Proverbs 21
New King James Version Par ▾ 

The Lord Considers the Heart

1The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord,
Like the [a]rivers of water;
He turns it wherever He wishes.

2Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,
But the Lord weighs the hearts.

3To do righteousness and justice
Is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

4A haughty look, a proud heart,
And the [b]plowing of the wicked are sin.

5The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty,
But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.

6Getting treasures by a lying tongue
[c]Is the fleeting fantasy of those who seek death.

7The violence of the wicked will [d]destroy them,
Because they refuse to do justice.

8The way of [e]a guilty man is perverse;
But as for the pure, his work is right.

9Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop,
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  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
The Holy Bible, New King James Version, Copyright © 1982 Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.

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