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Proverbs 21 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Lord Considers the Heart

21 The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord,
Like the [a]rivers of water;
He turns it wherever He wishes.

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,
But the Lord weighs the hearts.

To do righteousness and justice
Is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

A haughty look, a proud heart,
And the [b]plowing of the wicked are sin.

The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty,
But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.

Getting treasures by a lying tongue
[c]Is the fleeting fantasy of those who seek death.

The violence of the wicked will [d]destroy them,
Because they refuse to do justice.

The way of [e]a guilty man is perverse;
But as for the pure, his work is right.

Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop,
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.

10 The soul of the wicked desires evil;
His neighbor finds no favor in his eyes.

11 When the scoffer is punished, the simple is made wise;
But when the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge.

12 The righteous God wisely considers the house of the wicked,
Overthrowing the wicked for their wickedness.

13 Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor
Will also cry himself and not be heard.

14 A gift in secret pacifies anger,
And a bribe [f]behind the back, strong wrath.

15 It is a joy for the just to do justice,
But destruction will come to the workers of iniquity.

16 A man who wanders from the way of understanding
Will rest in the assembly of the dead.

17 He who loves pleasure will be a poor man;
He who loves wine and oil will not be rich.

18 The wicked shall be a ransom for the righteous,
And the unfaithful for the upright.

19 Better to dwell [g]in the wilderness,
Than with a contentious and angry woman.

20 There is desirable treasure,
And oil in the dwelling of the wise,
But a foolish man squanders it.

21 He who follows righteousness and mercy
Finds life, righteousness, and honor.

22 A wise man [h]scales the city of the mighty,
And brings down the trusted stronghold.

23 Whoever guards his mouth and tongue
Keeps his soul from troubles.

24 A proud and haughty man—“Scoffer” is his name;
He acts with arrogant pride.

25 The desire of the lazy man kills him,
For his hands refuse to labor.
26 He covets greedily all day long,
But the righteous gives and does not spare.

27 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination;
How much more when he brings it with wicked intent!

28 A false witness shall perish,
But the man who hears him will speak endlessly.

29 A wicked man hardens his face,
But as for the upright, he [i]establishes his way.

30 There is no wisdom or understanding
Or counsel against the Lord.

31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle,
But deliverance is of the Lord.

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 21:1 channels
  2. Proverbs 21:4 Or lamp
  3. Proverbs 21:6 LXX Pursue vanity on the snares of death; Vg. Is vain and foolish, and shall stumble on the snares of death; Tg. They shall be destroyed, and they shall fall who seek death
  4. Proverbs 21:7 Lit. drag them away
  5. Proverbs 21:8 Or The way of a man is perverse and strange;
  6. Proverbs 21:14 Under cover, lit. in the bosom
  7. Proverbs 21:19 Lit. in the land of the desert
  8. Proverbs 21:22 Climbs over the walls of
  9. Proverbs 21:29 Qr., LXX understands
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 21 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

On Life and Conduct

21 The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord;
He turns it wherever He wishes.
Every man’s way is right in his own eyes,
But the Lord weighs the hearts.
To do righteousness and justice
Is desired by the Lord more than sacrifice.
Haughty eyes and a proud heart,
The lamp of the wicked, is sin.
The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage,
But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.
The acquisition of treasures by a lying tongue
Is a fleeting vapor, the [a]pursuit of death.
The violence of the wicked will drag them away,
Because they refuse to act with justice.
The way of a guilty man is crooked,
But as for the pure, his conduct is upright.
It is better to live in a corner of a roof
Than [b]in a house shared with a contentious woman.
10 The soul of the wicked desires evil;
His neighbor finds no favor in his eyes.
11 When the scoffer is punished, the [c]naive becomes wise;
But when the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge.
12 The righteous one considers the house of the wicked,
Turning the wicked to ruin.
13 He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor
Will also cry himself and not be answered.
14 A gift in secret subdues anger,
And a bribe in the bosom, strong wrath.
15 The exercise of justice is joy for the righteous,
But is terror to the workers of iniquity.
16 A man who wanders from the way of understanding
Will rest in the assembly of the [d]dead.
17 He who loves pleasure will become a poor man;
He who loves wine and oil will not become rich.
18 The wicked is a ransom for the righteous,
And the treacherous is in the place of the upright.
19 It is better to live in a desert land
Than with a contentious and vexing woman.
20 There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise,
But a foolish man swallows it up.
21 He who pursues righteousness and loyalty
Finds life, righteousness and honor.
22 A wise man scales the city of the mighty
And brings down the [e]stronghold in which they trust.
23 He who guards his mouth and his tongue,
Guards his soul from troubles.
24 “Proud,” “Haughty,” “Scoffer,” are his names,
Who acts with insolent pride.
25 The desire of the sluggard puts him to death,
For his hands refuse to work;
26 All day long he [f]is craving,
While the righteous gives and does not hold back.
27 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination,
How much more when he brings it with evil intent!
28 A false witness will perish,
But the man who listens to the truth will speak forever.
29 A wicked man [g]displays a bold face,
But as for the upright, he makes his way sure.
30 There is no wisdom and no understanding
And no counsel against the Lord.
31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle,
But victory belongs to the Lord.

