Contrast the Upright and the Wicked
1Whoever loves instruction and discipline loves knowledge,
But he who hates reproof and correction is stupid.
A good man will obtain favor from the Lord,
But He will condemn a man who devises evil.
A man will not be established by wickedness,
But the root of the [consistently] righteous will not be moved.
A virtuous and excellent wife [worthy of honor] is the crown of her husband,
But she who shames him [with her foolishness] is like rottenness in his bones.
The thoughts and purposes of the [consistently] righteous are just (honest, reliable),
But the counsels and schemes of the wicked are deceitful.
The [malevolent] words of the wicked lie in wait for [innocent] blood [to slander],
But the mouth of the upright will rescue and protect them.
The wicked are overthrown [by their evil] and are no more,
But the house of the [consistently] righteous will stand [securely].
A man will be commended according to his insight and sound judgment,
But the one who is of a perverse mind will be despised.
[a]Better is he who is lightly esteemed and has a servant,
Than he who [boastfully] honors himself [pretending to be what he is not] and lacks bread.
A righteous man has kind regard for the life of his animal,
But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.
He who tills his land will have plenty of bread,
But he who follows worthless things lacks common sense and good judgment.
The wicked desire the plunder of evil men,
But the root of the righteous yields richer fruit.
An evil man is [dangerously] ensnared by the transgression of his lips,
But the righteous will escape from trouble.
A man will be satisfied with good from the fruit of his words,
And the deeds of a man’s hands will return to him [as a harvest].
The way of the [arrogant] fool [who rejects God’s wisdom] is right in his own eyes,
But a wise and prudent man is he who listens to counsel.
The [arrogant] fool’s anger is quickly known [because he lacks self-control and common sense],
But a prudent man ignores an insult.
He who speaks truth [when he testifies] tells what is right,
But a false witness utters deceit [in court].
There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword,
But the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Truthful lips will be established forever,
But a lying tongue is [credited] only for a moment.
Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil,
But counselors of peace have joy.
No harm befalls the righteous,
But the wicked are filled with trouble.
Lying lips are extremely disgusting to the Lord,
But those who deal faithfully are His delight.
A shrewd man is reluctant to display his knowledge [until the proper time],
But the heart of [over-confident] fools proclaims foolishness.
The hand of the diligent will rule,
But the negligent and lazy will be put to forced labor.
Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down,
But a good (encouraging) word makes it glad.
The righteous man is a guide to his neighbor,
But the way of the wicked leads them astray.
The lazy man does not catch and roast his prey,
But the precious possession of a [wise] man is diligence [because he recognizes opportunities and seizes them].
In the way of righteousness is life,
And in its pathway there is no death [but immortality—eternal life].
- Proverbs 12:9 This is the first of many verses in Proverbs that use the “better…than” construction to emphasize contrasting positions.