17 Better is a dry morsel [of food served] with quietness and peace Than a house full of feasting [served] with strife and contention. 2 A wise servant will rule over the [unworthy] son who acts shamefully and brings disgrace [to the family] And [the worthy servant] will share in the inheritance among the brothers. 3 The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the Lord tests hearts. 4 An evildoer listens closely to wicked lips; And a liar pays attention to a destructive and malicious tongue. 5 Whoever mocks the poor taunts his Maker, And he who rejoices at [another’s] disaster will not go unpunished. 6 Grandchildren are the crown of aged men, And the glory of children is their fathers [who live godly lives]. 7 Excellent speech does not benefit a fool [who is spiritually blind], Much less do lying lips benefit a prince. 8 A bribe is like a bright, precious stone in the eyes of its owner; Wherever he turns, he prospers. 9 He who covers and forgives an offense seeks love, But he who repeats or gossips about a matter separates intimate friends. 10 A reprimand goes deeper into one who has understanding and a teachable spirit Than a hundred lashes into a fool. 11 A rebellious man seeks only evil; Therefore a cruel messenger will be sent against him. 12 Let a man meet a [ferocious] bear robbed of her cubs Rather than the [angry, narcissistic] fool in his folly. 13 Whoever returns evil for good, Evil will not depart from his house. 14 The beginning of strife is like letting out water [as from a small break in a dam; first it trickles and then it gushes]; Therefore [a]abandon the quarrel before it breaks out and tempers explode. 15 He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the righteous Are both repulsive to the Lord. 16 Why is there money in the hand of a fool to buy wisdom, When he has no common sense or even a heart for it? 17 A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity. 18 A man lacking common sense gives a pledge And becomes guarantor [for the debt of another] in the presence of his neighbor. 19 He who loves transgression loves strife and is quarrelsome; He who [proudly] raises his gate seeks destruction [because of his arrogant pride]. 20 He who has a crooked mind finds no good, And he who is perverted in his language falls into evil. 21 He who becomes the parent of a fool [who is spiritually blind] does so to his sorrow, And the father of a fool [who is spiritually blind] has no joy. 22 A happy heart is good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing, But a broken spirit dries up the bones. 23 A wicked man receives a bribe from the [hidden] pocket To pervert the ways of justice. 24 [Skillful and godly] wisdom is in the presence of a person of understanding [and he recognizes it], But the eyes of a [thickheaded] fool are on the ends of the earth. 25 A foolish son is a grief and anguish to his father And bitterness to her who gave birth to him. 26 It is also not good to fine the righteous, Nor to strike the noble for their uprightness. 27 He who has knowledge restrains and is careful with his words, And a man of understanding and wisdom has a cool spirit (self-control, an even temper). 28 Even a [callous, arrogant] fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; When he closes his lips he is regarded as sensible (prudent, discreet) and a man of understanding.
Contrast the Upright and the Wicked
18 He who [willfully] separates himself [from God and man] seeks his own desire, He quarrels against all sound wisdom. 2 A [closed-minded] fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his personal opinions [unwittingly displaying his self-indulgence and his stupidity]. 3 When the wicked man comes [to the depth of evil], contempt [of all that is pure and good] also comes, And with inner baseness (dishonor) comes outer shame (scorn). 4 The words of a man’s mouth are like deep waters [copious and difficult to fathom]; The fountain of [mature, godly] wisdom is like a bubbling stream [sparkling, fresh, pure, and life-giving]. 5 To show respect to the wicked person is not good, Nor to push aside and deprive the righteous of justice. 6 A fool’s lips bring contention and strife, And his mouth invites a beating. 7 A fool’s mouth is his ruin, And his lips are the snare of his soul. 8 The words of a whisperer (gossip) are like dainty morsels [to be greedily eaten]; They go down into the innermost chambers of the body [to be remembered and mused upon]. 9 He who is careless in his work Is a brother to him who destroys. 10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous runs to it and is safe and set on high [far above evil]. 11 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, And like a high wall [of protection] in his own imagination and conceit. 12 Before disaster the heart of a man is haughty and filled with self-importance, But humility comes before honor. 13 He who answers before he hears [the facts]— It is folly and shame to him. 14 The spirit of a man sustains him in sickness, But as for a broken spirit, who can bear it? 15 The mind of the prudent [always] acquires knowledge, And the ear of the wise [always] seeks knowledge. 16 A man’s gift [given in love or courtesy] makes room for him And brings him before great men. 17 The first one to plead his case seems right, Until another comes and cross-examines him. 18 [b]To cast lots puts an end to quarrels And decides between powerful contenders. 19 A brother offended is harder to win over than a fortified city, And contentions [separating families] are like the bars of a castle. 20 A man’s stomach will be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; He will be satisfied with the consequence of his words. 21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words. 22 He who finds a [[c]true and faithful] wife finds a good thing And obtains favor and approval from the Lord. 23 The poor man pleads, But the rich man answers roughly. 24 The man of too many friends [chosen indiscriminately] will be broken in pieces and come to ruin, But there is a [true, loving] friend who [is reliable and] sticks closer than a brother.
