Contrast the Upright and the Wicked
14 The wise woman builds her house [on a foundation of godly precepts, and her household thrives],
But the foolish one [who lacks spiritual insight] tears it down with her own hands [by ignoring godly principles].
He who walks in uprightness [reverently] fears the Lord [and obeys and worships Him with profound respect],
But he who is devious in his ways despises Him.
In the mouth of the [arrogant] [a]fool [who rejects God] is a rod for his back,
But the lips of the wise [when they speak with godly wisdom] will protect them.
Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean,
But much revenue [because of good crops] comes by the strength of the ox.
A faithful and trustworthy witness will not lie,
But a false witness speaks lies.
A scoffer seeks wisdom and finds none [for his ears are closed to wisdom],
But knowledge is easy for one who understands [because he is willing to learn].
Leave the presence of a [shortsighted] fool,
For you will not find knowledge or hear godly wisdom from his lips.
The wisdom of the sensible is to understand his way,
But the foolishness of [shortsighted] fools is deceit.
Fools mock sin [but sin mocks the fools],
But among the upright there is good will and the favor and blessing of God.(A)
The heart knows its own bitterness,
And no stranger shares its joy.
The house of the wicked will be overthrown,
But the tent of the upright will thrive.
There is a way which seems right to a man and appears straight before him,
But its end is the way of death.
Even in laughter the heart may be in pain,
And the end of joy may be grief.
The backslider in heart will have his fill with his own [rotten] ways,
But a good man will be satisfied with his ways [the godly thought and action which his heart pursues and in which he delights].
The naive or inexperienced person [is easily misled and] believes every word he hears,
But the prudent man [is discreet and astute and] considers well where he is going.
A wise man suspects danger and cautiously avoids evil,
But the fool is arrogant and careless.
A quick-tempered man acts foolishly and without self-control,
And a man of wicked schemes is hated.
The naive [are unsophisticated and easy to exploit and] inherit foolishness,
But the sensible [are thoughtful and far-sighted and] are crowned with knowledge.
The evil will bow down before the good,
And the wicked [will bow down] at the gates of the righteous.
The poor man is hated even by his neighbor,
But those who love the rich are many.
He who despises his neighbor sins [against God and his fellow man],
But happy [blessed and favored by God] is he who is gracious and merciful to the poor.
Do they not go astray who devise evil and wander from the way of righteousness?
But kindness and truth will be to those who devise good.
In all labor there is profit,
But mere talk leads only to poverty.
The crown of the wise is their wealth [of wisdom],
But the foolishness of [closed-minded] fools is [nothing but] folly.
A truthful witness saves lives,
But he who speaks lies is treacherous.
In the [reverent] fear of the Lord there is strong confidence,
And His children will [always] have a place of refuge.
The [reverent] fear of the Lord [that leads to obedience and worship] is a fountain of life,
So that one may avoid the snares of death.(B)
In a multitude of people is a king’s glory,
But in a lack of people is a [pretentious] prince’s ruin.
He who is slow to anger has great understanding [and profits from his self-control],
But he who is quick-tempered exposes and exalts his foolishness [for all to see].(C)
A calm and peaceful and tranquil heart is life and health to the body,
But passion and envy are like rottenness to the bones.
He who oppresses the poor taunts and insults his Maker,
But he who is kind and merciful and gracious to the needy honors Him.(D)
The wicked is overthrown through his wrongdoing,
But the righteous has hope and confidence and a refuge [with God] even in death.
Wisdom rests [silently] in the heart of one who has understanding,
But what is in the heart of [shortsighted] fools is made known.(E)
Righteousness [moral and spiritual integrity and virtuous character] exalts a nation,
But sin is a disgrace to any people.
The king’s favor and good will are toward a servant who acts wisely and discreetly,
But his anger and wrath are toward him who acts shamefully.(F)
- Proverbs 14:3 See note 1:7.
- Proverbs 14:9 : Prov 10:23
- Proverbs 14:27 : John 4:10, 14
- Proverbs 14:29 : Prov 16:32; James 1:19
- Proverbs 14:31 : Prov 17:5; Matt 25:40, 45
- Proverbs 14:33 : Is 32:6
- Proverbs 14:35 : Matt 24:45, 47