Everything with a Place and a Purpose
16 Mortals make elaborate plans,
but God has the last word.
2 Humans are satisfied with whatever looks good;
God probes for what is good.
3 Put God in charge of your work,
then what you’ve planned will take place.
4 God made everything with a place and purpose;
even the wicked are included—but for judgment.
5 God can’t stomach arrogance or pretense;
believe me, he’ll put those braggarts in their place.
6 Guilt is banished through love and truth;
Fear-of-God deflects evil.
7 When God approves of your life,
even your enemies will end up shaking your hand.
8 Far better to be right and poor
than to be wrong and rich.
9 We plan the way we want to live,
but only God makes us able to live it.
It Pays to Take Life Seriously
10 A good leader motivates,
doesn’t mislead, doesn’t exploit.
11 God cares about honesty in the workplace;
your business is his business.
12 Good leaders abhor wrongdoing of all kinds;
sound leadership has a moral foundation.
13 Good leaders cultivate honest speech;
they love advisors who tell them the truth.
14 An intemperate leader wreaks havoc in lives;
you’re smart to stay clear of someone like that.
15 Good-tempered leaders invigorate lives;
they’re like spring rain and sunshine.
16 Get wisdom—it’s worth more than money;
choose insight over income every time.
17 The road of right living bypasses evil;
watch your step and save your life.
18 First pride, then the crash—
the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.
19 It’s better to live humbly among the poor
than to live it up among the rich and famous.
20 It pays to take life seriously;
things work out when you trust in God.
21 A wise person gets known for insight;
gracious words add to one’s reputation.
22 True intelligence is a spring of fresh water,
while fools sweat it out the hard way.
23 They make a lot of sense, these wise folks;
whenever they speak, their reputation increases.
24 Gracious speech is like clover honey—
good taste to the soul, quick energy for the body.
25 There’s a way that looks harmless enough;
look again—it leads straight to hell.
26 Appetite is an incentive to work;
hunger makes you work all the harder.
27 Mean people spread mean gossip;
their words smart and burn.
28 Troublemakers start fights;
gossips break up friendships.
29 Calloused climbers betray their very own friends;
they’d stab their own grandmothers in the back.
30 A shifty eye betrays an evil intention;
a clenched jaw signals trouble ahead.
31 Gray hair is a mark of distinction,
the award for a God-loyal life.
32 Moderation is better than muscle,
self-control better than political power.
33 Make your motions and cast your votes,
but God has the final say.
Common English Bible
16 To people belong the plans of the heart,
but the answer of the tongue comes from the Lord.
2 All the ways of people
are pure in their eyes,
but the Lord tests the motives.
3 Commit your work to the Lord,
and your plans will succeed.
4 The Lord made everything for a purpose,
even the wicked for an evil day.
5 The Lord detests all who are arrogant;
they surely won’t go unpunished.
6 Love and faithfulness reconcile guilt;
the fear of the Lord turns away evil.
7 When people draw favor from the Lord,
even their enemies are at peace with them.
8 Better a little with righteousness
than great profits without justice.
9 People plan their path,
but the Lord secures their steps.
10 A king’s speech is like an oracle;
in a judgment, one can’t go against his words.
11 Honest balances and scales are the Lord’s;
all the weights in the bag are his doing.
12 Kings detest wicked deeds,
for their thrones are founded on righteousness.
13 Kings favor those with righteous lips;
they love words of integrity.
14 The king’s anger is a messenger of death;
the wise will calm him.
15 There’s life in the light of the king’s face.
His favor is like a cloud that brings spring rain.
16 Acquiring wisdom is much better than gold,
and acquiring understanding is better than silver.
17 The road of those who do right turns away from evil;
those who protect their path guard their lives.
18 Pride comes before disaster,
and arrogance before a fall.
19 Better to be humble with the needy
than to divide plunder with the proud.
20 Those with insight find prosperity;
those who trust the Lord are blessed.
21 The skilled mind is called discerning,
and pleasant speech enhances teaching.
22 One who has insight is a fountain of life,
but the instruction of the foolish is folly.
23 The mind of the wise makes their speech insightful
and enhances the teaching of their lips.
24 Pleasant words are flowing honey,
sweet to the taste and healing to the bones.
25 There is a path that may seem straight to someone,
but in the end it is the path of death.
26 The appetite of workers labors for them,
for their hunger presses them on.
27 Worthless people dig up trouble;
their lips are like a scorching fire.
28 Destructive people produce conflict;
gossips alienate close friends.
29 Violent people entice their neighbors
and walk them down a path that isn’t good.
30 Those who wink their eye plot destruction;
those who purse their lips plan evil.
31 Gray hair is a crown of glory;
it is found on the path of righteousness.
32 Better to be patient than a warrior,
and better to have self-control than to capture a city.
33 The dice are cast into the lap;
all decisions are from the Lord.
New Living Translation
16 We can make our own plans,
but the Lord gives the right answer.
2 People may be pure in their own eyes,
but the Lord examines their motives.
3 Commit your actions to the Lord,
and your plans will succeed.
4 The Lord has made everything for his own purposes,
even the wicked for a day of disaster.
5 The Lord detests the proud;
they will surely be punished.
6 Unfailing love and faithfulness make atonement for sin.
By fearing the Lord, people avoid evil.
7 When people’s lives please the Lord,
even their enemies are at peace with them.
8 Better to have little, with godliness,
than to be rich and dishonest.