On Life and Conduct
19 Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity Than a [rich] man who is twisted in his speech and is a [shortsighted] fool. 2 Also it is not good for a person to be without knowledge, And he who hurries with his feet [acting impulsively and proceeding without caution or analyzing the consequences] sins (misses the mark). 3 The foolishness of man undermines his way [ruining whatever he undertakes]; Then his heart is resentful and rages against the Lord [for, being a fool, he blames the Lord instead of himself]. 4 Wealth makes many friends, But a poor man is separated from his friend. 5 A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who breathes out lies will not escape. 6 Many will seek the favor of a generous and noble man, And everyone is a friend to him who gives gifts. 7 All the brothers of a poor man hate him; How much more do his friends abandon him! He pursues them with words, but they are gone. 8 He who gains wisdom and good sense loves (preserves) his own soul; He who keeps understanding will find good and prosper. 9 A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who breathes lies will perish. 10 Luxury is not fitting for a fool; Much less for a slave to rule over princes. 11 Good sense and discretion make a man slow to anger, And it is his honor and glory to overlook a transgression or an offense [without seeking revenge and harboring resentment]. 12 The king’s wrath terrifies like the roaring of a lion, But his favor is as [refreshing and nourishing as] dew on the grass. 13 A foolish (ungodly) son is destruction to his father, And the contentions of a [quarrelsome] wife are like a constant dripping [of water]. 14 House and wealth are the inheritance from fathers, But a wise, understanding, and sensible wife is [a gift and blessing] from the Lord. 15 Laziness casts one into a deep sleep [unmindful of lost opportunity], And the idle person will suffer hunger. 16 He who keeps and obeys the commandment [of the Lord] keeps (guards) his own life, But he who is careless of his ways and conduct will die. 17 He who is gracious and lends a hand to the poor lends to the Lord, And the Lord will repay him for his good deed. 18 Discipline and teach your son while there is hope, And do not [indulge your anger or resentment by imposing inappropriate punishment nor] desire his destruction. 19 A man of great anger will bear the penalty [for his quick temper and lack of self-control]; For if you rescue him [and do not let him learn from the consequences of his action], you will only have to rescue him over and over again. 20 Listen to counsel, receive instruction, and accept correction, That you may be wise in the time to come. 21 Many plans are in a man’s mind, But it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand (be carried out). 22 That which is desirable in a man is his loyalty and unfailing love, But it is better to be a poor man than a [wealthy] liar. 23 The fear of the Lordleads to life, So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil. 24 The lazy man buries his hand in the [food] dish, But will not even bring it to his mouth again. 25 Strike a scoffer [for refusing to learn], and the naive may [be warned and] become prudent; Reprimand one who has understanding and a teachable spirit, and he will gain knowledge and insight. 26 He who assaults his father and chases away his mother Is a son who brings shame and disgrace. 27 Cease listening, my son, to instruction and discipline And you will stray from the words of knowledge. 28 A wicked and worthless witness mocks justice, And the mouth of the wicked spreads iniquity. 29 Judgments are prepared for scoffers, And beatings for the backs of [thickheaded] fools.