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 21:6 Lit seekers
  2. Proverbs 21:9 Lit with a woman of contentions and a house of association
  3. Proverbs 21:11 Lit simple
  4. Proverbs 21:16 Lit departed spirits
  5. Proverbs 21:22 Lit strength of trust
  6. Proverbs 21:26 Lit desires desire
  7. Proverbs 21:29 Lit makes firm with his face
New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

Proverbs 21 Amplified Bible (AMP)

On Life and Conduct

22 The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord;
He turns it whichever way He wishes.

Every man’s way is right in his own eyes,
But the Lord weighs and examines the hearts [of people and their motives].

To do righteousness and justice
Is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice [for wrongs repeatedly committed].

Haughty and arrogant eyes and a proud heart,
The lamp of the wicked [their self-centered pride], is sin [in the eyes of God].

The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance and advantage,
But everyone who acts in haste comes surely to poverty.

Acquiring treasures by a lying tongue
Is a fleeting vapor, the seeking and pursuit of death.

The violence of the wicked will [return to them and] drag them away [like fish caught in a net],
Because they refuse to act with justice.

The way of the guilty is [exceedingly] crooked,
But as for the pure, his conduct is upright.

It is better to live in a corner of the housetop [on the flat roof, exposed to the weather]
Than in a house shared with a quarrelsome (contentious) woman.
10 
The soul of the wicked desires evil [like an addictive substance];
His neighbor finds no compassion in his eyes.
11 
When the scoffer is punished, the naive [observes the lesson and] becomes wise;
But when the wise and teachable person is instructed, he receives knowledge.
12 
The righteous one keeps an eye on the house of the wicked—
How the wicked are cast down to ruin.
13 
Whoever shuts his ears at the cry of the poor
Will cry out himself and not be answered.
14 
A gift in secret subdues anger,
And a bribe [hidden] in the pocket, strong wrath.
15 
When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous (the upright, the one in right standing with God),
But to the evildoers it is disaster.
16 
A man who wanders from the way of understanding (godly wisdom)
Will remain in the assembly of the dead.
17 
He who loves [only selfish] pleasure will become a poor man;
He who loves and is devoted to [a]wine and [olive] oil will not become rich.
18 
The wicked become a ransom for the righteous,
And the treacherous in the place of the upright [for they fall into their own traps].
19 
It is better to dwell in a desert land
Than with a contentious and troublesome woman.
20 
There is precious treasure and oil in the house of the wise [who prepare for the future],
But a short-sighted and foolish man swallows it up and wastes it.
21 
He who earnestly seeks righteousness and loyalty
Finds life, righteousness, and honor.
22 
A wise man scales the city [walls] of the mighty
And brings down the stronghold in which they trust.
23 
He who guards his mouth and his tongue
Guards himself from troubles.
24 
“Proud,” “Haughty,” “Scoffer,” are his names
Who acts with overbearing and insolent pride.
25 
The desire of the lazy kills him,
For his hands refuse to labor;
26 
He craves all the day long [and does no work],
But the righteous [willingly] gives and does not withhold [what he has].
27 
The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable and offensive [to the Lord].
How much more [unacceptable and insulting can it be] when he brings it with evil intention?
28 
A false witness will perish,
But a man who listens to the truth will speak forever and go unchallenged.
29 
A wicked man puts on a bold face,
But as for the upright, he considers, directs, and establishes his way [with the confidence of integrity].
30 
There is no [human] wisdom or understanding
Or counsel [that can prevail] against the Lord.
31 
The horse is prepared for the day of battle,
But deliverance and victory belong to the Lord.

