Wise Sayings of Solomon
A Manual for Living
1 1-6 These are the wise sayings of Solomon,
David’s son, Israel’s king—
Written down so we’ll know how to live well and right,
to understand what life means and where it’s going;
A manual for living,
for learning what’s right and just and fair;
To teach the inexperienced the ropes
and give our young people a grasp on reality.
There’s something here also for seasoned men and women,
still a thing or two for the experienced to learn—
Fresh wisdom to probe and penetrate,
the rhymes and reasons of wise men and women.
Start with God
7 Start with God—the first step in learning is bowing down to God;
only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning.
8-19 Pay close attention, friend, to what your father tells you;
never forget what you learned at your mother’s knee.
Wear their counsel like a winning crown,
like rings on your fingers.
Dear friend, if bad companions tempt you,
don’t go along with them.
If they say—“Let’s go out and raise some hell.
Let’s beat up some old man, mug some old woman.
Let’s pick them clean
and get them ready for their funerals.
We’ll load up on top-quality loot.
We’ll haul it home by the truckload.
Join us for the time of your life!
With us, it’s share and share alike!”—
Oh, friend, don’t give them a second look;
don’t listen to them for a minute.
They’re racing to a very bad end,
hurrying to ruin everything they lay hands on.
Nobody robs a bank
with everyone watching,
Yet that’s what these people are doing—
they’re doing themselves in.
When you grab all you can get, that’s what happens:
the more you get, the less you are.
20-21 Lady Wisdom goes out in the street and shouts.
At the town center she makes her speech.
In the middle of the traffic she takes her stand.
At the busiest corner she calls out:
22-24 “Simpletons! How long will you wallow in ignorance?
Cynics! How long will you feed your cynicism?
Idiots! How long will you refuse to learn?
About face! I can revise your life.
Look, I’m ready to pour out my spirit on you;
I’m ready to tell you all I know.
As it is, I’ve called, but you’ve turned a deaf ear;
I’ve reached out to you, but you’ve ignored me.
25-28 “Since you laugh at my counsel
and make a joke of my advice,
How can I take you seriously?
I’ll turn the tables and joke about your troubles!
What if the roof falls in,
and your whole life goes to pieces?
What if catastrophe strikes and there’s nothing
to show for your life but rubble and ashes?
You’ll need me then. You’ll call for me, but don’t expect an answer.
No matter how hard you look, you won’t find me.
29-33 “Because you hated Knowledge
and had nothing to do with the Fear-of-God,
Because you wouldn’t take my advice
and brushed aside all my offers to train you,
Well, you’ve made your bed—now lie in it;
you wanted your own way—now, how do you like it?
Don’t you see what happens, you simpletons, you idiots?
Carelessness kills; complacency is murder.
First pay attention to me, and then relax.
Now you can take it easy—you’re in good hands.”
Make Insight Your Priority
2 1-5 Good friend, take to heart what I’m telling you;
collect my counsels and guard them with your life.
Tune your ears to the world of Wisdom;
set your heart on a life of Understanding.
That’s right—if you make Insight your priority,
and won’t take no for an answer,
Searching for it like a prospector panning for gold,
like an adventurer on a treasure hunt,
Believe me, before you know it Fear-of-God will be yours;
you’ll have come upon the Knowledge of God.
6-8 And here’s why: God gives out Wisdom free,
is plainspoken in Knowledge and Understanding.
He’s a rich mine of Common Sense for those who live well,
a personal bodyguard to the candid and sincere.
He keeps his eye on all who live honestly,
and pays special attention to his loyally committed ones.
9-15 So now you can pick out what’s true and fair,
find all the good trails!
Lady Wisdom will be your close friend,
and Brother Knowledge your pleasant companion.
Good Sense will scout ahead for danger,
Insight will keep an eye out for you.
They’ll keep you from making wrong turns,
or following the bad directions
Of those who are lost themselves
and can’t tell a trail from a tumbleweed,
These losers who make a game of evil
and throw parties to celebrate perversity,
Traveling paths that go nowhere,
wandering in a maze of detours and dead ends.
16-19 Wise friends will rescue you from the Temptress—
that smooth-talking Seductress
Who’s faithless to the husband she married years ago,
never gave a second thought to her promises before God.
Her whole way of life is doomed;
every step she takes brings her closer to hell.
No one who joins her company ever comes back,
ever sets foot on the path to real living.
20-22 So—join the company of good men and women,
keep your feet on the tried-and-true paths.
It’s the men who walk straight who will settle this land,
the women with integrity who will last here.
The corrupt will lose their lives;
the dishonest will be gone for good.
Don’t Assume You Know It All
3 1-2 Good friend, don’t forget all I’ve taught you;
take to heart my commands.
They’ll help you live a long, long time,
a long life lived full and well.
3-4 Don’t lose your grip on Love and Loyalty.
