21 The king’s heart is like a channel of water directed by the Eternal:
He chooses which way He bends it.
2 Everyone may think his own way of living is right,
but the Eternal examines our hearts.
3 To do what is right and to seek justice—
these please Him more than sacrifice.
4 The lamp of the wicked lights his way;
a proud look, an arrogant heart—all sin.
5 A well-thought-out plan will work to your advantage,
but hasty actions will cost you dearly.
6 The fortune made by a swindler
is a fast-burning fog and a recipe for death.
7 Wicked people will be swept up in their own violence
because they refuse to seek justice.
8 Dishonest people walk along the crooked path they have made,
but the innocent travel the straight course they have laid.
9 It is better to dwell outside on the corner of your roof
than to live inside your house with a badgering wife.
10 Wicked people delight in doing bad things;
their neighbors never see even a hint of compassion.
11 A naive person wises up when he sees a mocker punished.
A wise person becomes even wiser just by being instructed.
12 The right-living understands how evildoers operate;
he subverts them and ruins their plans.
13 If you ignore the groans of the poor,
one day your own cries for help will go unanswered.
14 A gift given in secret soothes anger,
and a present offered privately calms fierce rage.
15 When justice is done, those who are in the right celebrate,
but those who make trouble are terrified.
16 People who wander from the way of wise living
will lie down in the company of corpses.
17 Those who live to party, who pursue pleasure, will end up penniless;
those who enjoy lots of wine and rich food will never have money.
18 The wicked become a ransom for those who live right,
and the faithless pay the penalty for their treachery against the upright.
19 You would be better off living in the middle of the desert
than with an angry and argumentative wife.
20 The wise have a generous supply of fine food and oil in their homes,
but fools are wasteful, consuming every last drop.
21 Whoever pursues justice and treats others with kindness
discovers true life marked by integrity and respect.
22 One wise person can rise against a city of mighty men
and cause the citadel they trust to collapse.
23 Guard your words, mind what you say,
and you will keep yourself out of trouble.
24 The name “mocker” applies to one who is proud and pompous
because he is defiantly arrogant.
25 What slackers crave will surely kill them
because they refuse to work.
26 All day, every day the greedy want more,
while those who live right give generously.
27 The offerings of wrongdoers are despicable to God;
it’s even worse when they bring them with evil motives.
28 The testimony of a false witness is eventually impeached,
but the person who truly listens will have the last word.
29 The wicked wears a defiant face,
but the right-living plans his path.
30 No one is wise enough or smart enough,
and no plan is good enough to stand up to the Eternal.
31 No matter how well you arm for battle,
victory is determined by Him.
The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.