Chapter 24

1Do not envy men of evil; do not desire to be with them;   אאַל־תְּ֖קַנֵּא בְּאַנְשֵׁ֣י רָעָ֑ה וְאַל־תִּ֜תְאָ֗ו תִּתְאָ֗יו לִהְי֥וֹת אִתָּֽם:
2for their heart thinks of plunder, and their lips speak of wrongdoing.   בכִּי־שֹׁ֖ד יֶהְגֶּ֣ה לִבָּ֑ם וְ֜עָמָ֗ל שִׂפְתֵיהֶ֥ם תְּדַבֵּֽרְנָה:
3A house is built with wisdom, and it is established with understanding.   גבְּחָכְמָה יִבָּ֣נֶה בָּ֑יִת וּ֜בִתְבוּנָ֗ה יִתְכּוֹנָֽן:
4With knowledge, the rooms are filled with all riches, precious and pleasant.   דוּבְדַעַת חֲדָרִ֣ים יִמָּלְא֑וּ כָּל־ה֖וֹן יָקָ֣ר וְנָעִֽים:
5A wise man is with strength, and a man of knowledge maintains strength.   הגֶּֽבֶר־חָכָ֥ם בַּע֑וֹז וְאִֽישׁ־דַּ֜֗עַת מְאַמֶּץ־כֹּֽחַ:
A wise man is with strength: A wise man is always with strength.  
6For you shall wage war for yourself with strategies, and the victory results from the superiority of the counselor.   וכִּ֣י בְ֖תַחְבֻּלוֹת תַּעֲשֶׂה־לְּךָ֣ מִלְחָמָ֑ה וּ֜תְשׁוּעָ֗ה בְּרֹ֣ב יוֹעֵֽץ:
7Wisdom is as pearls to the fool; in the gate he will not open his mouth.   זרָאמ֣וֹת לֶֽאֱוִ֣יל חָכְמ֑וֹת בַּ֜שַּׁ֗עַר לֹ֣א יִפְתַּח־פִּֽיהוּ:
Wisdom is as pearls to the fool: Heb. ראמות, a type of rare precious stone, as it is stated (Job 28:18): “Pearls (ראמות) and beryls.” All wisdom appears to the fool as unattainable, [as difficult] to purchase as precious stones and pearls, saying, ‘’How will I learn Torah? When will I attain it?" But the wise man studies a little today and a little tomorrow.  
8He who plots to do evil is called a man of wicked designs.   חמְחַשֵּׁ֥ב לְהָרֵ֑עַ ל֜֗וֹ בַּֽעַל־מְזִמּ֥וֹת יִקְרָֽאוּ:
He who plots to do evil: He plans strategies of wickedness.  
is called a man of wicked designs: He brings harm to himself, for people call him a man of wicked designs, a counsel of the wicked.  
9The counsel of folly is sin, and what makes man an abomination is scorn.   טזִמַּ֣ת אִוֶּ֣לֶת חַטָּ֑את וְתוֹעֲבַ֖ת לְאָדָ֣ם לֵֽץ:
The counsel of folly: Heb. אולת זמת, the counsel of folly.  
is sin: for those who perpetrate it.  
and what makes man an abomination is scorn: Scorn is what makes man an abomination to the Holy One blessed be He, and to people.  
10If you have become lax, on a day of trouble your strength will be weak indeed.   יהִתְרַפִּיתָ בְּי֥וֹם צָרָ֗ה צַ֣ר כֹּחֶֽכָה:
If you have become lax: in the Torah.  
on a day of trouble your strength will be weak indeed: The ministering angels will not maintain your strength. This is the midrash of the Sages (Midrash Mishle ad loc., Berachoth 63a). But according to its simple meaning, you have become lax on the day of your friend’s trouble, and stand from afar.  
your strength will be weak indeed: on the day of your punishment, as it is written (Esther 4:14): “For if you remain silent, etc.”  
11If you refrain from rescuing those taken to death and those on the verge of being slain   יאהַצֵּל לְקֻחִ֣ים לַמָּ֑וֶת וּמָטִ֥ים לַ֜הֶ֗רֶג אִם־תַּחְשֹֽוֹךְ:
rescuing those taken, etc.: To rescue those taken to death.  
If you refrain: from rescuing them, concerning this I said, “Your strength will be weak indeed.”  
