Contrast of the Righteous and the Wicked
10 The proverbs of Solomon:
A wise son makes a father glad,
But a foolish [stubborn] son [who refuses to learn] is a grief to his mother.
Treasures of wickedness and ill-gotten gains do not profit,
But righteousness and moral integrity in daily life rescues from death.
The Lord will not allow the [a]righteous to hunger [God will meet all his needs],
But He will reject and cast away the craving of the wicked.(A)
Poor is he who works with a negligent and idle hand,
But the hand of the diligent makes him rich.
He who gathers during summer and takes advantage of his opportunities is a son who acts wisely,
But he who sleeps during harvest and ignores the moment of opportunity is a son who acts shamefully.
Blessings are on the head of the righteous [the upright, those in right standing with God],
But the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
The [b]memory of the righteous [person] is a [source of] blessing,
But the name of the wicked will [be forgotten and] rot [like a corpse].(B)
The wise in heart [are willing to learn so they] will accept and obey commands (instruction),
But the babbling fool [who is arrogant and thinks himself wise] will come to ruin.
He who walks in integrity and with moral character walks securely,
But he who takes a crooked way will be discovered and punished.
He who [maliciously] winks the eye [of evil intent] causes trouble;
And the babbling fool [who is arrogant and thinks himself wise] will come to ruin.
The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life and his words of wisdom are a source of blessing,
But the mouth of the wicked conceals violence and evil.
Hatred stirs up strife,
But love covers and overwhelms all transgressions [forgiving and overlooking another’s faults].
On the lips of the discerning, [skillful and godly] wisdom is found,
But discipline and the rod are for the back of the one who is without common sense and understanding.
Wise men store up and treasure knowledge [in mind and heart],
But with the mouth of the foolish, ruin is at hand.
The rich man’s wealth is his fortress;
The ruin of the poor is their poverty.(C)
The wages of the righteous [the upright, those in right standing with God] is [a worthwhile, meaningful] life,
The income of the wicked, punishment.(D)
He who learns from instruction and correction is on the [right] path of life [and for others his example is a path toward wisdom and blessing],
But he who ignores and refuses correction goes off course [and for others his example is a path toward sin and ruin].
He who hides hatred has lying lips,
And he who spreads slander is a fool.(E)
When there are many words, transgression and offense are unavoidable,
But he who controls his lips and keeps thoughtful silence is wise.
The tongue of the righteous is like precious silver (greatly valued);
The heart of the wicked is worth little.
The lips of the righteous feed and guide many,
But fools [who reject God and His wisdom] die for lack of understanding.
The blessing of the Lord brings [true] riches,
And He adds no sorrow to it [for it comes as a blessing from God].
Engaging in evil is like sport to the fool [who refuses wisdom and chases sin],
But to a man of understanding [skillful and godly] wisdom brings joy.
What the wicked fears will come upon him,
But the desire of the righteous [for the blessings of God] will be granted.
When the whirlwind passes, the wicked is no more,
But the righteous has an everlasting foundation.(F)
Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes,
So is the lazy one to those who send him to work.
The [reverent] fear of the Lord [worshiping, obeying, serving, and trusting Him with awe-filled respect] prolongs one’s life,
But the years of the wicked will be shortened.
The hope of the righteous [those of honorable character and integrity] is joy,
But the expectation of the wicked [those who oppose God and ignore His wisdom] comes to nothing.
The way of the Lord is a stronghold to the upright,
But it is ruin to those who do evil.
The [consistently] righteous will never be shaken,
But the wicked will not inhabit the earth.(G)
The mouth of the righteous flows with [skillful and godly] wisdom,
But the perverted tongue will be cut out.
The lips of the righteous know (speak) what is acceptable,
But the mouth of the wicked knows (speaks) what is perverted (twisted).
Contrast the Upright and the Wicked
11 A false balance and dishonest business practices are extremely offensive to the Lord,
But an accurate scale is His delight.(H)
When pride comes [boiling up with an arrogant attitude of self-importance], then come dishonor and shame,
But with the humble [the teachable who have been chiseled by trial and who have learned to walk humbly with God] there is wisdom and soundness of mind.
The integrity and moral courage of the upright will guide them,
But the crookedness of the treacherous will destroy them.
Riches will not provide security in the day of wrath and judgment,
But righteousness rescues from death.(I)
The righteousness of the blameless will smooth their way and keep it straight,
But the wicked will fall by his own wickedness.
The righteousness of the upright will rescue them,
But the treacherous will be caught by their own greed.
When the wicked man dies, his expectation will perish;
And the hope of [godless] strong men perishes.
[c]The righteous is rescued from trouble,
And the wicked takes his place.
With his mouth the godless man destroys his neighbor,
But through knowledge and discernment the righteous will be rescued.
When it goes well for the righteous, the city rejoices,
And when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy.
By the blessing [of the influence] of the upright the city is exalted,
But by the mouth of the wicked it is torn down.
He who despises his neighbor lacks sense,
But a man of understanding keeps silent.
He who goes about as a gossip reveals secrets,
But he who is trustworthy and faithful keeps a matter hidden.
Where there is no [wise, intelligent] guidance, the people fall [and go off course like a ship without a helm],
But in the abundance of [wise and godly] counselors there is victory.
He who puts up security and guarantees a debt for an outsider will surely suffer [for his foolishness],
But he who hates (declines) being a guarantor is secure [from its penalties].
