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Proverbs 20 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

20 Wine is a mocker, beer is a brawler,
and whoever staggers because of them is not wise.

A king’s terrible wrath is like the roaring of a lion;
anyone who provokes him endangers himself.

It is honorable for a man to resolve a dispute,
but any fool can get himself into a quarrel.

The slacker does not plow during planting season;[a]
at harvest time he looks,[b] and there is nothing.

Counsel in a man’s heart is deep water;
but a man of understanding draws it out.

Many a man proclaims his own loyalty,
but who can find a trustworthy man?

The one who lives with integrity is righteous;
his children[c] who come after him will be happy.

A king sitting on a throne to judge
sifts out all evil with his eyes.

Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure;
I am cleansed from my sin”?

10 Differing weights and varying measures[d]
both are detestable to the Lord.

11 Even a young man is known by his actions—
if his behavior is pure and upright.

12 The hearing ear and the seeing eye—
the Lord made them both.

13 Don’t love sleep, or you will become poor;
open your eyes, and you’ll have enough to eat.

14 “It’s worthless, it’s worthless!” the buyer says,
but after he is on his way, he gloats.

15 There is gold and a multitude of jewels,
but knowledgeable lips are a rare treasure.

16 Take his garment,[e]
for he has put up security for a stranger;
get collateral if it is for foreigners.

17 Food gained by fraud is sweet to a man,
but afterward his mouth is full of gravel.

18 Finalize plans with counsel,
and wage war with sound guidance.

19 The one who reveals secrets is a constant gossip;
avoid someone with a big mouth.

20 Whoever curses his father or mother
his lamp will go out in deep darkness.

21 An inheritance gained prematurely
will not be blessed ultimately.

22 Don’t say, “I will avenge this evil!”
Wait on the Lord, and He will rescue you.

23 Differing weights[f] are detestable to the Lord,
and dishonest scales are unfair.

24 A man’s steps are determined by the Lord,
so how can anyone understand his own way?

25 It is a trap for anyone to dedicate something rashly
and later to reconsider his vows.

26 A wise king separates out the wicked
and drives the threshing wheel over them.

27 The Lord’s lamp sheds light on a person’s life,[g]
searching the innermost parts.[h]

28 Loyalty and faithfulness deliver a king;
through loyalty he maintains his throne.

29 The glory of young men is their strength,
and the splendor of old men is gray hair.

30 Lashes and wounds purge away evil,
and beatings cleanse the innermost parts.[i]


  1. Proverbs 20:4 Lit plow in winter
  2. Proverbs 20:4 Lit inquires
  3. Proverbs 20:7 Lit sons
  4. Proverbs 20:10 Lit Stone and stone, measure and measure
  5. Proverbs 20:16 A debtor’s outer garment was held as collateral.
  6. Proverbs 20:23 Lit A stone and a stone
  7. Proverbs 20:27 Lit breath
  8. Proverbs 20:27 Lit the chambers of the belly
  9. Proverbs 20:30 Lit beatings the chambers of the belly

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