Tie them around your neck; carve their initials on your heart.
Earn a reputation for living well
in God’s eyes and the eyes of the people.
5-12 Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.
Run to God! Run from evil!
Your body will glow with health,
your very bones will vibrate with life!
Honor God with everything you own;
give him the first and the best.
Your barns will burst,
your wine vats will brim over.
But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline;
don’t sulk under his loving correction.
It’s the child he loves that God corrects;
a father’s delight is behind all this.
The Very Tree of Life
13-18 You’re blessed when you meet Lady Wisdom,
when you make friends with Madame Insight.
She’s worth far more than money in the bank;
her friendship is better than a big salary.
Her value exceeds all the trappings of wealth;
nothing you could wish for holds a candle to her.
With one hand she gives long life,
with the other she confers recognition.
Her manner is beautiful,
her life wonderfully complete.
She’s the very Tree of Life to those who embrace her.
Hold her tight—and be blessed!
19-20 With Lady Wisdom, God formed Earth;
with Madame Insight, he raised Heaven.
They knew when to signal rivers and springs to the surface,
and dew to descend from the night skies.
Never Walk Away
21-26 Dear friend, guard Clear Thinking and Common Sense with your life;
don’t for a minute lose sight of them.
They’ll keep your soul alive and well,
they’ll keep you fit and attractive.
You’ll travel safely,
you’ll neither tire nor trip.
You’ll take afternoon naps without a worry,
you’ll enjoy a good night’s sleep.
No need to panic over alarms or surprises,
or predictions that doomsday’s just around the corner,
Because God will be right there with you;
he’ll keep you safe and sound.
27-29 Never walk away from someone who deserves help;
your hand is God’s hand for that person.
Don’t tell your neighbor “Maybe some other time”
or “Try me tomorrow”
when the money’s right there in your pocket.
Don’t figure ways of taking advantage of your neighbor
when he’s sitting there trusting and unsuspecting.
30-32 Don’t walk around with a chip on your shoulder,
always spoiling for a fight.
Don’t try to be like those who shoulder their way through life.
Why be a bully?
“Why not?” you say. Because God can’t stand twisted souls.
It’s the straightforward who get his respect.
33-35 God’s curse blights the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the home of the righteous.
He gives proud skeptics a cold shoulder,
but if you’re down on your luck, he’s right there to help.
Wise living gets rewarded with honor;
stupid living gets the booby prize.
Your Life Is at Stake
4 1-2 Listen, friends, to some fatherly advice;
sit up and take notice so you’ll know how to live.
I’m giving you good counsel;
don’t let it go in one ear and out the other.
3-9 When I was a boy at my father’s knee,
the pride and joy of my mother,
He would sit me down and drill me:
“Take this to heart. Do what I tell you—live!
Sell everything and buy Wisdom! Forage for Understanding!
Don’t forget one word! Don’t deviate an inch!
Never walk away from Wisdom—she guards your life;
love her—she keeps her eye on you.
Above all and before all, do this: Get Wisdom!
Write this at the top of your list: Get Understanding!
Throw your arms around her—believe me, you won’t regret it;
never let her go—she’ll make your life glorious.
She’ll garland your life with grace,
she’ll festoon your days with beauty.”
10-15 Dear friend, take my advice;
it will add years to your life.
I’m writing out clear directions to Wisdom Way,
I’m drawing a map to Righteous Road.
I don’t want you ending up in blind alleys,
or wasting time making wrong turns.
Hold tight to good advice; don’t relax your grip.
Guard it well—your life is at stake!
Don’t take Wicked Bypass;
don’t so much as set foot on that road.
Stay clear of it; give it a wide berth.
Make a detour and be on your way.
16-17 Evil people are restless
unless they’re making trouble;
They can’t get a good night’s sleep
unless they’ve made life miserable for somebody.
Perversity is their food and drink,
violence their drug of choice.
18-19 The ways of right-living people glow with light;
the longer they live, the brighter they shine.
But the road of wrongdoing gets darker and darker—
travelers can’t see a thing; they fall flat on their faces.
Learn It by Heart
20-22 Dear friend, listen well to my words;
tune your ears to my voice.
Keep my message in plain view at all times.
Concentrate! Learn it by heart!
Those who discover these words live, really live;
body and soul, they’re bursting with health.
23-27 Keep vigilant watch over your heart;
that’s where life starts.
Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth;
avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip.
Keep your eyes straight ahead;
ignore all sideshow distractions.
Watch your step,
and the road will stretch out smooth before you.
Look neither right nor left;
leave evil in the dust.
Nothing but Sin and Bones
5 1-2 Dear friend, pay close attention to this, my wisdom;
listen very closely to the way I see it.
Then you’ll acquire a taste for good sense;
what I tell you will keep you out of trouble.
3-6 The lips of a seductive woman are oh so sweet,
her soft words are oh so smooth.