A gracious and good woman attains honor,
And ruthless men attain riches [but not respect].
The merciful and generous man benefits his soul [for his behavior returns to bless him],
But the cruel and callous man does himself harm.
The wicked man earns deceptive wages,
But he who sows righteousness and lives his life with integrity will have a true reward [that is both permanent and satisfying].(J)
He who is steadfast in righteousness attains life,
But he who pursues evil attains his own death.
The perverse in heart are repulsive and shamefully vile to the Lord,
But those who are blameless and above reproach in their walk are His delight!
Assuredly, the evil man will not go unpunished,
But the descendants of the righteous will be freed.
As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout,
So is a beautiful woman who is without discretion [her lack of character mocks her beauty].
The desire of the righteous brings only good,
But the expectation of the wicked brings wrath.
There is the one who [generously] scatters [abroad], and yet increases all the more;
And there is the one who withholds what is justly due, but it results only in want and poverty.
The generous man [is a source of blessing and] shall be prosperous and enriched,
And he who waters will himself be watered [reaping the generosity he has sown].(K)
The people curse him who holds back grain [when the public needs it],
But a blessing [from God and man] is upon the head of him who sells it.
He who diligently seeks good seeks favor and grace,
But he who seeks evil, evil will come to him.
He who leans on and trusts in and is confident in his riches will fall,
But the righteous [who trust in God’s provision] will flourish like a green leaf.
He who troubles (mismanages) his own house will inherit the wind (nothing),
And the foolish will be a servant to the wise-hearted.
The fruit of the [consistently] righteous is a tree of life,
And he who is wise captures and wins souls [for God—he gathers them for eternity].(L)
If the righteous will be rewarded on the earth [with godly blessings],
How much more [will] the wicked and the sinner [be repaid with punishment]!
Contrast the Upright and the Wicked
12 Whoever loves instruction and discipline loves knowledge,
But he who hates reproof and correction is stupid.
A good man will obtain favor from the Lord,
But He will condemn a man who devises evil.
A man will not be established by wickedness,
But the root of the [consistently] righteous will not be moved.
A virtuous and excellent wife [worthy of honor] is the crown of her husband,
But she who shames him [with her foolishness] is like rottenness in his bones.(M)
The thoughts and purposes of the [consistently] righteous are just (honest, reliable),
But the counsels and schemes of the wicked are deceitful.
The [malevolent] words of the wicked lie in wait for [innocent] blood [to slander],
But the mouth of the upright will rescue and protect them.
The wicked are overthrown [by their evil] and are no more,
But the house of the [consistently] righteous will stand [securely].
A man will be commended according to his insight and sound judgment,
But the one who is of a perverse mind will be despised.
[d]Better is he who is lightly esteemed and has a servant,
Than he who [boastfully] honors himself [pretending to be what he is not] and lacks bread.
A righteous man has kind regard for the life of his animal,
But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.(N)
He who tills his land will have plenty of bread,
But he who follows worthless things lacks common sense and good judgment.
The wicked desire the plunder of evil men,
But the root of the righteous yields richer fruit.
An evil man is [dangerously] ensnared by the transgression of his lips,
But the righteous will escape from trouble.
A man will be satisfied with good from the fruit of his words,
And the deeds of a man’s hands will return to him [as a harvest].
The way of the [arrogant] fool [who rejects God’s wisdom] is right in his own eyes,
But a wise and prudent man is he who listens to counsel.(O)
The [arrogant] fool’s anger is quickly known [because he lacks self-control and common sense],
But a prudent man ignores an insult.
He who speaks truth [when he testifies] tells what is right,
But a false witness utters deceit [in court].
There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword,
But the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Truthful lips will be established forever,
But a lying tongue is [credited] only for a moment.
Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil,
But counselors of peace have joy.
No harm befalls the righteous,
But the wicked are filled with trouble.(P)
Lying lips are extremely disgusting to the Lord,
But those who deal faithfully are His delight.(Q)
A shrewd man is reluctant to display his knowledge [until the proper time],
But the heart of [over-confident] fools proclaims foolishness.(R)
The hand of the diligent will rule,
But the negligent and lazy will be put to forced labor.
Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down,
But a good (encouraging) word makes it glad.(S)
The righteous man is a guide to his neighbor,
But the way of the wicked leads them astray.
The lazy man does not catch and roast his prey,
But the precious possession of a [wise] man is diligence [because he recognizes opportunities and seizes them].
In the way of righteousness is life,
And in its pathway there is no death [but immortality—eternal life].(T)
- Proverbs 10:3 Lit soul of the righteous.
- Proverbs 10:7 Lit mention. In Jewish tradition, “memory” is not just a recollection but implies speaking of the one remembered.
- Proverbs 11:8 The famous eleventh-century rabbi known as Rashi told a fable illustrating this verse. He said that a fox once told a wolf to come with him and he would give him abundant food. It was night, and the fox led the wolf to a well with a bucket at each end of the rope. The fox got into the bucket at the top of the well and rode down to the bottom. When the wolf asked him what he was doing, the fox pointed to the reflection of the moon in the water and said, “There is plenty of cheese and meat down here. Get in the other bucket and come down right away!” The wolf did, and as he went down the fox was pulled up in the first bucket. When the fox got to the top, the wolf said, “How am I supposed to get out?” Thereupon the fox quoted this verse to him.
- Proverbs 12:9 This is the first of many verses in Proverbs that use the “better...than” construction to emphasize contrasting positions.