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Proverbs chapter 28

New International Version

1 The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.
2 When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a ruler with discernment and knowledge maintains order.
3 A ruler who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain that leaves no crops.
4 Those who forsake instruction praise the wicked, but those who heed it resist them.
5 Evildoers do not understand what is right, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully.
6 Better the poor whose walk is blameless than the rich whose ways are perverse.
7 A discerning son heeds instruction, but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father.
8 Whoever increases wealth by taking interest or profit from the poor amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor.
9 If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable.
10 Whoever leads the upright along an evil path will fall into their own trap, but the blameless will receive a good inheritance.
11 The rich are wise in their own eyes; one who is poor and discerning sees how deluded they are.
12 When the righteous triumph, there is great elation; but when the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding.
13 Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
14 Blessed is the one who always trembles before God, but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble.
15 Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked ruler over a helpless people.
16 A tyrannical ruler practices extortion, but one who hates ill-gotten gain will enjoy a long reign.
17 Anyone tormented by the guilt of murder will seek refuge in the grave; let no one hold them back.
18 The one whose walk is blameless is kept safe, but the one whose ways are perverse will fall into the pit.
19 Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty.
20 A faithful person will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.
21 To show partiality is not good-- yet a person will do wrong for a piece of bread.
22 The stingy are eager to get rich and are unaware that poverty awaits them.
23 Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor rather than one who has a flattering tongue.
24 Whoever robs their father or mother and says, 'It's not wrong,' is partner to one who destroys.
25 The greedy stir up conflict, but those who trust in the Lᴏʀᴅ will prosper.
26 Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.
27 Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses. 28 When the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding; but when the wicked perish, the righteous thrive.
English Standard Version

1 The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion. 2 When a land transgresses, it has many rulers, but with a man of understanding and knowledge, its stability will long continue. 3 A poor man who oppresses the poor is a beating rain that leaves no food. 4 Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but those who keep the law strive against them. 5 Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it completely. 6 Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways. 7 The one who keeps the law is a son with understanding, but a companion of gluttons shames his father. 8 Whoever multiplies his wealth by interest and profit gathers it for him who is generous to the poor. 9 If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination. 10 Whoever misleads the upright into an evil way will fall into his own pit, but the blameless will have a goodly inheritance. 11 A rich man is wise in his own eyes, but a poor man who has understanding will find him out. 12 When the righteous triumph, there is great glory, but when the wicked rise, people hide themselves. 13 Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. 14 Blessed is the one who fears the LORD always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity. 15 Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked ruler over a poor people. 16 A ruler who lacks understanding is a cruel oppressor, but he who hates unjust gain will prolong his days. 17 If one is burdened with the blood of another, he will be a fugitive until death; let no one help him. 18 Whoever walks in integrity will be delivered, but he who is crooked in his ways will suddenly fall. 19 Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty. 20 A faithful man will abound with blessings, but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished. 21 To show partiality is not good, but for a piece of bread a man will do wrong. 22 A stingy man hastens after wealth and does not know that poverty will come upon him. 23 Whoever rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with his tongue. 24 Whoever robs his father or his mother and says, “That is no transgression,” is a companion to a man who destroys. 25 A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the Lᴏʀᴅ will be enriched. 26 Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered. 27 Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse. 28 When the wicked rise, people hide themselves, but when they perish, the righteous increase.
King James Version

1 The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.
2 For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.
3 A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.
4 They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.
5 Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.
6 Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.
7 Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father.
8 He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.
9 He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.
10 Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good things in possession.
11 The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out.
12 When righteous men do rejoice, there is great glory: but when the wicked rise, a man is hidden.
13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
14 Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.
15 As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people.
16 The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days.
17 A man that doeth violence to the blood of any person shall flee to the pit; let no man stay him.
18 Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved: but he that is perverse in his ways shall fall at once.
19 He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough.
20 A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.
21 To have respect of persons is not good: for for a piece of bread that man will transgress.
22 He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.
23 He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.
24 Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is no transgression; the same is the companion of a destroyer.
25 He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the Lᴏʀᴅ shall be made fat.
26 He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
27 He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.
28 When the wicked rise, men hide themselves: but when they perish, the righteous increase.
New American Standard Bible

