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Proverbs 1:8-19 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

II. Instructions of Parents and of Woman Wisdom

The Path of the Wicked: Greed and Violence[a]

Hear, my son, your father’s instruction,
    and reject not your mother’s teaching;
A graceful diadem will they be for your head;
    a pendant for your neck.
10 My son, should sinners entice you,
11     do not go if they say, “Come along with us!
Let us lie in wait for blood,
    unprovoked, let us trap the innocent;
12 Let us swallow them alive, like Sheol,
    whole, like those who go down to the pit!
13 All kinds of precious wealth shall we gain,
    we shall fill our houses with booty;
14 Cast in your lot with us,
    we shall all have one purse!”
15 My son, do not walk in the way with them,
    hold back your foot from their path!
16 [For their feet run to evil,
    they hasten to shed blood.]
17 In vain a net is spread[b]
    right under the eyes of any bird—
18 They lie in wait for their own blood,
    they set a trap for their own lives.
19 This is the way of everyone greedy for loot:
    it takes away their lives.


  1. 1:8–19 A parental warning to a young person leaving home, for them to avoid the company of the greedy and violent. Two ways lie before the hearer, a way that leads to death and a way that leads to life. The trap which the wicked set for the innocent (v. 11) in the end takes away the lives of the wicked themselves (v. 19). This theme will recur especially in chaps. 1–9. A second theme introduced here is that of founding (or managing) a household and choosing a spouse. A third theme is the human obstacles to attaining wisdom. Here (and in 2:12–15 and 4:10–19), the obstacle is men (always in the plural); in 2:16–19; 5:1–6; 6:20–35; chap. 7; 9:13–18, the obstacle to the quest is the “foreign” woman (always in the singular).
  2. 1:17 A difficult verse. The most probable interpretation is that no fowler lifts up the net so the bird can see it. The verse might be paraphrased: God does not let those who walk on evil paths see the net that will entrap them. The passive construction (“a net is spread”) is sometimes used to express divine activity. Verse 16 is a later attempt to add clarity. It is a quotation from Is 59:7 and is not in the best Greek manuscripts.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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