On Life and Conduct
20 Wine is a mocker, strong drink a riotous brawler; And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise. 2 The terror of a king is like the roaring of a lion; Whoever provokes him to anger forfeits his own life. 3 It is an honor for a man to keep away from strife [by handling situations with thoughtful foresight], But any fool will [start a] quarrel [without regard for the consequences]. 4 The lazy man does not plow when the winter [planting] season arrives; So he begs at the [next] harvest and has nothing [to reap]. 5 A plan (motive, wise counsel) in the heart of a man is like water in a deep well, But a man of understanding draws it out. 6 Many a man proclaims his own loyalty and goodness, But who can find a faithful and trustworthy man? 7 The righteous man who walks in integrity and lives life in accord with his [godly] beliefs— How blessed [happy and spiritually secure] are his children after him [who have his example to follow]. 8 A [discerning] king who sits on the throne of judgment Sifts all evil [like chaff] with his eyes [and cannot be easily fooled]. 9 Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin?” 10 Differing weights [one for buying and another for selling] and differing measures, Both of them are detestable and offensive to the Lord. 11 Even a boy is known and distinguished by his acts, Whether his conduct is pure and right. 12 The hearing ear and the seeing eye, The [omnipotent] Lord has made both of them. 13 Do not love [excessive] sleep, or you will become poor; Open your eyes [so that you can do your work] and you will be satisfied with bread. 14 “It is [almost] worthless, it is [almost] worthless,” says the buyer [as he negotiates the price]; But when he goes his way, then he boasts [about his bargain]. 15 There is gold, and an abundance of pearls, But the lips of knowledge are a vessel of preciousness [the most precious of all]. 16 [The judge tells the creditor], “Take the clothes of one who is surety for a stranger; And hold him in pledge [when he guarantees a loan] for foreigners.” 17 Food gained by deceit is sweet to a man, But afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel [just as sin may be sweet at first, but later its consequences bring despair]. 18 Plans are established by counsel; So make war [only] with wise guidance. 19 He who goes about as a gossip reveals secrets; Therefore do not associate with a gossip [who talks freely or flatters]. 20 Whoever curses his father or his mother, His lamp [of life] will be extinguished in time of darkness. 21 An inheritance hastily gained [by greedy, unjust means] at the beginning Will not be blessed in the end. 22 Do not say, “I will repay evil”; Wait [expectantly] for the Lord, and He will rescue and save you. 23 Differing weights are detestable and offensive to the Lord, And fraudulent scales are not good. 24 Man’s steps are ordered and ordained by the Lord. How then can a man [fully] understand his way? 25 It is a trap for a man to [[d]speak a vow of consecration and] say rashly, “It is holy!” And [not until] afterward consider [whether he can fulfill it]. 26 A wise king sifts out the wicked [from among the good] And drives the [threshing] wheel over them [to separate the chaff from the grain]. 27 The [e]spirit (conscience) of man is the lamp of the Lord, Searching and examining all the innermost parts of his being. 28 Loyalty and mercy, truth and faithfulness, protect the king, And he upholds his throne by lovingkindness. 29 The glory of young men is their [physical] strength, And the honor of aged men is their gray head [representing wisdom and experience]. 30 Blows that wound cleanse away evil, And strokes reach to the innermost parts.
Proverbs 17:14The ancient rabbis derived from this statement the principle of seeking a settlement before a case comes to court (cf Matt 5:25; Luke 12:58).
Proverbs 18:22In Jewish tradition it is said that in Israel, they used to ask a man who had married, “Matsa or motse?” “Matsa” is the Hebrew for “finds” here, where a good wife is in view, and “motse” is the word for “found” (NASB “discovered”) in Eccl 7:26.
Proverbs 20:25Such a vow would single out an item for sacrifice or for the use of the temple or the priests. The classic example of a careless vow was Jephthah’s promise to sacrifice to the Lord whatever came out of his house to meet him on his return from a successful battle (Judg 11:30-35).
You'll get this book and many others when you join Bible Gateway Plus. Learn more
You must be logged in to view your newly purchased content. Please log in below or if you don't have an account, creating one is easy and only takes a few moments. After you log in your content will be available in your library.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to choose a monthly or yearly subscription, and then enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate, click the button below.
Upgrade, and get the most out of your new account. An integrated digital Bible study library - including complete notes from the NIV Study Bible and the NKJV MacArthur Study Bible - is just a step away! Try it free for 30 days.