Mishle 21

1 1 The lev melech is in the yad Hashem, as the channels of mayim; He directeth it wherever He will.
2 Every derech ish is yashar (right) in his own eynayim, but Hashem weigheth the hearts.
3 To do tzedakah and mishpat is more acceptable to Hashem than zevach.
4 A high and haughty eye, and a proud lev—ner resha’im (the lamp of the wicked ones)—are chattat (sin).
5 The plans of the kharutz (diligent) lead surely to profit; but of every one that is hasty surely to machsor (poverty, want).
6 The getting of otzarot by a lashon sheker is hevel (vain, empty, meaningless) and fleeting for them that seek mavet.
7 The violence of the resha’im shall drag them away; because they refuse to do mishpat (justice).
8 The derech of the guilty ish is hafachpach (crooked, tortuous), but as for the pure, his conduct is yashar (right).
9 It is better to dwell in a corner of the gag (roof), than with a quarrelsome isha in a shared bais.
10 The nefesh of the rashah desireth rah; his re’a findeth no mercy in his eynayim.
11 When the scoffer is punished, the simple is made wise, and when insight is disclosed to the chacham, he receiveth da’as.
12 The tzaddik (righteous one) wisely considereth the bais of the rashah, and hurleth the resha’im to rah.
13 He who stoppeth his ozen at the cry of the dal (poor), he also shall cry out himself, but shall not be heard.
14 A mattan (gift) in secret pacifieth af (anger), and a shochad (bribe) in the kheyk (bosom, i.e., a concealed bribe) strong wrath.
15 It is simchah to the tzaddik to do mishpat, but terror for the po’alei aven (workers of iniquity).
16 The adam that wandereth astray from the derech haseichel (road of understanding) shall rest in the kahal of the refa’im (congregation of the dead).
17 The ohev simchah (lover of pleasure) shall be an ish machsor (man of poverty, want, shortage); he that loveth yayin and shemen shall not be rich.
18 The reshah shall be a kofer (ransom) for the tzaddik, and the boged (the unfaithful) for the yesharim.
19 It is better to dwell in eretz midbar, than with a quarrelsome and an angry isha.
20 There is otzar to be desired and shemen in the naveh (dwelling) of the chacham; but a kesil adam squanders it.
21 He that pursueth tzedakah and chesed findeth chayyim, tzedakah, and kavod.
22 A chacham scaleth the city of the gibborim (mighty ones), and casteth down the trusted stronghold thereof.
23 He who is shomer over his peh (mouth) and his lashon (tongue) is shomer over his nefesh from tzoros.
24 Proud and haughty scoffer is shmo, who acteth in superfluity of zadon (pride).
25 The ta’avah (desire, craving) of the atzel (sluggard, lazy one) killeth him, for his yadayim refuse to work.
26 He craveth greedily kol hayom, but the tzaddik giveth and spareth not.
27 The zevach of the resha’im is to’evah (detestable, abomination); how much more, when he bringeth it with zimmah (evil intent).
28 An ed kezavim (lying witness) shall perish, but the ish that heareth [emes] speaketh lanetzach (unto eternity).
29 An ish rasha defiantly hardeneth his face, but as for the yashar (upright) he maketh his derech (road) sure.
30 There is no chochmah nor tevunah (understanding) nor etzah against Hashem.
31 The sus is prepared against the yom milchamah, but teshuah (victory, deliverance) is from Hashem.

Mishle 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.

Mishle 21 Commentaries

The Orthodox Jewish Bible fourth edition, OJB. Copyright 2002,2003,2008,2010, 2011 by Artists for Israel International. All rights reserved.