Proverbs 16:2

2 All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD.

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Proverbs 16:2 in Other Translations

2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.
2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirit.
2 People may be pure in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their motives.
2 Humans are satisfied with whatever looks good; God probes for what is good.
2 All a man's ways seem right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the motives.

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 To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the proper answer of the tongue.
2 All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD.
3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
4 The LORD works out everything to its proper end— even the wicked for a day of disaster.
5 The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.

Cross References 3

  • 1. S Proverbs 12:15; Proverbs 30:12
  • 2. S 1 Samuel 2:3
  • 3. S 2 Chronicles 6:30; Proverbs 20:27; Proverbs 21:2; Luke 16:15
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