Proverbs 11

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As we begin a new year, we’ll be studying the book of Proverbs for the first 31 days of the year. The new year is a great opportunity to invite your friends, families, and Life Groups to read along with you in 2023. If you missed the first day’s reading or are looking for an overview of the book, click here to catch up!

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Read Proverbs 11

The Lord detests dishonest scales,
    but accurate weights find favor with him.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
    but with humility comes wisdom.
The integrity of the upright guides them,
    but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.
Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath,
    but righteousness delivers from death.
The righteousness of the blameless makes their paths straight,
    but the wicked are brought down by their own wickedness.
The righteousness of the upright delivers them,
    but the unfaithful are trapped by evil desires.
Hopes placed in mortals die with them;
    all the promise of their power comes to nothing.
The righteous person is rescued from trouble,
    and it falls on the wicked instead.
With their mouths the godless destroy their neighbors,
    but through knowledge the righteous escape.
10 When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices;
    when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy.
11 Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted,
    but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed.
12 Whoever derides their neighbor has no sense,
    but the one who has understanding holds their tongue.
13 A gossip betrays a confidence,
    but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.
14 For lack of guidance a nation falls,
    but victory is won through many advisers.
15 Whoever puts up security for a stranger will surely suffer,
    but whoever refuses to shake hands in pledge is safe.
16 A kindhearted woman gains honor,
    but ruthless men gain only wealth.
17 Those who are kind benefit themselves,
    but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.
18 A wicked person earns deceptive wages,
    but the one who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward.
19 Truly the righteous attain life,
    but whoever pursues evil finds death.
20 The Lord detests those whose hearts are perverse,
    but he delights in those whose ways are blameless.
21 Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished,
    but those who are righteous will go free.
22 Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout
    is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.
23 The desire of the righteous ends only in good,
    but the hope of the wicked only in wrath.
24 One person gives freely, yet gains even more;
    another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
25 A generous person will prosper;
    whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
26 People curse the one who hoards grain,
    but they pray God’s blessing on the one who is willing to sell.
27 Whoever seeks good finds favor,
    but evil comes to one who searches for it.
28 Those who trust in their riches will fall,
    but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.
29 Whoever brings ruin on their family will inherit only wind,
    and the fool will be servant to the wise.
30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
    and the one who is wise saves lives.
31 If the righteous receive their due on earth,
    how much more the ungodly and the sinner!

Go Deeper

Proverbs 11 is a continuation in Solomon’s study of contrasts between the righteous and the wicked. Like a metronome clicking back and forth, the two opposite paths are described. What becomes clear is that wickedness is unlimited in its ability to bring destruction wherever it is fed. While the wicked man may find short term gains, ultimately “he who pursues evil will bring about his own death”. In other words, those who pursue evil will find themselves pursued by evil. The traps set for others will ensnare their own feet. Righteous or wicked, you get whatever you put into the world. 

This idea could easily be conflated with the concept of karma–that those who do good will receive what is good, and those who do bad will receive what is bad. Yet, this Proverb is more so an observation in practicalities. Wickedness is a poison wherever it appears, whether that be in families (v. 29), business (v. 6), neighborhoods (v. 9), leadership (v. 14), or any other area of our lives. Wickedness is a destroyer, and thus brings destruction to whoever wields it. This proverb, like many others that we will read in the days to come, is trying to paint us a full picture of what the righteous life (and the wicked life) really looks like.  

In the same way, the one who walks upright with the Lord brings life wherever he goes. The choice seems obvious, but the reality is that living righteously is frustrating and difficult. Like the metronome, we click back and forth between living as the righteous and the wicked. We feel caught between what the Spirit is calling us to do and what our flesh is pulling us towards. We are not alone in this struggle. Paul wrote in Romans, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Therefore, we must rely on Christ daily to guide us into wisdom and righteousness. 


  1. As you read through the contrasts, which ones do you identify with the most at this time in life?
  2. Re-read verses 19-20. How does God view the righteous and the wicked?
  3. Consider verse 22. Does this feel out of place? How does it connect to the rest of the ideas in this chapter?

