The Lord Considers the Heart

21 The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord,
Like the [a]rivers of water;
He turns it wherever He wishes.

(A)Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,
(B)But the Lord weighs the hearts.

(C)To do righteousness and justice
Is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

(D)A haughty look, a proud heart,
And the [b]plowing of the wicked are sin.

(E)The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty,
But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.

(F)Getting treasures by a lying tongue
[c]Is the fleeting fantasy of those who seek death.

The violence of the wicked will [d]destroy them,
Because they refuse to do justice.

The way of [e]a guilty man is perverse;
But as for the pure, his work is right.

Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop,
Than in a house shared with (G)a contentious woman.

10 (H)The soul of the wicked desires evil;
His neighbor finds no favor in his eyes.

11 When the scoffer is punished, the simple is made wise;
But when the (I)wise is instructed, he receives knowledge.

12 The righteous God wisely considers the house of the wicked,
Overthrowing the wicked for their wickedness.

13 (J)Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor
Will also cry himself and not be heard.

14 A gift in secret pacifies anger,
And a bribe [f]behind the back, strong wrath.

15 It is a joy for the just to do justice,
But destruction will come to the workers of iniquity.

16 A man who wanders from the way of understanding
Will rest in the assembly of the (K)dead.

17 He who loves pleasure will be a poor man;
He who loves wine and oil will not be rich.

18 The wicked shall be a ransom for the righteous,
And the unfaithful for the upright.

19 Better to dwell [g]in the wilderness,
Than with a contentious and angry woman.

20 (L)There is desirable treasure,
And oil in the dwelling of the wise,
But a foolish man squanders it.

21 (M)He who follows righteousness and mercy
Finds life, righteousness, and honor.

22 A (N)wise man [h]scales the city of the mighty,
And brings down the trusted stronghold.

23 (O)Whoever guards his mouth and tongue
Keeps his soul from troubles.

24 A proud and haughty man—“Scoffer” is his name;
He acts with arrogant pride.

25 The (P)desire of the lazy man kills him,
For his hands refuse to labor.
26 He covets greedily all day long,
But the righteous (Q)gives and does not spare.

27 (R)The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination;
How much more when he brings it with wicked intent!

28 A false witness shall perish,
But the man who hears him will speak endlessly.

29 A wicked man hardens his face,
But as for the upright, he [i]establishes his way.

30 (S)There is no wisdom or understanding
Or counsel against the Lord.

31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle,
But (T)deliverance is of the Lord.

The Value of a Good Name

22 A (U)good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
Loving favor rather than silver and gold.

The (V)rich and the poor have this in common,
The (W)Lord is the maker of them all.

A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself,
But the simple pass on and are (X)punished.

By humility and the fear of the Lord
Are riches and honor and life.

Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse;
He who guards his soul will be far from them.

(Y)Train up a child in the way he should go,
[j]And when he is old he will not depart from it.

The (Z)rich rules over the poor,
And the borrower is servant to the lender.

He who sows iniquity will reap (AA)sorrow,[k]
And the rod of his anger will fail.

(AB)He who has a [l]generous eye will be (AC)blessed,
For he gives of his bread to the poor.

10 (AD)Cast out the scoffer, and contention will leave;
Yes, strife and reproach will cease.

11 (AE)He who loves purity of heart
And has grace on his lips,
The king will be his friend.

12 The eyes of the Lord preserve knowledge,
But He overthrows the words of the faithless.

13 (AF)The lazy man says, “There is a lion outside!
I shall be slain in the streets!”

14 (AG)The mouth of an immoral woman is a deep pit;
(AH)He who is abhorred by the Lord will fall there.

15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;
(AI)The rod of correction will drive it far from him.

16 He who oppresses the poor to increase his riches,
And he who gives to the rich, will surely come to poverty.

Sayings of the Wise

17 Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise,
And apply your heart to my knowledge;
18 For it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you;
Let them all be fixed upon your lips,
19 So that your trust may be in the Lord;
I have instructed you today, even you.
20 Have I not written to you excellent things
Of counsels and knowledge,
21 (AJ)That I may make you know the certainty of the words of truth,
(AK)That you may answer words of truth
To those who [m]send to you?

22 Do not rob the (AL)poor because he is poor,
Nor oppress the afflicted at the gate;
23 (AM)For the Lord will plead their cause,
And plunder the soul of those who plunder them.

24 Make no friendship with an angry man,
And with a (AN)furious man do not go,
25 Lest you learn his ways
And set a snare for your soul.

26 (AO)Do not be one of those who [n]shakes hands in a pledge,
One of those who is [o]surety for debts;
27 If you have nothing with which to pay,
Why should he take away your bed from under you?

28 (AP)Do not remove the ancient [p]landmark
Which your fathers have set.

29 Do you see a man who [q]excels in his work?
He will stand before kings;
He will not stand before [r]unknown men.


  1. Proverbs 21:1 channels
  2. Proverbs 21:4 Or lamp
  3. Proverbs 21:6 LXX Pursue vanity on the snares of death; Vg. Is vain and foolish, and shall stumble on the snares of death; Tg. They shall be destroyed, and they shall fall who seek death
  4. Proverbs 21:7 Lit. drag them away
  5. Proverbs 21:8 Or The way of a man is perverse and strange;
  6. Proverbs 21:14 Under cover, lit. in the bosom
  7. Proverbs 21:19 Lit. in the land of the desert
  8. Proverbs 21:22 Climbs over the walls of
  9. Proverbs 21:29 Qr., LXX understands
  10. Proverbs 22:6 Even
  11. Proverbs 22:8 trouble
  12. Proverbs 22:9 Lit. good
  13. Proverbs 22:21 Or send you
  14. Proverbs 22:26 Lit. strikes
  15. Proverbs 22:26 guaranty
  16. Proverbs 22:28 boundary
  17. Proverbs 22:29 is prompt in his business
  18. Proverbs 22:29 obscure

Bible Gateway Recommends