Proverbs 10-31: Further Character Sketches
The previous lesson dealt with Proverbs’ characterization of various types of people. The simple, the fool, the hothead, the proud, and the scoffer were treated. Each type of person was characterized by patterns of harmful behavior. The sages of Israel were very concerned with wrong behavior as the law codes of Exodus through Deuteronomy show. However, laws prohibiting wrong behavior are not the only way to motivate good behavior. The proverbs describe in poetic form the consequences of wrong actions. This lesson will address Proverbs’ treatment of the sluggard, the drunkard, the greedy, and the seductress. For each of these kinds of people Proverbs offers the wisdom that is the fruit of painful experience and compassionate commitment to the principles of the covenant God established with Israel.
The Sluggard: Proverbs 26:13-26; 22:13; 19:24; 10:26; 13:4; 16:26; 21:25; 20:4; 12:27; 19:15; 12:24; 15:19; 18:9; 20:13; 24:30-34
The sages of Israel seemed to enjoy making fun of the sluggard. Almost all the occurrences of the Hebrew word translated "sluggard" are in the book of Proverbs. The word, asel, comes from the verb meaning to be slow or sluggish (NRSV usually translates this word as "lazy"). That verb appears in Judges 18:9 to describe an attitude of doing nothing when the challenge of conquest was at hand. The noun is used frequently in Proverbs to describe the lazy person who lacks the motivation to fulfill his most basic responsibilities in life. The proverbs seem to delight in poking fun at the sluggard. As Aitken (p. 118) points out the sages reserved some of their most sarcastic humor for this lazy fellow.
The sluggard’s day, like that of everyone else, begins in bed. But unlike the normal person who gets up whether he or she wants to or not, the sluggard stays in bed. Proverbs 26:14 compares the sluggard’s relationship to bed with a door’s relationship to a hinge. The sluggard is fastened to the bed. He turns this way and that, but does not get up. Alden (p. 188) points out that the sluggard "looks as if he might be getting up to do something productive, but then falls back on the pillows. He simply lacks the ambition, drive, or self-discipline necessary to swing out of bed and head for work."
Many people find it difficult to get up in the morning. But the sages are not just putting down "night" people. Once he has gotten up, the sluggard’s day does not suddenly become productive. Only his imagination works overtime. Proverbs 26:13 and 22:13 portray the sluggard peering through the window and saying, "There’s a lion outside." The obvious conclusion is that he can’t go outside to work as he would be in grave danger of being mauled.
This is an example of the humor of the proverbs. There probably were lions outside, lions did exist in the Holy Land, but they are far away. The sluggard lives in a village and if a lion were to come near a village the whole village would be mobilized in trying to kill it or frighten it away. The danger of the lion was a figment of the sluggard'’ vivid imagination. It sounds preposterous, as do most of the excuses lazy people come up with to explain why they are not working. The point is not just to laugh at the sluggard of Proverbs but also to examine one’s own life. Are the reasons we give for postponing the necessary tasks of our life really valid or are they so ridiculous that we could be compared to the sluggard?
Having made it out of bed and having concluded that it is too dangerous to go to work the sluggard decides to eat. Proverbs 19:24 and 26:15 point out that the sluggard is able to get his hand into the dish; he just can’t get it from the bowl to his mouth. The sages cannot imagine any more dramatic way to show how ridiculous laziness can become. Anyone should make the effort to eat. Proverbs 26:15 implies that the sluggard might need a little nap to get up enough energy to eat!
Once he has finally rolled out of bed, eaten, and made it to his front door, the sluggard is available in the late afternoon to run an errand for his neighbors. However, they would be well advised to not seek his help. However busy a neighbor might be, he is better off doing the errand himself than sending the sluggard. Proverbs 10:26 picturesquely describes how irritating it is to seek help from a sluggard. It is like smoke in one’s eyes or vinegar in one’s teeth. Garrett (p. 121) points out that vinegar and smoke are physically irritating but the unreliable person is irritating to another’s emotional stability and to society’s very fabric. The sluggard fails to follow through – whether in feeding himself or in performing an errand. It is this unreliability that makes the sluggard such a drain on his family and society. It is easy to laugh at the exaggerations of the proverbs but the sluggard’s laziness places both himself and those he depends on at risk.
