Meditation and Prayer Journey – Proverbs 21

Proverbs 21


NIV Version,  Message VersionEnglish Standard Version (see the list of related scriptures at the bottom of the ESV page), King James Version

Amplified Version

1THE KING’S heart is in the hand of the Lord, as are the watercourses; He turns it whichever way He wills.

2Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs and tries the hearts.(A)

3To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.(B)

4Haughtiness of eyes and a proud heart, even the tillage of the wicked or the lamp [of joy] to them [whatever it may be], are sin [in the eyes of God].

5The thoughts of the [steadily] diligent tend only to plenteousness, but everyone who is impatient and hasty hastens only to want.

6Securing treasures by a lying tongue is a vapor driven to and fro; those who seek them seek death.

7The violence of the wicked shall sweep them away, because they refuse to do justice.

8The way of the guilty is exceedingly crooked, but as for the pure, his work is right and his conduct is straight.

9It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop [on the flat oriental roof, exposed to all kinds of weather] than in a house shared with a nagging, quarrelsome, and faultfinding woman.

10The soul or life of the wicked craves and seeks evil; his neighbor finds no favor in his eyes.(C)

11When the scoffer is punished, the fool gets a lesson in being wise; but men of [godly] Wisdom and good sense learn by being instructed.

12The [uncompromisingly] righteous man considers well the house of the wicked–how the wicked are cast down to ruin.

13Whoever stops his ears at the cry of the poor will cry out himself and not be heard.(D)

14A gift in secret pacifies and turns away anger, and a bribe in the lap, strong wrath.

15When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous (the upright, in right standing with God), but to the evildoers it is dismay, calamity, and ruin.

16A man who wanders out of the way of understanding shall abide in the congregation of the spirits (of the dead).

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

18The wicked become a ransom for the [uncompromisingly] righteous, and the treacherous for the upright [because the wicked themselves fall into the traps and pits they have dug for the good].

19It is better to dwell in a desert land than with a contentious woman and with vexation.

20There are precious treasures and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a self-confident and foolish man swallows it up and wastes it.

21He who earnestly seeks after and craves righteousness, mercy, and loving-kindness will find life in addition to righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God) and honor.(E)

22A wise man scales the city walls of the mighty and brings down the stronghold in which they trust.

23He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from troubles.(F)

24The proud and haughty man–Scoffer is his name–deals and acts with overbearing pride.

25The desire of the slothful kills him, for his hands refuse to labor.

26He covets greedily all the day long, but the [uncompromisingly] righteous gives and does not withhold.(G)

27The sacrifice of the wicked is exceedingly disgusting and abhorrent [to the Lord]–how much more when he brings it with evil intention?

28A false witness will perish, but the word of a man who hears attentively will endure and go unchallenged.

29A wicked man puts on the bold, unfeeling face [of guilt], but as for the upright, he considers, directs, and establishes his way [with the confidence of integrity].

30There is no [human] wisdom or understanding or counsel [that can prevail] against the Lord.

31The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but deliverance and victory are of the Lord.

* NOTE: Other views expressed by those whose materials has been referenced here, do not necessarily reflect this author’s personal views.

Further Study

Proverb-A-Day: Chapter 21

Proverbs Spiritual Checkup

Proverbs 21:2
Our Daily Bread

In an experiment years ago, researchers fitted people with special prismatic glasses that made things appear upside down, straight lines appear curved, and sharp outlines seem fringed with color. Even though the subjects continued to wear the glasses, within just a few days the unnatural shapes, tinted edges, and inverted landscapes grad­ually disappeared, and the world began to appear normal again. Their brains had overcome false data coming through the lenses. This adapt-ability in the physical realm is indeed a blessing.

Proverbs suggests, however, that the mind doesn’t function very well in the spiritual realm. In fact, we are sinners whose deepest imaginations are evil, and our thought-life produces a world of illu­sions. We think of ourselves as pure, when in reality we are guilty before God. That is why, for example, many people shift the responsi­bility for their behavior to environmental factors or to faulty upbring­ing. They fail to see their own rebellion and selfishness and imagine themselves to be the helpless, innocent victims of circumstance. In this way, they justify thoughts, feelings, and actions that are obviously sinful. Their way is right in their own eyes.

