ֣יל תַּעֲנ֑וּג אַ֜֗ף כִּֽי־לְעֶ֤בֶד מְשֹׁ֬ל בְּשָׂרִֽים:
Pleasure does not befit a fool, much less a slave: It is derived by an a fortiori conclusion that it does not befit a slave to rule over princes.  
11It is good sense for a man to be slow to anger, and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.   יאשֵֹ֣כֶל אָ֖דָם הֶאֱרִ֣יךְ אַפּ֑וֹ וְ֜תִפְאַרְתּ֗וֹ עֲבֹ֣ר עַל־פָּֽשַׁע:
It is good sense for a man to be slow to anger: Heb. האריך, like להאריך, to be slow. If he did so, it is good sense for him.  
and it is his glory: that he pass over his retaliations.  
12The King's fury is like a lion's roar, but His good will is like dew upon the grass.   יבנַ֣הַם כַּ֖כְּפִיר זַ֣עַף מֶ֑לֶךְ וּכְטַ֖ל עַל־עֵ֣שֶׂב רְצוֹנֽוֹ:
The King’s fury is like a lion’s roar: [The fury of] the Holy One, blessed be He.  
13A foolish son is the calamity of his father, and the quarrels of a wife are [like] a constant dripping.   יגהַוֹּ֣ת לְ֖אָבִיו בֵּ֣ן כְּסִ֑יל וְדֶ֥לֶף טֹ֜רֵ֗ד מִדְיְנֵ֥י אִשָּֽׁה:
a constant dripping: lit. a driving drip. [As] the dripping of the rain that falls in the house disturbs and drives out the inhabitants of the house, so are the quarrels of a bad wife.  
14A house and wealth are the heritage of the fathers, but an intelligent wife is from the Lord.   ידבַּ֣יִת וָ֖הוֹן נַחֲלַ֣ת אָב֑וֹת וּ֜מֵיְהוָ֗ה אִשָּׁ֥ה מַשְׂכָּֽלֶת:
15Laziness causes one to fall into a deep sleep, and a deceitful soul shall suffer hunger.   טועַצְלָה תַּפִּ֣יל תַּרְדֵּמָ֑ה וְנֶ֖פֶשׁ רְמִיָּ֣ה תִרְעָֽב:
Laziness causes one to fall into a deep sleep: Laziness causes one to fall asleep. This is the figure, but the allegory is that it concerns one who neglects his studies; it will ultimately come about that people will ask him words of wisdom, and he will be sound asleep.  
and a deceitful soul shall suffer hunger: He will ultimately become poor. Similarly, one who is deceitful in his studies, making his Torah into “bundles,” will ultimately forget.  
16He who keeps a commandment keeps his soul; he who despises his ways will die.   טזשֹׁמֵ֣ר מִ֖צְוָה שֹׁמֵ֣ר נַפְשׁ֑וֹ בּוֹזֵ֖ה דְרָכָ֣יו יָומֻֽת יָמֽוּת:
He who keeps a commandment keeps his soul; he who despises his ways will die: He does not take heed to weigh them.  
17He who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, and He will repay him his reward.   יזמַלְוֵ֣ה יְ֖הוָה ח֣וֹנֵֽן דָּ֑ל וּ֜גְמֻל֗וֹ יְשַׁלֶּם־לֽוֹ:
He who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, and He will repay him his reward: When he becomes ill and is close to death, his charity defends him before the Divine standard of justice, saying, “The poor man’s soul was struggling to leave him because of hunger, and this one sustained it. I, too, will return his soul to him.”  
18Chastise your son for there is hope, but do not set your heart on his destruction.   יחיַסֵּ֣ר בִּ֖נְךָ כִּי־יֵ֣שׁ תִּקְוָ֑ה וְאֶל־הֲ֜מִית֗וֹ אַל־תִּשָּׂ֥א נַפְשֶֽׁךָ:
Chastise your son for there is hope, but do not set your heart on his destruction: Do not deal him a lethal blow.  
19A hot-tempered man incurs punishment, but if you save you will yet increase.   יטגְּֽרָל־גְּֽדָל־חֵ֖מָה נֹ֣שֵׂא עֹ֑נֶשׁ כִּ֥י אִם־תַּ֜צִּ֗יל וְע֣וֹד תּוֹסִֽף:
A hot-tempered man incurs punishment, etc.: But if you pass over your anger and save your enemy if you see harm coming to him, you will yet increase your days and have much goodness.  