The interesting fact is that the sluggard does not lack desire. He desires the same things that the industrious person desires. The sluggard just isn’t willing to put forth the same amount of effort and self-discipline as his hard working neighbor. Proverbs 13:4 points out that the appetite of the sluggard craves the blessings enjoyed by others but it takes more than craving. The slowness and sluggishness of the sluggard leads to nothing because he will not work to achieve what his heart desires. Proverbs 16:26 points out that the same appetite in a working person produces results.
Proverbs 21:25 describes the frustration of the lazy person. His desire "is fatal for lazy hands refuse to work." Proverbs 20:4 reveals the problem; the sluggard stands and watches his neighbors plowing in the fields but optimistically (and unrealistically) assumes that he can achieve the same harvest with no work. Though the Hebrew text is uncertain in Proverbs 12:27 the point seems to be that the lazy person lacks the drive to either hunt down his prey or to roast it if it should fall into his hands. Without diligence none of the dreams of the slothful person will be fulfilled.
In addition to his other problems the sluggard is also a member of the group of people condemned by the proverbs for being wise in their own eyes. Proverbs 26:16 states that the sluggard is wiser in his own view than seven men who answer well. The Hebrew text literally speaks of seven who answer tastefully. Though most commentaries deny any significance to the number seven, that number usually speaks of fullness or completion. Thus the full number of people means anyone or everyone. The sluggard is convinced that he is wiser than anyone in the whole human race. Such arrogance provides a sharp contrast to the tasteful answers given by those whose wisdom he rejects.
The New Testament is also clear that it is dangerous to think oneself wise. Romans 1:22 introduces the terrible delusions of those who think themselves wise. Romans 11:25 and 12:16 forbid thinking oneself wiser than he or she really is. Romans 12:3 commands a sober accurate self-evaluation but the basis of the evaluation of one’s value and wisdom is the measure of faith that God has allotted. It is dangerous to rely on the opinions of others to prop up one’s sense of worth and wisdom. However, Proverbs and Romans also make it clear that it is dangerous to ignore the sober evaluation that other people make of you. The sluggard thinks he is smart because he avoids work. While the cleverness that enables such a way of living seems beneficial in the short-run, there is long-term disaster in store.
The proverbs list some of the disastrous results of laziness. The sleep of the sluggard leads to hunger according to Proverbs 19:15. Even the sluggard’s cleverness is not sufficient for sane society to put him in charge. Proverbs 12:24 points out that it will be the diligent who rule and the idle who will be forced into slave labor. Alden (p. 103) notes that the person described by the word "diligent" would be called a "self-starter" today.
Proverbs 15:19 suggests that the life of the lazy person will be full of obstacles while the righteous person’s life will often encounter smooth sailing. The Hebrew suggests that life’s journey for the sluggard feels like constantly battling one’s way through a hedge of thorns. Progress is difficult; it scratches and tears at one. But uprightness will lead to a level highway.
There are two issues in this verse that require attention. The first is the fact that laziness and righteousness are contrasted with each other. Another way of putting it is that laziness is implied to be a kind of evil or sin. While the non-judgmental bias of our society resists such a connection, the Bible does not. Laziness is one way of refusing to love one’s neighbor as well as refusing to love God. Ephesians 4:28 demands that we work hard in order to have something to share with others. The Biblical motivation for work is not to accumulate for oneself, but to be equipped for sharing. Laziness undermines that way of expressing love for other people.
Since God has directed us to work, laziness is also a rejection of God’s authority. Proverbs 18:9 compares one who is slack in work with a vandal, one who destroys. While it is true that shoddy workmanship ruins both the raw materials and the finished product, the real problem is the implied view of another person that arises from shoddiness. Alden (p. 139) applies this verse to the worker installing faulty brakes or defective wiring in a house. Not only can people be killed, the shoddy worker has demonstrated that he doesn’t care if they are killed.
The second issue is the promise of a level highway for the righteous. This is a proverb and so it is true as a general rule. But it is not legal contract from God. There are righteous people for whom life is as difficult as a hedge of thorns. Job is one example. The painful circumstances of his life were not a product of sin at all. We sometimes joke about a friend "living right" when good fortune comes his or her way. However, we must be careful not to imply that anyone has earned good fortune by good living or bad fortune by evil living. Jesus taught in Matthew 5:45 that the rain falls on the righteous and on the unrighteous. In John 9:3 Jesus emphatically rejected the idea that the man born blind was suffering from either his own sin or the sins of his parents. Difficult times are not necessarily the evidence of spiritual failure (see The Problem of Natural Evil). Much spiritual damage has been done in the lives of people who have suffered tragedy and then had someone question their relationship with God because of the tragedy.
