1 THE KING'S heart is in the hand of the Lord, as are the watercourses; He turns it whichever way He wills.
2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs and tries the hearts. [Prov. 24:12; Luke 16:15.]
3 To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. [I Sam. 15:22; Prov. 15:8; Isa. 1:11; Hos. 6:6; Mic. 6:7, 8.]
4 Haughtiness 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].
5 The thoughts of the [steadily] diligent tend only to plenteousness, but everyone who is impatient and hasty hastens only to want.
6 Securing treasures by a lying tongue is a vapor driven to and fro; those who seek them seek death.
7 The violence of the wicked shall sweep them away, because they refuse to do justice.
8 The way of the guilty is exceedingly crooked, but as for the pure, his work is right and his conduct is straight.
9 It 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.
10 The soul or life of the wicked craves and seeks evil; his neighbor finds no favor in his eyes. [James 2:16.]
11 When the scoffer is punished, the fool gets a lesson in being wise; but men of [godly] Wisdom and good sense learn by being instructed.
12 The [uncompromisingly] righteous man considers well the house of the wicked–how the wicked are cast down to ruin.
13 Whoever stops his ears at the cry of the poor will cry out himself and not be heard. [Matt. 18:30-34; James 2:13.]
14 A gift in secret pacifies and turns away anger, and a bribe in the lap, strong wrath.
15 When 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.
16 A man who wanders out of the way of understanding shall abide in the congregation of the spirits (of the dead).
17 He who loves pleasure will be a poor man; he who loves wine and oil will not be rich.
18 The 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].
19 It is better to dwell in a desert land than with a contentious woman and with vexation.
20 There are precious treasures and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a self-confident and foolish man swallows it up and wastes it.
21 He 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. [Prov. 15:9; Matt. 5:6.]
22 A wise man scales the city walls of the mighty and brings down the stronghold in which they trust.
23 He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from troubles. [Prov. 12:13; 13:3; 18:21; James 3:2.]
24 The proud and haughty man–Scoffer is his name–deals and acts with overbearing pride.
25 The desire of the slothful kills him, for his hands refuse to labor.
26 He covets greedily all the day long, but the [uncompromisingly] righteous gives and does not withhold. [II Cor. 9:6-10.]
27 The sacrifice of the wicked is exceedingly disgusting and abhorrent [to the Lord]–how much more when he brings it with evil intention?
28 A false witness will perish, but the word of a man who hears attentively will endure and go unchallenged.
29 A 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].
30 There is no [human] wisdom or understanding or counsel [that can prevail] against the Lord.
31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but deliverance and victory are of the Lord.