Purpose and Theme

The proverbs(A) of Solomon(B) son of David, king of Israel:(C)

for gaining wisdom and instruction;
    for understanding words of insight;
for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
    doing what is right and just and fair;
for giving prudence to those who are simple,[a](D)
    knowledge and discretion(E) to the young—
let the wise listen and add to their learning,(F)
    and let the discerning get guidance—
for understanding proverbs and parables,(G)
    the sayings and riddles(H) of the wise.[b](I)

The fear of the Lord(J) is the beginning of knowledge,
    but fools[c] despise wisdom(K) and instruction.(L)

Prologue: Exhortations to Embrace Wisdom

Warning Against the Invitation of Sinful Men

Listen, my son,(M) to your father’s(N) instruction
    and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.(O)
They are a garland to grace your head
    and a chain to adorn your neck.(P)

10 My son, if sinful men entice(Q) you,
    do not give in(R) to them.(S)
11 If they say, “Come along with us;
    let’s lie in wait(T) for innocent blood,
    let’s ambush some harmless soul;
12 let’s swallow(U) them alive, like the grave,
    and whole, like those who go down to the pit;(V)
13 we will get all sorts of valuable things
    and fill our houses with plunder;
14 cast lots with us;
    we will all share the loot(W)”—
15 my son, do not go along with them,
    do not set foot(X) on their paths;(Y)
16 for their feet rush into evil,(Z)
    they are swift to shed blood.(AA)
17 How useless to spread a net
    where every bird can see it!
18 These men lie in wait(AB) for their own blood;
    they ambush only themselves!(AC)
19 Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain;
    it takes away the life of those who get it.(AD)

Wisdom’s Rebuke

20 Out in the open wisdom calls aloud,(AE)
    she raises her voice in the public square;
21 on top of the wall[d] she cries out,
    at the city gate she makes her speech:

22 “How long will you who are simple(AF) love your simple ways?
    How long will mockers delight in mockery
    and fools hate(AG) knowledge?
23 Repent at my rebuke!
    Then I will pour out my thoughts to you,
    I will make known to you my teachings.
24 But since you refuse(AH) to listen when I call(AI)
    and no one pays attention(AJ) when I stretch out my hand,
25 since you disregard all my advice
    and do not accept my rebuke,
26 I in turn will laugh(AK) when disaster(AL) strikes you;
    I will mock(AM) when calamity overtakes you(AN)
27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm,
    when disaster(AO) sweeps over you like a whirlwind,
    when distress and trouble overwhelm you.

28 “Then they will call to me but I will not answer;(AP)
    they will look for me but will not find me,(AQ)
29 since they hated knowledge
    and did not choose to fear the Lord.(AR)
30 Since they would not accept my advice
    and spurned my rebuke,(AS)
31 they will eat the fruit of their ways
    and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.(AT)
32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,
    and the complacency of fools will destroy them;(AU)
33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety(AV)
    and be at ease, without fear of harm.”(AW)


  1. Proverbs 1:4 The Hebrew word rendered simple in Proverbs denotes a person who is gullible, without moral direction and inclined to evil.
  2. Proverbs 1:6 Or understanding a proverb, namely, a parable, / and the sayings of the wise, their riddles
  3. Proverbs 1:7 The Hebrew words rendered fool in Proverbs, and often elsewhere in the Old Testament, denote a person who is morally deficient.
  4. Proverbs 1:21 Septuagint; Hebrew / at noisy street corners

The Purpose of Proverbs

The proverbs of Solomon(A) son of David, king of Israel:
For learning what wisdom and discipline are;
for understanding insightful sayings;
for receiving wise instruction
in righteousness, justice, and integrity;(B)
for teaching shrewdness to the inexperienced,[a](C)
knowledge and discretion(D) to a young man—
a wise man will listen and increase his learning,(E)
and a discerning man will obtain guidance—
for understanding a proverb or a parable,[b]
the words of the wise, and their riddles.(F)

The fear of the Lord
is the beginning of knowledge;(G)
fools despise wisdom and discipline.(H)

Avoid the Path of the Violent

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction,
and don’t reject your mother’s teaching,(I)
for they will be a garland(J) of grace on your head
and a gold chain around your neck.(K)
10 My son, if sinners entice you,(L)
don’t be persuaded.(M)
11 If they say—“Come with us!
Let’s set an ambush(N) and kill someone.[c]
Let’s attack some innocent person(O) just for fun![d]
12 Let’s swallow them alive,(P) like Sheol,
still healthy as they go down to the Pit.(Q)
13 We’ll find all kinds of valuable property
and fill our houses with plunder.(R)
14 Throw in your lot with us,
and we’ll all share our money”[e]
15 my son, don’t travel that road with them(S)
or set foot on their path,(T)
16 because their feet run toward trouble
and they hurry to commit murder.[f](U)
17 It is foolish to spread a net
where any bird can see it,
18 but they set an ambush to kill themselves;[g]
they attack their own lives.
19 Such are the paths of all who make profit dishonestly;(V)
it takes the lives of those who receive it.[h]

Wisdom’s Plea

20 Wisdom calls out in the street;
she raises her voice in the public squares.(W)
21 She cries out above[i] the commotion;
she speaks at the entrance of the city gates:
22 “How long, foolish ones, will you love ignorance?
How long will you mockers(X) enjoy mocking
and you fools hate knowledge?(Y)
23 If you respond to my warning,[j](Z)
then I will pour out my spirit on you(AA)
and teach you my words.
24 Since I called out and you refused,(AB)
extended my hand and no one paid attention,(AC)
25 since you neglected all my counsel(AD)
and did not accept my correction,
26 I, in turn, will laugh at your calamity.(AE)
I will mock when terror strikes you,
27 when terror strikes you like a storm
and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
when trouble and stress overcome you.
28 Then they will call me, but I won’t answer;
they will search for me, but won’t find me.(AF)
29 Because they hated knowledge,
didn’t choose to fear the Lord,(AG)
30 were not interested in my counsel,
and rejected all my correction,(AH)
31 they will eat the fruit of their way(AI)
and be glutted with their own schemes.(AJ)
32 For the turning away of the inexperienced will kill them,(AK)
and the complacency of fools will destroy them.
33 But whoever listens to me will live securely
and be free from the fear of danger.”(AL)


  1. Proverbs 1:4 Or simple, or gullible
  2. Proverbs 1:6 Or an enigma
  3. Proverbs 1:11 Lit Let’s ambush for blood
  4. Proverbs 1:11 Lit person for no reason
  5. Proverbs 1:14 Lit us; one bag will be for all of us
  6. Proverbs 1:16 Lit to shed blood
  7. Proverbs 1:18 Lit they ambush for their blood
  8. Proverbs 1:19 Lit takes the life of its masters
  9. Proverbs 1:21 Lit at the head of
  10. Proverbs 1:23 Lit back to my reprimand