Proverbs 21: Wise Sayings

How do great leaders know what God wants?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 21:1 Great leaders are guided by the Lord like waters follow the course of a river.
King James
Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

What is the difference between thinking we’re right and being right?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 21:2 People rationalize their ways and see them as right, but the Lord considers their motives.
King James
Proverbs 21:2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts.

Why is “obedience” better than “sacrifice”?

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1 Samuel 15:22 But Samuel said, “Does God take pleasure in sacrifices and burnt offerings as much as obeying his voice? Listen, obedience is better than sacrifice. To say yes is more important than offering the fat of sheep.”
Proverbs 21:3 The Lord is more pleased with doing right than receiving sacrifices for having done wrong.
Matthew 9:13 Go learn what the prophet meant when he said, I wanted you to show love, not make sacrifices. I have not come to invite to repentance those who think they are righteous. I have come for those who know they are sinners.
King James
1 Samuel 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
Proverbs 21:3 To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
Matthew 9:13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

What does it mean to “cultivate a field”?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 21:4 Self-centered and arrogant, the wicked cultivate a field of wrongdoing.
King James
Proverbs 21:4 An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.

If “haste makes waste,” how cautious should we be?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 21:5 Careful planning and hard work lead to profit, but haste makes waste.
King James
Proverbs 21:5 The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.

How is a fortune made through lying any different from other fortunes that are lost upon death?

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Proverbs 21:6 A fortune made through lying will vanish like smoke upon death.
King James
Proverbs 21:6 The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death.

In what way does violence impact the wicked different from the righteous?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 21:7 Violence will destroy the wicked, because they refuse to do what is right.
King James
Proverbs 21:7 The robbery of the wicked shall destroy them; because they refuse to do judgment.

Why might the righteous be called “straight” and others be called “crooked”?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 21:8 Crooks walk a crooked path, but the righteous do what is right.
King James
Proverbs 21:8 The way of man is froward and strange: but as for the pure, his work is right.

How can we be comfortable in an uncomfortable relationship?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 21:9 Living alone in the corner of an attic is better than having a nagging wife in a large house.
King James
Proverbs 21:9 It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.

Under what circumstances might there be honor among thieves?

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Proverbs 21:10 Wicked people are naturally inclined to do evil, even at the expense of their friends.
King James
Proverbs 21:10 The soul of the wicked desireth evil: his neighbour findeth no favour in his eyes.

Compared to those who are eager to learn, what kinds of additional motivation do the naïve need?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 21:11 The naïve gain wisdom by seeing how scoffers are punished for their actions, but the wise just listen and learn.
King James
Proverbs 21:11 When the scorner is punished, the simple is made wise: and when the wise is instructed, he receiveth knowledge.

What does it mean to “avoid the house of the wicked”?

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Proverbs 21:12 The righteous wisely avoid the house of the wicked, for God will bring that house down.
King James
Proverbs 21:12 The righteous man wisely considereth the house of the wicked: but God overthroweth the wicked for their wickedness.

Why will the hardhearted have trouble getting others to listen to their cries for help?

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Proverbs 21:13 Those who won’t listen to the cry of the poor will have their own cries ignored.
King James
Proverbs 21:13 Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.

What is the difference between public and secret gifts?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 21:14 A gift in secret invites peace, and a present that touches the heart dispels anger.
King James
Proverbs 21:14 A gift in secret pacifieth anger: and a reward in the bosom strong wrath.

Why might the wicked be uncomfortable with doing what is right?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 21:15 Doing what is right gives the righteous great pleasure but gives discomfort to the wicked.
King James
Proverbs 21:15 It is joy to the just to do judgment: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.

Why do some people seem to lack common sense?

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Proverbs 21:16 Those who lack common sense can wind up dead.
King James
Proverbs 21:16 The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.

When is it good to save and when is it good to spend?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 21:17 Pleasure-seekers will become poor, and lovers of wine and luxurious living will never know true riches.
King James
Proverbs 21:17 He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.

With all the healthy and wealthy wicked people in this world, how can it be said that they will suffer and not the righteous?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 21:18 The wicked will pay a price for their wrongdoing, not the righteous. The transgressors will suffer, not those who do right.
King James
Proverbs 21:18 The wicked shall be a ransom for the righteous, and the transgressor for the upright.

What are the best ways to deal with loneliness?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 21:19 Living alone in the wilderness is better than the comforts of home with a contentious, complaining wife.
King James
Proverbs 21:19 It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.

How does enjoying our blessings compare with wasting them?

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Proverbs 21:20–21 Wise people enjoy their blessings, but fools waste everything they have.
Focus on always doing what is right, loving others, and you will receive honor and enjoy abundance in life.
King James
Proverbs 21:20–21 There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up. He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.

What kinds of wisdom do people most need?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 21:22 With wisdom, people can scale the city walls and bring down its trusted strongholds.
King James
Proverbs 21:22 A wise man scaleth the city of the mighty, and casteth down the strength of the confidence thereof.

What are the dangers of tying to be “politically correct”?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 21:23 Those who watch what they say can save themselves a lot of trouble.
King James
Proverbs 21:23 Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.

How should we respond to people who scoff at the truth?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 21:24 Proud, arrogant people are called scoffers because they act in arrogance and pride.
King James
Proverbs 21:24 Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath.

Why does hunger motivate the righteous but not the lazy?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 21:25–26 Lazy people will die of hunger because they refuse to work.
Some people are never satisfied, always wanting more, but the righteous give freely, without constraint.
King James
Proverbs 21:25–26 The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour. He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.

For what evil intent might people offer sacrifices?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 21:27 The Lord hates the sacrifices that wicked people make, especially when they do it with evil intent.
King James
Proverbs 21:27 The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?

How can a jury distinguish truthful from false witnesses?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 21:28 Lying witnesses will be found out, but the truthful witnesses are the ones the court wants to hear.
King James
Proverbs 21:28 A false witness shall perish: but the man that heareth speaketh constantly.

How does care for our appearance differ between the wicked and the righteous?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 21:29 The wicked care about their appearance, wanting to look good, but the righteous watch their steps, careful to do what is right.
King James
Proverbs 21:29 A wicked man hardeneth his face: but as for the upright, he directeth his way.

Why might we be comforted in knowing that our self-serving plans will not succeed against what God wants to do? Why might that truth be discomforting?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 21:30 No amount of knowledge and clever planning can succeed against what the Lord wants to do.
King James
Proverbs 21:30 There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord.

How can we know we are fully prepared for what lies ahead?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 21:31 The horse may be ready on the day of battle, but the victory depends upon the Lord.
King James
Proverbs 21:31 The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the Lord.