But it won’t be long before she’s gravel in your mouth,
a pain in your gut, a wound in your heart.
She’s dancing down the perfumed path to Death;
she’s headed straight for Hell and taking you with her.
She hasn’t a clue about Real Life,
about who she is or where she’s going.
7-14 So, my friend, listen closely;
don’t treat my words casually.
Keep your distance from such a woman;
absolutely stay out of her neighborhood.
You don’t want to squander your wonderful life,
to waste your precious life among the hardhearted.
Why should you allow strangers to take advantage of you?
Why be exploited by those who care nothing for you?
You don’t want to end your life full of regrets,
nothing but sin and bones,
Saying, “Oh, why didn’t I do what they told me?
Why did I reject a disciplined life?
Why didn’t I listen to my mentors,
or take my teachers seriously?
My life is ruined!
I haven’t one blessed thing to show for my life!”
Never Take Love for Granted
15-16 Do you know the saying, “Drink from your own rain barrel,
draw water from your own spring-fed well”?
It’s true. Otherwise, you may one day come home
and find your barrel empty and your well polluted.
17-20 Your spring water is for you and you only,
not to be passed around among strangers.
Bless your fresh-flowing fountain!
Enjoy the wife you married as a young man!
Lovely as an angel, beautiful as a rose—
don’t ever quit taking delight in her body.
Never take her love for granted!
Why would you trade enduring intimacies for cheap thrills with a prostitute?
for dalliance with a promiscuous stranger?
21-23 Mark well that God doesn’t miss a move you make;
he’s aware of every step you take.
The shadow of your sin will overtake you;
you’ll find yourself stumbling all over yourself in the dark.
Death is the reward of an undisciplined life;
your foolish decisions trap you in a dead end.
Like a Deer from the Hunter
6 1-5 Dear friend, if you’ve gone into hock with your neighbor
or locked yourself into a deal with a stranger,
If you’ve impulsively promised the shirt off your back
and now find yourself shivering out in the cold,
Friend, don’t waste a minute, get yourself out of that mess.
You’re in that man’s clutches!
Go, put on a long face; act desperate.
there’s no time to lose.
Run like a deer from the hunter,
fly like a bird from the trapper!
A Lesson from the Ant
6-11 You lazy fool, look at an ant.
Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two.
Nobody has to tell it what to do.
All summer it stores up food;
at harvest it stockpiles provisions.
So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing?
How long before you get out of bed?
A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there,
sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next?
Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life,
poverty your permanent houseguest!
Always Cooking Up Something Nasty
12-15 Swindlers and scoundrels
talk out of both sides of their mouths.
They wink at each other, they shuffle their feet,
they cross their fingers behind their backs.
Their perverse minds are always cooking up something nasty,
always stirring up trouble.
Catastrophe is just around the corner for them,
a total wreck, their lives ruined beyond repair.
Seven Things God Hates
16-19 Here are six things God hates,
and one more that he loathes with a passion:
eyes that are arrogant,
a tongue that lies,
hands that murder the innocent,
a heart that hatches evil plots,
feet that race down a wicked track,
a mouth that lies under oath,
a troublemaker in the family.
Warning on Adultery
20-23 Good friend, follow your father’s good advice;
don’t wander off from your mother’s teachings.
Wrap yourself in them from head to foot;
wear them like a scarf around your neck.
Wherever you walk, they’ll guide you;
whenever you rest, they’ll guard you;
when you wake up, they’ll tell you what’s next.
For sound advice is a beacon,
good teaching is a light,
moral discipline is a life path.
24-35 They’ll protect you from promiscuous women,
from the seductive talk of some temptress.
Don’t lustfully fantasize on her beauty,
nor be taken in by her bedroom eyes.
You can buy an hour with a prostitute for a loaf of bread,
but a promiscuous woman may well eat you alive.
Can you build a fire in your lap
and not burn your pants?
Can you walk barefoot on hot coals
and not get blisters?
It’s the same when you have sex with your neighbor’s wife:
Touch her and you’ll pay for it. No excuses.
Hunger is no excuse
for a thief to steal;
When he’s caught he has to pay it back,
even if he has to put his whole house in hock.
Adultery is a brainless act,
Expect a bloody nose, a black eye,
and a reputation ruined for good.
For jealousy detonates rage in a cheated husband;
wild for revenge, he won’t make allowances.
Nothing you say or pay will make it all right;
neither bribes nor reason will satisfy him.
Dressed to Seduce
7 1-5 Dear friend, do what I tell you;
treasure my careful instructions.
Do what I say and you’ll live well.
My teaching is as precious as your eyesight—guard it!
Write it out on the back of your hands;
etch it on the chambers of your heart.
Talk to Wisdom as to a sister.
Treat Insight as your companion.
They’ll be with you to fend off the Temptress—
that smooth-talking, honey-tongued Seductress.
