Proverbs 20:23 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Proverbs 20:23, NIV: The LORD detests differing weights, and dishonest scales do not please him.

Proverbs 20:23, ESV: Unequal weights are an abomination to the LORD, and false scales are not good.

Proverbs 20:23, KJV: Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good.

Proverbs 20:23, NASB: Differing weights are an abomination to the LORD, And a false scale is not good.

Proverbs 20:23, NLT: The LORD detests double standards; he is not pleased by dishonest scales.

Proverbs 20:23, CSB: Differing weights are detestable to the Lord, and dishonest scales are unfair.

What does Proverbs 20:23 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This verse is almost identical to a recent statement from this same chapter (Proverbs 20:10). Where verse 10 mentions unequal measures, this proverb condemns false scales. The general idea is the same: a dishonest, deceitful practice meant to cheat someone. Even haggling for a price can go too far (Proverbs 20:14), so setting up a scale that lies about its measurements is blatantly sinful and despicable in God's eyes (Proverbs 11:1).

Dishonesty is condemned in Scripture (Exodus 20:15–16; Proverbs 6:16–19). In business, as well as in every area of life, the Lord demands honesty. In Leviticus 19:35–36 the Lord commanded Israel: "You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measures of length or weight or quantity. You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt." In Deuteronomy 25:13–16 the Lord commanded, "You shall not have in your bag two kinds of weights, a large and a small. You shall not have in your house two kinds of measures, a large and a small. A full and fair weight you shall have, a full and fair measure you shall have, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. For all that do such things, all who act dishonestly, are an abomination to the LORD your God."

A person might violate this principle in a very literal way, by modifying measuring tools to get a favorable result. Yet the same concept applies to corrupt bookkeeping, false reporting, or other tricks. God sees and knows all such things (Hebrews 4:13).