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28 Guilty criminals experience paranoia

even though no one threatens them.
But the innocent lovers of God,
because of righteousness,
will have the boldness[a] of a young, ferocious lion!
A rebellious nation is thrown into chaos,[b]
but leaders anointed with wisdom will restore law and order.
When a pauper[c] oppresses the destitute,
it’s like a flash flood that sweeps away their last hope.
Those who turn their backs on what they know is right[d]
will no longer be able to tell right from wrong.
But those who love the truth strengthen their souls.[e]
Justice never makes sense to men devoted to darkness,
but those tenderly devoted to the Lord
can understand justice perfectly.
It’s more respectable to be poor and pure than rich and perverse.
To be obedient to what you’ve been taught[f]
proves you’re an honorable child,
but to socialize with the lawless brings shame to your parents.
Go ahead and get rich on the backs of the poor,
but all the wealth you gather will one day be given
to those who are kind to the needy.
If you close your heart and refuse to listen to God’s instruction,[g]
even your prayer will be despised.
10 Those who tempt the lovers of God with an evil scheme
will fall into their own trap.
But the innocent who resist temptation will experience reward.
11 The wealthy in their conceit presume to be wise,
but a poor person with discernment can see right through them.
12 The triumphant joy of God’s lovers releases great glory.[h]
But when the wicked rise to power, everyone goes into hiding.[i]
13 If you cover up your sin you’ll never do well.
But if you confess your sins and forsake them,
you will be kissed by mercy.
14 Overjoyed is the one who with tender heart trembles before God,
but the stubborn, unyielding heart will experience even greater evil.
15 Ruthless rulers can only be compared
to raging lions and roaming bears.[j]
16 Abusive leaders fail to employ wisdom,
but leaders who despise corruption[k]
will enjoy a long and full life.[l]
17 A murderer’s conscience will torment him—
a fugitive haunted by guilt all the way to the grave
with no one to support him.
18 The pure will be rescued from failure,
but the perverse will suddenly fall into ruin.
19 Work hard and you’ll have all you desire,
but chase a fantasy[m] and you could end up with nothing.
20 Life’s blessings drench the honest and faithful person,
but punishment rains down upon the greedy and dishonest.
21 Giving favoritism to the rich and powerful is disgusting,
and this is the type of judge who would betray a man for a bribe.[n]
22 A greedy man[o] is in a race to get rich,
but he forgets that he could lose what’s most important
and end up with nothing.[p]
23 If you correct someone with constructive criticism,
in the end he will appreciate it more than flattery.
24 A person who would reject[q] his own parents and say,
“What’s wrong with that?” is as bad as a murderer.
25 To make rash, hasty decisions
shows that you are not trusting the Lord.
But when you rely totally on God,
you will still act carefully and prudently.[r]
26 Self-confident[s] know-it-alls will prove to be fools.
But when you lean on the wisdom from above,
you will have a way to escape the troubles of your own making.
27 You will never go without if you give to the poor.
But if you’re heartless, stingy, and selfish,[t]
you invite curses upon yourself.
28 When wicked leaders rise to power,
good people go into hiding.
But when they fall from power,
the godly take their place.


  1. Proverbs 28:1 Or “confidence.”
  2. Proverbs 28:2 Or “A rebellious nation will have one leader after another.”
  3. Proverbs 28:3 This pauper can also be one who is spiritually poor. Some Jewish expositors believe it refers to corrupt judges.
  4. Proverbs 28:4 The Hebrew word is “the Torah.” See also vv. 7 and 9.
  5. Proverbs 28:4 As translated from the Aramaic. The Septuagint is “build a wall to protect themselves.”
  6. Proverbs 28:7 Or “the Torah.”
  7. Proverbs 28:9 Or “the Torah.”
  8. Proverbs 28:12 As translated from the Aramaic.
  9. Proverbs 28:12 Or “People become victims.”
  10. Proverbs 28:15 David, before he killed Goliath, went after the lion and the bear. See 1 Sam. 17:34-37. These beasts represented demonic forces of evil over the land. Daniel also mentions the world’s ruthless leaders as lions and bears. See Dan. 7:1-8
  11. Proverbs 28:16 Or “injustice.”
  12. Proverbs 28:16 Or “enjoy a long reign.”
  13. Proverbs 28:19 Or “an empty dream.” The Septuagint is “the one who pursues leisure.”
  14. Proverbs 28:21 As translated from the Aramaic.
  15. Proverbs 28:22 Both the Aramaic and Hebrew have “the man with an evil eye.” This is a figure of speech for a stingy or greedy man. A person who shuts his heart to the poor is said to have an evil eye. A person with a good eye is someone who looks on the poor with generosity.
  16. Proverbs 28:22 As translated from the Aramaic. The Aramaic text sounds very similar to what Jesus says about gaining the world but losing our souls. See Mark 8:36.
  17. Proverbs 28:24 As translated from the Septuagint. The Hebrew is “the one who steals from his own parents.”
  18. Proverbs 28:25 As translated from the Septuagint. The Hebrew is “The greedy person stirs up trouble, but the one who trusts in the Lord will prosper.”
  19. Proverbs 28:26 Or “those who trust their instincts.”
  20. Proverbs 28:27 Or “he who hides his eyes from the poor.”

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