Proverbs 12:20 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Proverbs 12:20, NIV: "Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy."

Proverbs 12:20, ESV: "Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but those who plan peace have joy."

Proverbs 12:20, KJV: "Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counsellers of peace is joy."

Proverbs 12:20, NASB: "Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, But counselors of peace have joy."

Proverbs 12:20, NLT: "Deceit fills hearts that are plotting evil; joy fills hearts that are planning peace!"

Proverbs 12:20, CSB: "Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy."

What does Proverbs 12:20 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The prophet Jeremiah correctly observed: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick" (Jeremiah 17:9). The need to lie, and the habit of lying, are pronounced in those who seek their own selfish interests instead of godliness (Proverbs 3:32).

Jacob's heart was full of deceit when he plotted to steal Esau's birthright. He took advantage of Esau's hunger by offering him bread and lentil stew in exchange for the birthright (Genesis 25:29–34). Later, he deceived his father Isaac. His mother put the skins of young goats on Jacob's hands and neck so visually-challenged Isaac would mistake him for Esau and bless him accordingly (Genesis 27:1–26). However, years later, the Lord changed Jacob's heart (Genesis 32—33), and Jacob came to properly honor God. God can still change the human heart!

This proverb affirms that there is great benefit in having good intentions for others. The peacemaker (Matthew 5:9) finds joy by helping others find peace with God and with others (Romans 12:18). Paul encouraged two feuding women in the church to end their differences by finding agreement in the Lord. He referred to faithfuil fellow believers as his joy and crown (Philippians 4:1–¬3).