Proverbs 21 – New International Version (NIV)

  1. In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him.
  2. A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart.
  3. To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
  4. Haughty eyes and a proud heart— the unplowed field of the wicked—produce sin.
  5. The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.
  6. A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare.[a]
  7. The violence of the wicked will drag them away, for they refuse to do what is right.
  8. The way of the guilty is devious, but the conduct of the innocent is upright.
  9. Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.
  10. The wicked crave evil; their neighbors get no mercy from them.
  11. When a mocker is punished, the simple gain wisdom; by paying attention to the wise they get knowledge.
  12. The Righteous One[b] takes note of the house of the wicked and brings the wicked to ruin.
  13. Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered.
  14. A gift given in secret soothes anger, and a bribe concealed in the cloak pacifies great wrath.
  15. When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.
  16. Whoever strays from the path of prudence comes to rest in the company of the dead.
  17. Whoever loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and olive oil will never be rich.
  18. The wicked become a ransom for the righteous, and the unfaithful for the upright.
  19. Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.
  20. The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.
  21. Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity[c] and honor.
  22. One who is wise can go up against the city of the mighty and pull down the stronghold in which they trust.
  23. Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.
  24. The proud and arrogant person—“Mocker” is his name— behaves with insolent fury.
  25. The craving of a sluggard will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work.
  26. All day long he craves for more, but the righteous give without sparing.
  27. The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable— how much more so when brought with evil intent!
  28. A false witness will perish, but a careful listener will testify successfully.
  29. The wicked put up a bold front, but the upright give thought to their ways.
  30. There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord.
  31. The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.


a. Proverbs 21:6 Some Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint and Vulgate; most Hebrew manuscripts vapor for those who seek death
b. Proverbs 21:12 Or The righteous person
c. Proverbs 21:21 Or righteousness

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Proverbs 21 – King James Version (KJV)

  1. The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, As the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.
  2. Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: But the LORD pondereth the hearts.
  3. To do justice and judgment Is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
  4. An high look, and a proud heart, And the plowing of the wicked, is sin.
  5. The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; But of every one that is hasty only to want.
  6. The getting of treasures by a lying tongue Is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death.
  7. The robbery of the wicked shall destroy them; Because they refuse to do judgment.
  8. The way of man is froward and strange: But as for the pure, his work is right.
  9. It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, Than with a brawling woman in a wide house.
  10. The soul of the wicked desireth evil: His neighbour findeth no favour in his eyes.
  11. When the scorner is punished, the simple is made wise: And when the wise is instructed, he receiveth knowledge.
  12. The righteous man wisely considereth the house of the wicked: But God overthroweth the wicked for their wickedness.
  13. Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, He also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.
  14. A gift in secret pacifieth anger: And a reward in the bosom strong wrath.
  15. It is joy to the just to do judgment: But destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.
  16. The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding Shall remain in the congregation of the dead.
  17. He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: He that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.
  18. The wicked shall be a ransom for the righteous, And the transgressor for the upright.
  19. It is better to dwell in the wilderness, Than with a contentious and an angry woman.
  20. There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; But a foolish man spendeth it up.
  21. He that followeth after righteousness and mercy Findeth life, righteousness, and honour.
  22. A wise man scaleth the city of the mighty, And casteth down the strength of the confidence thereof.
  23. Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue Keepeth his soul from troubles.
  24. Proud and haughty scorner is his name, Who dealeth in proud wrath.
  25. The desire of the slothful killeth him; For his hands refuse to labour.
  26. He coveteth greedily all the day long: But the righteous giveth and spareth not.
  27. The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: How much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?
  28. A false witness shall perish: But the man that heareth speaketh constantly.
  29. A wicked man hardeneth his face: But as for the upright, he directeth his way.
  30. There is no wisdom nor understanding Nor counsel against the LORD.
  31. The horse is prepared against the day of battle: But safety is of the LORD.