Proverbs 21

1 Good leadership is a channel of water controlled by God; he directs it to whatever ends he chooses.
2 We justify our actions by appearances; God examines our motives.
3 Clean living before God and justice with our neighbors mean far more to God than religious performance.
4 Arrogance and pride - distinguishing marks in the wicked - are just plain sin.
5 Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind.
6 Make it to the top by lying and cheating; get paid with smoke and a promotion - to death!
7 The wicked get buried alive by their loot because they refuse to use it to help others.
8 Mixed motives twist life into tangles; pure motives take you straight down the road. Do Your Best, Prepare for the Worst
9 Better to live alone in a tumbledown shack than share a mansion with a nagging spouse.
10 Wicked souls love to make trouble; they feel nothing for friends and neighbors.
11 Simpletons only learn the hard way, but the wise learn by listening.
12 A God-loyal person will see right through the wicked and undo the evil they've planned.
13 If you stop your ears to the cries of the poor, your cries will go unheard, unanswered.
14 A quietly given gift soothes an irritable person; a heartfelt present cools a hot temper.
15 Good people celebrate when justice triumphs, but for the workers of evil it's a bad day.
16 Whoever wanders off the straight and narrow ends up in a congregation of ghosts.
17 You're addicted to thrills? What an empty life! The pursuit of pleasure is never satisfied.
18 What a bad person plots against the good, boomerangs; the plotter gets it in the end.
19 Better to live in a tent in the wild than with a cross and petulant spouse.
20 Valuables are safe in a wise person's home; fools put it all out for yard sales.
21 Whoever goes hunting for what is right and kind finds life itself - glorious life!
22 One sage entered a whole city of armed soldiers - their trusted defenses fell to pieces!
23 Watch your words and hold your tongue; you'll save yourself a lot of grief.
24 You know their names - Brash, Impudent, Blasphemer - intemperate hotheads, every one.
25 Lazy people finally die of hunger because they won't get up and go to work.
26 Sinners are always wanting what they don't have; the God-loyal are always giving what they do have.
27 Religious performance by the wicked stinks; it's even worse when they use it to get ahead.
28 A lying witness is unconvincing; a person who speaks truth is respected.
29 Unscrupulous people fake it a lot; honest people are sure of their steps.
30 Nothing clever, nothing conceived, nothing contrived, can get the better of God.
31 Do your best, prepare for the worst - then trust God to bring victory.

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