Whoever gets sense loves his own soul;
he who keeps understanding will discover good.
A false witness will not go unpunished,
and he who breathes out lies will perish.
It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury,
much less for a slave to rule over princes.
'Loveth his own soul' in 8 could be taken in a derogatory sense as it stands in the AV, but this is hardly the meaning. The word 'wisdom' (literally, it is 'heart') has the force of 'sense', and the meaning is that the man who finds such wisdom knows what is good for him, and 'is on to a good thing', as we say; and the 'good' he finds is true peace and lasting happiness and joy; 9 needs to be taken with 5: the first statement tells us that the perjurer shall not escape, the second what his doom will be. One has to recognise that false witness can remain undetected and that those who commit it appear to get off with it. But God sees it, and He will requite in the end. But it is not only at the end that the account is presented: there is often an interim settlement also, in terms of temporal, if not legal, judgment. Men reap what they sow during this life as well as at its end. Both phrases of 10 speak of conditions that are opposed to what is right and orderly. Position and station in life are good in themselves (whatever the egalitarians may say); but it is one thing to want to better one's position - this is good, proper and to be desired - but it is quite another thing to let overweening desire determine to reach to the top, for that is to challenge God Himself which, the verse implies, is what fools and foolish servants do. We should think very clearly about the kind of implication that a verse like this has for us.