The sages frequently bring the issue of the sluggard back to sleep. Proverbs 20:13 commands the reader "do not love sleep." As Garrett (p. 177) states, the issue is not the number of hours of sleep per day. A person could actually sleep very little and still be lazy. Laziness leads to poverty; hard work leads to food on the table.
The most extended treatment of laziness in Proverbs comes in 24:30-34. Here the typical style of the two-line proverb is set aside for a little story. By means of "I" statements in verses 30 and 32, the author creates a narrative that both condemns laziness and reveals the method of the wise.
The sage sees the field of one who was lazy. It stands in sharp contrast to the "fit" field mentioned in Proverbs 24:27. By means of parallelism this field is described as the vineyard of a man "devoid of understanding" (NRSV: stupid person). The Hebrew text literally speaks of a person "lacking heart." Hubbard (p. 383) states that "the laziness in view was not the result of a weak back but a hollow brain. Not strength, but will was the lack."
Verse 31 provides a three-fold description of the lack of attention to the vineyard. It was overgrown with thorns, it was covered with nettles, and the wall was broken down. Isaiah 5:1-6 contains a useful commentary on the care of vineyards (see Commentary on Isaiah 5:1-7).
Verse 32 reveals the method of the wisdom writers. The author saw the field and then pondered its meaning carefully. The Hebrew text literally states that he put his heart to the matter. He saw the field and he received instruction (musar) from it. The instruction that was received appears in verses 33-34. These verses are almost a direct quotation of Proverbs 6:10-11, the other extended passage on the sluggard. The devastating results of laziness do not require malicious and systematic avoidance of work. A little nap here and postponing necessary work there and poverty comes charging in with a vengeance. The sage knew life. He knew that life is hard and that it does not take much indulgence of one’s weariness to loose all the investments of time and energy and money of a lifetime. Self-discipline and perpetual vigilance against self-indulgence is the necessary price to overcome first steps of laziness that can lead to ruin.
The warning of Proverbs about the sluggard sounds a bit quaint in modern society. For decades now the "Protestant work ethic" has been mocked rather than admired by social scientists. The media culture promotes leisure and self-indulgence rather than work and self-discipline. The symbols of success have become toys and vacations rather than meaningful jobs and vocations. The welfare society and criminal justice systems have created artificial worlds in which doing nothing or doing time for crime seems more rewarding than hard work. The sense of powerlessness that we face in relationship to big companies and big government makes cheating the system feel like the only way available to express individual identity and power. Getting by has become a greater value than doing things right.
But – such a view of the world of work is built on a very short memory. The Great Depression took place only two generations ago. The signs of the coming collapse of the fictional world created by the American media are rapidly increasing. The eternal wisdom of the importance of diligence to work hard and self-discipline to stay at the task will again be recognized. Many of us already live in the reality of a world that demands ever-increasing work to just stay afloat. For us these proverbs on the sluggard are not quaint at all. They describe the brutal reality of life. A wise person will observe and go to work.
The Drunkard: Proverbs 20:1; 23:19-21, 29-35
These words of warning on the dangers of drunkenness also sound a bit strange in contemporary society. The advertising campaigns of the liquor industry have done their job. Sophistication, sex appeal, and an aloof sense of strength have become the images associated with drinking. The dangers of alcohol have been relegated to the cold, clinical studies of the brain done by scientists. The emotions most used by those opposed to drinking are the emotions manipulated by the educational films showing the ghastly automobile accidents caused by driving and drinking. Scientific studies and scare tactics fail to penetrate many young people today. For contemporary young people the words of Proverbs on drinking sound strange indeed.
Proverbs 20:1 begins the treatment of alcohol by personifying it. Wine is a mocker. The Hebrew word is the one translated "scoffer" in the passages we have studied on the scoffer. The wine mentioned here was the most intoxicating drink used in Biblical times. It was what would now be called "light wine" since distillation methods now used to increase the alcoholic content were not invented until the Middle Ages. Without such distillation methods the fermentation process itself stops when the alcohol content rose much above ten or eleven percent. Wine with an alcoholic content of seven to ten percent had the ability to make a person feel exhilarated and powerful and so it was as attractive then as now for helping change one’s mood.
