Proverbs 29:18
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom's instruction.

New Living Translation
When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful.

English Standard Version
Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.

New American Standard Bible
Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law.

King James Bible
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Without revelation people run wild, but one who listens to instruction will be happy.

International Standard Version
Without prophetic vision, people abandon restraint, but those who obey the Law are happy.

NET Bible
When there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but the one who keeps the law, blessed is he!

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
In the multitude of the evil ones a people is breached and he that keeps the law is blessed.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Without prophetic vision people run wild, but blessed are those who follow [God's] teachings.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint; But he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

New American Standard 1977
Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained,
            But happy is he who keeps the law.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Without prophetic vision, the people shall perish, but he that keeps the law is blessed.

King James 2000 Bible
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he.

American King James Version
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he.

American Standard Version
Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint; But he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Douay-Rheims Bible
When prophecy shall fail, the people shall be scattered abroad: but he that keepeth the law is blessed.

Darby Bible Translation
Where there is no vision the people cast off restraint; but happy is he that keepeth the law.

English Revised Version
Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Webster's Bible Translation
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

World English Bible
Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but one who keeps the law is blessed.

Young's Literal Translation
Without a Vision is a people made naked, And whoso is keeping the law, O his happiness!
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

29:11. He is a fool who tells every thing he knows, and can keep no counsel. 12. One who loves flatterers, and hearkens to slanderers, causes his servants to become liars and false accusers. 13. Some are poor, others have a great deal of deceitful riches. They meet in the business of this world; the Lord gives to both the comforts of this life. To some of both sorts he gives his grace. 14. The rich will look to themselves, but the poor and needy the prince must defend and plead for. 15. Parents must consider the benefit of due correction, and the mischief of undue indulgence. 16. Let not the righteous have their faith and hope shocked by the increase of sin and sinners, but let them wait with patience. 17. Children must not be suffered to go without rebuke when they do amiss. 18. How bare does a place look without Bibles and ministers! and what an easy prey is it to the enemy of souls! That gospel is an open vision, which holds forth Christ, which humbles the sinner and exalts the Saviour, which promotes holiness in the life and conversation: and these are precious truths to keep the soul alive, and prevent it from perishing.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 18. - Where there is no vision, the people perish; rather, cast off restraint, become ungovernable, cannot be reined in (Exodus 32:22, 25). "Vision" (chazon), prophecy in its widest sense, denotes the revelation of God's will made through agents, which directed the course of events, and was intended to be coordinate with the supreme secular authority. The prophets were the instructors of the people in Divine things, standing witnesses of the truth and power of religion, teaching a higher than mere human morality. The fatal effect of the absence of such revelation of God's will is stated to be confusion, disorder, and rebellion; the people, uncontrolled, fall into grievous excesses, which nothing but high principles can restrain. We note the licence of Eli's time, when there was no open vision (1 Samuel 3.); in Asa's days, when Israel had long been without a teaching priest (2 Chronicles 15:3); and when the impious Ahaz "made Judah naked" (2 Chronicles 28:19); or when the people were destroyed by reason of lack of knowledge of Divine things (Hosea 4:6). Thus the importance of prophecy in regulating the life and religion of the people is fully acknowledged by the writer, in whose time, doubtless, the prophetical office was in full exercise: but this seems to be the only passage in the book where such teaching is directly mentioned; the instructors and preceptors elsewhere introduced as disseminating the principles of the chochmah being parents, or tutors, or professors, not inspired prophets. But he that keepeth the Law, happy is he! "The Law" (torah) is not merely the written Mosaic Law, but the announcement of God's will by the mouth of his representatives; and the thought is, not the blessedness of those who in a time of anarchy and irreligion keep to the authorized enactments of the Sinaitic legislation, but a contrast between the lawlessness and ruin of a people uninfluenced by religious guidance, and the happy state of those who obey alike the voice of God, whether conveyed in written statutes or by the teaching of living prophets. (For "happy is he," comp. Proverbs 14:21; Proverbs 16:20.) Septuagint, "There shall be no interpreter (ἐξηγητὴς) to a sinful nation, but he that keepeth the Law is most blessed."

