21

1The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord;

he guides it wherever he pleases.

2People may be right in their own eyes,

but the Lord examines their heart.

3The Lord is more pleased when we do what is right and just

than when we offer him sacrifices.

4Haughty eyes, a proud heart,

and evil actions are all sin.

5Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity,

but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.

6Wealth created by a lying tongue

is a vanishing mist and a deadly trap.*21:6 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads mist for those who seek death. 

7The violence of the wicked sweeps them away,

because they refuse to do what is just.

8The guilty walk a crooked path;

the innocent travel a straight road.

9It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic

than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home.

10Evil people desire evil;

their neighbors get no mercy from them.

11If you punish a mocker, the simpleminded become wise;

if you instruct the wise, they will be all the wiser.

12The Righteous One*21:12 Or The righteous man.  knows what is going on in the homes of the wicked;

he will bring disaster on them.

13Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor

will be ignored in their own time of need.

14A secret gift calms anger;

a bribe under the table pacifies fury.

15Justice is a joy to the godly,

but it terrifies evildoers.

16The person who strays from common sense

will end up in the company of the dead.

17Those who love pleasure become poor;

those who love wine and luxury will never be rich.

18The wicked are punished in place of the godly,

and traitors in place of the honest.

19It’s better to live alone in the desert

than with a quarrelsome, complaining wife.

20The wise have wealth and luxury,

but fools spend whatever they get.

21Whoever pursues righteousness and unfailing love

will find life, righteousness, and honor.

22The wise conquer the city of the strong

and level the fortress in which they trust.

23Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut,

and you will stay out of trouble.

24Mockers are proud and haughty;

they act with boundless arrogance.

25Despite their desires, the lazy will come to ruin,

for their hands refuse to work.

26Some people are always greedy for more,

but the godly love to give!

27The sacrifice of an evil person is detestable,

especially when it is offered with wrong motives.

28A false witness will be cut off,

but a credible witness will be allowed to speak.

29The wicked bluff their way through,

but the virtuous think before they act.

30No human wisdom or understanding or plan

can stand against the Lord.

31The horse is prepared for the day of battle,

but the victory belongs to the Lord.