Proverbs, however, has nothing good to say about wine. Using personification like that of "demon rum" the sage calls wine a scoffer. It mocks all that wisdom values. It twists truth. It evades reality. It leads to ruin.
The second line of Proverbs 20:1 is parallel to the first. "Strong Drink" or "beer," as the Hebrew word may be translated, is a brawler. The word strong drink (a single word in Hebrew) does not just speak of beer created from barley hops, but any alcoholic drink derived from either grain or fruit. The word translated "brawler" comes from a root meaning to rage or roar or to create tumult. The figure of speech means that drinking alcohol leads to raging and roaring violence. It is not a pretty picture.
The final line of verse 1 observes that anyone who is led astray by drinking is not wise. It is hard to catch the full implication of the verb in English. That verb was used as a synonym for "to sin" and the sins of ignorance mentioned in Leviticus 4 are derivatives of this verb. Isaiah 28:7 also connects this sinful stumbling with the drinking of wine. The result is that Proverbs 20:1 attacks drinking as a moral problem rather than simply a social choice. The moral vigor of the stern denunciations of alcohol by a previous generation found adequate foundation in Proverbs 20:1.
The next mention of drinking appears in Proverbs 23:19-21. These three verses appear to belong together though some scholars treat verse 19 as a separate proverb. Verses 20-21 address drinking. Verse 19 is an exhortation to listen and to direct one’s life wisely. Verse 20 warns against associating with those who drank too much. The exact Hebrew word translated "drunkard" in verse 21 only appears six times in the Old Testament but it always refers to heavy drinking and the disastrous results that accompany heavy drinking.
Parallel to the warning against associating with heavy drinkers is a warning to avoid gluttonous eaters. The reason is given in verse 21. Drunkards and gluttonous eaters will end up in poverty. The issue is a bit more complicated than the superficial meaning of the words. It is not just that heavy drinkers and gluttons end up poor. We could point to exceptions. The issue is that people who have no more pride and self-respect than to drink heavily and eat gluttonously are dangerously self-centered. Their total disregard for their own health makes them dangerous companions. If they do not respect themselves and their own future they will certainly have no concern for the lives of those around them.
The most concentrated passage on the dangers of drinking appears in Proverbs 23:29-35. It may be significant that this is the longest series of verses on the same subject since Proverbs 10:1. It is also the most complete treatment of drunkenness in the Bible and is very graphic.
Verse 29 begins with six questions. Who is miserable? Who has sorrow, strife, complaints, bruises, and bloodshot eyes? Verse 30 answers the questions. These are the benefits coming to "those who linger long over wine." The Hebrew verb speaks of delaying, tarrying, or spending a long time. The following verb speaks of those who go in search of mixed wines. Both the verbs "linger" and "go in search of" are participle forms in Hebrew that imply continuous or repeated behavior. Thus this passage speaks to compulsive drinking. It describes an addiction that ignores all alternatives except more drinking.
The very appearance of wine seems to have a hypnotic effect on them according to verse 31. The wine is red and sparkling and swirls smoothly in the cup. One look and it is irresistible. But verse 32 points out that there are consequences that follow drinking. "At the last" translates a single Hebrew word meaning "afterwards." The results of drinking are as deadly as being bitten by a deadly snake.
Verses 33-35 further describe the results. As Hubbard (p. 368) notes, "Nothing works right." The eyes of those who drink see strange things. The heart speaks perverse, mixed up things. One’s equilibrium is lost. Even lying down on the ground the drinker feels seasick as heaven and earth bob, reel, and jerk around him. He feels no pain even when subjected to crushing blows. His only thought is, "When will I wake up so I can go get another drink?" Garrett (p. 197) correctly notes that this "text describes with profound accuracy and bite the pathetic physical and emotional decline of those addicted to alcohol."
Honesty with the Biblical text compels us to say that neither Proverbs nor other Biblical passages require total abstinence from alcohol. Moderation and control was the goal of Biblical writer. However, Aitken (p. 125) points out that "the line between use and abuse is very fine and is easily and imperceptibly crossed." For that reason there is much wisdom in the argument of many evangelical Christians that the best course is total abstinence.
