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Proverbs 16-18 New King James Version (NKJV)

Wisdom Is Better Than Gold

16 The preparations[a] of the heart belong to man,
But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.

All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
But the Lord weighs the spirits.

Commit[b] your works to the Lord,
And your thoughts will be established.

The Lord has made all for Himself,
Yes, even the wicked for the day of [c]doom.

Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord;
Though they join [d]forces, none will go unpunished.

In mercy and truth
Atonement is provided for iniquity;
And by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil.

When a man’s ways please the Lord,
He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

Better is a little with righteousness,
Than vast revenues without justice.

A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.

10 Divination is on the lips of the king;
His mouth must not transgress in judgment.
11 Honest weights and scales are the Lord’s;
All the weights in the bag are His [e]work.
12 It is an abomination for kings to commit wickedness,
For a throne is established by righteousness.
13 Righteous lips are the delight of kings,
And they love him who speaks what is right.
14 As messengers of death is the king’s wrath,
But a wise man will appease it.
15 In the light of the king’s face is life,
And his favor is like a cloud of the latter rain.

16 How much better to get wisdom than gold!
And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.

17 The highway of the upright is to depart from evil;
He who keeps his way preserves his soul.

18 Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before [f]a fall.
19 Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly,
Than to divide the [g]spoil with the proud.

20 He who heeds the word wisely will find good,
And whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he.

21 The wise in heart will be called prudent,
And sweetness of the lips increases learning.

22 Understanding is a wellspring of life to him who has it.
But the correction of fools is folly.

23 The heart of the wise teaches his mouth,
And adds learning to his lips.

24 Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,
Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.

25 There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.

26 The person who labors, labors for himself,
For his hungry mouth drives him on.

27 [h]An ungodly man digs up evil,
And it is on his lips like a burning fire.
28 A perverse man sows strife,
And a whisperer separates the best of friends.
29 A violent man entices his neighbor,
And leads him in a way that is not good.
30 He winks his eye to devise perverse things;
He [i]purses his lips and brings about evil.

31 The silver-haired head is a crown of glory,
If it is found in the way of righteousness.

32 He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.

33 The lot is cast into the lap,
But its every decision is from the Lord.

The Lord Tests Hearts

17 Better is a dry morsel with quietness,
Than a house full of [j]feasting with strife.

A wise servant will rule over a son who causes shame,
And will share an inheritance among the brothers.

The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold,
But the Lord tests the hearts.

An evildoer gives heed to false lips;
A liar listens eagerly to a [k]spiteful tongue.

He who mocks the poor reproaches his Maker;
He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.

Children’s children are the crown of old men,
And the glory of children is their father.

Excellent speech is not becoming to a fool,
Much less lying lips to a prince.

A present is a precious stone in the eyes of its possessor;
Wherever he turns, he prospers.

He who covers a transgression seeks love,
But he who repeats a matter separates friends.

10 Rebuke is more effective for a wise man
Than a hundred blows on a fool.

11 An evil man seeks only rebellion;
Therefore a cruel messenger will be sent against him.

12 Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs,
Rather than a fool in his folly.

13 Whoever rewards evil for good,
Evil will not depart from his house.

14 The beginning of strife is like releasing water;
Therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts.

15 He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just,
Both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord.

16 Why is there in the hand of a fool the purchase price of wisdom,
Since he has no heart for it?

17 A friend loves at all times,
And a brother is born for adversity.

18 A man devoid of [l]understanding [m]shakes hands in a pledge,
And becomes [n]surety for his friend.

19 He who loves transgression loves strife,
And he who exalts his gate seeks destruction.

20 He who has a [o]deceitful heart finds no good,
And he who has a perverse tongue falls into evil.

21 He who begets a scoffer does so to his sorrow,
And the father of a fool has no joy.

22 A merry heart [p]does good, like medicine,
But a broken spirit dries the bones.

23 A wicked man accepts a bribe [q]behind the back
To pervert the ways of justice.

24 Wisdom is in the sight of him who has understanding,
But the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.

25 A foolish son is a grief to his father,
And bitterness to her who bore him.

26 Also, to punish the righteous is not good,
Nor to strike princes for their uprightness.

27 He who has knowledge spares his words,
And a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.
28 Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace;
When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive.

