Proverbs 21

1 The king's heart in ADONAI's hand is like streams of water -he directs it wherever he pleases.
2 All a person's ways are right in his own view, but ADONAI weighs the heart.
3 To do what is right and just is more pleasing to ADONAI than sacrifice.
4 Haughty looks, a proud heart -what the wicked plow is sin.
5 The plans of the diligent lead only to abundance; but all who rush in arrive only at want.
6 A fortune gained by a lying tongue is vapor dispersed [by] seekers of death.
7 The violence of the wicked will sweep them away, because they refuse to act justly.
8 A criminal's conduct is crooked, but the work of the pure is right.
9 It is better to live on a corner of the roof than to share the house with a nagging wife.
10 The wicked is set on evil; he doesn't pity even his neighbor.
11 When a scorner is punished, the simple become wiser; and when the wise is instructed, he takes hold of knowledge.
12 The Righteous One observes the house of the wicked; he overthrows the wicked to their ruin.
13 Whoever stops up his ears at the cry of the poor will himself cry, but not be answered.
14 A secret gift allays anger, and a bribe under the cloak the strongest fury.
15 Acting justly is a joy for the righteous but it terrifies evildoers.
16 The person who strays from the way of common sense will come to rest in the company of the dead.
17 Pleasure-lovers will suffer want; he who loves wine and oil won't get rich.
18 The wicked serve as a ransom for the righteous, and likewise the perfidious for the upright.
19 It is better to live in the desert than with a nagging, irritable wife.
20 In the home of the wise are fine treasures and oil, but a fool quickly devours it.
21 He who pursues righteousness and kindness finds life, prosperity and honor.
22 A wise man can go up into a city of warriors and undermine the strength in which it trusts.
23 Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps himself out of trouble.
24 "Scoffer" is what you call a proud, insolent person who acts with overweening conceit.
25 A lazy man's craving will kill him, because his hands refuse to work -
26 he covets greedily all day long; but a righteous person gives without holding back.
27 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; how much more when he brings it with vile motives.
28 A lying witness is doomed, but one who heard [what was said] will testify successfully.
29 A wicked man puts on a bold face, whereas the upright prepares his ways.
30 No wisdom, discernment or counsel succeeds against ADONAI.
31 A horse may be prepared for the day of battle, but victory comes from ADONAI.

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.

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