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Proverbs 16-18 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

16 The reflections of the heart belong to mankind,
but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.

All a person’s ways seem right to him,
but the Lord weighs motives.[a]

Commit your activities to the Lord,
and your plans will be established.

The Lord has prepared everything for his purpose—
even the wicked for the day of disaster.

Everyone with a proud heart is detestable to the Lord;
be assured,[b] he will not go unpunished.

Iniquity is atoned for by loyalty and faithfulness,
and one turns from evil by the fear of the Lord.

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

Better a little with righteousness
than great income with injustice.

A person’s heart plans his way,
but the Lord determines his steps.

10 God’s verdict is on the lips of a king;[c]
his mouth should not give an unfair judgment.

11 Honest balances and scales are the Lord’s;
all the weights in the bag are his concern.

12 Wicked behavior is detestable to kings,
since a throne is established through righteousness.

13 Righteous lips are a king’s delight,
and he loves one who speaks honestly.

14 A king’s fury is a messenger of death,
but a wise person appeases it.

15 When a king’s face lights up, there is life;
his favor is like a cloud with spring rain.

16 Get wisdom—
how much better it is than gold!
And get understanding—
it is preferable to silver.

17 The highway of the upright avoids evil;
the one who guards his way protects his life.

18 Pride comes before destruction,
and an arrogant spirit before a fall.

19 Better to be lowly of spirit with the humble[d]
than to divide plunder with the proud.

20 The one who understands a matter finds success,
and the one who trusts in the Lord will be happy.

21 Anyone with a wise heart is called discerning,
and pleasant speech[e] increases learning.

22 Insight is a fountain of life for its possessor,
but the discipline of fools is folly.

23 The heart of a wise person instructs his mouth;
it adds learning to his speech.[f]

24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb:
sweet to the taste[g] and health to the body.[h]

25 There is a way that seems right to a person,
but its end is the way to death.

26 A worker’s appetite works for him
because his hunger[i] urges him on.

27 A worthless person digs up evil,
and his speech is like a scorching fire.

28 A contrary person spreads conflict,
and a gossip separates close friends.

29 A violent person lures his neighbor,
leading him on a path that is not good.

30 The one who narrows his eyes is planning deceptions;
the one who compresses his lips brings about evil.

31 Gray hair is a glorious crown;
it is found in the ways of righteousness.

32 Patience is better than power,
and controlling one’s emotions,[j] than capturing 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
than a house full of feasting with strife.

A prudent servant will rule over a disgraceful son
and share an inheritance among brothers.

A crucible for silver, and a smelter for gold,
and the Lord is the tester of hearts.

A wicked person listens to malicious talk;[k]
a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.

The one who mocks the poor insults his Maker,
and one who rejoices over calamity
will not go unpunished.

Grandchildren are the crown of the elderly,
and the pride of children is their fathers.

Eloquent words are not appropriate on a fool’s lips;
how much worse are lies for a ruler.

A bribe seems like a magic stone to its owner;
wherever he turns, he succeeds.

Whoever conceals an offense promotes love,
but whoever gossips about it separates friends.

10 A rebuke cuts into a perceptive person
more than a hundred lashes into a fool.

11 An evil person desires only rebellion;
a cruel messenger[l] will be sent against him.

12 Better for a person to meet a bear robbed of her cubs
than a fool in his foolishness.

13 If anyone returns evil for good,
evil will never depart from his house.

14 To start a conflict is to release a flood;
stop the dispute before it breaks out.

15 Acquitting the guilty and condemning the just
both are detestable to the Lord.

16 Why does a fool have money in his hand
with no intention of buying wisdom?

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

18 One without sense enters an agreement[m]
and puts up security for his friend.

19 One who loves to offend loves strife;
one who builds a high threshold invites injury.

20 One with a twisted mind will not succeed,
and one with deceitful speech will fall into ruin.

21 A man fathers a fool to his own sorrow;
the father of a fool has no joy.

22 A joyful heart is good medicine,
but a broken spirit dries up the bones.

23 A wicked person secretly takes a bribe
to subvert the course of justice.

24 Wisdom is the focus of the perceptive,
but a fool’s eyes roam to the ends of the earth.

25 A foolish son is grief to his father
and bitterness to the one who bore him.

26 It is certainly not good to fine an innocent person
or to beat a noble for his honesty.[n]

27 The one who has knowledge restrains his words,
and one who keeps a cool head[o]
is a person of understanding.

28 Even a fool is considered wise when he keeps silent—
discerning, when he seals his lips.

18 One who isolates himself pursues selfish desires;
he rebels against all sound wisdom.

A fool does not delight in understanding,
but only wants to show off his opinions.[p]

When a wicked person comes, contempt also comes,
and along with dishonor, derision.

The words of a person’s mouth are deep waters,
a flowing river, a fountain of wisdom.[q]

It is not good to show partiality to the guilty,
denying an innocent person justice.

A fool’s lips lead to strife,
and his mouth provokes a beating.

A fool’s mouth is his devastation,
and his lips are a trap for his life.

A gossip’s words are like choice food
that goes down to one’s innermost being.[r]

The one who is lazy in his work
is brother to a vandal.[s]

10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
the righteous run to it and are protected.[t]

11 The wealth of the rich is his fortified city;
in his imagination it is like a high wall.

12 Before his downfall a person’s heart is proud,
but humility comes before honor.

13 The one who gives an answer before he listens—
this is foolishness and disgrace for him.

14 A person’s spirit can endure sickness,
but who can survive a broken spirit?

15 The mind of the discerning acquires knowledge,
and the ear of the wise seeks it.

16 A person’s gift opens doors[u] for him
and brings him before the great.

17 The first to state his case seems right
until another comes and cross-examines him.

18 Casting the lot ends quarrels
and separates powerful opponents.

19 An offended brother is harder to reach[v]
than a fortified city,
and quarrels are like the bars of a fortress.

20 From the fruit of a person’s mouth his stomach is satisfied;
he is filled with the product of his lips.

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

22 A man who finds a wife finds a good thing
and obtains favor from the Lord.

23 The poor person pleads,
but the rich one answers roughly.

24 One with many friends may be harmed,[w]
but there is a friend who stays closer than a brother.

Footnotes:

  1. 16:2 Lit spirits
  2. 16:5 Lit hand to hand
  3. 16:10 Or A divination is on the lips of a king
  4. 16:19 Alt Hb tradition reads afflicted
  5. 16:21 Lit and sweetness of lips
  6. 16:23 Lit learning upon his lips
  7. 16:24 Lit throat
  8. 16:24 Lit bones
  9. 16:26 Lit mouth
  10. 16:32 Lit and ruling over one’s spirit
  11. 17:4 Lit to lips of iniquity
  12. 17:11 Or a merciless angel
  13. 17:18 Lit sense slaps hands
  14. 17:26 Or noble unfairly
  15. 17:27 Lit spirit
  16. 18:2 Lit to uncover his heart
  17. 18:4 Or waters; a fountain of wisdom is a flowing river
  18. 18:8 Lit to the chambers of the belly
  19. 18:9 Lit master of destruction
  20. 18:10 Lit raised high
  21. 18:16 Lit gift makes room
  22. 18:19 LXX, Syr, Tg, Vg read is stronger
  23. 18:24 Some LXX mss, Syr, Tg, Vg read friends must be friendly
Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, 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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