12will you say, "Behold, we did not know this"? Is it not so that He Who counts hearts understands, and He Who guards your soul knows, and He will requite a man according to his deed?   יבכִּֽי־תֹאמַ֗ר הֵן֘ לֹא־יָדַ֪עְנ֫וּ זֶ֥ה הֲֽלֹא־תֹ֘כֵ֤ן לִבּ֨וֹת הֽוּא־יָבִ֗ין וְנֹצֵ֣ר נַ֖פְשְׁךָ ה֣וּא יֵדָ֑ע וְהֵשִׁ֖יב לְאָדָ֣ם כְּפָעֳלֽוֹ:
will you say: Heb. תאמר כי. And this instance of כי is used as an expression of “perhaps.”  
13Eat honey, my son, for it is good, and the honeycomb is sweet to your palate.   יגאֱכָל־בְּנִ֣י דְבַ֣שׁ כִּי־ט֑וֹב וְנֹ֥פֶת מָ֜ת֗וֹק עַל־חִכֶּֽךָ:
Eat honey, my son: It is customary for people to eat honey because it is good; so too know wisdom for your soul, and just as you run to eat honey, so should you run to know wisdom.  
14So too, know wisdom for your soul; if you have found it, you will have a future and your hope will not be cut off.   ידכֵּ֤ן דְּעֶ֥ה חָכְמָ֗ה לְנַ֫פְשֶׁ֥ךָ אִם־מָ֖צָאתָ וְיֵ֣שׁ אַחֲרִ֑ית וְ֜תִקְוָתְךָ֗ לֹ֣א תִכָּרֵֽת:
if you have found: it, then you will have a future.  
15Wicked man, do not lurk by the dwelling of a righteous man; do not plunder his resting place.   טואַל־תֶּאֱרֹ֣ב רָ֖שָׁע לִנְוֵ֣ה צַדִּ֑יק אַֽל־תְּשַׁדֵּ֥ד רִבְצֽוֹ:
16For a righteous man can fall seven times and rise, but the wicked shall stumble upon evil.   טזכִּ֤י שֶׁ֨בַע יִפּ֣וֹל צַדִּ֣יק וָקָ֑ם וּ֜רְשָׁעִ֗ים יִכָּשְׁל֥וּ בְרָעָֽה:
17When your enemy falls, do not rejoice, and when he stumbles, let your heart not exult,   יזבִּנְפֹ֣ל אֽ֖וֹיִבְיךָ אֽוֹיִבְךָ אַל־תִּשְׂמָ֑ח וּ֜בִכָּשְׁל֗וֹ אַל־יָגֵ֥ל לִבֶּֽךָ:
18lest the Lord see and be displeased, and turn His wrath away from him.   יחפֶּן־יִרְאֶ֣ה יְ֖הוָה וְרַ֣ע בְּעֵינָ֑יו וְהֵשִׁ֖יב מֵעָלָ֣יו אַפּֽוֹ:
19Do not compete with evildoers; do not envy the wicked   יטאַל־תִּתְחַ֥ר בַּמְּרֵעִ֑ים אַל־תְּ֜קַנֵּ֗א בָּרְשָׁעִֽים:
Do not compete: to be like them, as in (Jer. 12:5): “How will you compete (תתחרה) ?” Also, (ibid. 22:15): “for you compete (מתחרה) with the cedar.”  
20for there will be no future for an evil one; the lamp of the wicked will flicker.   ככִּ֤י לֹֽא־תִהְיֶ֣ה אַחֲרִ֣ית לָרָ֑ע נֵ֖ר רְשָׁעִ֣ים יִדְעָֽךְ:
21My son, fear the Lord and the king; do not mingle with dualists.   כאיְרָֽא־אֶת־יְהוָ֣ה בְּנִ֣י וָמֶ֑לֶךְ עִם־שׁ֜וֹנִ֗ים אַל־תִּתְעָרָֽב:
My son, fear the Lord and the king: Fear the Lord and fear the mortal king, but only if he does not turn you away from the fear of the Lord, for the fear of the Lord is always first.  
do not mingle with dualists: Heb. שונים, who say that there are two powers [governing the world].  
22For suddenly their misfortune will rise, and the ruin of both of them who knows?   כבכִּֽי־ פִ֖תְאֹם יָק֣וּם אֵידָ֑ם וּפִ֥יד שְׁ֜נֵיהֶ֗ם מִ֣י יוֹדֵֽעַ:
and the ruin of both of them: The ruin of the idol and the ruin of its worshippers.  
23These too are for the wise; To have respect [for persons] in judgment is not good.   כגגַּם־אֵ֥לֶּה לַֽחֲכָמִ֑ים הַֽכֵּר־פָּנִ֖ים בְּמִשְׁפָּ֣ט בַּל־טֽוֹב:
These too are for the wise: All the statements in the following section are addressed to the wise who sit in judgment, that they should not show respect to persons in judgment, for it is not good.  
