Proverbs 15-21
15 A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
2    The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly.
3    The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
keeping watch on the evil and the good.
4    A gentle tongue is a tree of life,
but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
5    A fool despises his father’s instruction,
but whoever heeds reproof is prudent.
6    In the house of the righteous there is much treasure,
but trouble befalls the income of the wicked.
7    The lips of the wise spread knowledge;
not so the hearts of fools.
8    The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,
but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him.
9    The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,
but he loves him who pursues righteousness.
10    There is severe discipline for him who forsakes the way;
whoever hates reproof will die.
11    Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the Lord;
how much more the hearts of the children of man!
12    A scoffer does not like to be reproved;
he will not go to the wise.
13    A glad heart makes a cheerful face,
but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.
14    The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge,
but the mouths of fools feed on folly.
15    All the days of the afflicted are evil,
but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast.
16    Better is a little with the fear of the Lord
than great treasure and trouble with it.
17    Better is a dinner of herbs where love is
than a fattened ox and hatred with it.
18    A hot-tempered man stirs up strife,
but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.
19    The way of a sluggard is like a hedge of thorns,
but the path of the upright is a level highway.
20    A wise son makes a glad father,
but a foolish man despises his mother.
21    Folly is a joy to him who lacks sense,
but a man of understanding walks straight ahead.
22    Without counsel plans fail,
but with many advisers they succeed.
23    To make an apt answer is a joy to a man,
and a word in season, how good it is!
24    The path of life leads upward for the prudent,
that he may turn away from Sheol beneath.
25    The Lord tears down the house of the proud
but maintains the widow’s boundaries.
26    The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord,
but gracious words are pure.
27    Whoever is greedy for unjust gain troubles his own household,
but he who hates bribes will live.
28    The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer,
but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
29    The Lord is far from the wicked,
but he hears the prayer of the righteous.
30    The light of the eyes rejoices the heart,
and good news refreshes the bones.
31    The ear that listens to life-giving reproof
will dwell among the wise.
32    Whoever ignores instruction despises himself,
but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.
33    The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom,
and humility comes before honor.
16 The plans of the heart belong to man,
but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
2    All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
but the Lord weighs the spirit.
3    Commit your work to the Lord,
and your plans will be established.
4    The Lord has made everything for its purpose,
even the wicked for the day of trouble.
5    Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord;
be assured, he will not go unpunished.
6    By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for,
and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.
7    When a man’s ways please the Lord,
he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
8    Better is a little with righteousness
than great revenues with injustice.
9    The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps.
10    An oracle is on the lips of a king;
his mouth does not sin in judgment.
11    A just balance and scales are the Lord’s;
all the weights in the bag are his work.
12    It is an abomination to kings to do evil,
for the throne is established by righteousness.
13    Righteous lips are the delight of a king,
and he loves him who speaks what is right.
14    A king’s wrath is a messenger of death,
and a wise man will appease it.
15    In the light of a king’s face there is life,
and his favor is like the clouds that bring the spring rain.
16    How much better to get wisdom than gold!
To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.
17    The highway of the upright turns aside from evil;
whoever guards his way preserves his life.
18    Pride goes before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall.
19    It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor
than to divide the spoil with the proud.
20    Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good,
and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.
21    The wise of heart is called discerning,
and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.
22    Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it,
but the instruction of fools is folly.
23    The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious
and adds persuasiveness to his lips.
24    Gracious words are like a honeycomb,
sweetness to the soul and health to the body.
25    There is a way that seems right to a man,
but its end is the way to death.
26    A worker’s appetite works for him;
his mouth urges him on.
27    A worthless man plots evil,
and his speech is like a scorching fire.
28    A dishonest man spreads strife,
and a whisperer separates close friends.
29    A man of violence entices his neighbor
and leads him in a way that is not good.
30    Whoever winks his eyes plans dishonest things;
he who purses his lips brings evil to pass.
31    Gray hair is a crown of glory;
it is gained in a righteous life.
32    Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
33    The lot is cast into the lap,
but its every decision is from the Lord.
17 Better is a dry morsel with quiet
than a house full of feasting with strife.
2    A servant who deals wisely will rule over a son who acts shamefully
and will share the inheritance as one of the brothers.
3    The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold,
and the Lord tests hearts.
4    An evildoer listens to wicked lips,
and a liar gives ear to a mischievous tongue.
5    Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker;
he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.