1 The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, But the righteous are bold as a lion. 2 Due to a wrongdoing of a land its leaders are many, But by a person of understanding and knowledge, so it endures. 3 A poor man who oppresses the helpless Is like a driving rain which leaves no food. 4 Those who abandon the Law praise the wicked, But those who keep the Law strive against them. 5 Evil people do not understand justice, But those who seek the LORD understand everything. 6 Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity, Than a person who is crooked, though he is rich. 7 He who keeps the Law is a discerning son, But he who is a companion of gluttons humiliates his father. 8 One who increases his wealth by interest of any kind, Collects it for one who is gracious to the poor. 9 One who turns his ear away from listening to the Law, Even his prayer is an abomination. 10 One who leads the upright astray in an evil way Will himself fall into his own pit, But the blameless will inherit good. 11 The rich person is wise in his own eyes, But the poor who has understanding sees through him. 12 When the righteous triumph, there is great glory, But when the wicked rise, people hide themselves. 13 One who conceals his wrongdoings will not prosper, But one who confesses and abandons them will find compassion. 14 How blessed is the person who fears always, But one who hardens his heart will fall into disaster. 15 Like a roaring lion and a rushing bear Is a wicked ruler over a poor people. 16 A leader who is a great oppressor lacks understanding, But a person who hates unjust gain will prolong his days. 17 A person who is burdened with the guilt of human blood Will be a fugitive until death; no one is to support him! 18 One who walks blamelessly will receive help, But one who is crooked will fall all at once. 19 One who works his land will have plenty of food, But one who follows empty pursuits will have plenty of poverty. 20 A faithful person will abound with blessings, But one who hurries to be rich will not go unpunished. 21 To show partiality is not good, Because for a piece of bread a man will do wrong. 22 A person with an evil eye hurries after wealth And does not know that poverty will come upon him. 23 One who rebukes a person will afterward find more favor Than one who flatters with the tongue. 24 He who robs his father or his mother And says, 'There is no wrong done,' Is the companion of a person who destroys. 25 An arrogant person stirs up strife, But one who trusts in the Lᴏʀᴅ will prosper. 26 One who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But one who walks wisely will flee to safety. 27 One who gives to the poor will never lack anything, But one who shuts his eyes will have many curses. 28 When the wicked rise, people hide themselves; But when they perish, the righteous increase.
New Living Translation

1 The wicked run away when no one is chasing them, but the godly are as bold as lions.
2 When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily. But wise and knowledgeable leaders bring stability.
3 A poor person who oppresses the poor is like a pounding rain that destroys the crops.
4 To reject the law is to praise the wicked; to obey the law is to fight them.
5 Evil people don't understand justice, but those who follow the LORD understand completely.
6 Better to be poor and honest than to be dishonest and rich.
7 Young people who obey the law are wise; those with wild friends bring shame to their parents.
8 Income from charging high interest rates will end up in the pocket of someone who is kind to the poor.
9 God detests the prayers of a person who ignores the law.
10 Those who lead good people along an evil path will fall into their own trap, but the honest will inherit good things.
11 Rich people may think they are wise, but a poor person with discernment can see right through them.
12 When the godly succeed, everyone is glad. When the wicked take charge, people go into hiding.
13 People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.
14 Blessed are those who fear to do wrong, but the stubborn are headed for serious trouble.
15 A wicked ruler is as dangerous to the poor as a roaring lion or an attacking bear.
16 A ruler with no understanding will oppress his people, but one who hates corruption will have a long life.
17 A murderer's tormented conscience will drive him into the grave. Don't protect him!
18 The blameless will be rescued from harm, but the crooked will be suddenly destroyed.
19 A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies ends up in poverty.
20 The trustworthy person will get a rich reward, but a person who wants quick riches will get into trouble.
21 Showing partiality is never good, yet some will do wrong for a mere piece of bread.
22 Greedy people try to get rich quick but don't realize they're headed for poverty.
23 In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery.
24 Anyone who steals from his father and mother and says, 'What's wrong with that?' is no better than a murderer.
25 Greed causes fighting; trusting the Lᴏʀᴅ leads to prosperity.
26 Those who trust their own insight are foolish, but anyone who walks in wisdom is safe.
27 Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to poverty will be cursed.
28 When the wicked take charge, people go into hiding. When the wicked meet disaster, the godly flourish.
Christian Standard Bible

