The Passion Translation
21 It’s as easy for God to steer a king’s heart[a] for his purposes
as it is for him to direct the course of a stream.[b]
2 You may think you’re right all the time,
but God thoroughly examines our motives.
3 It pleases God more when we demonstrate godliness and justice
than when we merely offer him a sacrifice.
4 Arrogance, superiority, and pride are the fruits of wickedness[c]
and the true definition of sin.
5 Brilliant ideas pay off and bring you prosperity,
but making hasty, impatient decisions
will only lead to financial loss.[d]
6 You can make a fortune dishonestly,
but your crime will hold you in the snares of death![e]
7 Violent rebels don’t have a chance,
for their rejection of truth and their love of evil
will drag them deeper into darkness.
8 You can discern that a person is guilty by his devious actions
and the innocence of a person by his honest, sincere ways.
9 It’s better to live all alone in a rickety shack
than to share a castle with a crabby spouse![f]
10 The wicked always crave what is evil;
they’ll show no mercy and get no mercy.[g]
11 Senseless people learn their lessons the hard way,
but the wise are teachable.
12 A godly, righteous person[h] has the ability
to bring the light of instruction to the wicked
even though he despises what the wicked do.[i]
13 If you close your heart to the cries of the poor,
then I’ll close my ears when you cry out to me!
14 Try giving a secret gift to the one who is angry with you
and watch his anger disappear.
A kind, generous gift goes a long way
to soothe the anger of one who is livid.[j]
15 When justice is served,
the lovers of God celebrate and rejoice,
but the wicked begin to panic.
16 When you forsake the ways of wisdom,
you will wander into the realm of dark spirits.[k]
17 To love pleasure for pleasure’s sake
will introduce you to poverty.
Indulging in a life of luxury[l]
will never make you wealthy.
18 The wicked bring on themselves
the very suffering they planned for others,
for their treachery comes back to haunt them.[m]
19 It’s better to live in a hut in the wilderness
than with a crabby, scolding spouse!
20 In wisdom’s house you’ll find delightful treasures
and the oil of the Holy Spirit.[n]
But the stupid[o] squander what they’ve been given.
21 The lovers of God who chase after righteousness
will find all their dreams come true:
an abundant life drenched with favor
and a fountain that overflows with satisfaction.[p]
22 A warrior filled with wisdom ascends into the high place
and releases regional breakthrough,
bringing down the strongholds of the mighty.[q]
23 Watch your words and be careful what you say,
and you’ll be surprised how few troubles you’ll have.
24 An arrogant man is inflated with pride—
nothing but a snooty scoffer in love with his own opinion.
Mr. Mocker is his name![r]
25–26 Taking the easy way out is the habit of a lazy man,
and it will be his downfall.
All day long he thinks about all the things that he craves,
for he hasn’t learned the secret that the generous man has learned:
extravagant giving never leads to poverty.[s]
27 To bring an offering to God with an ulterior motive is detestable,
for it amounts to nothing but hypocrisy.
28 No one believes a notorious liar,
but the guarded words of an honest man stand the test of time.
29 The wicked are shameless and stubborn,
but the lovers of God have a holy confidence.
30 All your brilliant wisdom and clever insight
will be of no help at all if the Lord is against you.
31 You can do your best to prepare for the battle,[t]
but ultimate victory comes from the Lord God.
- Proverbs 21:1 Don’t forget, we have been made kings and priests by the blood of the Lamb. See 1 Peter 2:9; Rev. 1:6; 5:10.
- Proverbs 21:1 Because a leader’s decisions affect so many people, God will intervene and steer them as a farmer steers the course of a stream to irrigate his fields.
- Proverbs 21:4 Or “the tillage of the wicked.” The Aramaic and the Septuagint has “the lamp of the wicked.”
- Proverbs 21:5 The Aramaic is “The thoughts of the chosen one are trusting, but those of the evil one lead to poverty.” This verse is missing from the Septuagint.
- Proverbs 21:6 As translated from the Aramaic and the Septuagint. The Hebrew is “The money will vanish into thin air.”
- Proverbs 21:9 The Septuagint reads “It’s better to live in the corner of an attic than in a large home plastered with unrighteousness.”
- Proverbs 21:10 The Hebrew is “They show no mercy,” while the Septuagint reads “They’ll receive no mercy.” This translation has chosen to merge both concepts.
- Proverbs 21:12 The Hebrew is “a righteous one,” which can also speak of God, “the Righteous One.”
- Proverbs 21:12 As translated from the Septuagint. There are many examples of this in the Bible: Daniel in Babylon, Joseph in Egypt, and the follower of Jesus today who is living among unbelievers.
- Proverbs 21:14 The Aramaic and Septuagint translate this “He who withholds a gift arouses anger.”
- Proverbs 21:16 Or “the congregation of the Rephaim.” The Rephaim were a pagan tribe of giants and have been equated with spirits of darkness. See Gen. 14:5 and Deut. 2:11.
- Proverbs 21:17 Or “the lover of wine and oil.”
- Proverbs 21:18 Or “The evil become the ransom payment for the righteous and the faithless for the upright.”
- Proverbs 21:20 The Hebrew word for “oil” is an emblem of the Holy Spirit.
- Proverbs 21:20 Or “a fool of a man.”
- Proverbs 21:21 Or “righteousness.”
- Proverbs 21:22 Or “demolishing their strength of confidence.”
- Proverbs 21:24 The Septuagint adds a line: “He who holds a grudge is a sinner.”
- Proverbs 21:25 This is implied in the context and is necessary to complete the meaning of the proverb. The last line of this verse reads in the Septuagint “The righteous lavish on others mercy and compassion.”
- Proverbs 21:31 Or “The horse is prepared for the battle.”