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 21:17 I.e. items associated with lavish feasting and excessive luxury.
Amplified Bible (AMP)

Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 21 New International Version (NIV)

21 In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water
    that he channels toward all who please him.

A person may think their own ways are right,
    but the Lord weighs the heart.

To do what is right and just
    is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

Haughty eyes and a proud heart—
    the unplowed field of the wicked—produce sin.

The plans of the diligent lead to profit
    as surely as haste leads to poverty.

A fortune made by a lying tongue
    is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare.[a]

The violence of the wicked will drag them away,
    for they refuse to do what is right.

The way of the guilty is devious,
    but the conduct of the innocent is upright.

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

10 The wicked crave evil;
    their neighbors get no mercy from them.

11 When a mocker is punished, the simple gain wisdom;
    by paying attention to the wise they get knowledge.

12 The Righteous One[b] takes note of the house of the wicked
    and brings the wicked to ruin.

13 Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor
    will also cry out and not be answered.

14 A gift given in secret soothes anger,
    and a bribe concealed in the cloak pacifies great wrath.

15 When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous
    but terror to evildoers.

16 Whoever strays from the path of prudence
    comes to rest in the company of the dead.

17 Whoever loves pleasure will become poor;
    whoever loves wine and olive oil will never be rich.

18 The wicked become a ransom for the righteous,
    and the unfaithful for the upright.

19 Better to live in a desert
    than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.

20 The wise store up choice food and olive oil,
    but fools gulp theirs down.

21 Whoever pursues righteousness and love
    finds life, prosperity[c] and honor.

22 One who is wise can go up against the city of the mighty
    and pull down the stronghold in which they trust.

23 Those who guard their mouths and their tongues
    keep themselves from calamity.

24 The proud and arrogant person—“Mocker” is his name—
    behaves with insolent fury.

25 The craving of a sluggard will be the death of him,
    because his hands refuse to work.
26 All day long he craves for more,
    but the righteous give without sparing.

27 The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable
    how much more so when brought with evil intent!

28 A false witness will perish,
    but a careful listener will testify successfully.

29 The wicked put up a bold front,
    but the upright give thought to their ways.

30 There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan
    that can succeed against the Lord.

31 The horse is made ready for the day of battle,
    but victory rests with the Lord.

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 21:6 Some Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint and Vulgate; most Hebrew manuscripts vapor for those who seek death
  2. Proverbs 21:12 Or The righteous person
  3. Proverbs 21:21 Or righteousness
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.

Proverbs 21 King James Version (KJV)

21 The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts.

To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.

The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.

The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death.

The robbery of the wicked shall destroy them; because they refuse to do judgment.

The way of man is froward and strange: but as for the pure, his work is right.

It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.

10 The soul of the wicked desireth evil: his neighbour findeth no favour in his eyes.

11 When the scorner is punished, the simple is made wise: and when the wise is instructed, he receiveth knowledge.

12 The righteous man wisely considereth the house of the wicked: but God overthroweth the wicked for their wickedness.

13 Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.

14 A gift in secret pacifieth anger: and a reward in the bosom strong wrath.

15 It is joy to the just to do judgment: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.

16 The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.

17 He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.

18 The wicked shall be a ransom for the righteous, and the transgressor for the upright.

19 It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.

20 There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.

21 He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.

22 A wise man scaleth the city of the mighty, and casteth down the strength of the confidence thereof.

23 Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.

24 Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath.

25 The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.

26 He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.

27 The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?

28 A false witness shall perish: but the man that heareth speaketh constantly.

29 A wicked man hardeneth his face: but as for the upright, he directeth his way.

30 There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord.

31 The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the Lord.

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