What does Proverbs 14:35 mean?
ESV: A servant who deals wisely has the king’s favor, but his wrath falls on one who acts shamefully.
NIV: A king delights in a wise servant, but a shameful servant arouses his fury.
NASB: The king’s favor is toward a servant who acts wisely, But his anger is toward him who acts shamefully.
CSB: A king favors a prudent servant, but his anger falls on a disgraceful one.
NLT: A king rejoices in wise servants but is angry with those who disgrace him.
KJV: The king's favour is toward a wise servant: but his wrath is against him that causeth shame.
NKJV: The king’s favor is toward a wise servant, But his wrath is against him who causes shame.
Verse Commentary:
Most "proverbs," whether from the Bible or outside it, are common-sense explanations of general wisdom. Even when they appear obvious, they are meant to impart some lesson. The more obvious a statement, the more likely it is that the lesson comes in asking "why" this is the case. In Scripture, those kinds of proverbs are often meant to inspire reflection about our relationship with God. In this case, it's self-evident that a servant can either please or anger his king; the point is found in examining what that means for us, in our own lives.

One clear application is a reminder that servants—or, in the modern world, employees and followers—should seek to be honorable as they go about their business. Rather than cheating or embarrassing their superiors, they should seek to be diligent and reap the expected rewards (Ephesians 6:5–9). In terms of our service to God, the same is true. A theme of the book of Proverbs is that sinfully ignoring God's will insults Him (Proverbs 14:31) and leads to negative consequences (Proverbs 14:32).

Joseph wisely advised Pharaoh, Egypt's king, to store food from a seven-year bountiful harvest that would help Egypt survive the following seven years of famine. As a result, Pharaoh favored Joseph with the position of second-in-command of the nation (Genesis 41). Centuries later, in Persia, the king honored Mordecai for saving his life, but he executed Haman when he learned that Haman plotted to wipe out Queen Esther's people (Esther 6—7). Also, in Persia, Daniel faithfully served King Darius, but was thrown into a den of lions when he was maliciously entrapped in violating an ungodly law passed by Darius (Daniel 6:12–13, 16). In the end, God delivered Daniel from the lions; Darius honored Daniel but threw his accusers into the same lions' den (Daniel 6:23–24).
Verse Context:
Proverbs 14:15–35 continues Solomon's wise sayings, once again mostly contrasting the wicked and the upright. He points out that those who do evil, by rejecting God's wisdom (Proverbs 1:7) are foolish and have no security. Those who do God's will (Proverbs 3:5) are wise and have unfailing security.
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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