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Proverbs 28-31 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Righteous Are Bold as a Lion

28 The wicked flee when no one pursues,
But the righteous are bold as a lion.

Because of the transgression of a land, many are its princes;
But by a man of understanding and knowledge
Right will be prolonged.

A poor man who oppresses the poor
Is like a driving rain [a]which leaves no food.

Those who forsake the law praise the wicked,
But such as keep the law contend with them.

Evil men do not understand justice,
But those who seek the Lord understand all.

Better is the poor who walks in his integrity
Than one perverse in his ways, though he be rich.

Whoever keeps the law is a discerning son,
But a companion of gluttons shames his father.

One who increases his possessions by usury and extortion
Gathers it for him who will pity the poor.

One who turns away his ear from hearing the law,
Even his prayer is an abomination.

10 Whoever causes the upright to go astray in an evil way,
He himself will fall into his own pit;
But the blameless will inherit good.

11 The rich man is wise in his own eyes,
But the poor who has understanding searches him out.

12 When the righteous rejoice, there is great glory;
But when the wicked arise, men [b]hide themselves.

13 He who covers his sins will not prosper,
But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.

14 Happy is the man who is always reverent,
But he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.

15 Like a roaring lion and a charging bear
Is a wicked ruler over poor people.

16 A ruler who lacks understanding is a great oppressor,
But he who hates covetousness will prolong his days.

17 A man burdened with bloodshed will flee into a pit;
Let no one help him.

18 Whoever walks blamelessly will be [c]saved,
But he who is perverse in his ways will suddenly fall.

19 He who tills his land will have plenty of bread,
But he who follows frivolity will have poverty enough!

20 A faithful man will abound with blessings,
But he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.

21 To [d]show partiality is not good,
Because for a piece of bread a man will transgress.

22 A man with an evil eye hastens after riches,
And does not consider that poverty will come upon him.

23 He who rebukes a man will find more favor afterward
Than he who flatters with the tongue.

24 Whoever robs his father or his mother,
And says, “It is no transgression,”
The same is companion to a destroyer.

25 He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife,
But he who trusts in the Lord will be prospered.

26 He who trusts in his own heart is a fool,
But whoever walks wisely will be delivered.

27 He who gives to the poor will not lack,
But he who hides his eyes will have many curses.

28 When the wicked arise, men hide themselves;
But when they perish, the righteous increase.

Happy Is He Who Keeps the Law

29 He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck,
Will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

When the righteous [e]are in authority, the people rejoice;
But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.

Whoever loves wisdom makes his father rejoice,
But a companion of harlots wastes his wealth.

The king establishes the land by justice,
But he who receives bribes overthrows it.

A man who flatters his neighbor
Spreads a net for his feet.

By transgression an evil man is snared,
But the righteous sings and rejoices.

The righteous considers the cause of the poor,
But the wicked does not understand such knowledge.

Scoffers set a city aflame,
But wise men turn away wrath.

If a wise man contends with a foolish man,
Whether the fool rages or laughs, there is no peace.

10 The bloodthirsty hate the blameless,
But the upright seek his [f]well-being.

11 A fool vents all his feelings,[g]
But a wise man holds them back.

12 If a ruler pays attention to lies,
All his servants become wicked.

13 The poor man and the oppressor have this in common:
The Lord gives light to the eyes of both.

14 The king who judges the poor with truth,
His throne will be established forever.

15 The rod and rebuke give wisdom,
But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

16 When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increases;
But the righteous will see their fall.

17 Correct your son, and he will give you rest;
Yes, he will give delight to your soul.

18 Where there is no [h]revelation, the people cast off restraint;
But happy is he who keeps the law.

19 A servant will not be corrected by mere words;
For though he understands, he will not respond.

20 Do you see a man hasty in his words?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.

21 He who pampers his servant from childhood
Will have him as a son in the end.

22 An angry man stirs up strife,
And a furious man abounds in transgression.

23 A man’s pride will bring him low,
But the humble in spirit will retain honor.

24 Whoever is a partner with a thief hates his own life;
He [i]swears to tell the truth, but reveals nothing.

25 The fear of man brings a snare,
But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be [j]safe.

26 Many seek the ruler’s [k]favor,
But justice for man comes from the Lord.

27 An unjust man is an abomination to the righteous,
And he who is upright in the way is an abomination to the wicked.

The Wisdom of Agur

30 The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, his utterance. This man declared to Ithiel—to Ithiel and Ucal:

Surely I am more stupid than any man,
And do not have the understanding of a man.
I neither learned wisdom
Nor have knowledge of the Holy One.