6-12 As I stood at the window of my house
looking out through the shutters,
Watching the mindless crowd stroll by,
I spotted a young man without any sense
Arriving at the corner of the street where she lived,
then turning up the path to her house.
It was dusk, the evening coming on,
the darkness thickening into night.
Just then, a woman met him—
she’d been lying in wait for him, dressed to seduce him.
Brazen and brash she was,
restless and roaming, never at home,
Walking the streets, loitering in the mall,
hanging out at every corner in town.
13-20 She threw her arms around him and kissed him,
boldly took his arm and said,
“I’ve got all the makings for a feast—
today I made my offerings, my vows are all paid,
So now I’ve come to find you,
hoping to catch sight of your face—and here you are!
I’ve spread fresh, clean sheets on my bed,
colorful imported linens.
My bed is aromatic with spices
and exotic fragrances.
Come, let’s make love all night,
spend the night in ecstatic lovemaking!
My husband’s not home; he’s away on business,
and he won’t be back for a month.”
21-23 Soon she has him eating out of her hand,
bewitched by her honeyed speech.
Before you know it, he’s trotting behind her,
like a calf led to the butcher shop,
Like a stag lured into ambush
and then shot with an arrow,
Like a bird flying into a net
not knowing that its flying life is over.
24-27 So, friends, listen to me,
take these words of mine most seriously.
Don’t fool around with a woman like that;
don’t even stroll through her neighborhood.
Countless victims come under her spell;
she’s the death of many a poor man.
She runs a halfway house to hell,
fits you out with a shroud and a coffin.
Lady Wisdom Calls Out
8 1-11 Do you hear Lady Wisdom calling?
Can you hear Madame Insight raising her voice?
She’s taken her stand at First and Main,
at the busiest intersection.
Right in the city square
where the traffic is thickest, she shouts,
“You—I’m talking to all of you,
everyone out here on the streets!
Listen, you idiots—learn good sense!
You blockheads—shape up!
Don’t miss a word of this—I’m telling you how to live well,
I’m telling you how to live at your best.
My mouth chews and savors and relishes truth—
I can’t stand the taste of evil!
You’ll only hear true and right words from my mouth;
not one syllable will be twisted or skewed.
You’ll recognize this as true—you with open minds;
truth-ready minds will see it at once.
Prefer my life-disciplines over chasing after money,
and God-knowledge over a lucrative career.
For Wisdom is better than all the trappings of wealth;
nothing you could wish for holds a candle to her.
12-21 “I am Lady Wisdom, and I live next to Sanity;
Knowledge and Discretion live just down the street.
The Fear-of-God means hating Evil,
whose ways I hate with a passion—
pride and arrogance and crooked talk.
Good counsel and common sense are my characteristics;
I am both Insight and the Virtue to live it out.
With my help, leaders rule,
and lawmakers legislate fairly;
With my help, governors govern,
along with all in legitimate authority.
I love those who love me;
those who look for me find me.
Wealth and Glory accompany me—
also substantial Honor and a Good Name.
My benefits are worth more than a big salary, even a very big salary;
the returns on me exceed any imaginable bonus.
You can find me on Righteous Road—that’s where I walk—
at the intersection of Justice Avenue,
Handing out life to those who love me,
filling their arms with life—armloads of life!
22-31 “God sovereignly made me—the first, the basic—
before he did anything else.
I was brought into being a long time ago,
well before Earth got its start.
I arrived on the scene before Ocean,
yes, even before Springs and Rivers and Lakes.
Before Mountains were sculpted and Hills took shape,
I was already there, newborn;
Long before God stretched out Earth’s Horizons,
and tended to the minute details of Soil and Weather,
And set Sky firmly in place,
I was there.
When he mapped and gave borders to wild Ocean,
built the vast vault of Heaven,
and installed the fountains that fed Ocean,
When he drew a boundary for Sea,
posted a sign that said no trespassing,
And then staked out Earth’s Foundations,
I was right there with him, making sure everything fit.
Day after day I was there, with my joyful applause,
always enjoying his company,
Delighted with the world of things and creatures,
happily celebrating the human family.
32-36 “So, my dear friends, listen carefully;
those who embrace these my ways are most blessed.
Mark a life of discipline and live wisely;
don’t squander your precious life.
Blessed the man, blessed the woman, who listens to me,
awake and ready for me each morning,
alert and responsive as I start my day’s work.
When you find me, you find life, real life,
to say nothing of God’s good pleasure.
But if you wrong me, you damage your very soul;
when you reject me, you’re flirting with death.”
Lady Wisdom Gives a Dinner Party
9 1-6 Lady Wisdom has built and furnished her home;
it’s supported by seven hewn timbers.
The banquet meal is ready to be served: lamb roasted,
wine poured out, table set with silver and flowers.
