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13 Those who conceal their sins do not prosper,
    but those who confess and forsake them obtain mercy.[a]
14 Happy those who always fear;[b]
    but those who harden their hearts fall into evil.
15 A roaring lion or a ravenous bear
    is a wicked ruler over a poor people.

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Footnotes

  1. 28:13 Concealing the faults of another is a good thing in Proverbs (17:9), but concealing one’s own sins is not. Ps 32:1–5 expresses the anguish caused by concealing one’s sins rather than bringing them to light so they can be healed by God.
  2. 28:14 Fear is a different verb than in the phrase “to fear (or revere) the Lord.” In its only other biblical occurrence (Is 51:13), the verb means to dread an oppressor. The saying states a paradox: those who fear in the sense of being cautious are declared happy, whereas those who are fearless will fall into traps they did not “fear.” In short, there is good fear and bad fear.

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