Prov 21.1-31 is another collection of various sayings with no main theme, but it does touch on such subjects as God’s sovereignty, a contentious wife, wisdom versus folly, proper speech and spiritual warfare.
v 1…The king’s heart is like a channel of water (fluid, movable, kept within boundaries) in the hand of Yehovah, he turns it wherever he wishes (God directs their actions according to what he is trying to accomplish).
v 2…Every man’s way is right in his own eyes (he gratifies himself), but the Lord weighs the hearts (takes everything into account, has full knowledge of the heart and desires).
v 3…To do righteousness and justice (as defined in the Torah) is desired by Yehovah rather than sacrifice (in truth, both are required but we are not too neglect the weightier measures of the Torah like justice, mercy and faithfulness (Hos 6.6, 12.6; Mic 6.8; Matt 23.23).
v 4…Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked (what they are guided by) is sin (leads them into it).
v 5…The plans (thoughts, desires) of the diligent lead surely to advantage (good planning leads to success), but everyone who is hasty (to be rash about business) comes surely to poverty (because he is thoughtless and doesn’t plan before he acts).
v 6…The getting of treasures by a lying tongue (in business, in court or in false doctrines) is a fleeting vapor (vanishing because there is no foundation), the pursuit (seeker) of death.
v 7…The violence (robbery) of the wicked will drag them away (as a result), because they refuse to act with justice (as defined by the Torah).
v 8…The way of a guilty man (or woman) is crooked (contrary to the Torah), but as for the pure, his conduct (work) is upright (in line with the Torah).
v 9…It is better to live in a corner of a roof (housetop, exposed to the weather) than in a house shared with a contentious (striving) woman.
v 10…The soul of the wicked desires evil (so they do it); his neighbor finds no favor in his eyes (he is so selfish he has no compassion).
v 11…When the scoffer is punished, the naive (simple, easliy persuaded, soaks up everything like a sponge) becomes wise (the scoffer is hardened to wisdom, but the simple can learn); but when the wise is instructed (no severe punishment necessary) he receives knowledge (Hebrew “daat” or the knowledge of God in Torah facts).
v 12…The righteous one considers the house of the wicked (considers how they came into it and how shortly it will stand), he overturns the wicked to ruin.
v 13… He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor (for someone to meet his needs) will also cry himself and not be answered (“midah kneged midah” or measure for measure).
v 14…A gift in secret subdues anger (appeases an angry man), and a bribe in the bosom, strong wrath.
v 15…The execution of justice is joy for the righteous (they love to do it, delights in the Torah), but is terror (destruction will come) to the workers of iniquity (they fear the judgment of God).
v 16…A man who wanders from the way of understanding (in the Torah) will rest (remain) in the congregation (kahal) of the dead (departed spirits in Sheol).
v 17…He who loves pleasure (costly luxuries) will become a poor man, he who loves wine and oil (luxuries in this world) will not become rich (because he squanders his money).
v 18…The wicked is a ransom for the righteous (they fall into the trouble the righteous avoided or was delivered from, as in the case of Haman and Mordechai for example), and the treacherous is in the place of the upright (a parallelism).
v 19…It is better to live is a desert land than with a contentious and vexing woman (who is always provoking to anger those around her. Spiritually, it is better for Israel to go into the wilderness in Rev 112.14 than with the contentious great harlot).
v 20…There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise (because he stores it), but a foolish man swallows it up (wastes it).
v 21…He who pursues righteousness and loyalty (mercy as defined by the Torah) finds life (Deut 30.6), righteousness and honor.
v 22… A wise man scales the city (walls) of the mighty (alluding to spiritual warfare-Ecc 9.14-15) and brings down the stronghold of which they trust (what they trust in-2 Cor 10.4).
v 23…He who guards his mouth and his tongue (can control them) guards his soul from trouble (by saying the right thing at the right time).
v 24…”Proud,” “haughty,” “scoffer,” are his names (of various fools), who acts with insolent pride (his actions will make him known).
v 25…The desire of the sluggard puts him to death, for his hands refuse to work (too lazy to works and it kills him).
v 26…All the day long he is craving (for his needs to be met), while the righteous gives and does not hold back (he has a surplus because he works).
v 27…The sacrifice (zevach) of the wicked is an abomination (no outward sacrifice or korban can cover over a wicked life of unbelief), how much more when he brings it with evil intent (his heart and desires is full of wicked plans).
v 28…A false witness will perish, but the man who listens (before he speaks) will speak forever (be a reliable witness, his testimony is true).
v 29…A wicked man shows a bold face (hardened against correction), but as for the upright he makes his way sure (by following the Torah commands as they apply).
v 30…There is no wisdom and no understanding and no counsel against Yehovah (no human plans by the wisest of people can ever prevail against Yehovah).
v 31…The horse is prepared for the day of battle (because it is trained and is made ready before the battle comes), but victory belongs to Yehovah (He will do what is right in his sight-2 Sam 10.12).