Proverbs 21-24

June 3, 2024

Proverbs 21

A king’s heart is like channeled water in the Lord’s hand:
He directs it wherever he chooses.
2 All a person’s ways seem right to him,
but the Lord weighs hearts.
3 Doing what is righteous and just
is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
4 The lamp that guides the wicked —
haughty eyes and an arrogant heart ​— ​is sin.
5 The plans of the diligent certainly lead to profit,
but anyone who is reckless certainly becomes poor.
6 Making a fortune through a lying tongue
is a vanishing mist, a pursuit of death.
7 The violence of the wicked sweeps them away
because they refuse to act justly.
8 A guilty one’s conduct is crooked,
but the behavior of the innocent is upright.
9 Better to live on the corner of a roof
than to share a house with a nagging wife.
10 A wicked person desires evil;
he has no consideration for his neighbor.
11 When a mocker is punished,
the inexperienced become wiser;
when one teaches a wise man,
he acquires knowledge.
12 The Righteous One considers the house of the wicked;
he brings the wicked to ruin.
13 The one who shuts his ears to the cry of the poor
will himself also call out and not be answered.
14 A secret gift soothes anger,
and a covert bribe, fierce rage.
15 Justice executed is a joy to the righteous
but a terror to evildoers.
16 The person who strays from the way of prudence
will come to rest in the assembly of the departed spirits.
17 The one who loves pleasure will become poor;
whoever loves wine and oil will not get rich.
18 The wicked are a ransom for the righteous,
and the treacherous, for the upright.
19 Better to live in a wilderness
than with a nagging and hot-tempered wife.
20 Precious treasure and oil are in the dwelling of a wise person,
but a fool consumes them.
21 The one who pursues righteousness and faithful love
will find life, righteousness, and honor.
22 A wise person went up against a city of warriors
and brought down its secure fortress.
23 The one who guards his mouth and tongue
keeps himself out of trouble.
24 The arrogant and proud person, named “Mocker,”
acts with excessive arrogance.
25 A slacker’s craving will kill him
because his hands refuse to work.
26 He is filled with craving all day long,
but the righteous give and don’t hold back.
27 The sacrifice of a wicked person is detestable ​—
how much more so
when he brings it with ulterior motives!
28 A lying witness will perish,
but the one who listens will speak successfully.
29 A wicked person puts on a bold face,
but the upright one considers his way.
30 No wisdom, no understanding, and no counsel
will prevail against the Lord.
31 A horse is prepared for the day of battle,
but victory comes from the Lord.

Proverbs 22

A good name is to be chosen over great wealth;
favor is better than silver and gold.
2 Rich and poor have this in common:
the Lord makes them all.
3 A sensible person sees danger and takes cover,
but the inexperienced keep going and are punished.
4 Humility, the fear of the Lord,
results in wealth, honor, and life.
5 There are thorns and snares on the way of the crooked;
the one who guards himself stays far from them.
6 Start a youth out on his way;
even when he grows old he will not depart from it.
7 The rich rule over the poor,
and the borrower is a slave to the lender.
8 The one who sows injustice will reap disaster,
and the rod of his fury will be destroyed.
9 A generous person will be blessed,
for he shares his food with the poor.
10 Drive out a mocker, and conflict goes too;
then quarreling and dishonor will cease.
11 The one who loves a pure heart
and gracious lips ​— ​the king is his friend.
12 The Lord’s eyes keep watch over knowledge,
but he overthrows the words of the treacherous.
13 The slacker says, “There’s a lion outside!
I’ll be killed in the public square! ”
14 The mouth of the forbidden woman is a deep pit;
a man cursed by the Lord will fall into it.
15 Foolishness is bound to the heart of a youth;
a rod of discipline will separate it from him.
16 Oppressing the poor to enrich oneself,
and giving to the rich ​— ​both lead only to poverty.

17 Listen closely, pay attention to the words of the wise,
and apply your mind to my knowledge.
18 For it is pleasing if you keep them within you
and if they are constantly on your lips.
19 I have instructed you today ​— ​even you —
so that your confidence may be in the Lord.
20 Haven’t I written for you thirty sayings
about counsel and knowledge,
21 in order to teach you true and reliable words,
so that you may give a dependable report
to those who sent you?
22 Don’t rob a poor person because he is poor,
and don’t crush the oppressed at the city gate,
23 for the Lord will champion their cause
and will plunder those who plunder them.
24 Don’t make friends with an angry person,
and don’t be a companion of a hot-tempered one,
25 or you will learn his ways
and entangle yourself in a snare.
26 Don’t be one of those who enter agreements,
who put up security for loans.
27 If you have nothing with which to pay,
even your bed will be taken from under you.
28 Don’t move an ancient boundary marker
that your ancestors set up.
29 Do you see a person skilled in his work?
He will stand in the presence of kings.
He will not stand in the presence of the unknown.

