Proverbs 16:2

2 1All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD 2 weighs the spirit.

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Proverbs 16:2 Meaning and Commentary

Proverbs 16:2

All the ways of a man [are] clean in his own eyes
All right and well, not only some, but all, having a high opinion of himself; for this is to be understood of a self-righteous man, who is pure in his own eyes, though not cleansed from his filthiness, and so fancies every way he walks in, and everything he does, is pure; this is owing to want of knowledge of the impurity of his nature; was he sensible of this, he would see that his best righteousness is as filthy rags and to his ignorance of the spirituality of the law, which, was he acquainted with, he would find, on comparing himself with it, that he and all he did was polluted and unclean: some read the words, "all the ways of a pure man [are] before his eyes": the eyes of the Lord, he sees them, and approves of them; so Aben Ezra; and to this agrees the Septuagint version, "all the works of an humble man [are] manifest with God"; and the Arabic version, "all the works of an humble man are clean before God"; but the former reading and sense seem best; but the Lord weigheth the spirits;
searches and tries the hearts; he sees, knows, and observes the principles of all actions, and can as exactly adjust the nature and quality of them, as a man, with a pair of scales in his hands, can tell precisely the weight of anything put into them; the Lord weighs the spirits, or hearts, from whence all actions flow, by his omniscience, and accordingly judges of them by that, and not by the outward appearance; and he weighs all actions by his law, in the balance of the sanctuary, where they are found wanting, and come greatly short of that purity and perfection pharisaical persons imagine there is in them.

Proverbs 16:2 In-Context

1 The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.
2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirit.
3 Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.
4 The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.
5 Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished.

Cross References 2

  • 1. Proverbs 21:2; [Proverbs 12:15]; See Proverbs 30:12
  • 2. Proverbs 24:12; See 1 Samuel 16:7
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.