24He who says to a wicked man, "You are righteous"-peoples will curse him; nations will be wroth with him.   כדאֹ֤מֵ֨ר לְרָשָׁע֘ צַדִּ֪יק אָ֥תָּה יִקְּבֻ֥הוּ עַמִּ֑ים יִזְעָמ֥וּהוּ לְאֻמִּֽים:
25But for those who reprove it will be pleasant, and a good blessing shall come upon them.   כהוְלַמּוֹכִיחִ֥ים יִנְעָ֑ם וַֽ֜עֲלֵיהֶ֗ם תָּב֥וֹא בִרְכַּת־טֽוֹב:
26Lips should kiss him who gives a right answer.   כושְׂפָתַ֥יִם יִשָּׁ֑ק מֵ֜שִׁ֗יב דְּבָרִ֥ים נְכֹחִֽים:
Lips should kiss: It is fitting that all lips kiss him.  
27Prepare your work outside and make it fit in the field for yourself; afterwards you shall build your house.   כזהָ֘כֵ֤ן בַּח֨וּץ מְלַאכְתֶּ֗ךָ וְעַתְּדָ֣הּ בַּשָּׂדֶ֣ה לָ֑ךְ אַ֜חַ֗ר וּבָנִ֥יתָ בֵיתֶֽךָ:
Prepare… outside: This refers to Scripture.  
and make it fit in the field: This is Mishnah.  
afterwards you shall build your house: This is Talmud (Sotah 44a). Another explanation according to its apparent meaning: In the beginning, buy yourself fields and vineyards, and afterwards make it fit, ועתדה, an expression concerning goats (עתודים). Stock your field with livestock, and afterwards you shall build a house, meaning that you shall take a wife.  
28Do not be a witness without cause for your friend, that you should be enticed with your lips.   כחאַל־תְּהִ֣י עֵד־חִנָּ֣ם בְּרֵעֶ֑ךָ וַ֜הֲפִתִּ֗יתָ בִּשְׂפָתֶֽיךָ:
that you should be enticed with your lips: You should be enticed by your friend with your speech.  
29Do not say, "As he did to me, so will I do to him; I will repay the man according to his deed."   כטאַל־תֹּאמַ֗ר כַּאֲשֶׁ֣ר עָֽשָׂה־לִ֖י כֵּ֤ן אֶֽעֱשֶׂה־לּ֑וֹ אָשִׁ֖יב לָאִ֣ישׁ כְּפָעֳלֽוֹ:
30By the fields of a lazy man, I passed and by the vineyard of a man without sense.   לעַל־שְׂדֵ֣ה אִישׁ־עָצֵ֣ל עָבַ֑רְתִּי וְעַל־כֶּ֜֗רֶם אָדָ֥ם חֲסַר־לֵֽב:
a lazy man: who does not review the memorization of his studies.  
31And behold, thistles had grown all over it; nettles had covered its surface, and its stone fence had been torn down.   לאוְהִנֵּ֨ה עָ֘לָ֤ה כֻלּ֨וֹ קִמְּשׁוֹנִ֗ים כָּסּ֣וּ פָנָ֣יו חֲרֻלִּ֑ים וְגֶ֖דֶר אֲבָנָ֣יו נֶהֱרָֽסָה:
thistles: Heb. קמשונים, thistles.  
nettles: חרלים. They are larger than thistles, and they are as sharp as thorns.  
and its stone fence had been torn down: Thus, one who does not review his studies first forgets the beginnings of the chapters and at the end confuses the names of the Sages from this one to that one, thereby saying “unclean” for something that is clean and “clean” for something that is unclean, and he destroys the world.  
32And I, myself, saw; I applied my heart; I saw and learned a lesson.   לבוָֽאֶחֱזֶ֣ה אָ֖נֹכִֽי אָשִׁ֣ית לִבִּ֑י רָ֜אִ֗יתִי לָקַ֥חְתִּי מוּסָֽר:
33Little sleep, little slumber, little clasping of the hands to lie down.   לגמְעַ֣ט שֵׁ֖נוֹת מְעַ֣ט תְּנוּמ֑וֹת מְעַ֓ט חִבֻּ֖ק יָדַ֣יִם לִשְׁכָּֽב:
34Then your poverty will come strolling and your wants like an armed man.   לדוּבָֽא־מִתְהַלֵּ֥ךְ רֵישֶׁ֑ךָ וּ֜מַחְסֹרֶ֗יךָ כְּאִ֣ישׁ מָגֵֽן:
your poverty will come strolling: The things that impoverish you will come to you quickly.