Proverbs 15

Chapter 15

The Lord Loves Anyone Whose Goal Is Righteousness[a]

1 A gentle reply turns away wrath,
but a harsh word arouses anger.
2 The tongue of the wise distills knowledge,
but the mouth of a fool utters nothing except folly.[b]
3 The eyes of the Lord are everywhere,[c]
keeping a close watch on the evil and the good.
4 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life,
but an undisciplined tongue crushes the spirit.
5 A fool spurns his father’s correction,
but whoever heeds admonition is prudent.
6 In the house of the righteous there is no lack of treasures,
but the earnings of the wicked are never secure.
7 The lips of the wise spread knowledge;
such is not true of the heart of a fool.
8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,[d]
but he delights in the prayer of the upright.
9 The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,
but he loves anyone whose goal is righteousness.
10 Severe punishment awaits the one who strays from the right path;
whoever hates a rebuke will die.
11 The netherworld and the abyss lie open to the Lord;
how much more is this true of the human heart.[e]
12 A scoffer[f] does not like to be reproved,
and he refuses to consult the wise.
13 A glad heart makes the face cheerful,
but anguish of heart breaks one’s spirit.
14 The mind of one who is wise seeks further knowledge,
but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.
15 Every day is wretched for those who are sorrowing,
but to one who is cheerful, every day is a perpetual feast.[g]
16 It is better to have a little and fear the Lord[h]
than to possess immense wealth and suffer anguish.
17 Better a dish of herbs served with love
than a fattened ox accompanied by hatred.
18 An ill-tempered man provokes quarrels,
but a patient man quiets dissension.
19 The path of the idler[i] is covered with thorns,
but the path of the upright is a broad highway.
20 A wise son is a joy to his father,
but a foolish son has no respect for his mother.
21 Folly delights the one without sense,
but a man of understanding follows a straight path.
22 Plans miscarry when counsel is lacking,
but they succeed when there are many counselors.
23 A man is joyful when he utters apt answers,
and even more satisfying is a word in season.
24 The path of life leads upward for the prudent man
so that he may escape going down to the netherworld.[j]
25 The Lord tears down the proud man’s house,[k]
but he preserves the widow’s boundaries.
26 The Lord abhors the thoughts of the wicked,
but he is pleased with the words of the pure.
27 He who is greedy for dishonest gain brings disaster on a house,
but he who refuses to accept bribes will have life.
28 The righteous man reflects before answering,
but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil.
29 The Lord keeps his distance from the wicked,
but he listens to the prayer of the righteous.
30 A kindly glance gives joy to the heart,
and good news refreshes the bones.
31 He who accepts saving reproof has life
and will enjoy the company of the wise.
32 He who rejects correction despises himself,
but whoever accepts admonition will gain understanding.
33 The fear of the Lord[l] provides instruction in wisdom,
and to be humble is the way to honor.


  1. Proverbs 15:1 An honest, reflexive, and sober life—such seems to be the ideal of the sages whose maxims are collected in this part of the Book of Proverbs. It is a conviction that must be reflected everywhere in thought and word, in sentiments and relationships—a wisdom that is very human and well grounded, like all these recommendations. Yet, is it so banal as to be true and righteous in one’s heart and in one’s behavior? It is like a reflection of the very sentiments of God. Hence, we will not be surprised to find here maxims in which human behavior becomes religion, devotion, and fear of God. In those distant times, people did not yet imagine a life with God beyond their years on earth. God’s blessing consisted above all in material, familial, and social success. Nonetheless, they did already realize that the contemplation of God, even during the short earthly sojourn, is worth more than success and fortune.
  2. Proverbs 15:2 The mouth of a fool utters nothing except folly: see vv. 7, 28; 12:23; 13:16.
  3. Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the Lord are everywhere: see Prov 5:21; 2 Chr 16:9; see also notes on Ps 139:1b-6; 139:2; 139:7-12; 139:13-18; Jer 16:17.
  4. Proverbs 15:8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord: the sacrifices of the wicked are without value in God’s eyes (see Prov 21:3 and note; 21:27; Eccl 4:17; Isa 1:11-15; Jer 6:20). He delights in the prayer of the upright: see Prov 3:32.
  5. Proverbs 15:11 Nothing remains inaccessible to God, whether it be the netherworld and the abyss (see Job 26:6; Ps 139:8) or the human heart (see 1 Sam 16:7).
  6. Proverbs 15:12 Scoffer: see note on Prov 1:22.
  7. Proverbs 15:15 To one who is cheerful, every day is a perpetual feast: see Prov 14:30; see also Lev 23:39-41.
  8. Proverbs 15:16 Fear the Lord: see note on Prov 1:7.
  9. Proverbs 15:19 Idler: see note on Prov 6:6.
  10. Proverbs 15:24 The wise man will prolong his life and thus delay for a long time his descent to the region of the dead; he will enjoy happiness in this world for years to come.
  11. Proverbs 15:25 Tears down the proud man’s house: see Prov 2:22; 10:25; 14:11. Preserves the widow’s boundaries: by keeping intact the boundary stones that acted as landmarks for a person’s property (see Prov 22:28; Deut 19:14; Job 24:2; Ps 68:5).
  12. Proverbs 15:33 Fear of the Lord: see note on Prov 1:7.

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