Proverbs 21

On Life and Conduct

21 The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord;
He turns it wherever He pleases.
Every person’s way is right in his own eyes,
But the Lord examines the hearts.
To do righteousness and justice
Is preferred by the Lord more than sacrifice.
Haughty eyes and a proud heart,
The lamp of the wicked, is sin.
The plans of the diligent certainly lead to advantage,
But everyone who is in a hurry certainly comes to poverty.
The acquisition of treasures by a lying tongue
Is a fleeting vapor, the [a]pursuit of death.
The violence of the wicked will sweep them away,
Because they refuse to act with justice.
The way of a guilty person is crooked,
But as for the pure, his conduct is upright.
It is better to live on a corner of a roof
Than [b]in a house shared with a contentious woman.
10 The soul of the wicked desires evil;
His neighbor is shown no compassion in his eyes.
11 When the scoffer is punished, the naive becomes wise;
But when the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge.
12 The [c]righteous one considers the house of the wicked,
Bringing the wicked to ruin.
13 One who shuts his ear to the outcry of the poor
Will also call out himself, and not be answered.
14 A gift in secret subdues anger,
And a bribe [d]in an inside pocket, strong wrath.
15 The exercise of justice is joy for the righteous,
But terror to those who practice injustice.
16 A person who wanders from the way of understanding
Will rest in the assembly of the [e]dead.
17 One who loves pleasure will become a poor person;
One who loves wine and oil will not become rich.
18 The wicked is a ransom for the righteous,
And the treacherous is in the place of the upright.
19 It is better to live in a desert land
Than with a contentious and irritating woman.
20 There is precious treasure and oil in the home of the wise,
But a foolish person swallows it up.
21 One who pursues righteousness and loyalty
Finds life, righteousness, and honor.
22 A wise person scales the city of the mighty
And brings down the [f]stronghold in which they trust.
23 One who guards his mouth and his tongue,
Guards his soul from troubles.
24 “Proud,” “Arrogant,” “Scoffer,” are his names,
One who acts with insolent pride.
25 The desire of the [g]lazy one puts him to death,
For his hands refuse to work;
26 All day long he [h]is craving,
While 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 a person who listens will speak forever.
29 A wicked person [i]displays a bold face,
But as for the upright, he makes his way sure.
30 There is no wisdom, no understanding,
And no [j]plan against the Lord.
31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle,
But the victory belongs to the Lord.


  1. Proverbs 21:6 Lit seekers
  2. Proverbs 21:9 Lit with a woman of contentions and a house of association
  3. Proverbs 21:12 Or Righteous One
  4. Proverbs 21:14 Lit a fold in a robe; i.e., secretly
  5. Proverbs 21:16 Lit departed spirits
  6. Proverbs 21:22 Lit strength of trust
  7. Proverbs 21:25 Lit idle
  8. Proverbs 21:26 Lit desires desire
  9. Proverbs 21:29 Lit makes firm with his face
  10. Proverbs 21:30 Or advice