God Is the Source of Wisdom
1It’s as easy for God to steer a king’s heart # 21:1 Don’t forget, we have been made kings and priests by the blood of the Lamb. See 1 Peter 2:9; Rev. 1:6; 5:10. for his purposes
as it is for him to direct the course of a stream. # 21:1 Because a leader’s decisions affect so many people, God will intervene and steer them as a farmer steers the course of a stream to irrigate his fields.
2We may think we’re right all the time,
but God thoroughly examines our motives.
3It pleases God more when we demonstrate godliness and justice
than when we merely offer him a sacrifice.
4Arrogance, superiority, and pride are the fruits of sin. # 21:4 Or “the tillage of the wicked.” The Aramaic and the Septuagint have “the lamp of the wicked.”
5Brilliant ideas pay off and bring you prosperity,
but making hasty, impatient decisions
will only lead to financial loss. # 21:5 The Aramaic is “The thoughts of the chosen one are trusting, but those of the evil one lead to poverty.” This verse is missing from the Septuagint.
6You can make a fortune dishonestly,
but your crime will hold you in the snares of death! # 21:6 As translated from the Aramaic and the Septuagint. The Hebrew is “the money will vanish into thin air.”
7Violent rebels don’t have a chance,
for their rejection of truth and their love of evil
will drag them deeper into darkness.
8You can discern that a person is guilty by his devious actions
and the innocence of a person by his honest, sincere ways.
9It’s better to live all alone in a rickety shack
than to share a castle with a crabby spouse! # 21:9 The Septuagint reads “It’s better to live in the corner of an attic than in a large home plastered with unrighteousness.”
10The wicked always crave what is evil;
they’ll show no mercy and get no mercy. # 21:10 The Hebrew is “they show no mercy,” while the Septuagint reads “they’ll receive no mercy.” This translation merges both concepts.
11Senseless people learn their lessons the hard way,
but the wise are teachable.
12A godly, righteous person # 21:12 The Hebrew is “a righteous one,” which can also speak of God, “the Righteous One.” has the ability
to bring the light of instruction to the wicked
even though he despises what the wicked do. # 21:12 As translated from the Septuagint. There are many examples of this in the Bible: Joseph in Egypt, Daniel in Babylon, and the follower of Jesus today who is living among unbelievers.
13If you close your heart to the cries of the poor,
then I’ll close my ears when you cry out to me!
14Try giving a secret gift to the one who is angry with you
and watch his anger disappear.
A kind, generous gift goes a long way
to soothe the anger of one who is livid. # 21:14 The Aramaic and Septuagint translate this “He who withholds a gift arouses anger.”
15When justice is served,
the lovers of God celebrate and rejoice,
but the wicked begin to panic.
16When you forsake the ways of wisdom,
you will wander into the realm of dark spirits. # 21:16 Or “the congregation of the Rephaites.” The Rephaites were a pagan tribe of giants and have been equated with spirits of darkness. See Gen. 14:5 and Deut. 2:11.
17To love pleasure for pleasure’s sake
will introduce you to poverty.
Indulging in a life of luxury # 21:17 Or “loving wine and oil.”
will never make you wealthy.
18The wicked bring on themselves
the very suffering they planned for others,
for their treachery comes back to haunt them. # 21:18 Or “The evil become the ransom payment for the righteous and the faithless for the upright.”
19It’s better to live in a hut in the wilderness
than with a crabby, scolding spouse!
20In wisdom’s house you’ll find delightful treasures
and the oil of the Holy Spirit. # 21:20 The Hebrew word for “oil” is an emblem of the Holy Spirit.
But the stupid # 21:20 Or “a fool of a man.” squander what they’ve been given.
21The lovers of God who chase after righteousness
will find all their dreams come true:
an abundant life drenched with favor
and a fountain that overflows with satisfaction. # 21:21 Or “righteousness.”
22A warrior filled with wisdom ascends into the high place
and releases breakthrough,
bringing down the strongholds of the mighty. # 21:22 Or “demolishing their strength of confidence.”
23Watch your words and be careful what you say,
and you’ll be surprised by how few troubles you’ll have.
24An arrogant man is inflated with pride—
nothing but a snooty scoffer in love with his own opinion.
Mr. Mocker is his name! # 21:24 The Septuagint adds a line: “He who holds a grudge is a sinner.”
25-26Taking the easy way out is the habit of a lazy man,
and it will be his downfall.
All day long he thinks about all the things that he craves,
for he hasn’t learned the secret that the generous man has learned:
extravagant giving never leads to poverty. # 21:25–26 This is implied in the context and is necessary to complete the meaning of the proverb. The last line of this verse in the Septuagint reads “the righteous lavish on others mercy and compassion.”
27To bring an offering to God with an ulterior motive is detestable,
for it amounts to nothing but hypocrisy.
28No one believes a notorious liar,
but the guarded words of an honest man stand the test of time.
29The wicked are shameless and stubborn,
but the lovers of God have a holy confidence.
30All your brilliant wisdom and clever insight
will be of no help at all if the Lord is against you.
31You can do your best to prepare for the battle, # 21:31 Or “The horse is prepared for the battle.”
but ultimate victory comes from the Lord God.