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Proverbs 20-21 Living Bible (TLB)

20 Wine gives false courage; hard liquor leads to brawls; what fools men are to let it master them, making them reel drunkenly down the street!

The king’s fury is like that of a roaring lion; to rouse his anger is to risk your life.

It is an honor for a man to stay out of a fight. Only fools insist on quarreling.

If you won’t plow in the cold, you won’t eat at the harvest.

Though good advice lies deep within a counselor’s heart, the wise man will draw it out.

Most people will tell you what loyal friends they are, but are they telling the truth?

It is a wonderful heritage to have an honest father.

A king sitting as judge weighs all the evidence carefully, distinguishing the true from false.

Who can ever say, “I have cleansed my heart; I am sinless”?

10 The Lord despises every kind of cheating.[a]

11 The character of even a child can be known by the way he acts—whether what he does is pure and right.

12 If you have good eyesight and good hearing, thank[b] God who gave them to you.

13 If you love sleep, you will end in poverty. Stay awake, work hard, and there will be plenty to eat!

14 “Utterly worthless!” says the buyer as he haggles over the price. But afterwards he brags about his bargain!

15 Good sense is far more valuable than gold or precious jewels.

16 It is risky to make loans to strangers!

17 Some men enjoy cheating, but the cake they buy with such ill-gotten gain will turn to gravel in their mouths.

18 Don’t go ahead with your plans without the advice of others; don’t go to war until they agree.

19 Don’t tell your secrets to a gossip unless you want them broadcast to the world.

20 God puts out the light of the man who curses his father or mother.

21 Quick wealth is not a blessing in the end.

22 Don’t repay evil for evil. Wait for the Lord to handle the matter.

23 The Lord loathes all cheating and dishonesty.[c]

24 Since the Lord is directing our steps, why try to understand everything that happens along the way?

25 It is foolish and rash to make a promise to the Lord before counting the cost.

26 A wise king stamps out crime by severe punishment.

27 A man’s conscience[d] is the Lord’s searchlight exposing his hidden motives.

28 If a king is kind, honest, and fair, his kingdom stands secure.

29 The glory of young men is their strength; of old men, their experience.[e]

30 Punishment that hurts chases evil from the heart.

21 Just as water is turned into irrigation ditches, so the Lord directs the king’s thoughts. He turns them wherever he wants to.

We can justify our every deed, but God looks at our motives.

God is more pleased when we are just and fair than when we give him gifts.

Pride, lust, and evil actions[f] are all sin.

Steady plodding brings prosperity; hasty speculation brings poverty.

Dishonest gain will never last, so why take the risk?

Because the wicked are unfair, their violence boomerangs and destroys them.

A man is known by his actions.[g] An evil man lives an evil life; a good man lives a godly life.

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.[h]

19 Better to live in the desert than with a quarrelsome, complaining woman.

20 The wise man saves for the future,[i] 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.[j]

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,[k] but victory comes from God.


  1. Proverbs 20:10 every kind of cheating, literally, “diverse weights and diverse measures.”
  2. Proverbs 20:12 thank, implied.
  3. Proverbs 20:23 all cheating and dishonesty, literally, “diverse weights . . . false scales.”
  4. Proverbs 20:27 conscience, literally, “spirit.”
  5. Proverbs 20:29 their experience, literally, “the hoary head.”
  6. Proverbs 21:4 evil actions, literally, “the tillage of the wicked.”
  7. Proverbs 21:8 A man is known by his actions, implied.
  8. Proverbs 21:18 The wicked will finally lose; the righteous will finally win, literally, “The wicked is a ransom for the righteous.”
  9. Proverbs 21:20 The wise man saves for the future, literally, “There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise.”
  10. 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.”
  11. Proverbs 21:31 Go ahead and prepare for the conflict, literally, “The horse is prepared against the day of battle.”
Living Bible (TLB)

The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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