Proverbs 16:1
Parallel Verses
New International Version
To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the proper answer of the tongue.

King James Bible
The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.

Darby Bible Translation
The purposes of the heart are of man, but the answer of the tongue is from Jehovah.

World English Bible
The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from Yahweh.

Young's Literal Translation
Of man are arrangements of the heart, And from Jehovah an answer of the tongue.

Proverbs 16:1 Parallel
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

The preparations of the heart in man - The Hebrew is לאדם מערכי לב leadam maarchey leb, which is, literally, "To man are the dispositions of the heart; but from the Lord is the answer of the tongue." Man proposes his wishes; but God answers as he thinks proper. The former is the free offspring of the heart of man; the latter, the free volition of God. Man may think as he pleases, and ask as he lists; but God will give, or not give, as he thinks proper. This I believe to be the meaning of this shamefully tortured passage, so often vexed by critics, their doubts, and indecisions. God help them! for they seldom have the faculty of making any subject plainer! The text does not say that the "preparations," rather dispositions or arrangements, מערכי maarchey "of the heart," as well as "the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord;" though it is generally understood so; but it states that the dispositions or schemes of the heart (are) man's; but the answer of the tongue (is) the Lord's. And so the principal versions have understood it.

Hominis est animam preparare; et Domini gubernare linguam - Vulgate. "It is the part of man to prepare his soul: it is the prerogative of the Lord to govern the tongue."

מן בר נש תרעיתא דלבא ומן יי ממללא דלישנא min bar nash taritha delibba; umin yeya mamlala delishana - Chaldee. "From the son of man is the counsel of the heart; and from the Lord is the word of the tongue."

The Syriac is the same. καρδια ανδρος λογζεσθω δικαια, Ἱνα ὑπο του θεου διορθωθῃ τα διαβηματα αυτῃ - Septuagint. "The heart of man deviseth righteous things, that its goings may be directed by God."

The Arabic takes great latitude: "All the works of an humble man are clean before the Lord; and the wicked shall perish in an evil day." Of a man fit to maken redy the inwitt: and of the Lorde to governe the tunge. - Old MS. Bible.

"A man maye well purpose a thinge in his harte: but the answere of the tonge cometh of the Lorde. - Coverdale.

Matthew's Bible, 1549, and Becke's Bible of the same date, and Cardmarden's of 1566, follow Coverdale. The Bible printed by R. Barker, at Cambridge, 4th., 1615, commonly called the Breeches Bible, reads the text thus: - "The preparations of the hart are in man; but the answere of the tongue is of the Lord." So that it appears that our first, and all our ancient versions, understood the text in the same way; and this, independently of critical torture, is the genuine meaning of the Hebrew text. That very valuable version published in Italian, at Geneva, fol. 1562, translates thus: Le dispositioni del cuore sono de l'huomo, ma la risposta del la lingua e dal Signore. "The dispositions of the heart are of man; but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord."

The modern European versions, as far as I have seen, are the same. And when the word dispositions, arrangements, schemes, is understood to be the proper meaning of the Hebrew term, as shown above, the sense is perfectly sound; for there may be a thousand schemes and arrangements made in the heart of man which he may earnestly wish God to bring to full effect, that are neither for his good nor God's glory; and therefore it is his interest that God has the answer in his own power. At the same time, there is no intimation here that man can prepare his own heart to wait upon, or pray unto the Lord; or that from the human heart any thing good can come, without Divine influence; but simply that he may have many schemes and projects which he may beg God to accomplish, that are not of God, but from himself. Hence our own proverb: "Man proposes, but God disposes." I have entered the more particularly into the consideration of this text, because some are very strenuous in the support of our vicious reading, from a supposition that the other defends the heterodox opinion of man's sufficiency to think any thing as of himself. But while they deserve due credit for their orthodox caution, they will see that no such imputation can fairly lie against the plain grammatical translation of the Hebrew text.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


Exodus 4:11,12,15 And the LORD said to him, Who has made man's mouth? or who makes the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD...

Jeremiah 1:7-9 But the LORD said to me, Say not, I am a child: for you shall go to all that I shall send you...

Matthew 10:19,20 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what you shall speak...

Luke 12:11,12 And when they bring you to the synagogues, and to magistrates, and powers, take you no thought how or what thing you shall answer...

Luke 21:14,15 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what you shall answer...

April 27. "The Sweetness of the Lips" (Prov. xvi. 21).
"The sweetness of the lips" (Prov. xvi. 21). Spiritual conditions are inseparably connected with our physical life. The flow of the divine life-currents may be interrupted by a little clot of blood; the vital current may leak out through a very trifling wound. If you want to keep the health of Christ, keep from all spiritual sores, from all heart wounds and irritations. One hour of fretting will wear out more vitality than a week of work; and one minute of malignity, or rankling jealousy or envy
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

What I Think of Myself and what God Thinks of Me
'All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits.'--PROVERBS xvi. 2. 'All the ways of a man'--then there is no such thing as being conscious of having gone wrong, and having got into miry and foul ways? Of course there is; and equally of course a broad statement such as this of my text is not to be pressed into literal accuracy, but is a simple, general assertion of what we all know to be true, that we have a strange power of blinding ourselves as to what is wrong
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Abandonment to God --Its Fruit and Its Irrevocability --In what it Consists --God Exhorts us to It.
It is here that true abandonment and consecration to God should commence, by our being deeply convinced that all which happens to us moment by moment is the will of God, and therefore all that is necessary to us. This conviction will render us contented with everything, and will make us see the commonest events in God, and not in the creature. I beg of you, whoever you may be, who are desirous of giving yourselves to God, not to take yourselves back when once you are given to Him, and to remember
Jeanne Marie Bouvières—A Short Method Of Prayer And Spiritual Torrents

The Providence of God
Q-11: WHAT ARE GOD'S WORKS OF PROVIDENCE? A: God's works of providence are the acts of his most holy, wise, and powerful government of his creatures, and of their actions. Of the work of God's providence Christ says, My Father worketh hitherto and I work.' John 5:17. God has rested from the works of creation, he does not create any new species of things. He rested from all his works;' Gen 2:2; and therefore it must needs be meant of his works of providence: My Father worketh and I work.' His kingdom
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Cross References
Proverbs 15:33
Wisdom's instruction is to fear the LORD, and humility comes before honor.

Proverbs 16:9
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.

Proverbs 19:21
Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.

Jeremiah 10:23
LORD, I know that people's lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.

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