21 The Lord controls rulers, just as he determines the course of rivers. 2 We may think we are doing the right thing, but the Lord always knows what is in our hearts. 3 Doing what is right and fair pleases the Lord more than an offering. 4 Evil people are proud and arrogant, but sin is the only crop they produce.[a] 5 If you plan and work hard, you will have plenty; if you get in a hurry, you will end up poor.
6 Cheating to get rich is a foolish dream and no less than suicide.[b] 7 You destroy yourself by being cruel and violent and refusing to live right. 8 All crooks are liars, but anyone who is innocent will do right. 9 It’s better to stay outside on the roof of your house than to live inside with a nagging wife. 10 Evil people want to do wrong, even to their friends. 11 An ignorant fool learns by seeing others punished; a sensible person learns by being instructed.
12 God is always fair! He knows what the wicked do and will punish them. 13 If you won’t help the poor, don’t expect to be heard when you cry out for help. 14 A secret bribe will save you from someone’s fierce anger. 15 When justice is done, good citizens are glad and crooks are terrified. 16 If you stop using good sense, you will find yourself in the grave. 17 Heavy drinkers and others who live only for pleasure will lose all they have.
18 God’s people will escape, but all who are wicked will pay the price. 19 It’s better out in the desert than at home with a nagging, complaining wife. 20 Be sensible and store up precious treasures— don’t waste them like a fool. 21 If you try to be kind and good, you will be blessed with life and goodness and honor. 22 One wise person can defeat a city full of soldiers and capture their fortress. 23 Watching what you say can save you a lot of trouble. 24 If you are proud and conceited, everyone will say, “You’re a snob!”
25 If you want too much and are too lazy to work, it could be fatal. 26 But people who obey God are always generous.
27 The Lord despises the offerings of wicked people with evil motives. 28 If you tell lies in court, you are done for; only a reliable witness can do the job. 29 Wicked people bluff their way, but God’s people think before they take a step.
30 No matter how much you know or what plans you make, you can’t defeat the Lord. 31 Even if your army has horses ready for battle, the Lord will always win.
21.4but sin. . . produce: Or “but sin is the only light they ever follow.”
21.6and. . . suicide: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
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