Trust God then get to work
- 16:1 Humans are free to think what they want.
But what comes out of their mouth depends on God.
- 16:2 We might think we’re doing something good.
But God looks at the reason we’re doing it.
- 16:3 Trust God with everything you plan to do.
Then do it.
- 16:4 God had good reason for everything he made.
He even made a bad day, for punishing bad people.
- 16:5 Proud people disgust the LORD.
They’ll be punished. Count on it.
- 16:6 Kindness and devotion to God erases your sin.
Respect for the LORD steers you away from evil.
- 16:7 If you live the kind of life that puts you on good terms with the LORD,
You have what it takes to make peace with even your enemies.
- 16:8 A good human being who’s poor,
Beats a person too rich to care about justice.
- 16:9 People make a plan.
But the LORD makes it happen.
Don’t mess with the king
- 16:10 The king speaks for God,
So, he needs to show good judgment.1
- 16:11 If you’re honest in business,
You’re honest to God. And he’s in business with you.2
- 16:12 Evil disgusts kings.
Justice gives them job security.
- 16:13 Honesty delights kings.
They love those honest folks.
- 16:14 An angry king is like an angel of death.
Live smart. Don’t irritate the king.
- 16:15 When a king’s face lights up in a smile, good things happen.
It’s like watching a cloud deliver spring rain to the thirsty.
Sense is better than pocket change
- 16:16 Who wants gold when you can have wisdom?
Good sense is better than silver.
- 16:17 The highway of goodness takes the bypass around evil.
It’s a safer trip if you keep your eyes on the road.
- 16:18 Pride will ruin you.
Arrogance will bring you down.
- 16:19 It’s better to be humble and poor,
Than proud and rich on stolen money.
- 16:20 Good things happen when you pay attention to what you hear.
If you trust the LORD, you’ll be happy you did.
- 16:21 Wise people are known for their good judgment.
The sweeter you talk, the more likely they’ll accept it.3
- 16:22 Good sense, to those who have it, is like water from a fountain of life.
Idiocy is a fool’s reward.
- 16:23 Wise people speak thoughtfully from the heart.
And it helps them get their message across.
- 16:24 Sweet words kindly spoken are a honeycomb.
They taste great to the spirit and are good for the bones.
- 16:25 You might think it’s a fine idea to take a certain path,
Until you discover it’s a dead end.4
- 16:26 Hunger is good for you.
It motivates you to work.
A jerk’s job description
- 16:27 The good for nothing plan nothing good.
And their words burn like fire.
- 16:28 A jerk stirs up trouble,
And a slandering liar breaks up best friends.
- 16:29 Crooks try to recruit their neighbors,
For a trip to nowhere good.
- 16:30 A winking5 person is up to no good.
Puckered lips mean trouble.6
Thumbs up for the patient and gray
- 16:31 Gray hair is a medal of honor,
Found among good people living respectable lives.
- 16:32 A patient person is better than a strong person.
And people with self-control are better than those who capture and control a city.
- 16:33 You can flip a coin7 to settle a matter,
But the LORD controls how it lands.
Bible scholars translate this very many different ways with different meanings. His words are “magic” and he “cannot err” (Jewish Tanakh Translation). His words are an “oracle” and he “does not sin in judgment” (English Standard Version). He speaks “with authority” and is “never wrong” (Contemporary English Version). Any way you slice this pie, a king would get a piece.
More literally, the writer says if you use honest scales when you sell something, God made the honest weighing stones you use. Some merchants weighed products by using stones or metal weights that were mislabeled, in the merchant’s favor.
The second line seems to have nothing to do with the first, some scholars say. And they conclude it’s not the original. Others say it might be tied to the first line by suggesting that the better a wise person is at public speaking, the more likely listeners will buy in to what’s being taught, and will learn from it.
Repeated in Proverbs 14:12.
The Hebrew word for “winking” appears only here in the Bible. Bible scholars say they aren’t sure what it means. Some speculate it’s linked to an Arabic word that means to shut your eyes.
More literally, “someone who purses his lips brings evil to pass.”
The word for “coins” is literally “lots,” possibly marked stones or small bone fragments. In Old Testament times, Jews and others would look for answers by throwing lots to see how they landed. Sailors used lots to figure out that it was Jonah who caused the storm at sea by angering God (Jonah 1:7). Even the high priest used two lots to find answers to questions (Leviticus 16:8). The lots, named Urim and Thummin (Exodus 28:30), were part of the uniform, worn on the chest.