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Proverbs 16 International Standard Version (ISV)

Wisdom’s Blessings

16 People do the planning,[a]
but the end result[b] is from the Lord.

Everything a person does seems pure in his own opinion,
    but the Lord weighs intentions.

Entrust your work to the Lord,
    and your planning will succeed.

The Lord made everything answerable to him,
    including the wicked at the time of trouble.[c]
The Lord detests those who are proud;
    truly they will not go unpunished.

Iniquity is atoned for by gracious love and truth,
    and through fear of the Lord people[d] turn from evil.

When a person’s ways please the Lord,
    even his enemies will be at peace with him.

A little gain[e] with righteousness is better
    than great income without justice.

A person plans his way,
    but the Lord directs his steps.

10 When a king is ready to speak officially,[f]
    what he says should not err with respect to justice.
11 Honest scales and balances are from the Lord;
    he made all the weights in the bag.
12 Kings detest wrongdoing,
    for through righteousness the throne is established.
13 Kings take pleasure in righteous speech;
    they treasure a person who speaks what is upright.
14 The king’s wrath results in a death sentence,
    but whoever is wise will appease him.
15 When a king is pleased,[g] there is life,
    and his favor is like a cloud that brings spring rain.

16 How much better than gaining gold is the acquisition of wisdom,
    the attainment of wisdom better than silver!

17 The road of the upright circumvents evil,
    and whoever watches how he lives[h] preserves his life.

18 Pride precedes destruction;
    an arrogant spirit appears before a fall.
19 Better to be humble among the poor,
    than to share what is stolen with the proud.

20 Whoever listens to a word of instruction prospers,
    and anyone who trusts in the Lord is blessed.

21 The wise-hearted person is told to be discerning,
    and that pleasant speech promotes instruction.
22 Anyone who has understanding is a fountain of life,
    but foolishness brings punishment to fools.

23 A wise person’s thoughts[i] control his words,
    and his speech promotes instruction.
24 Pleasant words are honey from a honeycomb—
    sweet to the soul and healing for the body.[j]

Advice to the Wise

25 There is a road that seems right for a man to travel,[k]
    but in the end it’s the road to death.

26 The appetite of the laborer motivates him;
    indeed, his hunger drives him on.

27 A worthless person concocts evil gossip[l]
    his lips are like a burning fire.

28 A deceitful man stirs dissension,
    and anyone who gossips separates friends.
29 A violent man entices his companion
    and leads him on a path that is not good.
30 Whoever winks knowingly[m] is plotting[n] deceit;
    anyone who purses his lips is bent towards evil.

31 Gray hair is a crown of glory;
    it is obtained by following[o] a righteous path.

32 Whoever controls his temper is better than a warrior,
    and anyone who has control of his spirit is better
        than someone who captures a city.

33 The dice is cast into someone’s lap,
    but the outcome is from the Lord.


  1. Proverbs 16:1 Lit. Preparations of the heart belong to human beings
  2. Proverbs 16:1 Or the response of the tongue
  3. Proverbs 16:4 Lit. evil
  4. Proverbs 16:6 The Heb. lacks people
  5. Proverbs 16:8 The Heb. lacks gain
  6. Proverbs 16:10 Lit. king speaks an oracle
  7. Proverbs 16:15 Lit. a king’s face lightens
  8. Proverbs 16:17 Lit. watches his path
  9. Proverbs 16:23 Lit. heart
  10. Proverbs 16:24 Lit. bone
  11. Proverbs 16:25 The Heb. lacks to travel
  12. Proverbs 16:27 The Heb. lacks gossip
  13. Proverbs 16:30 Lit. with his eyes
  14. Proverbs 16:30 So MT; LXX Syr Targ Vg read winks with his eyes considers
  15. Proverbs 16:31 The Heb. lacks following
International Standard Version (ISV)

Copyright © 1995-2014 by ISV Foundation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED INTERNATIONALLY. Used by permission of Davidson Press, LLC.

Proverbs 16 New International Version (NIV)

16 To humans belong the plans of the heart,
    but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.

All a person’s ways seem pure to them,
    but motives are weighed by the Lord.

Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
    and he will establish your plans.

The Lord works out everything to its proper end
    even the wicked for a day of disaster.

The Lord detests all the proud of heart.
    Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.

Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for;
    through the fear of the Lord evil is avoided.

When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way,
    he causes their enemies to make peace with them.

Better a little with righteousness
    than much gain with injustice.

In their hearts humans plan their course,
    but the Lord establishes their steps.

10 The lips of a king speak as an oracle,
    and his mouth does not betray justice.

11 Honest scales and balances belong to the Lord;
    all the weights in the bag are of his making.

12 Kings detest wrongdoing,
    for a throne is established through righteousness.

13 Kings take pleasure in honest lips;
    they value the one who speaks what is right.

14 A king’s wrath is a messenger of death,
    but the wise will appease it.

15 When a king’s face brightens, it means life;
    his favor is like a rain cloud in spring.

16 How much better to get wisdom than gold,
    to get insight rather than silver!

17 The highway of the upright avoids evil;
    those who guard their ways preserve their lives.

18 Pride goes before destruction,
    a haughty spirit before a fall.

19 Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed
    than to share plunder with the proud.

20 Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers,[a]
    and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord.

21 The wise in heart are called discerning,
    and gracious words promote instruction.[b]

22 Prudence is a fountain of life to the prudent,
    but folly brings punishment to fools.

23 The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent,
    and their lips promote instruction.[c]

24 Gracious words are a honeycomb,
    sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

25 There is a way that appears to be right,
    but in the end it leads to death.

26 The appetite of laborers works for them;
    their hunger drives them on.

27 A scoundrel plots evil,
    and on their lips it is like a scorching fire.

28 A perverse person stirs up conflict,
    and a gossip separates close friends.

29 A violent person entices their neighbor
    and leads them down a path that is not good.

30 Whoever winks with their eye is plotting perversity;
    whoever purses their lips is bent on evil.

31 Gray hair is a crown of splendor;
    it is attained in the way of righteousness.

32 Better a patient person than a warrior,
    one with self-control than one who takes a city.

33 The lot is cast into the lap,
    but its every decision is from the Lord.


  1. Proverbs 16:20 Or whoever speaks prudently finds what is good
  2. Proverbs 16:21 Or words make a person persuasive
  3. Proverbs 16:23 Or prudent / and make their lips persuasive
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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