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Where there is no vision, the people perish,.... That is, "no prophecy", as the Vulgate Latin version renders it; and which is often the sense of the word, as the vision of Isaiah is the prophecy of Isaiah; and, in the New Testament, prophesying is often put for preaching; and here vision, or prophecy, signifies the public ministering of the word and ordinances, and want of persons to administer them; no expounder, as the Septuagint version; or interpreter, as the Arabic. This was the case in the latter end of Eli's life, 1 Samuel 3:1; in Asa's times, and before, 2 Chronicles 15:3; in the Babylonish captivity, Ezekiel 7:26; in the times of Antiochus, Psalm 74:9; when John the Baptist and Christ first came preaching the word, Matthew 9:36; and now is the case of the Jews, and will be till the time of their conversion. So it was in the Gentile world, before the Gospel was brought into it, Acts 17:30; and so it now is in those places where the seven churches of Asia were; and in all Asia, which once heard the word of the Lord, even all that large country; and now it is not heard at all in it, but covered with Mahometan darkness. And this is the case in all Popish countries, subject to the see of Rome, where the word of God is not preached to the people, nor suffered so much as to be read by them; and even in reformed churches, for the most part, only a little morality is preached, and not the Gospel of Christ; so that here the people are perishing for lack of knowledge, Hosea 4:6; and when the witnesses will be slain, who now prophesy in sackcloth, there will he an entire stop put to prophesying or preaching for a while; but, when they shall rise, the earth will be filled with the knowledge of God, through the ministry of the word. Now, where there is no preaching, men perish in their sins; the word being the ordinary means of grace, of regeneration, conversion, faith, and salvation; without which, men know nothing of Christ, of peace, pardon, righteousness, and eternal life by him: and where there is preaching, yet it not being of the right kind, there is no spiritual knowledge spread by it, no food for souls under it; they perish with hunger, as the prodigal did, or are in starving and famishing circumstances; no comfort for the people of God, who perish in their comforts under such a ministry, 1 Corinthians 8:11; and poison is spread among others; false doctrine eats as a canker, and destroys souls. Again, where there is right vision and prophecy, or true preaching of the word, and that is despised and neglected, men perish notwithstanding; as the Jews of old, and all deniers and contemners of the word now, Acts 13:41; and this seems to be intended here, as appears by the following clause. The word translated "perish" has various senses, which agree with the text. It may be rendered, "the people become idle", or "cease" (s); from the performance of good works, grow dissolute in their manners, and licentious in their practices: or "they become refractory" (t); fierce, obstinate, and ungovernable, and rebel against their superiors: or they are "made naked" (u); stripped of their ornaments; of their privileges, civil as well as religious, which is often the case where no vision is; as well as of all virtue and morality, and of the blessing and protection of God;

but he that keepeth the law, happy is he: not the moral law, which no man can keep perfectly, but the law of faith. It may be rendered, "happy is he that observes doctrine" (w); the doctrine of the Gospel, where it is preached; that attends to it, values and esteems it, receives it by faith, and with meekness; blessed is he, blessed are his eyes and ears; he sees wondrous things out of this law or doctrine, and he hears and knows the joyful sound, which brings salvation and eternal life unto him!

(s) "feriabitur", Montanus. (t) "Rebellis erit", Pagninus; "retroagitur", Mercerus; "defecit, recedit", Vatablus; "refractarius", Gejerus. (u) "Nadatur", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Michaelis; "denudatur", Cocceius; "cessabit et otiosus erit, deficiet et retrocedit atque denudatur", Baynus. (w) "qui observat legem", i. e. "verbum Dei", Cocceius; "doctrinam", Amama.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

18. no vision—instruction in God's truth, which was by prophets, through visions (1Sa 3:1).

people perish—(Compare Margin), are deprived of moral restraints.

keepeth the law—has, and observes, instruction (Pr 14:11, 34; Ps 19:11).

Proverbs 29:18 Additional Commentaries
The Stiff-Necked will Be Destroyed
17Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; He will also delight your soul. 18Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law. 19A slave will not be instructed by words alone; For though he understands, there will be no response.…
Cross References
John 13:17
Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Exodus 32:25
Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies.

1 Samuel 3:1
The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.

Psalm 1:1
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,

Psalm 1:2
but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.

Psalm 19:11
By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

Psalm 74:9
We are given no signs from God; no prophets are left, and none of us knows how long this will be.

Psalm 106:3
Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right.

Psalm 119:2
Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart--

Proverbs 8:32
"Now then, my children, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways.

Proverbs 29:19
Servants cannot be corrected by mere words; though they understand, they will not respond.

Amos 8:11
"The days are coming," declares the Sovereign LORD, "when I will send a famine through the land-- not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.

Amos 8:12
People will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the LORD, but they will not find it.
Treasury of Scripture

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he.


1 Samuel 3:1 And the child Samuel ministered to the LORD before Eli. And the word …

Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because you have rejected …

Amos 8:11,12 Behold, the days come, said the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine …

Matthew 9:36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, …

Romans 10:13-15 For whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved…

perish or is made naked

2 Chronicles 28:19 For the LORD brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel; for …


Proverbs 19:16 He that keeps the commandment keeps his own soul; but he that despises …

Psalm 19:11 Moreover by them is your servant warned: and in keeping of them there …

Psalm 119:2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with …

Luke 11:28 But he said, Yes rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, …

John 13:17 If you know these things, happy are you if you do them.

John 14:21-23 He that has my commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves …

James 1:25 But whoever looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues …

Revelation 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right …

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