It is a trap for a man to [[a]speak a vow of consecration and] say rashly, “It is holy!”
And [not until] afterward consider [whether he can fulfill it].
A wise king sifts out the wicked [from among the good]
And drives the [threshing] wheel over them [to separate the chaff from the grain].
The [b]spirit (conscience) of man is the lamp of the Lord,
Searching and examining all the innermost parts of his being.
Loyalty and mercy, truth and faithfulness, protect the king,
And he upholds his throne by lovingkindness.
The glory of young men is their [physical] strength,
And the honor of aged men is their gray head [representing wisdom and experience].
Blows that wound cleanse away evil,
And strokes reach to the innermost parts.
- Proverbs 20:25 Such a vow would single out an item for sacrifice or for the use of the temple or the priests. The classic example of a careless vow was Jephthah’s promise to sacrifice to the Lord whatever came out of his house to meet him on his return from a successful battle (Judg 11:30-35).
- Proverbs 20:27 Lit breath.
On Life and Conduct
The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord;
He turns it whichever way He wishes.
Every man’s way is right in his own eyes,
But the Lord weighs and examines the hearts [of people and their motives].
To do righteousness and justice
Is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice [for wrongs repeatedly committed].
Haughty and arrogant eyes and a proud heart,
The lamp of the wicked [their self-centered pride], is sin [in the eyes of God].