Proverbs 21:20 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Proverbs 21:20, NIV: The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.

Proverbs 21:20, ESV: Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it.

Proverbs 21:20, KJV: There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.

Proverbs 21:20, NASB: There is precious treasure and oil in the home of the wise, But a foolish person swallows it up.

Proverbs 21:20, NLT: The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get.

Proverbs 21:20, CSB: Precious treasure and oil are in the dwelling of a wise person, but a fool consumes them.

What does Proverbs 21:20 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This commends the man who maintains provisions: who takes care not to run out of important supplies. Good stewardship involves guarding resources and using them wisely. A wise manager of what God has given is not stingy or greedy, but charitable. Solomon (Proverbs 10:1) contrasts this stewardship with foolish wastefulness. The foolish man does not see his possessions as God's investment in need of careful handling. Rather, he consumes like a wild animal gulping down prey. The fool focuses on immediate pleasure (Proverbs 21:17) and wastes resources he will need in the future.

A vivid example of this fate is seen in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11–32). That man foolishly took his share of the inheritance and wasted it through pleasure-seeking. When all his resources were gone, he took a lowly job feeding pigs. He was starving to the point of wishing he could eat the pig's food. That experience demonstrates the warning given in this passage.