Who has ascended into heaven, or descended?
Who has gathered the wind in His fists?
Who has bound the waters in a garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is His name, and what is His Son’s name,
If you know?

Every word of God is [l]pure;
He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.
Do not add to His words,
Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.

Two things I request of You
(Deprive me not before I die):
Remove falsehood and lies far from me;
Give me neither poverty nor riches—
Feed me with the food allotted to me;
Lest I be full and deny You,
And say, “Who is the Lord?”
Or lest I be poor and steal,
And profane the name of my God.

10 Do not malign a servant to his master,
Lest he curse you, and you be found guilty.

11 There is a generation that curses its father,
And does not bless its mother.
12 There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes,
Yet is not washed from its filthiness.
13 There is a generation—oh, how lofty are their eyes!
And their eyelids are [m]lifted up.
14 There is a generation whose teeth are like swords,
And whose fangs are like knives,
To devour the poor from off the earth,
And the needy from among men.

15 The leech has two daughters—
Give and Give!

There are three things that are never satisfied,
Four never say, “Enough!”:
16 The[n] grave,
The barren womb,
The earth that is not satisfied with water—
And the fire never says, “Enough!”

17 The eye that mocks his father,
And scorns obedience to his mother,
The ravens of the valley will pick it out,
And the young eagles will eat it.

18 There are three things which are too wonderful for me,
Yes, four which I do not understand:
19 The way of an eagle in the air,
The way of a serpent on a rock,
The way of a ship in the [o]midst of the sea,
And the way of a man with a virgin.

20 This is the way of an adulterous woman:
She eats and wipes her mouth,
And says, “I have done no wickedness.”

21 For three things the earth is perturbed,
Yes, for four it cannot bear up:
22 For a servant when he reigns,
A fool when he is filled with food,
23 A [p]hateful woman when she is married,
And a maidservant who succeeds her mistress.

24 There are four things which are little on the earth,
But they are exceedingly wise:
25 The ants are a people not strong,
Yet they prepare their food in the summer;
26 The [q]rock badgers are a feeble folk,
Yet they make their homes in the crags;
27 The locusts have no king,
Yet they all advance in ranks;
28 The [r]spider skillfully grasps with its hands,
And it is in kings’ palaces.

29 There are three things which are majestic in pace,
Yes, four which are stately in walk:
30 A lion, which is mighty among beasts
And does not turn away from any;
31 A [s]greyhound,
A male goat also,
And [t]a king whose troops are with him.

32 If you have been foolish in exalting yourself,
Or if you have devised evil, put your hand on your mouth.
33 For as the churning of milk produces butter,
And wringing the nose produces blood,
So the forcing of wrath produces strife.

The Words of King Lemuel’s Mother

31 The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him:

What, my son?
And what, son of my womb?
And what, son of my vows?
Do not give your strength to women,
Nor your ways to that which destroys kings.

It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
It is not for kings to drink wine,
Nor for princes intoxicating drink;
Lest they drink and forget the law,
And pervert the justice of all [u]the afflicted.
Give strong drink to him who is perishing,
And wine to those who are bitter of heart.
Let him drink and forget his poverty,
And remember his misery no more.

Open your mouth for the speechless,
In the cause of all who are [v]appointed to die.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And plead the cause of the poor and needy.