20Hearken to advice and accept discipline, in order that you may be wise in your later years.   כשְׁמַ֣ע עֵ֖צָה וְקַבֵּ֣ל מוּסָ֑ר לְ֜מַ֗עַן תֶּחְכַּ֥ם בְּאַחֲרִיתֶֽךָ:
21There are many thoughts in a man's heart, but God's plan-that shall stand.   כארַבּ֣וֹת מַחֲשָׁב֣וֹת בְּלֶב־אִ֑ישׁ וַעֲצַ֥ת יְ֜הוָ֗ה הִ֣יא תָקֽוּם:
22The attraction to a man is his kindness, and a poor man is better than a liar.   כבתַּאֲוַ֣ת אָדָ֣ם חַסְדּ֑וֹ וְטֽוֹב־רָ֜שׁ מֵאִ֥ישׁ כָּזָֽב:
The attraction to a man is his kindness: The main reason why people are attracted to a person is because of his kindness.  
and a poor man is better than a liar: And if he is a liar, who promises but does not perform, a poor man is better than he.  
23Fear of the Lord is for life, and he will rest satisfied, not to be visited by evil.   כגיִרְאַ֣ת יְהוָ֣ה לְחַיִּ֑ים וְשָׂבֵ֥עַ יָ֜לִ֗ין בַּל־יִפָּ֥קֶד רָֽע:
and he will rest satisfied: He who fears the Lord will rest, satisfied that he will not be visited by any evil.  
24A lazy man hid his hand in a kettle; he will not return it even to his mouth.   כדטָ֘מַ֤ן עָצֵ֣ל יָ֖דוֹ בַּצַּלָּ֑חַת גַּם־אֶל־פִּ֜֗יהוּ לֹ֣א יְשִׁיבֶֽנָּה:
A lazy man hid his hand in a kettle: Heb. בצלחת, in a hot kettle, in which, when removed from the fire and emptied, one may warm his hand. Similar to it in Chronicles (II 35:13): “they cooked in pots, in cauldrons, and in kettles (בצלחות),” In the name of Rabbi Isaac HaLevi I heard that בצלחת is derived from the expression of the Aramaic translation of ויבקע“and he split,” which is וצלח. At the time of the cold and the frost, since the cold and the frost crack and split the hands. [Hence, we render: A lazy man hid his hand in winter.] But I heard that is a rend of a cloak called fenditura [in Italian, in German Riss, Spalt, Schlitz], i. e., he hides it in his bosom.  
25Beat a scorner, and a simple man will gain cunning; reprove a man of understanding, and he will understand knowledge.   כהלֵ֣ץ תַּ֖כֶּה וּפֶ֣תִי יַעְרִ֑ם וְהוֹכִ֥יחַ לְ֜נָב֗וֹן יָבִ֥ין דָּֽעַת:
Beat a scorner, and a simple man will gain cunning: Through the plagues visited upon Pharaoh and the war with Amalek, Jethro gained cunning and converted.  
26A son who causes shame and disgrace robs his father, puts his mother to flight.   כומְֽשַׁדֶּד־אָ֖ב יַבְרִ֣יחַ אֵ֑ם בֵּ֜֗ן מֵבִ֥ישׁ וּמַחְפִּֽיר:
A son who causes shame and disgrace robs his father, puts his mother to flight: Heb. יבריח, puts his mother to flight.  
A son who causes shame and disgrace: Whose ways are disgraceful. Since Sarah saw the son of the Egyptian maidservant making sport with idolatry and adultery, he caused his mother to be sent away, “and the matter displeased Abraham” (Gen. 21:11).  
27My son, cease to stray from words of knowledge to hear discipline.   כזחֲֽדַל־בְּ֖נִי לִשְׁמֹ֣עַ מוּסָ֑ר לִ֜שְׁג֗וֹת מֵֽאִמְרֵי־דָֽעַת:
My son, cease to stray, etc.: This is an elliptical verse, and this is its explanation: My son, cease to stray from words of knowledge in order to hear discipline.  
cease to stray: Heb. לשגות, like מלשגות, from straying. Likewise, (Num. 9:13): “and refrains (וחדל) from performing (לעשות) the Passover service.” Also, (Gen. 41:49): “they stopped counting (לספר).”  
28A godless witness testifies judgment, but violence will devour the mouth of the wicked.   כחעֵ֣ד בְּ֖לִיַּעַל יָלִ֣יץ מִשְׁפָּ֑ט וּפִ֥י רְ֜שָׁעִ֗ים יְבַלַּע־אָֽוֶן:
A godless witness testifies judgment: He testifies against a man [with] the rhetoric of the judgments of tortures and death.  
but violence will devour the mouth of the wicked: The violence will swallow him up.  
29Punishments are prepared for the scorners and blows for the body of fools.   כטנָכ֣וֹנוּ לַלֵּצִ֣ים שְׁפָטִ֑ים וּ֜מַהֲלֻמ֗וֹת לְגֵ֣ו כְּסִילִֽים:
are prepared for the scorners: The Holy One, blessed be He, prepared punishments of zaraath for this scorner who slanders.