Proverbs 21

1 The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; he directs it wherever he wants.
2 Everyone's path is straight in their own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart.
3 Acting with righteousness and justice is more valued by the LORD than sacrifice.
4 Prideful eyes, an arrogant heart, and the lamp of the wicked are all sinful.
5 The plans of the diligent end up in profit, but those who hurry end up with loss.
6 Those who gain treasure with lies are like a drifting fog, leading to death.
7 The violence of the wicked will sweep them away, for they refuse to act with justice.
8 The ways of some people are twisted and strange, but the behavior of those who do right is pure.
9 Better to live on the edge of a roof than with a contentious woman in a large house.
10 Wicked people desire evil; their neighbors receive no mercy from them.
11 When a mocker is punished, the naive person gains wisdom; when insight comes to the wise, knowledge increases.
12 The righteous one observes the house of the wicked, turning the wicked toward trouble.
13 Those who close their ears to the cries of the poor will themselves call out but receive no answer.
14 A secret gift calms anger, and a hidden bribe removes furious wrath.
15 Acting justly is a joy to the righteous, but dreaded by those who do evil.
16 People who wander from the path of insight will rest in the company of the dead.
17 Those who love pleasure end up poor; lovers of wine and oil won't get rich.
18 The wicked are a ransom for the righteous; the treacherous will be punished in the place of the virtuous.
19 Better to live in a wilderness than in a house with a contentious and angry woman.
20 Precious treasure and oil stay in the home of the wise, but fools swallow them up.
21 Those who pursue righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.
22 A wise person fought a city of warriors and brought down the stronghold in which they felt safe.
23 Those who guard their mouths and their tongues guard themselves from trouble.
24 Incredibly proud—mockers are their name! Their conduct involves excessive pride.
25 The desires of the lazy will kill them, because their hands refuse to do anything.
26 The lazy desire things constantly, but the righteous give without holding back.
27 The LORD detests the sacrifices of the wicked, especially when brought with devious motives.
28 A lying witness will perish, but one who listens will testify successfully.
29 The wicked person appears brash, but the virtuous think about the path ahead.
30 No wisdom, understanding, or advice can stand up against the LORD.
31 A horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the LORD.

Proverbs 21 Commentary

Chapter 21

Verse 1 The believer, perceiving that the Lord rules every heart as he sees fit, like the husbandman who turns the water through his grounds as he pleases, seeks to have his own heart, and the hearts of others, directed in his faith, fear, and love. Verse 2 . We are partial in judging ourselves and our actions. Verse 3 . Many deceive themselves with a conceit that outward devotions will excuse unrighteousness. Verse 4 . Sin is the pride, the ambition, the glory, the joy, and the business of wicked men. Verse 5 . The really diligent employ foresight as well as labour. Verse 6 . While men seek wealth by unlawful practices, they seek death. Verse 7 . Injustice will return upon the sinner, and will destroy him here and for ever. Verse 8 . The way of mankind by nature is froward and strange. Verse 9 . It is best to shun bitter contention by pouring out the heart before God. For by prudence and patience, with constant prayer, the cross may be removed. Verse 10 . The evil desires of a wicked man's heart, lead to baseness in his conduct. Verse 11 . The simple may be made wise by punishments on the wicked, and by instructions to those who are willing to be taught. Verse 12 . Good men envy not the prosperity of evil-doers; they see there is a curse on them. Verse 13 . Such as oppress the poor by beating down wages, such as will not relieve according to their ability those in distress, and those in authority who neglect to do justice, stop their ears at the cry of the poor. But doubtless care is to be used in the exercise of charity. Verse 14 . If money can conquer the fury of the passions, shall reason, the fear of God, and the command of Christ, be too weak to bridle them? Verse 15 . There is true pleasure only in the practice of religion. Verse 16 . Of all wanderers in the ways of sin, those are in the most dangerous condition who turn aside into the ways of darkness. Yet there is hope even for them in the all-sufficient Saviour; but let them flee to him without delay. Verse 17 . A life of worldly pleasure brings ruin on men. Verse 18 . The righteous is often delivered out of trouble, and the wicked comes in his stead, and so seems as a ransom for him. Verse 19 . Unbridled passions spoil the comfort of all relations. Verse 20 . The plenty obtained by prudence, industry, and frugality, is desirable. But the foolish misspend what they have upon their lusts. Verse 21 . True repentance and faith will lead him that relies on the mercy of God in Christ, to follow after righteousness and mercy in his own conduct. Verse 22 . Those that have wisdom, often do great things, even against those confident of their strength. Verse 23 . It is our great concern to keep our souls from being entangled and disquieted. Verse 24 . Pride and haughtiness make men passionate; such continually deal in wrath, ( proverbs 21:25-26 ) misery of the slothful; their hands refuse to labour in an honest calling, by which they might get an honest livelihood; yet their hearts cease not to covet riches, pleasures, and honours, which cannot be obtained without labour. But the righteous and industrious have their desires satisfied. Verse 27 . When holiness is pretended, but wickedness intended, that especially is an abomination. Verse 28 . The doom of a false witness is certain. Verse 29 . A wicked man bids defiance to the terrors of the law and the rebukes of Providence. But a good man asks, What ( proverbs 21:30-31 ) after all, our safety and salvation are only of the Lord. In our spiritual warfare we must arm ourselves with the whole armour of God; but our strength must be in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

Footnotes 2

Chapter Summary


This chapter relates a second vision Solomon had at Gibeon, in which he received an answer to his prayer in the preceding chapter, 1Ki 9:1-9 that passed between him and Hiram king of Tyre, 1Ki 9:10-14, the places that Solomon built or repaired, 1Ki 9:15-19, the Canaanitish people that became bondmen to him, and the officers he had among the children of Israel, 1Ki 9:20-23 the removal of Pharaoh's daughter to the house built for her, 1Ki 9:24. Solomon's attention to religious services, 1Ki 9:25 and the navy of ships he employed, which brought him in great riches, 1Ki 9:26-28.

Proverbs 21 Commentaries

Copyright © 2011 Common English Bible