Proverbs 16:7

ESV When a man 's ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
NIV When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them.
NASB When a person’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He causes even his enemies to make peace with him.
CSB When a person’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
NLT When people’s lives please the Lord, even their enemies are at peace with them.
KJV When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
NKJV When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

What does Proverbs 16:7 mean?

A "proverb" is, by definition, a general-case statement of wisdom. When a doctor says, "eat healthy foods and you will live longer," that statement is not a prophetic guarantee that the patient will live to be one hundred years old. The point is that eating healthy foods contributes to longevity—and eating unhealthy foods creates risks to one's life. In the same way, those who follow the Lord's will put themselves in a better position for success. That's not a guarantee, yet avoiding evil means avoiding the consequences of evil (Proverbs 1:7; 13:20–22; 16:3).

One advantage of godly living is the effect it has on one's enemies. A life which avoids undue insults (Proverbs 15:1), revenge (Romans 12:19), and unethical treatment of others (Luke 6:35; Proverbs 3:30) leaves little reason for others to be vengeful or hateful. In some cases, upright conduct can even win over one's enemies (Romans 12:20). Or, it can convince them to leave the believer in peace (1 Timothy 2:1–2). Of course, sometimes godly conduct enrages nonbelievers (John 16:33; 2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 4:4). On balance, it's better not to give anyone legitimate reasons to hold a grudge.

Genesis 26 unfolds a story showing how God can supernaturally change the hearts of enemies. He can demonstrate His power in ways that convince even non-believers to avoid harming God's people. Isaac had angered Abimelech by lying about his relationship to Rebekah (Genesis 26:9–11) and was later asked to leave the country (Genesis 26:12–16). In a later meeting where Abimelech proposed a non-aggression pact, Isaac asked, "Why have you come to me, seeing that you hate me and have sent me away from you?" (Genesis 26:27). Abimelech and his companions replied, "We see plainly that the LORD has been with you. So we said, let there be a sworn pact between us, between you and us, and let us make a covenant with you, that you will do us no harm, just as we have not touched you and have done to you nothing but good and have sent you away in peace. You are now blessed of the LORD" (Genesis 26:28–29).
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