Contrast the Upright and the Wicked

A soft and gentle and thoughtful answer turns away wrath,
But harsh and painful and careless words stir up anger.(A)

The tongue of the wise speaks knowledge that is pleasing and acceptable,
But the [babbling] mouth of fools spouts folly.

The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
Watching the evil and the good [in all their endeavors].(B)

A soothing tongue [speaking words that build up and encourage] is a tree of life,
But a perversive tongue [speaking words that overwhelm and depress] crushes the spirit.

A [flippant, arrogant] fool rejects his father’s instruction and correction,
But he who [is willing to learn and] regards and keeps in mind a reprimand acquires good sense.

Great and priceless treasure is in the house of the [consistently] righteous one [who seeks godly instruction and grows in wisdom],
But trouble is in the income of the wicked one [who rejects the laws of God].

The lips of the wise spread knowledge [sifting it as chaff from the grain];
But the hearts of [shortsighted] fools are not so.

The sacrifice of the wicked is hateful and exceedingly offensive to the Lord,
But the prayer of the upright is His delight!©

The way [of life] of the wicked is hateful and exceedingly offensive to the Lord,
But He loves one who pursues righteousness [personal integrity, moral courage and honorable character].
There is severe discipline for him who [a]turns from the way [of righteousness];
And he who hates correction will die.
Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead) and Abaddon (the abyss, the place of eternal punishment) lie open before the Lord—
How much more the hearts and inner motives of the children of men.(D)
A scoffer [unlike a wise man] resents one who rebukes him and tries to teach him;
Nor will he go to the wise [for counsel and instruction].
A heart full of joy and goodness makes a cheerful face,
But when a heart is full of sadness the spirit is crushed.(E)
The mind of the intelligent and discerning seeks knowledge and eagerly inquires after it,
But the mouth of the [stubborn] fool feeds on foolishness.(F)
All the days of the afflicted are bad,
But a glad heart has a continual feast [regardless of the circumstances].
Better is a little with the [reverent, worshipful] fear of the Lord
Than great treasure and trouble with it.(G)
Better is a dinner of vegetables and herbs where love is present
Than a fattened ox served with hatred.(H)
A hot-tempered man stirs up strife,
But he who is slow to anger and patient calms disputes.
The way of the lazy is like a hedge of thorns [it pricks, lacerates, and entangles him],
But the way [of life] of the upright is smooth and open like a highway.
A wise son makes a father glad,
But a foolish man despises his mother.
Foolishness is joy to him who is without heart and lacks [intelligent, common] sense,
But a man of understanding walks uprightly [making his course straight].(I)
Without consultation and wise advice, plans are frustrated,
But with many counselors they are established and succeed.
A man has joy in giving an appropriate answer,
And how good and delightful is a word spoken at the right moment—how good it is!
The [chosen] path of life leads upward for the wise,
That he may keep away from Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead) below.(J)
The Lord will tear down the house of the proud and arrogant (self-righteous),
But He will establish and protect the boundaries [of the land] of the [godly] widow.
Evil plans and thoughts of the wicked are exceedingly vile and offensive to the Lord,
But pure words are pleasant words to Him.
He who profits unlawfully brings suffering to his own house,
But he who hates bribes [and does not receive nor pay them] will live.(K)
The heart of the righteous thinks carefully about how to answer [in a wise and appropriate and timely way],
But the [babbling] mouth of the wicked pours out malevolent things.(L)
The Lord is far from the wicked [and distances Himself from them],
But He hears the prayer of the [consistently] righteous [that is, those with spiritual integrity and moral courage].
The light of the eyes rejoices the hearts of others,
And good news puts fat on the bones.
The ear that listens to and learns from the life-giving rebuke (reprimand, censure)
Will remain among the wise.
He who neglects and ignores instruction and discipline despises himself,
But he who learns from rebuke acquires understanding [and grows in wisdom].
The [reverent] fear of the Lord [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome] is the instruction for wisdom [its starting point and its essence];
And before honor comes humility.


  1. Proverbs 15:10 Lit forsakes.

Cross references

  1. Proverbs 15:1 : Prov 25:15
  2. Proverbs 15:3 : Job 34:21; Prov 5:21; Jer 16:17; 32:19; Heb 4:13
  3. Proverbs 15:8 : Is 1:11; Jer 6:20; Amos 5:22
  4. Proverbs 15:11 : Job 26:6; Ps 139:8; Rev 9:2; 20:1, 2
  5. Proverbs 15:13 : Prov 17:22
  6. Proverbs 15:14 : Is 32:6
  7. Proverbs 15:16 : Ps 37:16; Prov 16:8; 1 Tim 6:6
  8. Proverbs 15:17 : Prov 17:1
  9. Proverbs 15:21 : Eph 5:15
  10. Proverbs 15:24 : Phil 3:20; Col 3:1, 2
  11. Proverbs 15:27 : Is 5:8; Jer 17:11
  12. Proverbs 15:28 : 1 Pet 3:15