The Beginning of Knowledge

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

To know wisdom and instruction,
To [a]perceive the words of understanding,
To receive the instruction of wisdom,
Justice, judgment, and equity;
To give prudence to the (B)simple,
To the young man knowledge and discretion—
(C)A wise man will hear and increase learning,
And a man of understanding will [b]attain wise counsel,
To understand a proverb and an enigma,
The words of the wise and their (D)riddles.

(E)The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Shun Evil Counsel

(F)My son, hear the instruction of your father,
And do not forsake the law of your mother;
For they will be a (G)graceful ornament on your head,
And chains about your neck.

10 My son, if sinners entice you,
(H)Do not consent.
11 If they say, “Come with us,
Let us (I)lie in wait to shed blood;
Let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause;
12 Let us swallow them alive like [c]Sheol,
And whole, (J)like those who go down to the Pit;
13 We shall find all kinds of precious [d]possessions,
We shall fill our houses with [e]spoil;
14 Cast in your lot among us,
Let us all have one purse”—
15 My son, (K)do not walk in the way with them,
(L)Keep your foot from their path;
16 (M)For their feet run to evil,
And they make haste to shed blood.
17 Surely, in [f]vain the net is spread
In the sight of any [g]bird;
18 But they lie in wait for their own blood,
They lurk secretly for their own lives.
19 (N)So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain;
It takes away the life of its owners.

The Call of Wisdom

20 (O)Wisdom calls aloud [h]outside;
She raises her voice in the open squares.
21 She cries out in the [i]chief concourses,
At the openings of the gates in the city
She speaks her words:
22 “How long, you [j]simple ones, will you love [k]simplicity?
For scorners delight in their scorning,
And fools hate knowledge.
23 Turn at my rebuke;
Surely (P)I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.
24 (Q)Because I have called and you refused,
I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded,
25 Because you (R)disdained all my counsel,
And would have none of my rebuke,
26 (S)I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when your terror comes,
27 When (T)your terror comes like a storm,
And your destruction comes like a whirlwind,
When distress and anguish come upon you.

28 “Then(U) they will call on me, but I will not answer;
They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.
29 Because they (V)hated knowledge
And did not (W)choose the fear of the Lord,
30 (X)They would have none of my counsel
And despised my every rebuke.
31 Therefore (Y)they shall eat the fruit of their own way,
And be filled to the full with their own fancies.
32 For the [l]turning away of the simple will slay them,
And the complacency of fools will destroy them;
33 But whoever listens to me will dwell (Z)safely,
And (AA)will be [m]secure, without fear of evil.”

The Value of Wisdom

My son, if you receive my words,
And (AB)treasure my commands within you,
So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
(AC)If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
(AD)Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.
(AE)For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;
He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
(AF)He is a shield to those who walk uprightly;
He guards the paths of justice,
And (AG)preserves the way of His saints.
Then you will understand righteousness and justice,
Equity and every good path.

10 When wisdom enters your heart,
And knowledge is pleasant to your soul,
11 Discretion will preserve you;
(AH)Understanding will keep you,
12 To deliver you from the way of evil,
From the man who speaks perverse things,
13 From those who leave the paths of uprightness
To (AI)walk in the ways of darkness;
14 (AJ)Who rejoice in doing evil,
And delight in the perversity of the wicked;
15 (AK)Whose ways are crooked,
And who are devious in their paths;
16 To deliver you from (AL)the immoral woman,
(AM)From the seductress who flatters with her words,
17 Who forsakes the companion of her youth,
And forgets the covenant of her God.
18 For (AN)her house [n]leads down to death,
And her paths to the dead;
19 None who go to her return,
Nor do they [o]regain the paths of life—
20 So you may walk in the way of goodness,
And keep to the paths of righteousness.
21 For the upright will dwell in the (AO)land,
And the blameless will remain in it;
22 But the wicked will be [p]cut off from the [q]earth,
And the unfaithful will be uprooted from it.

Guidance for the Young

My son, do not forget my law,
(AP)But let your heart keep my commands;
For length of days and long life
And (AQ)peace they will add to you.

Let not mercy and truth forsake you;
(AR)Bind them around your neck,
(AS)Write them on the tablet of your heart,
(AT)And so find favor and [r]high esteem
In the sight of God and man.

(AU)Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
(AV)And lean not on your own understanding;
(AW)In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall [s]direct your paths.

Do not be wise in your own (AX)eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
It will be health to your [t]flesh,
And (AY)strength[u] to your bones.

(AZ)Honor the Lord with your possessions,
And with the firstfruits of all your increase;
10 (BA)So your barns will be filled with plenty,
And your vats will overflow with new wine.

11 (BB)My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor detest His correction;
12 For whom the Lord loves He corrects,
(BC)Just as a father the son in whom he delights.