6    Grandchildren are the crown of the aged,
and the glory of children is their fathers.
7    Fine speech is not becoming to a fool;
still less is false speech to a prince.
8    A bribe is like a magic stone in the eyes of the one who gives it;
wherever he turns he prospers.
9    Whoever covers an offense seeks love,
but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.
10    A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding
than a hundred blows into a fool.
11    An evil man seeks only rebellion,
and a cruel messenger will be sent against him.
12    Let a man meet a she-bear robbed of her cubs
rather than a fool in his folly.
13    If anyone returns evil for good,
evil will not depart from his house.
14    The beginning of strife is like letting out water,
so quit before the quarrel breaks out.
15    He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous
are both alike an abomination to the Lord.
16    Why should a fool have money in his hand to buy wisdom
when he has no sense?
17    A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for adversity.
18    One who lacks sense gives a pledge
and puts up security in the presence of his neighbor.
19    Whoever loves transgression loves strife;
he who makes his door high seeks destruction.
20    A man of crooked heart does not discover good,
and one with a dishonest tongue falls into calamity.
21    He who sires a fool gets himself sorrow,
and the father of a fool has no joy.
22    A joyful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
23    The wicked accepts a bribe in secret
to pervert the ways of justice.
24    The discerning sets his face toward wisdom,
but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.
25    A foolish son is a grief to his father
and bitterness to her who bore him.
26    To impose a fine on a righteous man is not good,
nor to strike the noble for their uprightness.
27    Whoever restrains his words has knowledge,
and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
28    Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;
when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
18 Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire;
he breaks out against all sound judgment.
2    A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
but only in expressing his opinion.
3    When wickedness comes, contempt comes also,
and with dishonor comes disgrace.
4    The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters;
the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.
5    It is not good to be partial to the wicked
or to deprive the righteous of justice.
6    A fool’s lips walk into a fight,
and his mouth invites a beating.
7    A fool’s mouth is his ruin,
and his lips are a snare to his soul.
8    The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;
they go down into the inner parts of the body.
9    Whoever is slack in his work
is a brother to him who destroys.
10    The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
the righteous man runs into it and is safe.
11    A rich man’s wealth is his strong city,
and like a high wall in his imagination.
12    Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty,
but humility comes before honor.
13    If one gives an answer before he hears,
it is his folly and shame.
14    A man’s spirit will endure sickness,
but a crushed spirit who can bear?
15    An intelligent heart acquires knowledge,
and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
16    A man’s gift makes room for him
and brings him before the great.
17    The one who states his case first seems right,
until the other comes and examines him.
18    The lot puts an end to quarrels
and decides between powerful contenders.
19    A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city,
and quarreling is like the bars of a castle.
20    From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied;
he is satisfied by the yield of his lips.
21    Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
and those who love it will eat its fruits.
22    He who finds a wife finds a good thing
and obtains favor from the Lord.
23    The poor use entreaties,
but the rich answer roughly.
24    A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
19 Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity
than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.
2    Desire without knowledge is not good,
and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.
3    When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin,
his heart rages against the Lord.
4    Wealth brings many new friends,
but a poor man is deserted by his friend.
5    A false witness will not go unpunished,
and he who breathes out lies will not escape.
6    Many seek the favor of a generous man,
and everyone is a friend to a man who gives gifts.
7    All a poor man’s brothers hate him;
how much more do his friends go far from him!
       He pursues them with words, but does not have them.
8    Whoever gets sense loves his own soul;
he who keeps understanding will discover good.
9    A false witness will not go unpunished,
and he who breathes out lies will perish.
10    It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury,
much less for a slave to rule over princes.
11    Good sense makes one slow to anger,
and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
12    A king’s wrath is like the growling of a lion,
but his favor is like dew on the grass.
13    A foolish son is ruin to his father,
and a wife’s quarreling is a continual dripping of rain.
14    House and wealth are inherited from fathers,
but a prudent wife is from the Lord.
15    Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep,
and an idle person will suffer hunger.
16    Whoever keeps the commandment keeps his life;
he who despises his ways will die.
17    Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord,
and he will repay him for his deed.
18    Discipline your son, for there is hope;
do not set your heart on putting him to death.
19    A man of great wrath will pay the penalty,
for if you deliver him, you will only have to do it again.
20    Listen to advice and accept instruction,
that you may gain wisdom in the future.
21    Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
22    What is desired in a man is steadfast love,
and a poor man is better than a liar.
