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Proverbs 20-21 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

20 Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler;
    and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
The dread wrath of a king is like the growling of a lion;
    he who provokes him to anger forfeits his life.
It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife;
    but every fool will be quarreling.
The sluggard does not plow in the autumn;
    he will seek at harvest and have nothing.
The purpose in a man’s mind is like deep water,
    but a man of understanding will draw it out.
Many a man proclaims his own loyalty,
    but a faithful man who can find?
A righteous man who walks in his integrity—
    blessed are his sons after him!
A king who sits on the throne of judgment
    winnows all evil with his eyes.
Who can say, “I have made my heart clean;
    I am pure from my sin”?
10 Diverse weights and diverse measures
    are both alike an abomination to the Lord.
11 Even a child makes himself known by his acts,
    whether what he does is pure and right.
12 The hearing ear and the seeing eye,
    the Lord has made them both.
13 Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty;
    open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread.
14 “It is bad, it is bad,” says the buyer;
    but when he goes away, then he boasts.
15 There is gold, and abundance of costly stones;
    but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.
16 Take a man’s garment when he has given surety for a stranger,
    and hold him in pledge when he gives surety for foreigners.
17 Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man,
    but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel.
18 Plans are established by counsel;
    by wise guidance wage war.
19 He who goes about gossiping reveals secrets;
    therefore do not associate with one who speaks foolishly.
20 If one curses his father or his mother,
    his lamp will be put out in utter darkness.
21 An inheritance gotten hastily in the beginning
    will in the end not be blessed.
22 Do not say, “I will repay evil”;
    wait for the Lord, and he will help you.
23 Diverse weights are an abomination to the Lord,
    and false scales are not good.
24 A man’s steps are ordered by the Lord;
    how then can man understand his way?
25 It is a snare for a man to say rashly, “It is holy,”
    and to reflect only after making his vows.
26 A wise king winnows the wicked,
    and drives the wheel over them.
27 The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord,
    searching all his innermost parts.
28 Loyalty and faithfulness preserve the king,
    and his throne is upheld by righteousness.[a]
29 The glory of young men is their strength,
    but the beauty of old men is their gray hair.
30 Blows that wound cleanse away evil;
    strokes make clean the innermost parts.
21 The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord;
    he turns it wherever he will.
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,
    but the Lord weighs the heart.
To do righteousness and justice
    is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
Haughty eyes and a proud heart,
    the lamp of the wicked, are sin.
The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance,
    but every one who is hasty comes only to want.
The getting of treasures by a lying tongue
    is a fleeting vapor and a snare of death.
The violence of the wicked will sweep them away,
    because they refuse to do what is just.
The way of the guilty is crooked,
    but the conduct of the pure is right.
It is better to live in a corner of the housetop
    than in a house shared with a contentious woman.
10 The soul of the wicked desires evil;
    his neighbor finds no mercy in his eyes.
11 When a scoffer is punished, the simple becomes wise;
    when a wise man is instructed, he gains knowledge.
12 The righteous observes the house of the wicked;
    the wicked are cast down to ruin.
13 He who closes his ear to the cry of the poor
    will himself cry out and not be heard.
14 A gift in secret averts anger;
    and a bribe in the bosom, strong wrath.
15 When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous,
    but dismay to evildoers.
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 is a ransom for the righteous,
    and the faithless for the upright.
19 It is better to live in a desert land
    than with a contentious and fretful woman.
20 Precious treasure remains[b] in a wise man’s dwelling,
    but a foolish man devours it.
21 He who pursues righteousness and kindness
    will find life[c] and honor.
22 A wise man scales the city of the mighty
    and brings down the stronghold in which they trust.
23 He who keeps his mouth and his tongue
    keeps himself out of trouble.
24 “Scoffer” is the name of the proud, haughty man
    who acts with arrogant pride.
25 The desire of the sluggard kills him
    for his hands refuse to labor.
26 All day long the wicked covets,[d]
    but 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 word of a man who hears will endure.
29 A wicked man puts on a bold face,
    but an upright man considers[e] his ways.
30 No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel,
    can avail against the Lord.
31 The horse is made ready for the day of battle,
    but the victory belongs to the Lord.


  1. Proverbs 20:28 Gk: Heb loyalty
  2. Proverbs 21:20 Gk: Heb and oil
  3. Proverbs 21:21 Gk: Heb life and righteousness
  4. Proverbs 21:26 Gk: Heb all day long he covets covetously
  5. Proverbs 21:29 Another reading is establishes
Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

The Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1965, 1966 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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