Having dismissed her serving maids,
Lady Wisdom goes to town, stands in a prominent place,
and invites everyone within sound of her voice:
“Are you confused about life, don’t know what’s going on?
Come with me, oh come, have dinner with me!
I’ve prepared a wonderful spread—fresh-baked bread,
roast lamb, carefully selected wines.
Leave your impoverished confusion and live!
Walk up the street to a life with meaning.”
* * *
7-12 If you reason with an arrogant cynic, you’ll get slapped in the face;
confront bad behavior and get a kick in the shins.
So don’t waste your time on a scoffer;
all you’ll get for your pains is abuse.
But if you correct those who care about life,
that’s different—they’ll love you for it!
Save your breath for the wise—they’ll be wiser for it;
tell good people what you know—they’ll profit from it.
Skilled living gets its start in the Fear-of-God,
insight into life from knowing a Holy God.
It’s through me, Lady Wisdom, that your life deepens,
and the years of your life ripen.
Live wisely and wisdom will permeate your life;
mock life and life will mock you.
Madame Prostitute Calls Out, Too
13-18 Then there’s this other woman, Madame Prostitute—
brazen, empty-headed, frivolous.
She sits on the front porch
of her house on Main Street,
And as people walk by minding
their own business, calls out,
“Are you confused about life, don’t know what’s going on?
Steal off with me, I’ll show you a good time!
No one will ever know—I’ll give you the time of your life.”
But they don’t know about all the skeletons in her closet,
that all her guests end up in hell.
New Living Translation
The Purpose of Proverbs
1 These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.
2 Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline,
to help them understand the insights of the wise.
3 Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives,
to help them do what is right, just, and fair.
4 These proverbs will give insight to the simple,
knowledge and discernment to the young.
5 Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser.
Let those with understanding receive guidance
6 by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables,
the words of the wise and their riddles.
7 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
A Father’s Exhortation: Acquire Wisdom
8 My child,[a] listen when your father corrects you.
Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.
9 What you learn from them will crown you with grace
and be a chain of honor around your neck.
10 My child, if sinners entice you,
turn your back on them!
11 They may say, “Come and join us.
Let’s hide and kill someone!
Just for fun, let’s ambush the innocent!
12 Let’s swallow them alive, like the grave[b];
let’s swallow them whole, like those who go down to the pit of death.
13 Think of the great things we’ll get!
We’ll fill our houses with all the stuff we take.
14 Come, throw in your lot with us;
we’ll all share the loot.”
15 My child, don’t go along with them!
Stay far away from their paths.
16 They rush to commit evil deeds.
They hurry to commit murder.
17 If a bird sees a trap being set,
it knows to stay away.
18 But these people set an ambush for themselves;
they are trying to get themselves killed.
19 Such is the fate of all who are greedy for money;
it robs them of life.
Wisdom Shouts in the Streets
20 Wisdom shouts in the streets.
She cries out in the public square.
21 She calls to the crowds along the main street,
to those gathered in front of the city gate:
22 “How long, you simpletons,
will you insist on being simpleminded?
How long will you mockers relish your mocking?
How long will you fools hate knowledge?
23 Come and listen to my counsel.
I’ll share my heart with you
and make you wise.
24 “I called you so often, but you wouldn’t come.
I reached out to you, but you paid no attention.
25 You ignored my advice
and rejected the correction I offered.
26 So I will laugh when you are in trouble!
I will mock you when disaster overtakes you—
27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm,
when disaster engulfs you like a cyclone,
and anguish and distress overwhelm you.
28 “When they cry for help, I will not answer.
Though they anxiously search for me, they will not find me.
29 For they hated knowledge
and chose not to fear the Lord.
30 They rejected my advice
and paid no attention when I corrected them.
31 Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way,
choking on their own schemes.
32 For simpletons turn away from me—to death.
Fools are destroyed by their own complacency.
33 But all who listen to me will live in peace,
untroubled by fear of harm.”
The Benefits of Wisdom
2 My child,[c] listen to what I say,
and treasure my commands.
2 Tune your ears to wisdom,
and concentrate on understanding.
3 Cry out for insight,
and ask for understanding.
4 Search for them as you would for silver;
seek them like hidden treasures.
5 Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord,
and you will gain knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord grants wisdom!
From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.
He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.
8 He guards the paths of the just
and protects those who are faithful to him.
9 Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair,
and you will find the right way to go.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will fill you with joy.
11 Wise choices will watch over you.
Understanding will keep you safe.
12 Wisdom will save you from evil people,
from those whose words are twisted.
13 These men turn from the right way
to walk down dark paths.
14 They take pleasure in doing wrong,
and they enjoy the twisted ways of evil.
15 Their actions are crooked,
and their ways are wrong.
16 Wisdom will save you from the immoral woman,
from the seductive words of the promiscuous woman.
17 She has abandoned her husband
and ignores the covenant she made before God.
