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Contrast the Upright and the Wicked

13 A wise son heeds and accepts [and is the result of] his father’s discipline and instruction,
But a scoffer does not listen to reprimand and does not learn from his errors.

From the fruit of his mouth a [wise] man enjoys good,
But the desire of the treacherous is for violence.

The one who guards his mouth [thinking before he speaks] protects his life;
The one who opens his lips wide [and chatters without thinking] comes to ruin.

The soul (appetite) of the lazy person craves and gets nothing [for lethargy overcomes ambition],
But the soul (appetite) of the diligent [who works willingly] is rich and abundantly supplied.(A)

A righteous man hates lies,
But a wicked man is loathsome, and he acts shamefully.

Righteousness (being in right standing with God) guards the one whose way is blameless,
But wickedness undermines and overthrows the sinner.

There is one who pretends to be rich, yet has nothing at all;
Another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.(B)

The ransom for a man’s life is his wealth,
But the poor man does not even have to listen to a rebuke or threats [from the envious].

The light of the righteous [within him—grows brighter and] rejoices,
But the lamp of the wicked [is a temporary light and] goes out.
Through pride and presumption come nothing but strife,
But [skillful and godly] wisdom is with those who welcome [well-advised] counsel.
Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles,
But he who gathers gradually by [honest] labor will increase [his riches].
Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
But when desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life.
Whoever despises the word and counsel [of God] brings destruction upon himself,
But he who [reverently] fears and respects the commandment [of God] will be rewarded.
The teaching of the wise is a fountain and source of life,
So that one may avoid the snares of death.
Good understanding wins favor [from others],
But the way of the unfaithful is hard [like barren, dry soil].
Every prudent and self-disciplined man acts with knowledge,
But a [closed-minded] fool [who refuses to learn] displays his foolishness [for all to see].
A wicked messenger falls into hardship,
But a faithful ambassador brings healing.
Poverty and shame will come to him who refuses instruction and discipline,
But he who accepts and learns from reproof or censure is honored.
Desire realized is sweet to the soul;
But it is detestable to fools to turn away from evil [which they have planned].
He who walks [as a companion] with wise men will be wise,
But the companions of [conceited, dull-witted] fools [are fools themselves and] will experience harm.(C)
Adversity pursues sinners,
But the [consistently] upright will be rewarded with prosperity.
A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,
And the wealth of the sinner is stored up for [the hands of] the righteous.
Abundant food is in the fallow (uncultivated) ground of the poor,
But [without protection] it is swept away by injustice.
He who withholds the rod [of discipline] hates his son,
But he who loves him disciplines and trains him diligently and appropriately [with wisdom and love].(D)
The [consistently] righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite,
But the stomach of the wicked is in need [of bread].

Contrast the Upright and the Wicked

14 The wise woman builds her house [on a foundation of godly precepts, and her household thrives],
But the foolish one [who lacks spiritual insight] tears it down with her own hands [by ignoring godly principles].

He who walks in uprightness [reverently] fears the Lord [and obeys and worships Him with profound respect],
But he who is devious in his ways despises Him.

In the mouth of the [arrogant] [a]fool [who rejects God] is a rod for his back,
But the lips of the wise [when they speak with godly wisdom] will protect them.

Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean,
But much revenue [because of good crops] comes by the strength of the ox.

A faithful and trustworthy witness will not lie,
But a false witness speaks lies.

A scoffer seeks wisdom and finds none [for his ears are closed to wisdom],
But knowledge is easy for one who understands [because he is willing to learn].

Leave the presence of a [shortsighted] fool,
For you will not find knowledge or hear godly wisdom from his lips.

The wisdom of the sensible is to understand his way,
But the foolishness of [shortsighted] fools is deceit.

Fools mock sin [but sin mocks the fools],
But among the upright there is good will and the favor and blessing of God.(E)
The heart knows its own bitterness,
And no stranger shares its joy.
The house of the wicked will be overthrown,
But the tent of the upright will thrive.
There is a way which seems right to a man and appears straight before him,
But its end is the way of death.
Even in laughter the heart may be in pain,
And the end of joy may be grief.
The backslider in heart will have his fill with his own [rotten] ways,
But a good man will be satisfied with his ways [the godly thought and action which his heart pursues and in which he delights].
The naive or inexperienced person [is easily misled and] believes every word he hears,
But the prudent man [is discreet and astute and] considers well where he is going.
A wise man suspects danger and cautiously avoids evil,
But the fool is arrogant and careless.
A quick-tempered man acts foolishly and without self-control,
And a man of wicked schemes is hated.
The naive [are unsophisticated and easy to exploit and] inherit foolishness,
But the sensible [are thoughtful and far-sighted and] are crowned with knowledge.
The evil will bow down before the good,
And the wicked [will bow down] at the gates of the righteous.
The poor man is hated even by his neighbor,
But those who love the rich are many.
He who despises his neighbor sins [against God and his fellow man],
But happy [blessed and favored by God] is he who is gracious and merciful to the poor.
Do they not go astray who devise evil and wander from the way of righteousness?
But kindness and truth will be to those who devise good.
In all labor there is profit,
But mere talk leads only to poverty.
The crown of the wise is their wealth [of wisdom],
But the foolishness of [closed-minded] fools is [nothing but] folly.
A truthful witness saves lives,
But he who speaks lies is treacherous.
In the [reverent] fear of the Lord there is strong confidence,
And His children will [always] have a place of refuge.
The [reverent] fear of the Lord [that leads to obedience and worship] is a fountain of life,
So that one may avoid the snares of death.(F)
In a multitude of people is a king’s glory,
But in a lack of people is a [pretentious] prince’s ruin.
He who is slow to anger has great understanding [and profits from his self-control],
But he who is quick-tempered exposes and exalts his foolishness [for all to see].(G)
A calm and peaceful and tranquil heart is life and health to the body,
But passion and envy are like rottenness to the bones.
He who oppresses the poor taunts and insults his Maker,
But he who is kind and merciful and gracious to the needy honors Him.(H)
The wicked is overthrown through his wrongdoing,
But the righteous has hope and confidence and a refuge [with God] even in death.
Wisdom rests [silently] in the heart of one who has understanding,
But what is in the heart of [shortsighted] fools is made known.(I)
Righteousness [moral and spiritual integrity and virtuous character] exalts a nation,
But sin is a disgrace to any people.
The king’s favor and good will are toward a servant who acts wisely and discreetly,
But his anger and wrath are toward him who acts shamefully.(J)

