Proverbs 20

Listen to Proverbs 20
1 1Wine is a mocker, 2strong drink a brawler, and whoever 3is led astray by it is not wise.[a]
2 The terror of a king is like 4the growling of a lion; whoever provokes him to anger 5forfeits his life.
3 It is an honor for a man to 6keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling.
4 7The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; 8he will seek at harvest and have nothing.
5 The purpose in a man's heart is like 9deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.
6 Many a man 10proclaims his own steadfast love, but 11a faithful man who can find?
7 The righteous who 12walks in his integrity-- 13blessed are his children after him!
8 14A king who sits on the throne of judgment 15winnows all evil with his eyes.
9 16Who can say, "I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin"?
10 17Unequal[b] weights and unequal measures are both alike an abomination to the LORD.
11 Even a child 18makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.[c]
12 19The hearing ear and the seeing eye, 20the LORD has made them both.
13 21Love not sleep, lest you 22come to poverty; open your eyes, and you will have 23plenty of bread.
14 "Bad, bad," says the buyer, but when he goes away, then he boasts.
15 There is gold and abundance of 24costly stones, 25but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.
16 26Take a man's garment when he has put up security for a stranger, and 27hold it in pledge when he puts up security for foreigners.[d]
17 28Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be full of 29gravel.
18 30Plans are established by counsel; by 31wise guidance 32wage war.
19 Whoever 33goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with 34a simple babbler.[e]
20 35If one curses his father or his mother, 36his lamp will be put out in utter darkness.
21 37An inheritance gained hastily in the beginning will not be blessed in the end.
22 Do not say, 38"I will repay evil"; 39wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you.
23 40Unequal weights are an abomination to the LORD, and 41false scales are not good.
24 A man's 42steps are from the LORD; how then can man understand his way?
25 It is a snare to say rashly, "It is holy," and to reflect only 43after making vows.
26 A wise king 44winnows the wicked and drives 45the wheel over them.
27 46The spirit[f] of man is the lamp of the LORD, 47searching all 48his innermost parts.
28 49Steadfast love and faithfulness preserve the king, and by steadfast love his 50throne is upheld.
29 The glory of young men is their strength, but 51the splendor of old men is their gray hair.
30 52Blows that wound cleanse away evil; strokes make clean 53the innermost parts.

Proverbs 20 Commentary

Chapter 20

Verse 1 It seems hard to believe that men of the greatest abilities, as well as the ignorant, should render themselves fools and madmen, merely for the taste or excitement produced by strong liquors. Verse 2 . How formidable kings are to those who provoke them! how much more foolish then is it to provoke the King of kings! Verse 3 . To engage in quarrels is the greatest folly that can be. Yield, and even give up just demands, for peace' sake. Verse 4 . He who labours and endures hardship in his seed-time for eternity, will be properly diligent as to his earthly business. Verse 5 . Though many capable of giving wise counsel are silent, yet something may be drawn from them, which will reward those who obtain it. Verse 6 . It is hard to find those that have done, and will do more good than they speak, or care to hear spoken of. Verse 7 . A good man is not liable to uneasiness in contriving what he shall do, or in reflecting on what he has done, as those who walk in deceit. And his family fare better for his sake. Verse 8 . If great men are good men, they may do much good, and prevent very much evil. Verse 9 . Some can say, Through grace, we are cleaner than we have been; but it was the work of the Holy Spirit. Verse 10 . See the various deceits men use, of which the love of money is the root. The Lord will not bless what is thus gotten. Verse 11 . Parents should observe their children, that they may manage them accordingly. Verse 12 . All our powers and faculties are from God, and are to be employed for him. Verse 13 . Those that indulge themselves, may expect to want necessaries, which should have been gotten by honest labour. Verse 14 . Men use arts to get a good bargain, and to buy cheap; whereas a man ought to be ashamed of a fraud and a lie. Verse 15 . He that prefers true knowledge to riches, follows the ways of religion and happiness. If we really believed this truth, the word of God would be valued as it deserves, and the world would lose its tempting influence. Verse 16 . Those ruin themselves who entangle themselves in rash suretiship. Also those who are in league with abandoned women. Place no confidence in either. Verse 17 . Wealth gotten by fraud may be sweet, for the carnal mind takes pleasure in the success of wicked devices; but it will be bitter in the reflection. Verse 18 . Especially we need advice in spiritual warfare. The word and Spirit of God are the best counsellors in every point. Verse 19 . Those dearly buy their own praise, who put confidence in a man because he speaks fairly. Verse 20 . An undutiful child will become very miserable. Never let him expect any peace or comfort. Verse 21 . An estate suddenly raised, is often as suddenly ruined. Verse 22 . Wait on the Lord, attend his pleasure, and he will protect thee. Verse 23 . A bargain made by fraud will prove a losing bargain in the end. Verse 24 . How can we form plans, and conduct business, independently of the Lord? Verse 25 . The evasions men often use with their own consciences show how false and deceitful man is. Verse 26 . Justice should crush the wicked, and separate them from the virtuous. Verse 27 . The rational soul and conscience are as a lamp within us, which should be used in examining our dispositions and motives with the revealed will of God. Verse 28 . Mercy and truth are the glories of God's throne. Verse 29 . Both young and old have their advantages; and let neither despise or envy the other. Verse 30 . Severe rebukes sometimes do a great deal of good. But such is the corruption of nature, that men are loth to be rebuked for their sins. If God uses severe afflictions, to purify our hearts and fit us for his service, we have cause to be very thankful.

