Proverbs 21
New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition

1The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord;
    he turns it wherever he will.
2All deeds are right in the sight of the doer,
    but the Lord weighs the heart.
3To do righteousness and justice
    is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
4Haughty eyes and a proud heart—
    the lamp of the wicked—are sin.
5The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance,
    but everyone who is hasty comes only to want.
6The getting of treasures by a lying tongue
    is a fleeting vapor and a snare[a] of death.
7The violence of the wicked will sweep them away,
    because they refuse to do what is just.
8The way of the guilty is crooked,
    but the conduct of the pure is right.
9It is better to live in a corner of the housetop
    than in a house shared with a contentious wife.
10The souls of the wicked desire evil;
    their neighbors find no mercy in their eyes.
11When a scoffer is punished, the simple become wiser;
    when the wise are instructed, they increase in knowledge.
12The Righteous One observes the house of the wicked;
    he casts the wicked down to ruin.
13If you close your ear to the cry of the poor,
    you will cry out and not be heard.
14A gift in secret averts anger;
    and a concealed bribe in the bosom, strong wrath.
15When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous,
    but dismay to evildoers.
16Whoever wanders from the way of understanding
    will rest in the assembly of the dead.
17Whoever loves pleasure will suffer want;
    whoever loves wine and oil will not be rich.
18The wicked is a ransom for the righteous,
    and the faithless for the upright.
19It is better to live in a desert land
    than with a contentious and fretful wife.
20Precious treasure remains[b] in the house of the wise,
    but the fool devours it.
21Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness
    will find life[c] and honor.
22One wise person went up against a city of warriors
    and brought down the stronghold in which they trusted.
23To watch over mouth and tongue
    is to keep out of trouble.
24The proud, haughty person, named “Scoffer,”
    acts with arrogant pride.
25The craving of the lazy person is fatal,
    for lazy hands refuse to labor.
26All day long the wicked covet,[d]
    but the righteous give and do not hold back.
27The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination;
    how much more when brought with evil intent.
28A false witness will perish,
    but a good listener will testify successfully.
29The wicked put on a bold face,
    but the upright give thought to[e] their ways.
30No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel,
    can avail against the Lord.
31The horse is made ready for the day of battle,
    but the victory belongs to the Lord.


  1. Proverbs 21:6 Gk: Heb seekers
  2. Proverbs 21:20 Gk: Heb and oil
  3. Proverbs 21:21 Gk: Heb life and righteousness
  4. Proverbs 21:26 Gk: Heb all day long one covets covetously
  5. Proverbs 21:29 Another reading is establish
Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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