13 (BD)Happy is the man who finds wisdom,
And the man who gains understanding;
14 (BE)For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver,
And her gain than fine gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies,
And (BF)all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.
16 (BG)Length of days is in her right hand,
In her left hand riches and honor.
17 (BH)Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
And all her paths are peace.
18 She is (BI)a tree of life to those who take hold of her,
And happy are all who [v]retain her.

19 (BJ)The Lord by wisdom founded the earth;
By understanding He established the heavens;
20 By His knowledge the depths were (BK)broken up,
And clouds drop down the dew.

21 My son, let them not depart from your eyes—
Keep sound wisdom and discretion;
22 So they will be life to your soul
And grace to your neck.
23 (BL)Then you will walk safely in your way,
And your foot will not stumble.
24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.
25 (BM)Do not be afraid of sudden terror,
Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes;
26 For the Lord will be your confidence,
And will keep your foot from being caught.

27 (BN)Do not withhold good from [w]those to whom it is due,
When it is in the power of your hand to do so.
28 (BO)Do not say to your neighbor,
“Go, and come back,
And tomorrow I will give it,
When you have it with you.
29 Do not devise evil against your neighbor,
For he dwells by you for safety’s sake.
30 (BP)Do not strive with a man without cause,
If he has done you no harm.

31 (BQ)Do not envy the oppressor,
And choose none of his ways;
32 For the perverse person is an abomination to the Lord,
(BR)But His secret counsel is with the upright.
33 (BS)The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked,
But (BT)He blesses the home of the just.
34 (BU)Surely He scorns the scornful,
But gives grace to the humble.
35 The wise shall inherit glory,
But shame shall be the legacy of fools.

Security in Wisdom

Hear, (BV)my children, the instruction of a father,
And give attention to know understanding;
For I give you good doctrine:
Do not forsake my law.
When I was my father’s son,
(BW)Tender and the only one in the sight of my mother,
(BX)He also taught me, and said to me:
“Let your heart retain my words;
(BY)Keep my commands, and live.
(BZ)Get wisdom! Get understanding!
Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you;
(CA)Love her, and she will keep you.
(CB)Wisdom is the principal thing;
Therefore get wisdom.
And in all your getting, get understanding.
(CC)Exalt her, and she will promote you;
She will bring you honor, when you embrace her.
She will place on your head (CD)an ornament of grace;
A crown of glory she will deliver to you.”

10 Hear, my son, and receive my sayings,
(CE)And the years of your life will be many.
11 I have (CF)taught you in the way of wisdom;
I have led you in right paths.
12 When you walk, (CG)your steps will not be hindered,
(CH)And when you run, you will not stumble.
13 Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go;
Keep her, for she is your life.

14 (CI)Do not enter the path of the wicked,
And do not walk in the way of evil.
15 Avoid it, do not travel on it;
Turn away from it and pass on.
16 (CJ)For they do not sleep unless they have done evil;
And their sleep is [x]taken away unless they make someone fall.
17 For they eat the bread of wickedness,
And drink the wine of violence.

18 (CK)But the path of the just (CL)is like the shining [y]sun,
That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.
19 (CM)The way of the wicked is like darkness;
They do not know what makes them stumble.

20 My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Do not let them depart from your eyes;
Keep them in the midst of your heart;
22 For they are life to those who find them,
And health to all their flesh.
23 Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of (CN)life.
24 Put away from you a [z]deceitful mouth,
And put perverse lips far from you.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead,
And your eyelids look right before you.
26 Ponder the path of your (CO)feet,
And let all your ways be established.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
Remove your foot from evil.


  1. Proverbs 1:2 understand or discern
  2. Proverbs 1:5 acquire
  3. Proverbs 1:12 Or the grave
  4. Proverbs 1:13 Lit. wealth
  5. Proverbs 1:13 plunder
  6. Proverbs 1:17 futility
  7. Proverbs 1:17 Lit. lord of the wing
  8. Proverbs 1:20 in the street
  9. Proverbs 1:21 LXX, Syr., Tg. top of the walls; Vg. the head of multitudes
  10. Proverbs 1:22 naive
  11. Proverbs 1:22 naivete
  12. Proverbs 1:32 waywardness
  13. Proverbs 1:33 at ease
  14. Proverbs 2:18 sinks
  15. Proverbs 2:19 Lit. reach
  16. Proverbs 2:22 destroyed
  17. Proverbs 2:22 land
  18. Proverbs 3:4 Lit. good understanding
  19. Proverbs 3:6 Or make smooth or straight
  20. Proverbs 3:8 Body, lit. navel
  21. Proverbs 3:8 Lit. drink
  22. Proverbs 3:18 hold her fast
  23. Proverbs 3:27 Lit. its owners
  24. Proverbs 4:16 Lit. robbed
  25. Proverbs 4:18 Lit. light
  26. Proverbs 4:24 devious

Bible Gateway Recommends