9 We can make our plans,
but the Lord determines our steps.
10 The king speaks with divine wisdom;
he must never judge unfairly.
11 The Lord demands accurate scales and balances;
he sets the standards for fairness.
12 A king detests wrongdoing,
for his rule is built on justice.
13 The king is pleased with words from righteous lips;
he loves those who speak honestly.
14 The anger of the king is a deadly threat;
the wise will try to appease it.
15 When the king smiles, there is life;
his favor refreshes like a spring rain.
16 How much better to get wisdom than gold,
and good judgment than silver!
17 The path of the virtuous leads away from evil;
whoever follows that path is safe.
18 Pride goes before destruction,
and haughtiness before a fall.
19 Better to live humbly with the poor
than to share plunder with the proud.
20 Those who listen to instruction will prosper;
those who trust the Lord will be joyful.
21 The wise are known for their understanding,
and pleasant words are persuasive.
22 Discretion is a life-giving fountain to those who possess it,
but discipline is wasted on fools.
23 From a wise mind comes wise speech;
the words of the wise are persuasive.
24 Kind words are like honey—
sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
25 There is a path before each person that seems right,
but it ends in death.
26 It is good for workers to have an appetite;
an empty stomach drives them on.
27 Scoundrels create trouble;
their words are a destructive blaze.
28 A troublemaker plants seeds of strife;
gossip separates the best of friends.
29 Violent people mislead their companions,
leading them down a harmful path.
30 With narrowed eyes, people plot evil;
with a smirk, they plan their mischief.
31 Gray hair is a crown of glory;
it is gained by living a godly life.
32 Better to be patient than powerful;
better to have self-control than to conquer a city.
33 We may throw the dice,[a]
but the Lord determines how they fall.
- 16:33 Hebrew We may cast lots.
Contrast the Upright and the Wicked
16 The plans and reflections of the heart belong to man,
But the [wise] answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
All the ways of a man are clean and innocent in his own eyes [and he may see nothing wrong with his actions],
But the Lord weighs and examines the motives and intents [of the heart and knows the truth].(A)
[a]Commit your works to the Lord [submit and trust them to Him],
And your plans will succeed [if you respond to His will and guidance].
The Lord has made everything for its own purpose,
Even the wicked [according to their role] for the day of evil.
Everyone who is proud and arrogant in heart is disgusting and exceedingly offensive to the Lord;
Be assured he will not go unpunished.(B)
By mercy and lovingkindness and truth [not superficial ritual] wickedness is cleansed from the heart,
And by the fear of the Lord one avoids 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 great income [gained] with injustice.(C)
A man’s mind plans his way [as he journeys through life],
But the Lord directs his steps and establishes them.(D)
A divine decision [given by God] is on the lips of the king [as His representative];
His mouth should not be unfaithful or unjust in judgment.(E)
A just balance and [honest] scales are the Lord’s;
All the weights of the bag are His concern [established by His eternal principles].
It is repulsive [to God and man] for kings to behave wickedly,
For a throne is established on righteousness (right standing with God).
Righteous lips are the delight of kings,
And he who speaks right is loved.
The wrath of a king is like a messenger of death,
But a wise man will appease it.
In the light of the king’s face is life,
And his favor is like a cloud bringing the spring rain.
How much better it is to get wisdom than gold!
And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver.(F)
The highway of the upright turns away and departs from evil;
He who guards his way protects his life (soul).
Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before a fall.
It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly
Than to divide the spoil with the proud (haughty, arrogant).
He who pays attention to the word [of God] will find good,
And blessed (happy, prosperous, to be admired) is he who trusts [confidently] in the Lord.
The wise in heart will be called understanding,
And sweet speech increases persuasiveness and learning [in both speaker and listener].
Understanding (spiritual insight) is a [refreshing and boundless] wellspring of life to those who have it,
But to give instruction and correction to fools is foolishness.
The heart of the wise instructs his mouth [in wisdom]
And adds persuasiveness to his lips.
Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,
Sweet and delightful to the soul and healing to the body.
There is a way which seems right to a man and appears straight before him,
But its end is the way of death.
The appetite of a worker works for him,
For his hunger urges him on.
A worthless man devises and digs up evil,
And the words on his lips are like a scorching fire.
A perverse man spreads strife,
And one who gossips separates intimate friends.(G)
A violent and exceedingly covetous man entices his neighbor [to sin],
And leads him in a way that is not good.
He who [slyly] winks his eyes does so to plot perverse things;
And he who compresses his lips [as if in a secret signal] brings evil to pass.
The silver-haired head is a crown of splendor and glory;
It is found in the way of righteousness.(H)
He who is slow to anger is better and more honorable than the mighty [soldier],
And he who rules and controls his own spirit, than he who captures a city.
The lot is cast into the lap,
[b]But its every decision is from the Lord.
- Proverbs 16:3 Lit Roll.
- Proverbs 16:33 This is the reason why the casting of lots was sanctioned in Israel for certain cases of decision-making (e.g. Lev 16:8; Josh 18:6, 8; 1 Chr 25:8, etc.). It was understood that the outcomes were controlled by God, and the seemingly random procedure eliminated human influence. The last time the ritual is mentioned in the Bible is in the choice of Matthias to replace Judas (Acts 1:26). Many believe that the filling of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost in Acts 2 officially put an end to the ritual because it was then replaced by the direct guidance of the Spirit. It was never sanctioned or recommended as a way to determine God’s will in personal decision-making.
Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson
Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.