18 Entering her house leads to death;
it is the road to the grave.[d]
19 The man who visits her is doomed.
He will never reach the paths of life.
20 So follow the steps of the good,
and stay on the paths of the righteous.
21 For only the godly will live in the land,
and those with integrity will remain in it.
22 But the wicked will be removed from the land,
and the treacherous will be uprooted.
Trusting in the Lord
3 My child,[e] never forget the things I have taught you.
Store my commands in your heart.
2 If you do this, you will live many years,
and your life will be satisfying.
3 Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!
Tie them around your neck as a reminder.
Write them deep within your heart.
4 Then you will find favor with both God and people,
and you will earn a good reputation.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
6 Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
7 Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.
Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
8 Then you will have healing for your body
and strength for your bones.
9 Honor the Lord with your wealth
and with the best part of everything you produce.
10 Then he will fill your barns with grain,
and your vats will overflow with good wine.
11 My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline,
and don’t be upset when he corrects you.
12 For the Lord corrects those he loves,
just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.[f]
13 Joyful is the person who finds wisdom,
the one who gains understanding.
14 For wisdom is more profitable than silver,
and her wages are better than gold.
15 Wisdom is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 She offers you long life in her right hand,
and riches and honor in her left.
17 She will guide you down delightful paths;
all her ways are satisfying.
18 Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her;
happy are those who hold her tightly.
19 By wisdom the Lord founded the earth;
by understanding he created the heavens.
20 By his knowledge the deep fountains of the earth burst forth,
and the dew settles beneath the night sky.
21 My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment.
Hang on to them,
22 for they will refresh your soul.
They are like jewels on a necklace.
23 They keep you safe on your way,
and your feet will not stumble.
24 You can go to bed without fear;
you will lie down and sleep soundly.
25 You need not be afraid of sudden disaster
or the destruction that comes upon the wicked,
26 for the Lord is your security.
He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.
27 Do not withhold good from those who deserve it
when it’s in your power to help them.
28 If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say,
“Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.”
29 Don’t plot harm against your neighbor,
for those who live nearby trust you.
30 Don’t pick a fight without reason,
when no one has done you harm.
31 Don’t envy violent people
or copy their ways.
32 Such wicked people are detestable to the Lord,
but he offers his friendship to the godly.
33 The Lord curses the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the home of the upright.
34 The Lord mocks the mockers
but is gracious to the humble.[g]
35 The wise inherit honor,
but fools are put to shame!
A Father’s Wise Advice
4 My children,[h] listen when your father corrects you.
Pay attention and learn good judgment,
2 for I am giving you good guidance.
Don’t turn away from my instructions.
3 For I, too, was once my father’s son,
tenderly loved as my mother’s only child.
4 My father taught me,
“Take my words to heart.
Follow my commands, and you will live.
5 Get wisdom; develop good judgment.
Don’t forget my words or turn away from them.
6 Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you.
Love her, and she will guard you.
7 Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!
And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.
8 If you prize wisdom, she will make you great.
Embrace her, and she will honor you.
9 She will place a lovely wreath on your head;
she will present you with a beautiful crown.”
10 My child,[i] listen to me and do as I say,
and you will have a long, good life.
11 I will teach you wisdom’s ways
and lead you in straight paths.
12 When you walk, you won’t be held back;
when you run, you won’t stumble.
13 Take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go.
Guard them, for they are the key to life.
14 Don’t do as the wicked do,
and don’t follow the path of evildoers.
15 Don’t even think about it; don’t go that way.
Turn away and keep moving.
16 For evil people can’t sleep until they’ve done their evil deed for the day.
They can’t rest until they’ve caused someone to stumble.
17 They eat the food of wickedness
and drink the wine of violence!
18 The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,
which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.
19 But the way of the wicked is like total darkness.
They have no idea what they are stumbling over.
20 My child, pay attention to what I say.
Listen carefully to my words.
21 Don’t lose sight of them.
Let them penetrate deep into your heart,
22 for they bring life to those who find them,
and healing to their whole body.
23 Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.
24 Avoid all perverse talk;
stay away from corrupt speech.
25 Look straight ahead,
and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
26 Mark out a straight path for your feet;
stay on the safe path.
27 Don’t get sidetracked;
keep your feet from following evil.
Avoid Immoral Women
5 My son, pay attention to my wisdom;
listen carefully to my wise counsel.
2 Then you will show discernment,
and your lips will express what you’ve learned.
3 For the lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey,
and her mouth is smoother than oil.
4 But in the end she is as bitter as poison,
as dangerous as a double-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death;
her steps lead straight to the grave.[j]
6 For she cares nothing about the path to life.
She staggers down a crooked trail and doesn’t realize it.
7 So now, my sons, listen to me.
Never stray from what I am about to say:
8 Stay away from her!
Don’t go near the door of her house!
9 If you do, you will lose your honor
and will lose to merciless people all you have achieved.
