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Proverbs 14:1-18 (ESV)
14 The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down. 2 Whoever walks in uprightness fears the Lord, but he who is devious in his ways despises him. 3 By the mouth of a fool comes a rod for his back, but the lips of the wise will preserve them. 4 Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox. 5 A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness breathes out lies. 6 A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain, but knowledge is easy for a man of understanding. 7 Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge. 8 The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way, but the folly of fools is deceiving. 9 Fools mock at the guilt offering, but the upright enjoy acceptance. 10 The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy. 11 The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish. 12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. 13 Even in laughter the heart may ache, and the end of joy may be grief. 14 The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways. 15 The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps. 16 One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless. 17 A man of quick temper acts foolishly, and a man of evil devices is hated. 18 The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
This chapter contains many proverbs that are reinforce what we learned in previous chapters, but it introduces a few new themes. Verse 4 refers to feeding your oxen so that they are strong enough to plow, and give you a good harvest. In our day, we would say, “maintain your tools and machinery, so they will work when you need them.” Verses 10 & 13 teach about our emotions. When we face heartache, it is difficult to find people who understand. And we should be aware that other people’s laughter may be concealing great sadness. Verses 17 & 18 once again teach us to count to ten, and not say or do the first thing that pops into our heads. Such haste leads to trouble.