As Christians, we should be aware of the deceptive nature of our hearts and allow the Holy Spirit to correct our vision through a knowledge of God’s Word. —M. R. De Haan II (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Salvation gives spiritual vision to sin-blinded eyes.

Multi Media

The Book of Proverbs as narrated by Max McLean – Proverbs 20

A Better Way to Live Proverbs 21:5

A Better Way to Live Proverbs 21:9

A Better Way to Live ”Proverbs 21:16


STUDIES ON PROVERBS Exposition: Proverbs

Bible commentaries: Here are a few I personally use: John Darby’s SynopsisMatthew Henry’s Concise Commentary;John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes; John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible

Bible Explained: An interactive commentary on the whole Bible.

My Reflections

Wise or Foolish

Personal pop out verses:

3To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.(A)

12The [uncompromisingly] righteous man considers well the house of the wicked–how the wicked are cast down to ruin.

23He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from troubles.(A)

V3 – Can’t tell you how many times I have heard this one over the years. So I thought I’d take a look at the actual meanings of a few of the words. Depending on the version you read it may read “righteousness and justice” or “justice and judgement”.

justice – tsedâqâh – From H6663; rightness (abstractly), subjectively (rectitude), objectively (justice), morally (virtue) or figuratively (prosperity): – justice, moderately, right (-eous) (act, -ly, -ness).

judgement – mishpâṭ – from H8199 which means A primitive root; to judge, that is, pronounce sentence (for or against); by implication to vindicate or punish; by extension to govern; passively to litigate (literally or figuratively): – + avenge, X that condemn, contend, defend, execute (judgment), (be a) judge (-ment), X needs, plead, reason, rule.

sacrifice – zebach – From H2076; properly a slaughter, that is, the flesh of an animal; by implication a sacrifice (the victim or the act): – offer (-ing), sacrifice.

So it seems that to be right in a moral sense and to condemn, judge, or point out immoral things is better than to bring a sacrifice to to the Lord. Does that sound right? Something to think on there. Matthew Henry rights in his commentary:

Many deceive themselves with a conceit that outward devotions will excuse unrighteousness.

Might look good on the outside, but God know what’s happening on the inside. Might look good in the open, but God knows what’s happening when no human is looking.

V12 – This one is interesting because of the various ways it has been interpreted. Here are a few of them.

(AMP) The [uncompromisingly] righteous man considers well the house of the wicked–how the wicked are cast down to ruin.

(ASV) The righteous man considereth the house of the wicked, How the wicked are overthrown to their ruin.

(ESV) The Righteous One observes the house of the wicked; he throws the wicked down to ruin.

(KJV) The righteous man wisely considereth the house of the wicked: but God overthroweth the wicked for their wickedness.

(LITV) The Righteous One wisely considers the house of the wicked: He overthrows the wicked for his evil.

(YLT) The Righteous One is acting wisely Towards the house of the wicked, He is overthrowing the wicked for wickedness.

I think each of those carries with it a different meaning. Righteous One (God) or righteous man who is considering? Who does the overthrowing of the wicked? Bible scholars don’t agree anymore than the people interpreting the text. Guess we will have to form our own thoughts based on where the Spirit leads us individually.

V23 – Oh yeah, I know this, just have to remember it. Take it and apply it daily.


Father I thank you that You are truly the Righteous One, the Perfect One. You are eternally loving and watching. I thank you that You do overthrow the wicked and the evil, that you keep watch over the just and the righteous. Lord, help me to walk in righteousness, justice, and judgement according to Your Spirit’s leading. Let my sacrifice be pleasing to you as I am obedient to Your word. Let my mouth speak the words that You want to be spoke, WHEN you want them to be spoken. Guard my mouth, heart, and mind, I want them to always honor you and bring Glory to You and You alone. In Jesus Name, AMEN!

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