The Greedy: Proverbs 27:20; 28:25; 23:6-8; 11:24-15
These verses on greedy persons emphasize two characteristics: the insatiable desires of the greedy and their stingy, mean-spirited attitude. Proverbs 27:20 compares the human hunger for more with the inevitableness of death. Abaddon and Sheol were both names for the place of the dead in the Old Testament (see Sheol, Hell, and the Dead). To say that Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied is to say that death is inevitable. As death always seeks another person, so human eyes are always searching for some other world to conquer or some other object to possess. The chief characteristic of a greedy person is that insatiable desire to have more.
Proverbs 28:25 reveals the crucial issue by contrasting the greedy person with one who trusts in the Lord. The insatiable desire for more is an expression of insecurity. The drive to take care of oneself leads to violent disregard for the rights and needs of others. But the ability to trust in God allows a person to relax and wait for God to provide his or her security. Because of the materialism of our age greed has almost become a cultural virtue. However, our feelings of insecurity even with all that we have is a penetrating indicator of our lack of trust in God.
Proverbs 23:6-8 turn to the stinginess of greedy people. These verses portray a person attending a dinner party of a tightwad. Though on the outside all looks delightful and abundant, the heart of the miser is constricted. Through clenched teeth he invites the guest to eat and drink. Aitken (p. 127) compares this greedy host to a "child watching how big a bite you can take of his chocolate bar." Such stinginess poisons the meal and once the guests realize the truth of their host’s reluctant hospitality they will be sick. They will vomit with disgust at the way they had pleasantly conversed with him.
Proverbs 11:24-25 then gives an important application. The more generously one gives the richer he or she becomes. The more tightly one holds onto what he or she has the more it runs through his or her fingers.
This principle of generosity is echoed in the New Testament. In 2 Corinthians 9:6 Paul instructs us, "The one who sows sparingly will reap sparingly, and the one who sows for blessing will reap for a blessing." Jesus stated in striking terms in Luke 6:38, "Give and it shall be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over it will be put in your lap. For with the measure you see to measure, it will be measured back to you." A tight-fisted, stingy Christian is really a contradiction in terms. God has been so generous with us that generosity toward others is the natural response of the grateful heart.
One of the New Testament words translated "forgive" literally means to be gracious. It is the word used in Ephesians 4:32, "Be kind, tender-hearted toward one another, being gracious as God has been gracious to you." God has been good to us so we can be good to others. Stinginess is not worth the cost of what it does to one’s own soul. Greed ultimately produces its own punishment.
Study Questions for Reflection and Discussion
These readings and study questions are in preparation for next week's lesson.
As you study each day ask the Lord to speak to you through his word. Ask the Holy Spirit to make the word come alive to you for that day.
Note: This section of Proverbs consists of short proverbial sayings. We will approach the study topically, reading a chapter each day, but focusing on verses from throughout Proverbs that deal with the topic of the day. The Readings are listed after the discussion questions.
First Day: Read the notes on Proverbs 10-31 – Further Character Sketches. Look up the Scripture references given.
1. Identify one or two pieces of new information that seemed important to you. Describe why these ideas were significant for your life.
2. Select one or two insights that have significant application in your life. What spiritual meaning applies to your life from these insights?
3. Write a brief prayer asking the Lord to open your heart to openness and generosity.
Second Day: Read Proverbs 20. Now focus on Proverbs 24:8; 12:5, 30; 16:30; 18:1; 28:5; 21:8; 13:5; 21:29; 13:2; 21:10; 16:29; 11:9; 29:10, 27; 11:30; 29:7; 12:10; 15:28; 16:27; 12:6; 10:6, 11, 20, and 32.
1. What view do these proverbs take of the person who actually seeks to do evil? What motivates a person to such wickedness? What can be done to turn people from this perverse desire to do wrong?
2. What positive attributes of a righteous person are described in these focus verses? What can you do to increase such righteous responses in your life?
3. What role does one’s mouth play in these focus verses? What role does one’s mind play? How would you relate Matthew 12:34 and 15:18 to these verses?
Third Day: Read Proverbs 21. Focus in on Proverbs12:19, 22; 26:20, 22-23, 28; 29:5; 18:8; 16:28; 11:12-13; 20:19; 11:12; 10:18; 25:23; and 17:4.
