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The Purpose and Theme

The proverbs of Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel:

To know wisdom and instruction,
    to perceive the words of understanding,
to receive the instruction of wisdom,
    justice, judgment, and equity;
to give subtlety to the simple,
    to the young man knowledge and discretion—
a wise man will hear and will increase learning,
    and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,
to understand a proverb and the interpretation,
    the words of the wise and their riddles.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
    but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

The Prologue: Embrace Wisdom

My son, hear the instruction of your father,
    and do not forsake the teaching of your mother;
for they will be a garland of grace on your head,
    and chains about your neck.

10 My son, if sinners entice you,
    do not consent.
11 If they say, “Come with us,
    let us lie in wait for blood;
    let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause;
12 let us swallow them up alive as the grave,
    and whole, as those who go down into the pit;
13 we will find all kinds of precious possessions;
    we will fill our houses with spoil;
14 cast in your lot among us,
    let us all have one purse”—
15 my son, do not walk in the way with them,
    keep your foot from their path;
16 for their feet run to evil
    and make haste to shed blood.
17 Surely in vain the net is spread
    in the sight of any bird.
18 They lie in wait for their own blood;
    they lurk secretly for their own lives.
19 So are the ways of everyone who is greedy of gain,
    which takes away the life of its owners.

The Call of Wisdom

20 Wisdom cries out in the street;
    she utters her voice in the markets.
21 She cries at the corner of the streets, in the openings of the gates;
    she speaks her words in the city, saying:

22 “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?
    For the scorners delight in their scorning,
    and fools hate knowledge.
23 Turn at my reproof;
    surely I will pour out my spirit on you;
    I will make my words known to you.
24 Because I have called and you refused,
    I have stretched out my hand and no man regarded,
25 because you neglected all my counsel,
    and would have none of my reproof,
26 I also will laugh at your calamity;
    I will mock when your fear comes,
27 when your fear comes as desolation
    and your destruction comes as a whirlwind,
    when distress and anguish come upon you.

28 “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
    they will seek me early, but they will not find me.
29 Because they hated knowledge
    and did not choose the fear of the Lord,
30 they would have none of my counsel
    and despised all my reproof.
31 Therefore they will eat of the fruit of their own way,
    and be filled with their own devices.
32 For the turning away of the simple will slay them,
    and the prosperity of fools will destroy them.
33 But whoever listens to me will dwell safely,
    and will be secure from fear of evil.”