10 Strangers will consume your wealth,
and someone else will enjoy the fruit of your labor.
11 In the end you will groan in anguish
when disease consumes your body.
12 You will say, “How I hated discipline!
If only I had not ignored all the warnings!
13 Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers?
Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructors?
14 I have come to the brink of utter ruin,
and now I must face public disgrace.”
15 Drink water from your own well—
share your love only with your wife.[k]
16 Why spill the water of your springs in the streets,
having sex with just anyone?[l]
17 You should reserve it for yourselves.
Never share it with strangers.
18 Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you.
Rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 She is a loving deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts satisfy you always.
May you always be captivated by her love.
20 Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman,
or fondle the breasts of a promiscuous woman?
21 For the Lord sees clearly what a man does,
examining every path he takes.
22 An evil man is held captive by his own sins;
they are ropes that catch and hold him.
23 He will die for lack of self-control;
he will be lost because of his great foolishness.
Lessons for Daily Life
6 My child,[m] if you have put up security for a friend’s debt
or agreed to guarantee the debt of a stranger—
2 if you have trapped yourself by your agreement
and are caught by what you said—
3 follow my advice and save yourself,
for you have placed yourself at your friend’s mercy.
Now swallow your pride;
go and beg to have your name erased.
4 Don’t put it off; do it now!
Don’t rest until you do.
5 Save yourself like a gazelle escaping from a hunter,
like a bird fleeing from a net.
6 Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones.
Learn from their ways and become wise!
7 Though they have no prince
or governor or ruler to make them work,
8 they labor hard all summer,
gathering food for the winter.
9 But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep?
When will you wake up?
10 A little extra sleep, a little more slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
11 then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit;
scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.
12 What are worthless and wicked people like?
They are constant liars,
13 signaling their deceit with a wink of the eye,
a nudge of the foot, or the wiggle of fingers.
14 Their perverted hearts plot evil,
and they constantly stir up trouble.
15 But they will be destroyed suddenly,
broken in an instant beyond all hope of healing.
16 There are six things the Lord hates—
no, seven things he detests:
17 haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that kill the innocent,
18 a heart that plots evil,
feet that race to do wrong,
19 a false witness who pours out lies,
a person who sows discord in a family.
20 My son, obey your father’s commands,
and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.
21 Keep their words always in your heart.
Tie them around your neck.
22 When you walk, their counsel will lead you.
When you sleep, they will protect you.
When you wake up, they will advise you.
23 For their command is a lamp
and their instruction a light;
their corrective discipline
is the way to life.
24 It will keep you from the immoral woman,
from the smooth tongue of a promiscuous woman.
25 Don’t lust for her beauty.
Don’t let her coy glances seduce you.
26 For a prostitute will bring you to poverty,[n]
but sleeping with another man’s wife will cost you your life.
27 Can a man scoop a flame into his lap
and not have his clothes catch on fire?
28 Can he walk on hot coals
and not blister his feet?
29 So it is with the man who sleeps with another man’s wife.
He who embraces her will not go unpunished.
30 Excuses might be found for a thief
who steals because he is starving.
31 But if he is caught, he must pay back seven times what he stole,
even if he has to sell everything in his house.
32 But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool,
for he destroys himself.
33 He will be wounded and disgraced.
His shame will never be erased.
34 For the woman’s jealous husband will be furious,
and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge.
35 He will accept no compensation,
nor be satisfied with a payoff of any size.
Another Warning about Immoral Women
7 Follow my advice, my son;
always treasure my commands.
2 Obey my commands and live!
Guard my instructions as you guard your own eyes.[o]
3 Tie them on your fingers as a reminder.
Write them deep within your heart.
4 Love wisdom like a sister;
make insight a beloved member of your family.
5 Let them protect you from an affair with an immoral woman,
from listening to the flattery of a promiscuous woman.
6 While I was at the window of my house,
looking through the curtain,
7 I saw some naive young men,
and one in particular who lacked common sense.
8 He was crossing the street near the house of an immoral woman,
strolling down the path by her house.
9 It was at twilight, in the evening,
as deep darkness fell.
10 The woman approached him,
seductively dressed and sly of heart.
11 She was the brash, rebellious type,
never content to stay at home.
12 She is often in the streets and markets,
soliciting at every corner.
13 She threw her arms around him and kissed him,
and with a brazen look she said,
14 “I’ve just made my peace offerings
and fulfilled my vows.
15 You’re the one I was looking for!
I came out to find you, and here you are!
16 My bed is spread with beautiful blankets,
with colored sheets of Egyptian linen.
17 I’ve perfumed my bed
with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
18 Come, let’s drink our fill of love until morning.
Let’s enjoy each other’s caresses,
19 for my husband is not home.
He’s away on a long trip.