1. What results of untruthfulness do these focus verses reveal? What harmful effects is a lack of respect for truth having on our society? How does our society’s lack of truthfulness affect you?
2. What view of flattery comes from Proverbs 26:23 and 29:5? Is that view similar to or different from the view of flattery in our culture? What dangers does our view of flattery contain?
3. What evil does a whisperer, talebearer, or slanderer bring about according to these focus verses? How can you keep from spreading such evil?
Fourth Day: Read Proverbs 22. Focus on Proverbs 10:3, 9, 16, 24-25, 28-31; 11:3, 5-8, 18-21, 23, and 31.
1. What promises to the righteous appear in these focus verses? Which promise is most important for your life? Why?
2. What problems do these focus verses anticipate for the wicked? How do these problems relate to what Paul says in Romans 1:24, 26, and 28?
3. Which of these focus verses challenges you most spiritually? Why? Write a brief prayer asking God to help you achieve what He lays upon your heart from that verse.
Fifth Day: Read Proverbs 23. Focus now on Proverbs 12:2-3, 7, 12-13, 21, 26, 28; 13:6, 9, 21-22, 24; 14:9, 11, 14, 19, 32; 15:6, 9, and 26.
1. What characteristics do these focus verses ascribe to the righteous? Which characteristic(s) would you most like to be true in your life? Why?
2. What characteristics of the wicked are portrayed in these verses? Which seems most dangerous to you? Why?
3. Do you see how a person raised on these proverbs could think that righteousness was by human works? How can you explain these verses from the New Testament perspective of righteousness by faith?
Sixth Day: Read Proverbs 24. Now focus on Proverbs 16:4, 17; 17:20; 18:10; 21:7, 12, 15, 18; 22:5, 8; 24:1-2, 15-16, 19-20; 25:26; 26:27; 28:1, 10, 18; and 29:6.
1. What view of justice and injustice arises from these focus verses? How important is the concept of justice in these verses? How important is it to you? What are you doing to promote justice?
2. According to these focus verse what does the future hold for the unrighteous? What does it hold for the righteous? Is there reason for the righteous to fear the future? Do you fear the future? Why (not)?
3. Based on these focus verses write a brief prayer asking the Lord to help you live with integrity, generosity, and virtue.
24:8 He who plans to do evil will be called a mischief-maker.
12:20 Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but those who plan good have joy.
12:5 The thoughts of the righteous are just; the counsels of the wicked are treacherous.
16:30 He who winks his eye plans perverse things, he who compresses his lips brings evil to pass.
18:1 He who is estranged seeks pretexts to break out against all sound judgment.
28:5 Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it completely.
21:8 The way of the guilty is crooked, but the conduct of the pure is right.
13:5 A righteous man hates falsehood, but a wicked man acts shamefully and disgracefully.
21:29 A wicked man puts on a bold face, but an upright man considers his ways.
13:2 From the fruit of his mouth a good man eats good, but the desire of the treacherous is for violence.
21:10 The soul of the wicked desires evil; his neighbor finds no mercy in his eyes.
16:29 A man of violence entices his neighbor and leads him in a way that is not good.
11:9 With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor but by knowledge the righteous are delivered.
29:7 A righteous man knows the rights of the poor; a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.
29:27 An unjust man is an abomination to the righteous, but he whose way is straight is an abomination to the wicked.
29:10 Bloodthirsty men hate one who is blameless, and the wicked seek his life.
11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, but lawlessness takes away lives.
12:10 A righteous man has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.
15:28 The mind of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
16:27 A worthless man plots evil, and his speech is like a scorching fire.
12:6 The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the mouth of the upright delivers men.
10:11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
10:6 Blessings are on the head of the righteous, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
10:32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked, what is perverse.
10:20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the mind of the wicked is of little worth.
12:22 Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who act faithfully are his delight.
12:19 Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.
26:20 For lack of wood the fire goes out; and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.
26:22 The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.
26:23 Like the glaze covering an earthen vessel are smooth lips with an evil heart.
26:28 A lying tongue hates its victims, and a flattering mouth works ruin.
29:5 A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet.
18:8 The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.
16:28 A perverse man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.
11:12 He who belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent.
11:13 He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing hidden.
20:19 He who goes about gossiping reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with one who speaks foolishly.
10:18 He who conceals hatred has lying lips, and he who utters slander is a fool.