The Virtuous Wife

10 Who[w] can find a [x]virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
15 She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
From [y]her profits she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.
20 She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 28:3 Lit. and there is no bread
  2. Proverbs 28:12 Lit. will be searched for
  3. Proverbs 28:18 delivered
  4. Proverbs 28:21 Lit. recognize faces
  5. Proverbs 29:2 become great
  6. Proverbs 29:10 Lit. soul or life
  7. Proverbs 29:11 Lit. spirit
  8. Proverbs 29:18 prophetic vision
  9. Proverbs 29:24 Lit. hears the adjuration or oath
  10. Proverbs 29:25 secure, lit. set on high
  11. Proverbs 29:26 Lit. face
  12. Proverbs 30:5 tested, refined, found pure
  13. Proverbs 30:13 In arrogance
  14. Proverbs 30:16 Or Sheol
  15. Proverbs 30:19 Lit. heart
  16. Proverbs 30:23 Or hated
  17. Proverbs 30:26 rock hyraxes
  18. Proverbs 30:28 Or lizard
  19. Proverbs 30:31 Or perhaps strutting rooster, lit. girded of waist
  20. Proverbs 30:31 A Jewish tradition a king against whom there is no uprising
  21. Proverbs 31:5 Lit. sons of affliction
  22. Proverbs 31:8 Lit. sons of passing away
  23. Proverbs 31:10 Vv. 10–31 are an alphabetic acrostic in Hebrew; cf. Ps. 119
  24. Proverbs 31:10 Lit. a wife of valor, in the sense of all forms of excellence
  25. Proverbs 31:16 Lit. the fruit of her hands
New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 28-31 New International Version (NIV)

28 The wicked flee though no one pursues,
    but the righteous are as bold as a lion.

When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers,
    but a ruler with discernment and knowledge maintains order.

A ruler[a] who oppresses the poor
    is like a driving rain that leaves no crops.

Those who forsake instruction praise the wicked,
    but those who heed it resist them.

Evildoers do not understand what is right,
    but those who seek the Lord understand it fully.

Better the poor whose walk is blameless
    than the rich whose ways are perverse.

A discerning son heeds instruction,
    but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father.

Whoever increases wealth by taking interest or profit from the poor
    amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor.

If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction,
    even their prayers are detestable.

10 Whoever leads the upright along an evil path
    will fall into their own trap,
    but the blameless will receive a good inheritance.

11 The rich are wise in their own eyes;
    one who is poor and discerning sees how deluded they are.

12 When the righteous triumph, there is great elation;
    but when the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding.

13 Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper,
    but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

14 Blessed is the one who always trembles before God,
    but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble.

15 Like a roaring lion or a charging bear
    is a wicked ruler over a helpless people.

16 A tyrannical ruler practices extortion,
    but one who hates ill-gotten gain will enjoy a long reign.

17 Anyone tormented by the guilt of murder
    will seek refuge in the grave;
    let no one hold them back.

18 The one whose walk is blameless is kept safe,
    but the one whose ways are perverse will fall into the pit.[b]

19 Those who work their land will have abundant food,
    but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty.

20 A faithful person will be richly blessed,
    but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.

21 To show partiality is not good
    yet a person will do wrong for a piece of bread.

22 The stingy are eager to get rich
    and are unaware that poverty awaits them.

23 Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor
    rather than one who has a flattering tongue.

24 Whoever robs their father or mother
    and says, “It’s not wrong,”
    is partner to one who destroys.

25 The greedy stir up conflict,
    but those who trust in the Lord will prosper.

26 Those who trust in themselves are fools,
    but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.

27 Those who give to the poor will lack nothing,
    but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.

28 When the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding;
    but when the wicked perish, the righteous thrive.

29 Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes
    will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.

When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice;
    when the wicked rule, the people groan.

A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father,
    but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.

By justice a king gives a country stability,
    but those who are greedy for[c] bribes tear it down.

Those who flatter their neighbors
    are spreading nets for their feet.

Evildoers are snared by their own sin,
    but the righteous shout for joy and are glad.

The righteous care about justice for the poor,
    but the wicked have no such concern.

Mockers stir up a city,
    but the wise turn away anger.

If a wise person goes to court with a fool,
    the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace.

10 The bloodthirsty hate a person of integrity
    and seek to kill the upright.

11 Fools give full vent to their rage,
    but the wise bring calm in the end.

12 If a ruler listens to lies,
    all his officials become wicked.

13 The poor and the oppressor have this in common:
    The Lord gives sight to the eyes of both.

14 If a king judges the poor with fairness,
    his throne will be established forever.

15 A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom,
    but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother.

16 When the wicked thrive, so does sin,
    but the righteous will see their downfall.

17 Discipline your children, and they will give you peace;
    they will bring you the delights you desire.

18 Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint;
    but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.

