What does Proverbs 14:11 mean?
ESV: The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish.
NIV: The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish.
NASB: The house of the wicked will be destroyed, But the tent of the upright will flourish.
CSB: The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish.
NLT: The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the godly will flourish.
KJV: The house of the wicked shall be overthrown: but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish.
NKJV: The house of the wicked will be overthrown, But the tent of the upright will flourish.
Verse Commentary:
The contrast in this verse is meant to play on the differences between a temporary shelter and a permanent one. Normally, one would consider a house more durable than a tent. But a "house" built on evil is far weaker than even a "tent" built on godly wisdom (Proverbs 1:7). The strongest, most successful efforts of godless people will eventually come to nothing. What seem to be fragile gains, for those who honor God, will last (Matthew 6:19–21; Proverbs 12:7).

It may appear for a while that the possessions and posterity of the wicked are substantial (Psalm 73:2–3). Whether in this life, or under the Lord's eternal judgment, those evil things will be carried away. The upright may have few possessions and a limited posterity, but what they have will sprout and blossom like a tree. The Herods were an evil family who ruled during Jesus' lifetime. They lived in palaces and were wealthy, but their evil ways caused them and everything they had to perish under the Lord's judgment. Jesus had nowhere to lay His head (Luke 9:58), and He was persecuted (Isaiah 53:3), but those who believe in Him make up "a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages" (Revelation 7:9) and are joint heirs with Him (Romans 8:17).
Verse Context:
Proverbs 14:11–14 is a brief section which contrasts the righteous and the wicked. Solomon takes these moments to emphasize the final destinies of the evil and the upright. Those who reject God will come to an inglorious end, but those who submit to His truth will enjoy a glorious destiny. The wicked will get what he deserves, having built a life of sin, but the upright will be rewarded for walking in righteousness. Points made here echo those seen in Proverbs 12:7–15.
Chapter Summary:
This continues a series of literal "proverbs:" short statements of general-case wisdom. The first ten verses of this chapter contrast positive and negative traits related to work ethic, self-control, and seeking wisdom. Then come several verses contrasting the fate of the righteous with that of the wicked. The rest of this passage provides statements on a broad range of subjects.
Chapter Context:
Proverbs 14 continues King Solomon's wise sayings. In this chapter he discusses a variety of topics such as wisdom and folly, honesty and dishonesty, righteousness and evil, national security and national disgrace, personal security and destruction, the fear of the Lord, generosity, and wise servanthood. This series of astute comments will continue for several more chapters.
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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