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The Lord Controls Wise and Foolish People

21 The king’s heart is like streams of water.
    Both are under Yahweh’s control.
        He turns them in any direction he chooses.
A person thinks everything he does is right,
    but Yahweh weighs hearts.
Doing what is right and fair
    is more acceptable to Yahweh than offering a sacrifice.
A conceited look and an arrogant attitude,
    which are the lamps of wicked people, are sins.

The plans of a hard-working person lead to prosperity,
    but everyone who is always in a hurry ends up in poverty.
Those who gather wealth by lying are wasting time.
    They are looking for death.
The violence of wicked people will drag them away
    since they refuse to do what is just.
The way of a guilty person is crooked,
    but the behavior of those who are pure is moral.[a]

Better to live on a corner of a roof
    than to share a home with a quarreling woman.
10 The mind of a wicked person desires evil
    and has no consideration for his neighbor.
11 When a mocker is punished, a gullible person becomes wise,
    and when a wise person is instructed, he gains knowledge.
12 A righteous person wisely considers the house of a wicked person.
    He throws wicked people into disasters.

13 Whoever shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will call and not be answered.
14 A gift given in secret calms anger,
    and a secret bribe calms great fury.
15 When justice is done, a righteous person is delighted,
    but troublemakers are terrified.
16 A person who wanders from the way of wise behavior
    will rest in the assembly of the dead.

17 Whoever loves pleasure will become poor.
    Whoever loves wine and expensive food will not become rich.
18 Wicked people become a ransom for righteous people,
    and treacherous people will take the place of decent people.
19 Better to live in a desert
    than with a quarreling and angry woman.
20 Costly treasure and wealth are in the home of a wise person,
    but a fool devours them.
21 Whoever pursues righteousness and mercy
    will find life, righteousness, and honor.

22 A wise man attacks a city of warriors
    and pulls down the strong defenses in which they trust.
23 Whoever guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.
24 An arrogant, conceited person is called a mocker.
    His arrogance knows no limits.

25 The desire of a lazy person will kill him
    because his hands refuse to work.
26 All day long he feels greedy,
    but a righteous person gives and does not hold back.

27 The sacrifice of wicked people is disgusting,
    especially if they bring it with evil intent.
28 A lying witness will die,
    but a person who listens to advice will continue to speak.
29 A wicked person puts up a bold front,
    but a decent person’s way of life is his own security.

30 No wisdom, no understanding, and no advice
    can stand up against Yahweh.
31 The horse is made ready for the day of battle,
    but the victory belongs to Yahweh.


  1. Proverbs 21:8 Hebrew meaning of this verse uncertain.

21 In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water
    that he channels toward all who please him.(A)

A person may think their own ways are right,
    but the Lord weighs the heart.(B)

To do what is right and just
    is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.(C)

Haughty eyes(D) and a proud heart—
    the unplowed field of the wicked—produce sin.

The plans of the diligent lead to profit(E)
    as surely as haste leads to poverty.

A fortune made by a lying tongue
    is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare.[a](F)

The violence of the wicked will drag them away,(G)
    for they refuse to do what is right.

The way of the guilty is devious,(H)
    but the conduct of the innocent is upright.

Better to live on a corner of the roof
    than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.(I)

10 The wicked crave evil;
    their neighbors get no mercy from them.

11 When a mocker is punished, the simple gain wisdom;
    by paying attention to the wise they get knowledge.(J)

12 The Righteous One[b] takes note of the house of the wicked
    and brings the wicked to ruin.(K)

13 Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor
    will also cry out(L) and not be answered.(M)

14 A gift given in secret soothes anger,
    and a bribe concealed in the cloak pacifies great wrath.(N)

15 When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous
    but terror to evildoers.(O)

16 Whoever strays from the path of prudence
    comes to rest in the company of the dead.(P)

17 Whoever loves pleasure will become poor;
    whoever loves wine and olive oil will never be rich.(Q)

18 The wicked become a ransom(R) for the righteous,
    and the unfaithful for the upright.

19 Better to live in a desert
    than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.(S)

20 The wise store up choice food and olive oil,
    but fools gulp theirs down.

21 Whoever pursues righteousness and love
    finds life, prosperity[c](T) and honor.(U)

22 One who is wise can go up against the city of the mighty(V)
    and pull down the stronghold in which they trust.

23 Those who guard their mouths(W) and their tongues
    keep themselves from calamity.(X)

24 The proud and arrogant person(Y)—“Mocker” is his name—
    behaves with insolent fury.

25 The craving of a sluggard will be the death of him,(Z)
    because his hands refuse to work.
26 All day long he craves for more,
    but the righteous(AA) give without sparing.(AB)

27 The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable(AC)
    how much more so when brought with evil intent!(AD)

28 A false witness(AE) will perish,(AF)
    but a careful listener will testify successfully.

29 The wicked put up a bold front,
    but the upright give thought to their ways.(AG)

30 There is no wisdom,(AH) no insight, no plan
    that can succeed against the Lord.(AI)

31 The horse is made ready for the day of battle,
    but victory rests with the Lord.(AJ)


  1. Proverbs 21:6 Some Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint and Vulgate; most Hebrew manuscripts vapor for those who seek death
  2. Proverbs 21:12 Or The righteous person
  3. Proverbs 21:21 Or righteousness