Passage: Proverbs 19, 20, 21 (RSV)

Proverbs 19

1Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a man who is perverse in speech, and is a fool.
2It is not good for a man to be without knowledge, and he who makes haste with his feet misses his way.
3When a man's folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the LORD.
4Wealth brings many new friends, but a poor man is deserted by his friend.
5A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who utters lies will not escape.
6Many seek the favor of a generous man, and every one is a friend to a man who gives gifts.
7All a poor man's brothers hate him; how much more do his friends go far from him! He pursues them with words, but does not have them.
8He who gets wisdom loves himself; he who keeps understanding will prosper.
9A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who utters lies will perish.
10It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury, much less for a slave to rule over princes.
11Good sense makes a man slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
12A king's wrath is like the growling of a lion, but his favor is like dew upon the grass.
13A foolish son is ruin to his father, and a wife's quarreling is a continual dripping of rain.
14House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the LORD.
15Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger.
16He who keeps the commandment keeps his life; he who despises the word will die.
17He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.
18Discipline your son while there is hope; do not set your heart on his destruction.
19A man of great wrath will pay the penalty; for if you deliver him, you will only have to do it again.
20Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom for the future.
21Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will be established.
22What is desired in a man is loyalty, and a poor man is better than a liar.
23The fear of the LORD leads to life; and he who has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.
24The sluggard buries his hand in the dish, and will not even bring it back to his mouth.
25Strike a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence; reprove a man of understanding, and he will gain knowledge.
26He who does violence to his father and chases away his mother is a son who causes shame and brings reproach.
27Cease, my son, to hear instruction only to stray from the words of knowledge.
28A worthless witness mocks at justice, and the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity.
29Condemnation is ready for scoffers, and flogging for the backs of fools.

Proverbs 20

1Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler; and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
2The dread wrath of a king is like the growling of a lion; he who provokes him to anger forfeits his life.
3It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife; but every fool will be quarreling.
4The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing.
5The purpose in a man's mind is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.
6Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, but a faithful man who can find?
7A righteous man who walks in his integrity -- blessed are his sons after him!
8A king who sits on the throne of judgment winnows all evil with his eyes.
9Who can say, "I have made my heart clean; I am pure from my sin"?
10Diverse weights and diverse measures are both alike an abomination to the LORD.
11Even a child makes himself known by his acts, whether what he does is pure and right.
12The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the LORD has made them both.
13Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread.
14"It is bad, it is bad," says the buyer; but when he goes away, then he boasts.
15There is gold, and abundance of costly stones; but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.
16Take a man's garment when he has given surety for a stranger, and hold him in pledge when he gives surety for foreigners.
17Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel.
18Plans are established by counsel; by wise guidance wage war.
19He who goes about gossiping reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with one who speaks foolishly.
20If one curses his father or his mother, his lamp will be put out in utter darkness.
21An inheritance gotten hastily in the beginning will in the end not be blessed.
22Do not say, "I will repay evil"; wait for the LORD, and he will help you.
23Diverse weights are an abomination to the LORD, and false scales are not good.
24A man's steps are ordered by the LORD; how then can man understand his way?
25It is a snare for a man to say rashly, "It is holy," and to reflect only after making his vows.
26A wise king winnows the wicked, and drives the wheel over them.
27The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all his innermost parts.
28Loyalty and faithfulness preserve the king, and his throne is upheld by righteousness.
29The glory of young men is their strength, but the beauty of old men is their gray hair.
30Blows that wound cleanse away evil; strokes make clean the innermost parts.

Proverbs 21

1The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.
2Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, 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 every one who is hasty comes only to want.
6The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a snare 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 woman.
10The soul of the wicked desires evil; his neighbor finds no mercy in his eyes.
11When a scoffer is punished, the simple becomes wise; when a wise man is instructed, he gains knowledge.
12The righteous observes the house of the wicked; the wicked are cast down to ruin.
13He who closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself cry out and not be heard.
14A gift in secret averts anger; and a bribe in the bosom, strong wrath.
15When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous, but dismay to evildoers.
16A man who wanders from the way of understanding will rest in the assembly of the dead.
17He who loves pleasure will be a poor man; he who 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 woman.
20Precious treasure remains in a wise man's dwelling, but a foolish man devours it.
21He who pursues righteousness and kindness will find life and honor.
22A wise man scales the city of the mighty and brings down the stronghold in which they trust.
23He who keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.
24"Scoffer" is the name of the proud, haughty man who acts with arrogant pride.
25The desire of the sluggard kills him for his hands refuse to labor.
26All day long the wicked covets, but the righteous gives and does not hold back.
27The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; how much more when he brings it with evil intent.
28A false witness will perish, but the word of a man who hears will endure.
29A wicked man puts on a bold face, but an upright man considers his 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.

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