Cross References 53

  • 1. [Genesis 9:21]; See Proverbs 23:29-32
  • 2. Proverbs 31:4
  • 3. Isaiah 28:7; [Hosea 4:11]
  • 4. See Proverbs 19:12
  • 5. Numbers 16:38; Habakkuk 2:10; See Proverbs 8:36
  • 6. [Proverbs 17:14]
  • 7. [Proverbs 19:24]
  • 8. Proverbs 19:15; [Proverbs 6:11]
  • 9. Proverbs 18:4
  • 10. [Proverbs 25:14; Matthew 6:2; Luke 18:11]
  • 11. [Psalms 12:1]
  • 12. See Proverbs 19:1
  • 13. [1 Kings 15:4; Psalms 37:26; Psalms 112:2; Jeremiah 33:20, 21]
  • 14. [Proverbs 16:10]
  • 15. [ver. 26; Proverbs 25:5; Psalms 101:5]
  • 16. See 1 Kings 8:46
  • 17. ver. 23; See Proverbs 11:1
  • 18. [Matthew 7:16]
  • 19. Proverbs 15:31; Proverbs 25:12
  • 20. Exodus 4:11; Psalms 94:9
  • 21. [Proverbs 6:4; Proverbs 19:15; Proverbs 31:15; Romans 12:11]
  • 22. [ver. 4]
  • 23. Proverbs 12:11
  • 24. Job 28:18
  • 25. [Proverbs 3:14, 15]
  • 26. Proverbs 27:13; [Proverbs 6:1; Proverbs 22:26]
  • 27. See Job 22:6
  • 28. [Proverbs 9:17]
  • 29. [Lamentations 3:16]
  • 30. [Proverbs 11:14; Proverbs 15:22]
  • 31. Proverbs 24:6
  • 32. Luke 14:31
  • 33. Proverbs 11:13
  • 34. Proverbs 13:3; [Romans 16:18]
  • 35. Proverbs 30:11, 17; See Exodus 21:17
  • 36. See 2 Samuel 21:17; Job 18:5
  • 37. See Proverbs 13:11
  • 38. Proverbs 24:29; [Proverbs 17:13; Matthew 5:39; Romans 12:17, 19; 1 Thessalonians 5:15; 1 Peter 3:9]
  • 39. Psalms 27:14
  • 40. ver. 10
  • 41. See Proverbs 11:1
  • 42. See Proverbs 16:9
  • 43. [Ecclesiastes 5:4, 5]
  • 44. [Matthew 3:12]
  • 45. Isaiah 28:27
  • 46. [1 Corinthians 2:11]
  • 47. [Zephaniah 1:12]
  • 48. Proverbs 18:8
  • 49. Proverbs 3:3
  • 50. See Proverbs 16:12
  • 51. Proverbs 16:31
  • 52. [Isaiah 53:5]
  • 53. [See ver. 27 above]

Footnotes 6

  • [a]. Or will not become wise
  • [b]. Or Two kinds of; also verse 23
  • [c]. Or Even a child can dissemble in his actions, though his conduct seems pure and upright
  • [d]. Or for an adulteress (compare 27:13)
  • [e]. Hebrew with one who is simple in his lips
  • [f]. Hebrew breath

Proverbs 20 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.