What does Proverbs 13:19 mean?
ESV: A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but to turn away from evil is an abomination to fools.
NIV: A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but fools detest turning from evil.
NASB: Desire realized is sweet to the soul, But it is an abomination to fools to turn away from evil.
CSB: Desire fulfilled is sweet to the taste, but to turn from evil is detestable to fools.
NLT: It is pleasant to see dreams come true, but fools refuse to turn from evil to attain them.
KJV: The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.
NKJV: A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul, But it is an abomination to fools to depart from evil.
Verse Commentary:
All people feel a sense of accomplishment when they achieve a goal. There is a deep satisfaction which comes when a desire has been realized. This connection between hopes and happiness was mentioned earlier in this passage (Proverbs 13:12). A contrast with those who insist on pursuing evil puts that concept into unique context. Part of the implication is that only godly desires are truly fulfilled (1 Corinthians 3:15; Matthew 6:20). Sinful urges can only lead to ruin and disappointment (Proverbs 11:7).

In contrast to those who seek godly wisdom (Proverbs 1:7; 9:7–12), foolish people are disgusted at the idea of setting aside their sins. That attitude feeds itself, with sin leading to even deeper rejection of God (Romans 1:28–32). Rather than recognize what's evil and turn to what's good (Proverbs 3:7; 16:17), they choose to remain in sin (John 5:39–40; 8:24). Sin, like anything else earthly, never fully satisfies (John 4:13–14; Proverbs 11:6). And, so, those who insist on sin are damned to eternal disappointment (Luke 13:27–28; Romans 6:20–23).

The apostle Paul set the goal of fulfilling the commission the Lord had given him to preach the gospel. He told King Agrippa, "I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision" (Acts 26:19). At the end of his life, Paul enjoyed the soul satisfaction of having attained his goal. He writes in 2 Timothy 4:6–7: "The time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." He looked forward to receiving from the Lord the crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8).
Verse Context:
Proverbs 13:12–25 emphasizes the value of wisdom as true wealth. Solomon writes that whoever reveres God's Word will be rewarded, and he describes how wisdom obtained from the Word applies to several areas of life.
Chapter Summary:
This chapter of Proverbs continues Solomon's wise sayings. He counsels his readers to be sensible and hardworking, as well as honest. This allows a person to be content with what they have, to enjoy life, and to bless their descendants. Laziness leads to trouble and ruin, as does a lack of discipline.
Chapter Context:
Starting in chapter 10, the book of Proverbs records a long series of wise sayings from Solomon. These continue for several chapters. Through chapter 15, a major focus is on issues such as godly living, mostly given in contrast with examples of ungodliness. This chapter emphasizes themes such as work ethic, honesty, and discipline.
Book Summary:
Proverbs is best understood in context with the books of Ecclesiastes and Job. In Proverbs, “wisdom” is given in short, simple, general terms. Ecclesiastes represents wisdom based on observation and experience. This often shows how the general principles of the book of Proverbs don’t apply in absolutely every circumstance. Job represents wisdom based on the experience of suffering and injustice. All three come to the conclusion that God does indeed know best, and the most sensible course of action is to follow His will.
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