A Quote

Pastor and author Tim Keller says this about the righteous and the wicked in Proverbs 11:

“The righteous in the book of Proverbs are by definition those who are willing to disadvantage themselves for the community while the wicked are those who put their own economic, social, and personal needs ahead of the needs of the community.”


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6 thoughts on “Proverbs 11”

  1. As I read through the contrasts, the one that struck me is v9 referencing the words we speak. Of the thousands of words we use each day, they fall into 2 categories. They either build up or tear down, help or hurt, become a tool or a weapon. Words make a difference! This quote is spot on, “Every person you meet today is either a demolition site or a construction opportunity.” In my daily interaction with students in the classroom, this is especially true. Impressionable, sensitive little souls are looking to me for guidance. This is where I must employ wisdom! What if today wherever we are we share, sprinkle and scatter life-giving words that refresh others and point to our love for Jesus?

    1. Your post made me think that the Old Testament Proverbs are repeated throughout the New Testament. Hebrews 3:13 says: But exhort one another as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceit fullness of sin.

      We can build up or tear down!! Let’s choose to build up!!

  2. How I understand righteousness is it is being right in the eyes of God by our actions, our speech, our attitudes, and our character. BUT GOD and His word must be working in our hearts to help guide us into that action, speech, attitude and characteristics. We have to pursue righteousness almost minute by minute due to all that surrounds us. We have new chances to do right things and make right choices even when we mess up, we can go back and rectify the situations. God is so good and greatly to be praised at all times and in all situations because He is in the midst of it and will be our help in time of need or joy. Psalm 11:7 For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.

    God thank You for my actions, speech, attitude and character being in line with You and Your Word. God I give this day and all minutes to You. I will endeavor to look to You for joy and diffulities today. Thank You for answered prayers of yesterday. You are greatly to be praised. My soul woohoo’s and loves You!!!!! in Jesus name amen

  3. Verse 7 is so relevant to our world today. Our society places so much hope & judgment in individuals. We follow charismatic personalities and attempt to delete those who have failed us. Verse 7 reminds us that people are mere mortals and the hope they provide is baseless. Both “die” and “come to nothing” are based on the Hebrew word ‘abad’ which means annihilated, destroyed, or obliterated – as if it was never there. May we recognize the difference in limited earthly power and God’s eternal promise, and choose wisely.

  4. “Blessings to the Righteous and Upright”

    Commentary from Guzik/Enduring Word unpacks Proverbs 11 this way:

    When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices: God gives favor among men with His righteous ones (Proverbs 3:4), and the community rejoices when they are blessed.

    i. “When such men are encouraged and advanced into places of power and trust, the city rejoiceth; the citizens or subjects of that government rejoice, because they confidently expect justice and tranquility, and many other benefits, by their administration of public affairs.” (Poole)

    ii. “However drab the world makes out virtue to be, it appreciates the boon of it in public life.” (Kidner, cited in Ross)

    Last week I had the honor to attend the retirement celebration for Midway superintendent Dr. George Kazanas, marking the conclusion of 32 years of faithful service in public education. It was such a privilege to participate in this “celebration of the whole city” to honor one of the Lord’s righteous ones. January 2, 2023 was officially proclaimed by the City of Waco to be “George Kazanas Day!!”
    In the ten years I’ve been fortunate to know and work with this man, I’ve given thanks countless times for the blessings our community enjoys by having such a godly, servant-hearted individual as its leader. “Dr. K” is a faithful example of righteousness and virtue.
    I’m equally thankful we will soon install as our district’s leader a man who follows God just as faithfully. Few blessings rival those of having virtuous, trustworthy leaders!
    And isn’t that what we as Christ-followers should all aspire to be? 
    Honest and trustworthy. Humble and teachable. Defined by godly wisdom, generosity and integrity.

    Thank you, God, for this clear and powerful picture of the people you call us to be—wherever you call us to lead and serve!

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