Proverbs 21

1 The king’s heart is in the LORD’s hand like the watercourses. He turns it wherever he desires.
2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the hearts.
3 To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
4 A high look, and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, is sin.
5 The plans of the diligent surely lead to profit; and everyone who is hasty surely rushes to poverty.
6 Getting treasures by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor for those who seek death.
7 The violence of the wicked will drive them away, because they refuse to do what is right.
8 The way of the guilty is devious, but the conduct of the innocent is upright.
9 It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than to share a house with a contentious woman.
10 The soul of the wicked desires evil; his neighbor finds no mercy in his eyes.
11 When the mocker is punished, the simple gains wisdom. When the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge.
12 The Righteous One considers the house of the wicked, and brings the wicked to ruin.
13 Whoever stops his ears at the cry of the poor, he will also cry out, but shall not be heard.
14 A gift in secret pacifies anger; and a bribe in the cloak, strong wrath.
15 It is joy to the righteous to do justice; but it is a destruction to the workers of iniquity.
16 The man who wanders out of the way of understanding shall rest in the assembly of the departed spirits.
17 He who loves pleasure shall be a poor man. He who loves wine and oil shall not be rich.
18 The wicked is a ransom for the righteous; the treacherous for the upright.
19 It is better to dwell in a desert land, than with a contentious and fretful woman.
20 There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man swallows it up.
21 He who follows after righteousness and kindness finds life, righteousness, and honor.
22 A wise man scales the city of the mighty, and brings down the strength of its confidence.
23 Whoever guards his mouth and his tongue keeps his soul from troubles.
24 The proud and haughty man, “scoffer” is his name; he works in the arrogance of pride.
25 The desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor.
26 There are those who covet greedily all day long; but the righteous give and don’t withhold.
27 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination: how much more, when he brings it with a wicked mind!
28 A false witness will perish, and a man who listens speaks to eternity.
29 A wicked man hardens his face; but as for the upright, he establishes his ways.
30 There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD.
31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle; but victory is with the LORD.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verse 1

The believer, perceiving that the Lord rules every heart as he sees fit, like the husbandman who turns the water through his grounds as he pleases, seeks to have his own heart, and the hearts of others, directed in his faith, fear, and love.

Verse 2

We are partial in judging ourselves and our actions.

Verse 3

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

Verse 4

Sin is the pride, the ambition, the glory, the joy, and the business of wicked men.

Verse 5

The really diligent employ foresight as well as labour.

Verse 6

While men seek wealth by unlawful practices, they seek death.

Verse 7

Injustice will return upon the sinner, and will destroy him here and for ever.

Verse 8

The way of mankind by nature is froward and strange.

Verse 9

It is best to shun bitter contention by pouring out the heart before God. For by prudence and patience, with constant prayer, the cross may be removed.

Verse 10

The evil desires of a wicked man’s heart, lead to baseness in his conduct.

Verse 11

The simple may be made wise by punishments on the wicked, and by instructions to those who are willing to be taught.

Verse 12

Good men envy not the prosperity of evil-doers; they see there is a curse on them.

Verse 13

Such as oppress the poor by beating down wages, such as will not relieve according to their ability those in distress, and those in authority who neglect to do justice, stop their ears at the cry of the poor. But doubtless care is to be used in the exercise of charity.

Verse 14

If money can conquer the fury of the passions, shall reason, the fear of God, and the command of Christ, be too weak to bridle them?

Verse 15

There is true pleasure only in the practice of religion.

Verse 16

Of all wanderers in the ways of sin, those are in the most dangerous condition who turn aside into the ways of darkness. Yet there is hope even for them in the all-sufficient Saviour; but let them flee to him without delay.

Verse 17

A life of worldly pleasure brings ruin on men.

Verse 18

The righteous is often delivered out of trouble, and the wicked comes in his stead, and so seems as a ransom for him.

Verse 19

Unbridled passions spoil the comfort of all relations.

Verse 20

The plenty obtained by prudence, industry, and frugality, is desirable. But the foolish misspend what they have upon their lusts.

Verse 21

True repentance and faith will lead him that relies on the mercy of God in Christ, to follow after righteousness and mercy in his own conduct.

Verse 22

Those that have wisdom, often do great things, even against those confident of their strength.

Verse 23

It is our great concern to keep our souls from being entangled and disquieted.

Verse 24

Pride and haughtiness make men passionate; such continually deal in wrath, as if it were their trade to be angry.

Verses 25, 26

Here is the misery of the slothful; their hands refuse to labour in an honest calling, by which they might get an honest livelihood; yet their hearts cease not to covet riches, pleasures, and honours, which cannot be obtained without labour. But the righteous and industrious have their desires satisfied.

Verse 27

When holiness is pretended, but wickedness intended, that especially is an abomination.

Verse 28

The doom of a false witness is certain.

Verse 29

A wicked man bids defiance to the terrors of the law and the rebukes of Providence. But a good man asks, What does God require of me?

Verses 30, 31

Means are to be used, but, after all, our safety and salvation are only of the Lord. In our spiritual warfare we must arm ourselves with the whole armour of God; but our strength must be in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

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