21 Just as water is turned into irrigation ditches, so the Lord directs the king’s thoughts. He turns them wherever he wants to.
2 We can justify our every deed, but God looks at our motives.
3 God is more pleased when we are just and fair than when we give him gifts.
4 Pride, lust, and evil actions[a] are all sin.
5 Steady plodding brings prosperity; hasty speculation brings poverty.
6 Dishonest gain will never last, so why take the risk?
7 Because the wicked are unfair, their violence boomerangs and destroys them.
8 A man is known by his actions.[b] An evil man lives an evil life; a good man lives a godly life.
9 It is better to live in the corner of an attic than with a crabby woman in a lovely home.
10 An evil man loves to harm others; being a good neighbor is out of his line.
11 The wise man learns by listening; the simpleton can learn only by seeing scorners punished.
12 God, the Righteous One, knows what is going on in the homes of the wicked and will bring the wicked to judgment.
13 He who shuts his ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in his own time of need.
14 An angry man is silenced by giving him a gift!
15 A good man loves justice, but it is a calamity to evildoers.
16 The man who strays away from common sense will end up dead!
17 A man who loves pleasure becomes poor; wine and luxury are not the way to riches!
18 The wicked will finally lose; the righteous will finally win.[c]
19 Better to live in the desert than with a quarrelsome, complaining woman.
20 The wise man saves for the future,[d] but the foolish man spends whatever he gets.
21 The man who tries to be good, loving, and kind finds life, righteousness, and honor.
22 The wise man conquers the strong man and levels his defenses.
23 Keep your mouth closed and you’ll stay out of trouble.
24 Mockers are proud, haughty, and arrogant.
25-26 The lazy man longs for many things, but his hands refuse to work. He is greedy to get, while the godly love to give!
27 God loathes the gifts of evil men, especially if they are trying to bribe him!
28 No one believes a liar, but everyone respects the words of an honest man.
29 An evil man is stubborn, but a godly man will reconsider.[e]
30 No one, regardless of how shrewd or well-advised he is, can stand against the Lord.
31 Go ahead and prepare for the conflict,[f] but victory comes from God.
- Proverbs 21:4 evil actions, literally, “the tillage of the wicked.”
- Proverbs 21:8 A man is known by his actions, implied.
- Proverbs 21:18 The wicked will finally lose; the righteous will finally win, literally, “The wicked is a ransom for the righteous.”
- Proverbs 21:20 The wise man saves for the future, literally, “There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise.”
- Proverbs 21:29 An evil man is stubborn, but a godly man will reconsider, or “The wicked man is brazen; the godly man is thoughtful.”
- Proverbs 21:31 Go ahead and prepare for the conflict, literally, “The horse is prepared against the day of battle.”