Proverbs 19

The Word Made Fresh

1A poor person with integrity
is better than the one whose speech is foolish.
2Beware of having desire without knowledge;
if you move too quickly you might miss the way.
3Foolishness leads to ruin;
why, then, should one ever dispute the LORD?
4Wealth attracts many friends
while poverty turns them away.
5False witnesses should never go unpunished
and liars should never escape their lies.
6Those who are generous are widely sought;
everyone wants to be a friend to gift-givers.
7If a poor person is shunned even by their kin,
how much more will they be shunned by their friends?
8Acquiring wisdom is an act of loving oneself,
and understanding brings prosperity.
9False witnesses must never go unpunished,
and liars must be done away with.
10It is not right for a fool to live in luxury
or a servant to rule over princes.
11A level head is slow to anger
and quick to overlook an offense.
12The king’s anger is like a growling lion,
but the king’s favor is like dew fallen on the grass.
13A stupid child is the ruin of their parents,
and a quarreling spouse is like dripping rain.
14Property and wealth are inherited from one’s parents,
but the wise wife is a gift from the LORD.
15Laziness only makes one sleepy
and hungry.
16Those who keep God’s laws will live,
but those who are careless about their path will die.
17Kindness to the poor is like lending to the LORD;
such deeds will be fully repaid.
18Discipline your children while they are still young;
if you ignore them, it will be to their destruction.
19A mean-spirited person will have a penalty to pay,
and if you try to rescue them, you’ll just have to do it over.
20Listen to good advice. Accept good instruction.
In that way you will accumulate wisdom for the future.
21We can plan anything we wish,
but the LORD’s purpose will be carried out.
22Loyalty is a desirable trait,
and it is better to be poor than to be a liar.
23Respect for the LORD protects one’s life;
those who do so live in security and suffer no harm.
24One who is lazy will dip a hand in the bowl
and not even bother to bring it to the mouth.
25The simple-minded will learn wisdom when punished;
those who are intelligent will grow in knowledge.
26Children who harm their parents
are children who bring much shame and judgment.
27Children, don’t turn away from knowledge,
or you won’t be able to obey instructions.
28Worthless witnesses shrug at justice
and what they have to say only promotes wrongdoing.
29Condemnation greets those who scoff at others;
the whip greets the backs of fools.


1: Integrity is a virtue one should seek, regardless of whether it pays.

2: At first glance, this verse addresses two different character flaws, desire and haste. However, desire often causes one to proceed too hastily without first learning all the pros and cons of the thing desired.

3: How often have you seen the case: someone falls onto bad times through their own ineptness and puts the blame on God?

4, 6-7: Although God favors the poor, people do not. The wealthy have people thronging about looking for favors; the poor have trouble finding friends. The truth is that those who throng around the rich are not their friends, and those who neglect the poor are not their friends.

5, 9: These verses are nearly identical; a double warning against those who perjure themselves in court.

8: The main theme of the book: get wisdom, get understanding.

10: Some things just aren’t right! And yet, they happen.

11: An even temper and a forgiving spirit are the marks of good sense.

12: It’s good to be the king!

13: Harmony in the family is an essential ingredient of the good life.

14: Amen to that!

15: Acedia (sloth, laziness) is one of the 7 deadly sins.

16: A word to the wise; a warning to the careless.

17: Kindness to the poor is one of the marks of a right relationship with God.

18, 20: The wording of verse 18 is a bit disturbing, but the general idea here is timely instruction. The ancients knew instinctively much of what child development theorists are only just beginning to codify. Verse 20 then turns to the youth being instructed and advises him or her to pay attention.

19: Don’t get involved with an ill-tempered person; you’ll just get hooked over and over.

21: God has veto power over anything we decide.

22: The basic meaning here is that the covenants you make ought to be kept at any cost.

23: The “fear of the LORD” leads to a right relationship with God, and that leads to an un-anxious life.

24: This is the height of laziness. It is probably meant to be comical, but the underlying truth is that laziness can prevent you from doing what is best for you.

25: Discipline is beneficial to the simple-minded and the intelligent alike.

26: Honor thy father and thy mother; this verse tells you why.

27: Study, dummy!

28: A lot of proverbs have to do with the judicial system of ancient Israel. Justice is completely dependent on the integrity of all involved parties.

29: Jesus told us not to condemn others; nevertheless, there are those who will be condemned.


Integrity, harmony, kindness – these values have always been the bedrock of the good life.