The Name of the Lord Is a Strong Tower

18 A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire;
He rages against all [r]wise judgment.

A fool has no delight in understanding,
But in expressing his own heart.

When the wicked comes, contempt comes also;
And with dishonor comes reproach.

The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters;
The wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook.

It is not good to show partiality to the wicked,
Or to overthrow the righteous in judgment.

A fool’s lips enter into contention,
And his mouth calls for blows.
A fool’s mouth is his destruction,
And his lips are the snare of his soul.
The words of a [s]talebearer are like [t]tasty trifles,
And they go down into the [u]inmost body.

He who is slothful in his work
Is a brother to him who is a great destroyer.

10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
The righteous run to it and are [v]safe.
11 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city,
And like a high wall in his own esteem.

12 Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty,
And before honor is humility.

13 He who answers a matter before he hears it,
It is folly and shame to him.

14 The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness,
But who can bear a broken spirit?

15 The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge,
And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.

16 A man’s gift makes room for him,
And brings him before great men.

17 The first one to plead his cause seems right,
Until his neighbor comes and examines him.

18 Casting lots causes contentions to cease,
And keeps the mighty apart.

19 A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city,
And contentions are like the bars of a castle.

20 A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth;
From the produce of his lips he shall be filled.

21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.

22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
And obtains favor from the Lord.

23 The poor man uses entreaties,
But the rich answers roughly.

24 A man who has friends [w]must himself be friendly,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 16:1 plans
  2. Proverbs 16:3 Lit. Roll
  3. Proverbs 16:4 Lit. evil
  4. Proverbs 16:5 Lit. hand to hand
  5. Proverbs 16:11 concern
  6. Proverbs 16:18 stumbling
  7. Proverbs 16:19 plunder
  8. Proverbs 16:27 Lit. A man of Belial
  9. Proverbs 16:30 Lit. compresses
  10. Proverbs 17:1 Or sacrificial meals
  11. Proverbs 17:4 Lit. destructive
  12. Proverbs 17:18 Lit. heart
  13. Proverbs 17:18 Lit. strikes the hands
  14. Proverbs 17:18 guaranty or collateral
  15. Proverbs 17:20 crooked
  16. Proverbs 17:22 Or makes medicine even better
  17. Proverbs 17:23 Under cover, lit. from the bosom
  18. Proverbs 18:1 sound wisdom
  19. Proverbs 18:8 gossip or slanderer
  20. Proverbs 18:8 A Jewish tradition wounds
  21. Proverbs 18:8 Lit. rooms of the belly
  22. Proverbs 18:10 secure, lit. set on high
  23. Proverbs 18:24 So with Gr. mss., Syr., Tg., Vg.; MT may come to ruin
New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 16-18 New International Version (NIV)

16 To humans belong the plans of the heart,
    but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.

All a person’s ways seem pure to them,
    but motives are weighed by the Lord.

Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
    and he will establish your plans.

The Lord works out everything to its proper end
    even the wicked for a day of disaster.

The Lord detests all the proud of heart.
    Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.

Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for;
    through the fear of the Lord evil is avoided.

When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way,
    he causes their enemies to make peace with them.

Better a little with righteousness
    than much gain with injustice.

In their hearts humans plan their course,
    but the Lord establishes their steps.

10 The lips of a king speak as an oracle,
    and his mouth does not betray justice.

11 Honest scales and balances belong to the Lord;
    all the weights in the bag are of his making.

12 Kings detest wrongdoing,
    for a throne is established through righteousness.

13 Kings take pleasure in honest lips;
    they value the one who speaks what is right.

14 A king’s wrath is a messenger of death,
    but the wise will appease it.

15 When a king’s face brightens, it means life;
    his favor is like a rain cloud in spring.

16 How much better to get wisdom than gold,
    to get insight rather than silver!

17 The highway of the upright avoids evil;
    those who guard their ways preserve their lives.

18 Pride goes before destruction,
    a haughty spirit before a fall.

19 Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed
    than to share plunder with the proud.

20 Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers,[a]
    and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord.