25:23 The north wind brings forth rain; and a backbiting tongue, angry looks.
17:4 An evildoer listens to wicked lips; and a liar gives heed to a mischievous tongue.
10:3 The LORD does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.
10:9 He who walks in integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will be found out.
10:16 The wage of the righteous leads to life, the gain of the wicked to sin.
10:24 What the wicked dreads will come upon him, but the desire of the righteous will be granted.
10:25 When the tempest passes, the wicked is no more, but the righteous is established for ever.
10:28 The hope of the righteous ends in gladness, but the expectation of the wicked comes to nought.
10:29 The LORD is a stronghold to him whose way is upright, but destruction to evildoers.
10:30 The righteous will never be removed, but the wicked will not dwell in the land.
10:31 The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but the perverse tongue will be cut off.
11:3 The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.
11:5 The righteousness of the blameless keeps his way straight, but the wicked falls by his own wickedness.
11:6 The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the treacherous are taken captive by their lust.
11:7 When the wicked dies, his hope perishes, and the expectation of the godless comes to nought.
11:8 The righteous is delivered from trouble, and the wicked gets into it instead.
11:18 A wicked man earns deceptive wages, but one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward.
11:19 He who is steadfast in righteousness will live, but he who pursues evil will die.
11:20 Men of perverse mind are an abomination to the LORD, but those of blameless ways are his delight.
11:21 Be assured, an evil man will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will be delivered.
11:23 The desire of the righteous ends only in good; the expectation of the wicked in wrath.
11:31 If the righteous is requited on earth, how much more the wicked and the sinner!
12:2 A good man obtains favor from the LORD, but a man of evil devices he condemns.
12:3 A man is not established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous will never be moved.
12:7 The wicked are overthrown and are no more, but the house of the righteous will stand.
12:12 The strong tower of the wicked comes to ruin, but the root of the righteous stands firm.
12:13 An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, but the righteous escapes from trouble.
12:21 No ill befalls the righteous, but the wicked are filled with trouble.
12:26 A righteous man turns away from evil, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
12:28 In the path of righteousness is life, but the way of error leads to death.
13:6 Righteousness guards him whose way is upright, but sin overthrows the wicked.
13:9 The light of the righteous rejoices, but the lamp of the wicked will be put out.
13:21 Misfortune pursues sinners, but prosperity rewards the righteous.
13:22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.
13:25 The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite, but the belly of the wicked suffers want.
14:9 God scorns the wicked, but the upright enjoy his favor.
14:11 The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish.
14:14 A perverse man will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man with the fruit of his deeds.
14:19 The evil bow down before the good, the wicked at the gates of the righteous.
14:32 The wicked is overthrown through his evil-doing, but the righteous finds refuge through his integrity.
15:6 In the house of the righteous there is much treasure, but trouble befalls the income of the wicked.
15:9 The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but he loves him who pursues righteousness.
15:26 The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD the words of the pure are pleasing to him.
16:4 The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.
16:17 The highway of the upright turns aside from evil; he who guards his way preserves his life.
17:20 A man of crooked mind does not prosper, and one with a perverse tongue falls into calamity.
18:10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.
21:7 The violence of the wicked will sweep them away, because they refuse to do what is just.
21:12 The righteous observes the house of the wicked; the wicked are cast down to ruin.
21:15 When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous, but dismay to evildoers.
21:18 The wicked is a ransom for the righteous, and the faithless for the upright.
22:5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; he who guards himself will keep far from them.
22:8 He who sows injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of his fury will fail.
24:1 Be not envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them;
24:2 for their minds devise violence, and their lips talk of mischief.
24:15 Lie not in wait as a wicked man against the dwelling of the righteous; do not violence to his home;
24:16 for a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again; but the wicked are overthrown by calamity.
24:19 Fret not yourself because of evildoers, and be not envious of the wicked;
24:20 for the evil man has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out.
25:26 Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.
26:27 He who digs a pit will fall into it, and a stone will come back upon him who starts it rolling.
28:1 The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.
28:10 He who misleads the upright into an evil way will fall into his own pit; but the blameless will have a goodly inheritance.
28:18 He who walks in integrity will be delivered, but he who is perverse in his ways will fall into a pit.
29:6 An evil man is ensnared in his transgression, but a righteous man sings and rejoices.