Proverbs 23

When you sit down to dine with a ruler,
consider carefully what is before you,
2 and put a knife to your throat
if you have a big appetite;
3 don’t desire his choice food,
for that food is deceptive.
4 Don’t wear yourself out to get rich;
because you know better, stop!
5 As soon as your eyes fly to it, it disappears,
for it makes wings for itself
and flies like an eagle to the sky.
6 Don’t eat a stingy person’s bread,
and don’t desire his choice food,
7 for it’s like someone calculating inwardly.
“Eat and drink,” he says to you,
but his heart is not with you.
8 You will vomit the little you’ve eaten
and waste your pleasant words.
9 Don’t speak to a fool,
for he will despise the insight of your words.
10 Don’t move an ancient boundary marker,
and don’t encroach on the fields of the fatherless,
11 for their Redeemer is strong,
and he will champion their cause against you.
12 Apply yourself to discipline
and listen to words of knowledge.
13 Don’t withhold discipline from a youth;
if you punish him with a rod, he will not die.
14 Punish him with a rod,
and you will rescue his life from Sheol.
15 My son, if your heart is wise,
my heart will indeed rejoice.
16 My innermost being will celebrate
when your lips say what is right.
17 Don’t let your heart envy sinners;
instead, always fear the Lord.
18 For then you will have a future,
and your hope will not be dashed.
19 Listen, my son, and be wise;
keep your mind on the right course.
20 Don’t associate with those who drink too much wine
or with those who gorge themselves on meat.
21 For the drunkard and the glutton will become poor,
and grogginess will clothe them in rags.
22 Listen to your father who gave you life,
and don’t despise your mother when she is old.
23 Buy ​— ​and do not sell ​— ​truth,
wisdom, instruction, and understanding.
24 The father of a righteous son will rejoice greatly,
and one who fathers a wise son will delight in him.
25 Let your father and mother have joy,
and let her who gave birth to you rejoice.
26 My son, give me your heart,
and let your eyes observe my ways.
27 For a prostitute is a deep pit,
and a wayward woman is a narrow well;
28 indeed, she sets an ambush like a robber
and increases the number of unfaithful people.
29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has conflicts? Who has complaints?
Who has wounds for no reason?
Who has red eyes?
30 Those who linger over wine;
those who go looking for mixed wine.
31 Don’t gaze at wine because it is red,
because it gleams in the cup
and goes down smoothly.
32 In the end it bites like a snake
and stings like a viper.
33 Your eyes will see strange things,
and you will say absurd things.
34 You’ll be like someone sleeping out at sea
or lying down on the top of a ship’s mast.
35 “They struck me, but I feel no pain!
They beat me, but I didn’t know it!
When will I wake up?
I’ll look for another drink.”

Proverbs 24

Don’t envy the evil
or desire to be with them,
2 for their hearts plan violence,
and their words stir up trouble.
3 A house is built by wisdom,
and it is established by understanding;
4 by knowledge the rooms are filled
with every precious and beautiful treasure.
5 A wise warrior is better than a strong one,
and a man of knowledge than one of strength;
6 for you should wage war with sound guidance —
victory comes with many counselors.
7 Wisdom is inaccessible to a fool;
he does not open his mouth at the city gate.
8 The one who plots evil
will be called a schemer.
9 A foolish scheme is sin,
and a mocker is detestable to people.
10 If you do nothing in a difficult time,
your strength is limited.
11 Rescue those being taken off to death,
and save those stumbling toward slaughter.
12 If you say, “But we didn’t know about this,”
won’t he who weighs hearts consider it?
Won’t he who protects your life know?
Won’t he repay a person according to his work?
13 Eat honey, my son, for it is good,
and the honeycomb is sweet to your palate;
14 realize that wisdom is the same for you.
If you find it, you will have a future,
and your hope will never fade.
15 Don’t set an ambush, you wicked one,
at the camp of the righteous man;
don’t destroy his dwelling.
16 Though a righteous person falls seven times,
he will get up,
but the wicked will stumble into ruin.
17 Don’t gloat when your enemy falls,
and don’t let your heart rejoice when he stumbles,
18 or the Lord will see, be displeased,
and turn his wrath away from him.
19 Don’t be agitated by evildoers,
and don’t envy the wicked.
20 For the evil have no future;
the lamp of the wicked will be put out.
21 My son, fear the Lord, as well as the king,
and don’t associate with rebels,
22 for destruction will come suddenly from them;
who knows what distress these two can bring?
23 These sayings also belong to the wise:
It is not good to show partiality in judgment.
24 Whoever says to the guilty, “You are innocent” —
peoples will curse him, and nations will denounce him;
25 but it will go well with those who convict the guilty,
and a generous blessing will come to them.
26 He who gives an honest answer
gives a kiss on the lips.
27 Complete your outdoor work, and prepare your field;
afterward, build your house.
28 Don’t testify against your neighbor without cause.
Don’t deceive with your lips.
29 Don’t say, “I’ll do to him what he did to me;
I’ll repay the man for what he has done.”
30 I went by the field of a slacker
and by the vineyard of one lacking sense.
31 Thistles had come up everywhere,
weeds covered the ground,
and the stone wall was ruined.
32 I saw, and took it to heart;
I looked, and received instruction:
33 a little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the arms to rest,
34 and your poverty will come like a robber,
and your need, like a bandit.

— Proverbs 21-24 (CSB)