What does Proverbs 13:6 mean?
ESV: Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless, but sin overthrows the wicked.
NIV: Righteousness guards the person of integrity, but wickedness overthrows the sinner.
NASB: Righteousness guards the one whose way is blameless, But wickedness brings the sinner to ruin.
CSB: Righteousness guards people of integrity, but wickedness undermines the sinner.
NLT: Godliness guards the path of the blameless, but the evil are misled by sin.
KJV: Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way: but wickedness overthroweth the sinner.
NKJV: Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless, But wickedness overthrows the sinner.
Verse Commentary:
This observes two contrasting results. "Righteousness" means a sincere seeking of God's will and obedience to His commands (Proverbs 1:7). Those who follow godliness and sound wisdom have a much better chance of happiness and success (Proverb 3:6; 12:28). Those who ignore God open themselves to all sorts of worldly troubles (Proverbs 1:32; 15:10; 18:6–7), not to mention condemnation in eternity (Proverbs 11:7).

Because a righteous person leads an upright life that no one can legitimately fault, he leaves no room for others to blame him for his life. Joseph is an example of a person whose life was void of legitimate faultfinding. His trust in the Lord remained steadfast, and the harm his brothers tried to impose on him resulted in his good. He told them, "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good" (Genesis 50:20).

Daniel is another good example of a person whose life was beyond fault. When his enemies trumped up an occasion that led to his confinement in a den of hungry lions, God protected him. The lions did not hurt him, and the king ordered his release from the lions' den. However, the wicked men who were responsible for Daniel's confinement ended up in the same lions' den and died at the teeth of the hungry lions before they reached the bottom of the den. Their sin overtook them (Daniel 6). As this proverb notes, the sin of Daniel's enemies wound up becoming their own ruin.

Both examples demonstrate the Bible's complete understanding of human suffering. A "proverb" is a general statement of common sense. Scripture notes that even good people can suffer in a fallen world. However, the expected pattern in most cases is that "doing good" leads to someone "experiencing" good.
Verse Context:
Proverbs 13:4–11 observes key differences between the rich and poor, the testimony of the righteous and the dismal end of the wicked, the insolence of the wicked and the willingness of the wise to accept advice. This continues the pattern of contrast and comparison used in this section of the book.
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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