Contrast the Upright and the Wicked

15 A soft and gentle and thoughtful answer turns away wrath,
But harsh and painful and careless words stir up anger.(K)

The tongue of the wise speaks knowledge that is pleasing and acceptable,
But the [babbling] mouth of fools spouts folly.

The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
Watching the evil and the good [in all their endeavors].(L)

A soothing tongue [speaking words that build up and encourage] is a tree of life,
But a perversive tongue [speaking words that overwhelm and depress] crushes the spirit.

A [flippant, arrogant] fool rejects his father’s instruction and correction,
But he who [is willing to learn and] regards and keeps in mind a reprimand acquires good sense.

Great and priceless treasure is in the house of the [consistently] righteous one [who seeks godly instruction and grows in wisdom],
But trouble is in the income of the wicked one [who rejects the laws of God].

The lips of the wise spread knowledge [sifting it as chaff from the grain];
But the hearts of [shortsighted] fools are not so.

The sacrifice of the wicked is hateful and exceedingly offensive to the Lord,
But the prayer of the upright is His delight!(M)

The way [of life] of the wicked is hateful and exceedingly offensive to the Lord,
But He loves one who pursues righteousness [personal integrity, moral courage and honorable character].
There is severe discipline for him who [b]turns from the way [of righteousness];
And he who hates correction will die.
Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead) and Abaddon (the abyss, the place of eternal punishment) lie open before the Lord
How much more the hearts and inner motives of the children of men.(N)
A scoffer [unlike a wise man] resents one who rebukes him and tries to teach him;
Nor will he go to the wise [for counsel and instruction].
A heart full of joy and goodness makes a cheerful face,
But when a heart is full of sadness the spirit is crushed.(O)
The mind of the intelligent and discerning seeks knowledge and eagerly inquires after it,
But the mouth of the [stubborn] fool feeds on foolishness.(P)
All the days of the afflicted are bad,
But a glad heart has a continual feast [regardless of the circumstances].
Better is a little with the [reverent, worshipful] fear of the Lord
Than great treasure and trouble with it.(Q)
Better is a dinner of vegetables and herbs where love is present
Than a fattened ox served with hatred.(R)
A hot-tempered man stirs up strife,
But he who is slow to anger and patient calms disputes.
The way of the lazy is like a hedge of thorns [it pricks, lacerates, and entangles him],
But the way [of life] of the upright is smooth and open like a highway.
A wise son makes a father glad,
But a foolish man despises his mother.
Foolishness is joy to him who is without heart and lacks [intelligent, common] sense,
But a man of understanding walks uprightly [making his course straight].(S)
Without consultation and wise advice, plans are frustrated,
But with many counselors they are established and succeed.
A man has joy in giving an appropriate answer,
And how good and delightful is a word spoken at the right moment—how good it is!
The [chosen] path of life leads upward for the wise,
That he may keep away from Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead) below.(T)
The Lord will tear down the house of the proud and arrogant (self-righteous),
But He will establish and protect the boundaries [of the land] of the [godly] widow.
Evil plans and thoughts of the wicked are exceedingly vile and offensive to the Lord,
But pure words are pleasant words to Him.
He who profits unlawfully brings suffering to his own house,
But he who hates bribes [and does not receive nor pay them] will live.(U)
The heart of the righteous thinks carefully about how to answer [in a wise and appropriate and timely way],
But the [babbling] mouth of the wicked pours out malevolent things.(V)
The Lord is far from the wicked [and distances Himself from them],
But He hears the prayer of the [consistently] righteous [that is, those with spiritual integrity and moral courage].
The light of the eyes rejoices the hearts of others,
And good news puts fat on the bones.
The ear that listens to and learns from the life-giving rebuke (reprimand, censure)
Will remain among the wise.
He who neglects and ignores instruction and discipline despises himself,
But he who learns from rebuke acquires understanding [and grows in wisdom].
The [reverent] fear of the Lord [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome] is the instruction for wisdom [its starting point and its essence];
And before honor comes humility.


  1. Proverbs 14:3 See note 1:7.
  2. Proverbs 15:10 Lit forsakes.

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