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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary

Mishlei - Proverbs - Chapter 21

Mishlei - Proverbs - Chapter 21

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Rashi's Commentary:
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Chapter 21

1A king's heart is like rivulets of water in the Lord's hand; wherever He wishes, He turns it.   אפַּלְגֵי מַיִם לֶב מֶלֶךְ בְּיַד יְהוָה עַל כָּל אֲשֶׁר יַחְפֹּץ יַטֶּנּוּ:
2Man's every way is straight in his own eyes, but the Lord counts the hearts.   בכָּל דֶּרֶךְ אִישׁ יָשָׁר בְּעֵינָיו וְתֹכֵן לִבּוֹת יְהוָה:
Man’s every way is straight in his own eyes, but the Lord counts: Heb. ותכן.  
3Performing charity and justice is preferred by God to a sacrifice.   געֲשׂה צְדָקָה וּמִשְׁפָּט נִבְחָר לַיהוָה מִזָּבַח:
4Haughty eyes and unlimited lust-the tillage of the wicked is sin.   דרוּם עֵינַיִם וּרְחַב לֵב נִר רְשָׁעִים חַטָּאת:
Haughty eyes: A haughty spirit.  
and unlimited lust: The desire to satisfy the lusts of his heart; that is the tillage of the wicked. Their “plowing” and their thoughts is their sin.  
5The plans of a diligent man lead only to advantage, whereas every hasty one hurries only to want.   המַחְשְׁבוֹת חָרוּץ אַךְ לְמוֹתָר וְכָל אָץ אַךְ לְמַחְסוֹר:
The plans of a diligent man: Heb. חרוץ, an honest man who walks in truth and according to the established judgment.  
lead only to advantage: They come to prosperity and profit.  
whereas every hasty one: One who forces the time.  
6Gathering treasures with a lying tongue is like a driven vapor; they seek death.   ופֹּעַל אוֹצָרוֹת בִּלְשׁוֹן שָׁקֶר הֶבֶל נִדָּף מְבַקְשֵׁי מָוֶת:
Gathering treasures: to increase wealth.  
with a lying tongue is like a driven vapor, etc.: They are snares of death (seekers of death) for him.  
7The plunder of the wicked frightens them, for they have refused to perform justice.   זשֹׁד רְשָׁעִים יְגוֹרֵם כִּי מֵאֲנוּ לַעֲשֹוֹת מִשְׁפָּט:
The plunder of the wicked frightens them: Heb. יגורם, [like] יגור אותם.  
8A man's way is changeable and he is strange, but as for a pure one-his deed is right.   חהֲפַכְפַּךְ דֶּרֶךְ אִישׁ וָזָר וְזַךְ יָשָׁר פָּעֳלוֹ:
A man’s way is changeable and he is strange: A man who is strange, turning away from the commandment-his way is changeable.  
9It is better to sit on the corner of a roof than with a quarrelsome wife and the house of a friend.   טטוֹב לָשֶׁבֶת עַל פִּנַּת גָּג מֵאֵשֶׁת מִדְיָנִים וּבֵית חָבֶר:
and the house of a friend: That he enters his friend’s house to converse with his wife. And the Midrash Aggadah states: He prophesied that the Shechinah would ultimately leave Israel, who is like a quarrelsome wife.  
and the house of a friend: A house in which they associate friends with the Holy One, blessed be He; for example, the image that Manasseh erected in the Temple of the Lord.  
10The soul of a wicked man desires evil; his neighbor finds no favor in his eyes.   ינֶפֶשׁ רָשָׁע אִוְּתָה רָע לֹא יֻחַן בְּעֵינָיו רֵעֵהוּ:
11When a scorner is punished, a fool gains wisdom, but when a wise man is instructed, he gains knowledge.   יאבַּעֲנָשׁ לֵץ יֶחְכַּם פֶּתִי וּבְהַשְׂכִּיל לְחָכָם יִקַּח דָּעַת:
When a scorner is punished, a fool gains wisdom: Through the chastisements of scorners, fools gain wisdom and return [to God] in repentance.  
12The Righteous One considers the house of the wicked, overthrowing the wicked to their ruin.   יבמַשְׂכִּיל צַדִּיק לְבֵית רָשָׁע מְסַלֵּף רְשָׁעִים לָרָע:
The Righteous One considers: The Righteous One of the world sets His heart to destroy the house of the wicked, e.g. the remembrance of Amalek.  
13He who stops up his ear from the cry of a poor man-he, too, will cry out and not be answered.   יגאֹטֵם אָזְנוֹ מִזַּעֲקַת דָּל גַּם הוּא יִקְרָא וְלֹא יֵעָנֶה:
14A gift in secret will appease wrath, and a bribe in the pocket [will even appease] strong wrath.   ידמַתָּן בַּסֵּתֶר יִכְפֶּה אָף וְשֹׁחַד בַּחֵק חֵמָה עַזָּה:
A gift in secret: Charity.  
and a bribe in the pocket: This too refers to charity. It will appease even strong wrath.  
15It is a joy for a righteous man to do judgment, and a ruin for those who commit violence.   טושִׂמְחָה לַצַּדִּיק עֲשֹוֹת מִשְׁפָּט וּמְחִתָּה לְפֹעֲלֵי אָוֶן:
It is a joy for a righteous man to do judgment: It is a joy for the Holy One, blessed be He, to inflict judgment upon the righteous in order to bestow upon them the life of the world to come, for the Holy One, blessed be He, brings pains upon them in order that they merit the world to come. In this manner, it is expounded in Midrash Psalms (3:1).  
