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Proverbs 21Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

21 A king’s heart is like streams of water in the Lord’s hand:
He directs it wherever He chooses.

All a man’s ways seem right to him,
but the Lord evaluates the motives.[a]

Doing what is righteous and just
is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

The lamp[b] that guides the wicked—
haughty eyes and an arrogant heart—is sin.

The plans of the diligent certainly lead to profit,
but anyone who is reckless certainly becomes poor.

Making a fortune through a lying tongue
is a vanishing mist,[c] a pursuit of death.[d][e]

The violence of the wicked sweeps them away
because they refuse to act justly.

A guilty man’s conduct is crooked,
but the behavior of the innocent is upright.

Better to live on the corner of a roof
than to share a house with a nagging wife.

10 A wicked person desires evil;
he has no consideration[f] for his neighbor.

11 When a mocker is punished,
the inexperienced become wiser;
when one teaches a wise man,
he acquires knowledge.

12 The Righteous One considers the house of the wicked;
He brings the wicked to ruin.

13 The one who shuts his ears to the cry of the poor
will himself also call out and not be answered.

14 A secret gift soothes anger,
and a covert bribe,[g] fierce rage.

15 Justice executed is a joy to the righteous
but a terror to those who practice iniquity.

16 The man who strays from the way of wisdom
will come to rest
in the assembly of the departed spirits.

17 The one who loves pleasure will become a poor man;
whoever loves wine and oil will not get rich.

18 The wicked are a ransom for the righteous,
and the treacherous, for[h] the upright.

19 Better to live in a wilderness
than with a nagging and hot-tempered wife.

20 Precious treasure and oil are in the dwelling of a wise person,
but a foolish man consumes them.[i]

21 The one who pursues righteousness and faithful love
will find life, righteousness, and honor.

22 A wise person went up against a city of warriors
and brought down its secure fortress.

23 The one who guards his mouth and tongue
keeps himself out of trouble.

24 The proud and arrogant person, named “Mocker,”
acts with excessive pride.

25 A slacker’s craving will kill him
because his hands refuse to work.
26 He is filled with craving[j] all day long,
but the righteous give and don’t hold back.

27 The sacrifice of a wicked person is detestable—
how much more so
when he brings it with ulterior motives!

28 A lying witness will perish,
but the one who listens will speak successfully.

29 A wicked man puts on a bold face,
but the upright man considers his way.

30 No wisdom, no understanding, and no counsel
will prevail against the Lord.

31 A horse is prepared for the day of battle,
but victory comes from the Lord.


  1. Proverbs 21:2 Lit Lord weighs the hearts
  2. Proverbs 21:4 Some Hb mss, ancient versions read tillage
  3. Proverbs 21:6 Or a breath blown away
  4. Proverbs 21:6 Some Hb mss, LXX, Vg read a snare of death
  5. Proverbs 21:6 Lit is vanity, ones seeking death
  6. Proverbs 21:10 Or favor
  7. Proverbs 21:14 Lit a bribe in the bosom
  8. Proverbs 21:18 Or in place of
  9. Proverbs 21:20 Lit it
  10. Proverbs 21:26 Lit He craves a craving

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