Proverbs 20:11

11 Even small children are known by their actions, so is their conduct really pure and upright?

Proverbs 20:11 in Other Translations

11 Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.
11 Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.
11 Even children are known by the way they act, whether their conduct is pure, and whether it is right.
11 Young people eventually reveal by their actions if their motives are on the up and up. Drinking from the Chalice of Knowledge
11 Even a young man is known by his actions- by whether his behavior is pure and upright.

Proverbs 20:11 Meaning and Commentary

Proverbs 20:11

Even a child is known by his doings
As well as a man; "ye shall know them by their fruits", ( Matthew 7:16 ) ; professors and profane. So a child soon discovers its genius by its actions; it soon shows its inclination and disposition; and some shrewd guesses may be made how it will turn out, a wise man or a fool, a virtuous or a vicious man; though this does not always hold good, yet something may be observed, which may be a direction to parents in the education of their children, and placing them out to what is proper and suitable for them. Some observe, that the word has a quite contrary meaning, that "a child carries himself a stranger by his doings" F5; so that he is not known by them: he so conceals and disguises himself, he acts so fraudulently and deceitfully, and plays the hypocrite, and puts the cheat on men, that they cannot tell what he is, nor what he will be; and if children can thus dissemble, as not to be known by their actions, then much more grown persons; whether his work [be] pure, and whether [it be] right;
not what his present work is, or actions are, but what his later life and conversation will be; which in some measure may be judged of, though not with certainty and exactness; see ( Proverbs 22:6 ) ; especially when he acts a covert and deceitful part.


F5 (rknty) "ignotus erit", i.e. "non facile cognoscitur", Vatablus; so R. Joseph Kimchi; "simulat se alium esse", Gussetius, p. 413. "dissimulatorem agit", Schultens.

Proverbs 20:11 In-Context

9 Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin”?
10 Differing weights and differing measures— the LORD detests them both.
11 Even small children are known by their actions, so is their conduct really pure and upright?
12 Ears that hear and eyes that see— the LORD has made them both.
13 Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare.

Cross References 1

  • 1. S Psalms 39:1; Matthew 7:16
Scripture quoted by permission.  Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.