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Proverbs 21 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Lord Considers the Heart

21 The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord,
Like the [a]rivers of water;
He turns it wherever He wishes.

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,
But the Lord weighs the hearts.

To do righteousness and justice
Is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

A haughty look, a proud heart,
And the [b]plowing of the wicked are sin.

The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty,
But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.

Getting treasures by a lying tongue
[c]Is the fleeting fantasy of those who seek death.

The violence of the wicked will [d]destroy them,
Because they refuse to do justice.

The way of [e]a guilty man is perverse;
But as for the pure, his work is right.

Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop,
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.

10 The soul of the wicked desires evil;
His neighbor finds no favor in his eyes.

11 When the scoffer is punished, the simple is made wise;
But when the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge.

12 The righteous God wisely considers the house of the wicked,
Overthrowing the wicked for their wickedness.

13 Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor
Will also cry himself and not be heard.

14 A gift in secret pacifies anger,
And a bribe [f]behind the back, strong wrath.

15 It is a joy for the just to do justice,
But destruction will come to the workers of iniquity.

16 A man who wanders from the way of understanding
Will rest in the assembly of the dead.

17 He who loves pleasure will be a poor man;
He who loves wine and oil will not be rich.

18 The wicked shall be a ransom for the righteous,
And the unfaithful for the upright.

19 Better to dwell [g]in the wilderness,
Than with a contentious and angry woman.

20 There is desirable treasure,
And oil in the dwelling of the wise,
But a foolish man squanders it.

21 He who follows righteousness and mercy
Finds life, righteousness, and honor.

22 A wise man [h]scales the city of the mighty,
And brings down the trusted stronghold.

23 Whoever guards his mouth and tongue
Keeps his soul from troubles.

24 A proud and haughty man—“Scoffer” is his name;
He acts with arrogant pride.

25 The desire of the lazy man kills him,
For his hands refuse to labor.
26 He covets greedily all day long,
But the righteous gives and does not spare.

27 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination;
How much more when he brings it with wicked intent!

28 A false witness shall perish,
But the man who hears him will speak endlessly.

29 A wicked man hardens his face,
But as for the upright, he [i]establishes his way.

30 There is no wisdom or understanding
Or counsel against the Lord.

31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle,
But deliverance is of the Lord.

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 21:1 channels
  2. Proverbs 21:4 Or lamp
  3. Proverbs 21:6 LXX Pursue vanity on the snares of death; Vg. Is vain and foolish, and shall stumble on the snares of death; Tg. They shall be destroyed, and they shall fall who seek death
  4. Proverbs 21:7 Lit. drag them away
  5. Proverbs 21:8 Or The way of a man is perverse and strange;
  6. Proverbs 21:14 Under cover, lit. in the bosom
  7. Proverbs 21:19 Lit. in the land of the desert
  8. Proverbs 21:22 Climbs over the walls of
  9. Proverbs 21:29 Qr., LXX understands
New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 21 New International Version (NIV)

21 In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water
    that he channels toward all who please him.

A person may think their own ways are right,
    but the Lord weighs the heart.

To do what is right and just
    is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

Haughty eyes and a proud heart—
    the unplowed field of the wicked—produce sin.

The plans of the diligent lead to profit
    as surely as haste leads to poverty.

A fortune made by a lying tongue
    is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare.[a]

The violence of the wicked will drag them away,
    for they refuse to do what is right.

The way of the guilty is devious,
    but the conduct of the innocent is upright.

Better to live on a corner of the roof
    than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

10 The wicked crave evil;
    their neighbors get no mercy from them.

11 When a mocker is punished, the simple gain wisdom;
    by paying attention to the wise they get knowledge.

12 The Righteous One[b] takes note of the house of the wicked
    and brings the wicked to ruin.

13 Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor
    will also cry out and not be answered.

14 A gift given in secret soothes anger,
    and a bribe concealed in the cloak pacifies great wrath.

15 When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous
    but terror to evildoers.

16 Whoever strays from the path of prudence
    comes to rest in the company of the dead.

17 Whoever loves pleasure will become poor;
    whoever loves wine and olive oil will never be rich.

18 The wicked become a ransom for the righteous,
    and the unfaithful for the upright.

19 Better to live in a desert
    than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.

20 The wise store up choice food and olive oil,
    but fools gulp theirs down.

21 Whoever pursues righteousness and love
    finds life, prosperity[c] and honor.

22 One who is wise can go up against the city of the mighty
    and pull down the stronghold in which they trust.

23 Those who guard their mouths and their tongues
    keep themselves from calamity.

24 The proud and arrogant person—“Mocker” is his name—
    behaves with insolent fury.

25 The craving of a sluggard will be the death of him,
    because his hands refuse to work.
26 All day long he craves for more,
    but the righteous give without sparing.

27 The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable
    how much more so when brought with evil intent!

28 A false witness will perish,
    but a careful listener will testify successfully.

29 The wicked put up a bold front,
    but the upright give thought to their ways.

30 There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan
    that can succeed against the Lord.

31 The horse is made ready for the day of battle,
    but victory rests with the Lord.

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 21:6 Some Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint and Vulgate; most Hebrew manuscripts vapor for those who seek death
  2. Proverbs 21:12 Or The righteous person
  3. Proverbs 21:21 Or righteousness
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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