21 The wise in heart are called discerning,
    and gracious words promote instruction.[b]

22 Prudence is a fountain of life to the prudent,
    but folly brings punishment to fools.

23 The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent,
    and their lips promote instruction.[c]

24 Gracious words are a honeycomb,
    sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

25 There is a way that appears to be right,
    but in the end it leads to death.

26 The appetite of laborers works for them;
    their hunger drives them on.

27 A scoundrel plots evil,
    and on their lips it is like a scorching fire.

28 A perverse person stirs up conflict,
    and a gossip separates close friends.

29 A violent person entices their neighbor
    and leads them down a path that is not good.

30 Whoever winks with their eye is plotting perversity;
    whoever purses their lips is bent on evil.

31 Gray hair is a crown of splendor;
    it is attained in the way of righteousness.

32 Better a patient person than a warrior,
    one with self-control than one who takes a city.

33 The lot is cast into the lap,
    but its every decision is from the Lord.

17 Better a dry crust with peace and quiet
    than a house full of feasting, with strife.

A prudent servant will rule over a disgraceful son
    and will share the inheritance as one of the family.

The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,
    but the Lord tests the heart.

A wicked person listens to deceitful lips;
    a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.

Whoever mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker;
    whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished.

Children’s children are a crown to the aged,
    and parents are the pride of their children.

Eloquent lips are unsuited to a godless fool—
    how much worse lying lips to a ruler!

A bribe is seen as a charm by the one who gives it;
    they think success will come at every turn.

Whoever would foster love covers over an offense,
    but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.

10 A rebuke impresses a discerning person
    more than a hundred lashes a fool.

11 Evildoers foster rebellion against God;
    the messenger of death will be sent against them.

12 Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs
    than a fool bent on folly.

13 Evil will never leave the house
    of one who pays back evil for good.

14 Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam;
    so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.

15 Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent
    the Lord detests them both.

16 Why should fools have money in hand to buy wisdom,
    when they are not able to understand it?

17 A friend loves at all times,
    and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

18 One who has no sense shakes hands in pledge
    and puts up security for a neighbor.

19 Whoever loves a quarrel loves sin;
    whoever builds a high gate invites destruction.

20 One whose heart is corrupt does not prosper;
    one whose tongue is perverse falls into trouble.

21 To have a fool for a child brings grief;
    there is no joy for the parent of a godless fool.

22 A cheerful heart is good medicine,
    but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

23 The wicked accept bribes in secret
    to pervert the course of justice.

24 A discerning person keeps wisdom in view,
    but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.

25 A foolish son brings grief to his father
    and bitterness to the mother who bore him.

26 If imposing a fine on the innocent is not good,
    surely to flog honest officials is not right.

27 The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint,
    and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.

28 Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent,
    and discerning if they hold their tongues.

18 An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends
    and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.

Fools find no pleasure in understanding
    but delight in airing their own opinions.

When wickedness comes, so does contempt,
    and with shame comes reproach.

The words of the mouth are deep waters,
    but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream.

It is not good to be partial to the wicked
    and so deprive the innocent of justice.

The lips of fools bring them strife,
    and their mouths invite a beating.

The mouths of fools are their undoing,
    and their lips are a snare to their very lives.

The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
    they go down to the inmost parts.

One who is slack in his work
    is brother to one who destroys.

10 The name of the Lord is a fortified tower;
    the righteous run to it and are safe.

11 The wealth of the rich is their fortified city;
    they imagine it a wall too high to scale.

12 Before a downfall the heart is haughty,
    but humility comes before honor.

13 To answer before listening—
    that is folly and shame.

14 The human spirit can endure in sickness,
    but a crushed spirit who can bear?

15 The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge,
    for the ears of the wise seek it out.

16 A gift opens the way
    and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.

17 In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right,
    until someone comes forward and cross-examines.

18 Casting the lot settles disputes
    and keeps strong opponents apart.

19 A brother wronged is more unyielding than a fortified city;
    disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.

20 From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled;
    with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied.

21 The tongue has the power of life and death,
    and those who love it will eat its fruit.

22 He who finds a wife finds what is good
    and receives favor from the Lord.

23 The poor plead for mercy,
    but the rich answer harshly.

24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
    but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 16:20 Or whoever speaks prudently finds what is good
  2. Proverbs 16:21 Or words make a person persuasive
  3. Proverbs 16:23 Or prudent / and make their lips persuasive
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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