and a ruin: It is [a ruin].  
for those who commit violence: Because they do not put their hearts to repent and the pains do not avail them, but they suffer to no avail.  
16A man who strays from the way of understanding will rest in the congregation of the shades.   טזאָדָם תּוֹעֶה מִדֶּרֶךְ הַשְׂכֵּל בִּקְהַל רְפָאִים יָנוּחַ:
A man who strays from the way of understanding: From the Torah.  
in the congregation of the shades: in the congregation of Gehinnom.  
17He who loves joy shall be a poor man; he who loves wine and oil shall not become rich.   יזאִישׁ מַחְסוֹר אֹהֵב שִׂמְחָה אֹהֵב יַיִן וָשֶׁמֶן לֹא יַעֲשִׁיר:
shall be a poor man: He who loves the joy of always banqueting.  
18A wicked man shall be ransom for a righteous man, and a treacherous one instead of the upright.   יחכֹּפֶר לַצַּדִּיק רָשָׁע וְתַחַת יְשָׁרִים בּוֹגֵד:
A wicked man shall be ransom for a righteous man, and a treacherous one instead of the upright: A righteous man is rescued, and a wicked man comes in his stead (above 11:8), such as Mordecai and Haman.  
19It is better to dwell in a desert land than [with] a quarrelsome and vexatious wife.   יטטוֹב שֶׁבֶת בְּאֶרֶץ מִדְבָּר מֵאֵשֶׁת מִדְוָנִים מִדְיָנִים וָכָעַס:
It is better to dwell in a desert land: This too was stated regarding the withdrawal of the Shechinah.  
20Precious treasure and oil are in the dwelling of the wise man, but man's foolishness will swallow it up.   כאוֹצָר נֶחְמָד וָשֶׁמֶן בִּנְוֵה חָכָם וּכְסִיל אָדָם יְבַלְּעֶנּוּ:
but man’s foolishness: Heb. וכסיל אדם foolishness of a man.  
21He who pursues charity and kindness will find life, charity, and honor.   כארֹדֵף צְדָקָה וָחָסֶד יִמְצָא חַיִּים צְדָקָה וְכָבוֹד:
22A wise man ascended to a city of mighty men and brought down the stronghold in which it trusts.   כבעִיר גִּבֹּרִים עָלָה חָכָם וַיֹּרֶד עֹז מִבְטֶחָה:
A wise man ascended to a city of mighty men: This refers to Moses, our teacher, who went up among the angels, who are mighty in strength. (  
and brought down, etc.: The Torah.)  
23He who watches his mouth and his tongue guards his soul from troubles.   כגשֹׁמֵר פִּיו וּלְשׁוֹנוֹ שֹׁמֵר מִצָּרוֹת נַפְשׁוֹ:
24A malevolent, haughty man-scorner is his name; he acts with malevolent anger.   כדזֵד יָהִיר לֵץ שְׁמוֹ עוֹשֶֹה בְּעֶבְרַת זָדוֹן:
haughty: Heb. יהיר, one who is haughty; he will ultimately become a scorner, for he does not care to hear reproof.  
25The desire of a lazy man will bring about his death, for his hands refuse to labor.   כהתַּאֲוַת עָצֵל תְּמִיתֶנּוּ כִּי מֵאֲנוּ יָדָיו לַעֲשֹוֹת:
26All day he covets greedily, but the righteous man gives and does not spare.   כוכָּל הַיּוֹם הִתְאַוָּה תַאֲוָה וְצַדִּיק יִתֵּן וְלֹא יַחְשֹךְ:
but the righteous gives: all the necessities of his house, for the Holy One, blessed be He, prepares them for him.  
27The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination, how much more if he brings it with plans of wickedness!   כזזֶבַח רְשָׁעִים תּוֹעֵבָה אַף כִּי בְזִמָּה יְבִיאֶנּוּ:
how much more if he brings it with plans of wickedness!: How much more if he brings it to be wicked and with evil counsel, such as the sacrifices of Balaam and Balak, who brought them only to curse Israel.  
28A false witness will perish, but an obedient man may speak forever.   כחעֵד כְּזָבִים יֹאבֵד וְאִישׁ שׁוֹמֵעַ לָנֶצַח יְדַבֵּר:
but an obedient man: who obeys what is written in the Torah: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”  
forever: Always.  
29A wicked man shows his brazenness in his anger, but an upright man-he will understand his way.   כטהֵעֵז אִישׁ רָשָׁע בְּפָנָיו וְיָשָׁר הוּא יָכִין יָבִין דַּרְכֹּיו דַּרְכּוֹ:
A wicked man shows his brazenness in his anger: A wicked man shows his brazenness at the time of his anger.  
in his anger: Heb. בפניו, an expression of anger.  
30There is neither wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord.   לאֵין חָכְמָה וְאֵין תְּבוּנָה וְאֵין עֵצָה לְנֶגֶד יְהוָה:
There is neither wisdom, etc.: No wise or understanding man is of any importance against the Lord. Wherever there is a desecration of the Name, we do not pay regard to a teacher.  
31A steed is prepared for a day of battle, but the victory is the Lord's.   לאסוּס מוּכָן לְיוֹם מִלְחָמָה וְלַיהוָה הַתְּשׁוּעָה:
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