1 The wicked flee when no one is pursuing them, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.
2 When a land is in rebellion, it has many rulers, but with a discerning and knowledgeable person, it endures.
3 A destitute leader who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain that leaves no food.
4 Those who reject the law praise the wicked, but those who keep the law pit themselves against them.
5 The evil do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand everything.
6 Better the poor person who lives with integrity than the rich one who distorts right and wrong.
7 A discerning son keeps the law, but a companion of gluttons humiliates his father.
8 Whoever increases his wealth through excessive interest collects it for one who is kind to the poor.
9 Anyone who turns his ear away from hearing the law -- even his prayer is detestable.
10 The one who leads the upright into an evil way will fall into his own pit, but the blameless will inherit what is good.
11 A rich person is wise in his own eyes, but a poor one who has discernment sees through him.
12 When the righteous triumph, there is great rejoicing, but when the wicked come to power, people hide.
13 The one who conceals his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them will find mercy.
14 Happy is the one who is always reverent, but one who hardens his heart falls into trouble.
15 A wicked ruler over a helpless people is like a roaring lion or a charging bear.
16 A leader who lacks understanding is very oppressive, but one who hates dishonest profit prolongs his life.
17 Someone burdened by bloodguilt will be a fugitive until death. Let no one help him.
18 The one who lives with integrity will be helped, but one who distorts right and wrong will suddenly fall.
19 The one who works his land will have plenty of food, but whoever chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.
20 A faithful person will have many blessings, but one in a hurry to get rich will not go unpunished.
21 It is not good to show partiality -- yet even a courageous person may sin for a piece of bread.
22 A greedy one is in a hurry for wealth; he doesn't know that poverty will come to him.
23 One who rebukes a person will later find more favor than one who flatters with his tongue.
24 The one who robs his father or mother and says, "That's no sin," is a companion to a person who destroys.
25 A greedy person stirs up conflict, but whoever trusts in the Lord will prosper.
26 The one who trusts in himself is a fool, but one who walks in wisdom will be safe.
27 The one who gives to the poor will not be in need, but one who turns his eyes away will receive many curses. 28 When the wicked come to power, people hide, but when they are destroyed, the righteous flourish.

What does Proverbs chapter 28 mean?

Chapter 28 continues a long list of sayings credited to king Solomon (Proverbs 25:1). This chapter includes many direct contrasts. It also makes several references to rulers and leaders.

The passage starts with instructions about righteousness, justice, honesty, and reputation. A guilty conscience can lead to guilty actions, while a clear conscience leads to confidence. As stated in other proverbs, moral integrity is worth far more than material wealth. Solomon also warns that those who routinely ignore God actually anger Him when they attempt to pray, as if He is obligated to give them their wishes (Proverbs 28:1–12).

Other lessons mention the impact of ungodly rulers, and the mutual relationship between chaotic leadership and cultural sin. Wicked governments inspire fear and hiding; when those evil people are destroyed, the nation celebrates and goodness begins to grow. Other statements rephrase prior lessons about the dangers of greed and how chasing material wealth usually leads to dire consequences (Proverbs 28:13–28).