23    The fear of the Lord leads to life,
and whoever has it rests satisfied;
he will not be visited by harm.
24    The sluggard buries his hand in the dish
and will not even bring it back to his mouth.
25    Strike a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence;
reprove a man of understanding, and he will gain knowledge.
26    He who does violence to his father and chases away his mother
is a son who brings shame and reproach.
27    Cease to hear instruction, my son,
and you will stray from the words of knowledge.
28    A worthless witness mocks at justice,
and the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity.
29    Condemnation is ready for scoffers,
and beating for the backs of fools.
20 Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler,
and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
2    The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion;
whoever provokes him to anger forfeits his life.
3    It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife,
but every fool will be quarreling.
4    The sluggard does not plow in the autumn;
he will seek at harvest and have nothing.
5    The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water,
but a man of understanding will draw it out.
6    Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love,
but a faithful man who can find?
7    The righteous who walks in his integrity—
blessed are his children after him!
8    A king who sits on the throne of judgment
winnows all evil with his eyes.
9    Who can say, “I have made my heart pure;
I am clean from my sin”?
10    Unequal weights and unequal measures
are both alike an abomination to the Lord.
11    Even a child makes himself known by his acts,
by whether his conduct is pure and upright.
12    The hearing ear and the seeing eye,
the Lord has made them both.
13    Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty;
open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread.
14    “Bad, bad,” says the buyer,
but when he goes away, then he boasts.
15    There is gold and abundance of costly stones,
but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.
16    Take a man’s garment when he has put up security for a stranger,
and hold it in pledge when he puts up security for foreigners.
17    Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man,
but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel.
18    Plans are established by counsel;
by wise guidance wage war.
19    Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets;
therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.
20    If one curses his father or his mother,
his lamp will be put out in utter darkness.
21    An inheritance gained hastily in the beginning
will not be blessed in the end.
22    Do not say, “I will repay evil”;
wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.
23    Unequal weights are an abomination to the Lord,
and false scales are not good.
24    A man’s steps 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 after making vows.
26    A wise king winnows the wicked
and drives the wheel over them.
27    The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord,
searching all his innermost parts.
28    Steadfast love and faithfulness preserve the king,
and by steadfast love his throne is upheld.
29    The glory of young men is their strength,
but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.
30    Blows that wound cleanse away evil;
strokes make clean the innermost parts.
21 The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord;
he turns it wherever he will.
2    Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,
but the Lord weighs the heart.
3    To do righteousness and justice
is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
4    Haughty eyes and a proud heart,
the lamp of the wicked, are sin.
5    The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance,
but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.
6    The getting of treasures by a lying tongue
is a fleeting vapor and a snare of death.
7    The violence of the wicked will sweep them away,
because they refuse to do what is just.
8    The way of the guilty is crooked,
but the conduct of the pure is upright.
9    It is better to live in a corner of the housetop
than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.
10    The soul of the wicked desires evil;
his neighbor finds no mercy in his eyes.
11    When a scoffer is punished, the simple becomes wise;
when a wise man is instructed, he gains knowledge.
12    The Righteous One observes the house of the wicked;
he throws the wicked down to ruin.
13    Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor
will himself call out and not be answered.
14    A gift in secret averts anger,
and a concealed bribe, strong wrath.
15    When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous
but terror to evildoers.
16    One who wanders from the way of good sense
will rest in the assembly of the dead.
17    Whoever loves pleasure will be a poor man;
he who loves wine and oil will not be rich.
18    The wicked is a ransom for the righteous,
and the traitor for the upright.
19    It is better to live in a desert land
than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman.
20    Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling,
but a foolish man devours it.
21    Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness
will find life, righteousness, and honor.
22    A wise man scales the city of the mighty
and brings down the stronghold in which they trust.
23    Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue
keeps himself out of trouble.
24    “Scoffer” is the name of the arrogant, haughty man
who acts with arrogant pride.
25    The desire of the sluggard kills him,
for his hands refuse to labor.
26    All day long he craves and craves,
but the righteous gives and does not hold back.
27    The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination;
how much more when he brings it with evil intent.
28    A false witness will perish,
but the word of a man who hears will endure.
29    A wicked man puts on a bold face,
but the upright gives thought to his ways.
30    No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel
can avail against the Lord.
31    The horse is made ready for the day of battle,
but the victory belongs to the Lord. [1]

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Pr 15–21:31.

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