19 Servants cannot be corrected by mere words;
    though they understand, they will not respond.

20 Do you see someone who speaks in haste?
    There is more hope for a fool than for them.

21 A servant pampered from youth
    will turn out to be insolent.

22 An angry person stirs up conflict,
    and a hot-tempered person commits many sins.

23 Pride brings a person low,
    but the lowly in spirit gain honor.

24 The accomplices of thieves are their own enemies;
    they are put under oath and dare not testify.

25 Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
    but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

26 Many seek an audience with a ruler,
    but it is from the Lord that one gets justice.

27 The righteous detest the dishonest;
    the wicked detest the upright.

Sayings of Agur

30 The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh—an inspired utterance.

This man’s utterance to Ithiel:

“I am weary, God,
    but I can prevail.[d]
Surely I am only a brute, not a man;
    I do not have human understanding.
I have not learned wisdom,
    nor have I attained to the knowledge of the Holy One.
Who has gone up to heaven and come down?
    Whose hands have gathered up the wind?
Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak?
    Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name, and what is the name of his son?
    Surely you know!

“Every word of God is flawless;
    he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Do not add to his words,
    or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.

“Two things I ask of you, Lord;
    do not refuse me before I die:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
    give me neither poverty nor riches,
    but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
    and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
    and so dishonor the name of my God.

10 “Do not slander a servant to their master,
    or they will curse you, and you will pay for it.

11 “There are those who curse their fathers
    and do not bless their mothers;
12 those who are pure in their own eyes
    and yet are not cleansed of their filth;
13 those whose eyes are ever so haughty,
    whose glances are so disdainful;
14 those whose teeth are swords
    and whose jaws are set with knives
to devour the poor from the earth
    and the needy from among mankind.

15 “The leech has two daughters.
    ‘Give! Give!’ they cry.

“There are three things that are never satisfied,
    four that never say, ‘Enough!’:
16 the grave, the barren womb,
    land, which is never satisfied with water,
    and fire, which never says, ‘Enough!’

17 “The eye that mocks a father,
    that scorns an aged mother,
will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley,
    will be eaten by the vultures.

18 “There are three things that are too amazing for me,
    four that I do not understand:
19 the way of an eagle in the sky,
    the way of a snake on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas,
    and the way of a man with a young woman.

20 “This is the way of an adulterous woman:
    She eats and wipes her mouth
    and says, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong.’

21 “Under three things the earth trembles,
    under four it cannot bear up:
22 a servant who becomes king,
    a godless fool who gets plenty to eat,
23 a contemptible woman who gets married,
    and a servant who displaces her mistress.

24 “Four things on earth are small,
    yet they are extremely wise:
25 Ants are creatures of little strength,
    yet they store up their food in the summer;
26 hyraxes are creatures of little power,
    yet they make their home in the crags;
27 locusts have no king,
    yet they advance together in ranks;
28 a lizard can be caught with the hand,
    yet it is found in kings’ palaces.

29 “There are three things that are stately in their stride,
    four that move with stately bearing:
30 a lion, mighty among beasts,
    who retreats before nothing;
31 a strutting rooster, a he-goat,
    and a king secure against revolt.[e]

32 “If you play the fool and exalt yourself,
    or if you plan evil,
    clap your hand over your mouth!
33 For as churning cream produces butter,
    and as twisting the nose produces blood,
    so stirring up anger produces strife.”

Sayings of King Lemuel

31 The sayings of King Lemuel—an inspired utterance his mother taught him.

Listen, my son! Listen, son of my womb!
    Listen, my son, the answer to my prayers!
Do not spend your strength[f] on women,
    your vigor on those who ruin kings.

It is not for kings, Lemuel—
    it is not for kings to drink wine,
    not for rulers to crave beer,
lest they drink and forget what has been decreed,
    and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.
Let beer be for those who are perishing,
    wine for those who are in anguish!
Let them drink and forget their poverty
    and remember their misery no more.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
    for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly;
    defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character

10 [g]A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 28:3 Or A poor person
  2. Proverbs 28:18 Syriac (see Septuagint); Hebrew into one
  3. Proverbs 29:4 Or who give
  4. Proverbs 30:1 With a different word division of the Hebrew; Masoretic Text utterance to Ithiel, / to Ithiel and Ukal:
  5. Proverbs 30:31 The meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.
  6. Proverbs 31:3 Or wealth
  7. Proverbs 31:10 Verses 10-31 are an acrostic poem, the verses of which begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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