20 He has taken a wallet full of money with him
and won’t return until later this month.[p]”
21 So she seduced him with her pretty speech
and enticed him with her flattery.
22 He followed her at once,
like an ox going to the slaughter.
He was like a stag caught in a trap,[q]
23 awaiting the arrow that would pierce its heart.
He was like a bird flying into a snare,
little knowing it would cost him his life.
24 So listen to me, my sons,
and pay attention to my words.
25 Don’t let your hearts stray away toward her.
Don’t wander down her wayward path.
26 For she has been the ruin of many;
many men have been her victims.
27 Her house is the road to the grave.[r]
Her bedroom is the den of death.
Wisdom Calls for a Hearing
8 Listen as Wisdom calls out!
Hear as understanding raises her voice!
2 On the hilltop along the road,
she takes her stand at the crossroads.
3 By the gates at the entrance to the town,
on the road leading in, she cries aloud,
4 “I call to you, to all of you!
I raise my voice to all people.
5 You simple people, use good judgment.
You foolish people, show some understanding.
6 Listen to me! For I have important things to tell you.
Everything I say is right,
7 for I speak the truth
and detest every kind of deception.
8 My advice is wholesome.
There is nothing devious or crooked in it.
9 My words are plain to anyone with understanding,
clear to those with knowledge.
10 Choose my instruction rather than silver,
and knowledge rather than pure gold.
11 For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies.
Nothing you desire can compare with it.
12 “I, Wisdom, live together with good judgment.
I know where to discover knowledge and discernment.
13 All who fear the Lord will hate evil.
Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance,
corruption and perverse speech.
14 Common sense and success belong to me.
Insight and strength are mine.
15 Because of me, kings reign,
and rulers make just decrees.
16 Rulers lead with my help,
and nobles make righteous judgments.[s]
17 “I love all who love me.
Those who search will surely find me.
18 I have riches and honor,
as well as enduring wealth and justice.
19 My gifts are better than gold, even the purest gold,
my wages better than sterling silver!
20 I walk in righteousness,
in paths of justice.
21 Those who love me inherit wealth.
I will fill their treasuries.
22 “The Lord formed me from the beginning,
before he created anything else.
23 I was appointed in ages past,
at the very first, before the earth began.
24 I was born before the oceans were created,
before the springs bubbled forth their waters.
25 Before the mountains were formed,
before the hills, I was born—
26 before he had made the earth and fields
and the first handfuls of soil.
27 I was there when he established the heavens,
when he drew the horizon on the oceans.
28 I was there when he set the clouds above,
when he established springs deep in the earth.
29 I was there when he set the limits of the seas,
so they would not spread beyond their boundaries.
And when he marked off the earth’s foundations,
30 I was the architect at his side.
I was his constant delight,
rejoicing always in his presence.
31 And how happy I was with the world he created;
how I rejoiced with the human family!
32 “And so, my children,[t] listen to me,
for all who follow my ways are joyful.
33 Listen to my instruction and be wise.
Don’t ignore it.
34 Joyful are those who listen to me,
watching for me daily at my gates,
waiting for me outside my home!
35 For whoever finds me finds life
and receives favor from the Lord.
36 But those who miss me injure themselves.
All who hate me love death.”
9 Wisdom has built her house;
she has carved its seven columns.
2 She has prepared a great banquet,
mixed the wines, and set the table.
3 She has sent her servants to invite everyone to come.
She calls out from the heights overlooking the city.
4 “Come in with me,” she urges the simple.
To those who lack good judgment, she says,
5 “Come, eat my food,
and drink the wine I have mixed.
6 Leave your simple ways behind, and begin to live;
learn to use good judgment.”
7 Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return.
Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt.
8 So don’t bother correcting mockers;
they will only hate you.
But correct the wise,
and they will love you.
9 Instruct the wise,
and they will be even wiser.
Teach the righteous,
and they will learn even more.
10 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom.
Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.
11 Wisdom will multiply your days
and add years to your life.
12 If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit.
If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer.
Folly Calls for a Hearing
13 The woman named Folly is brash.
She is ignorant and doesn’t know it.
14 She sits in her doorway
on the heights overlooking the city.
15 She calls out to men going by
who are minding their own business.
16 “Come in with me,” she urges the simple.
To those who lack good judgment, she says,
17 “Stolen water is refreshing;
food eaten in secret tastes the best!”
18 But little do they know that the dead are there.
Her guests are in the depths of the grave.[u]
- 1:8 Hebrew My son; also in 1:10, 15.
- 1:12 Hebrew like Sheol.
- 2:1 Hebrew My son.
- 2:18 Hebrew to the spirits of the dead.
- 3:1 Hebrew My son; also in 3:11, 21.
- 3:12 Greek version reads loves, / and he punishes those he accepts as his children. Compare Heb 12:6.
- 3:34 Greek version reads The Lord opposes the proud / but gives grace to the humble. Compare Jas 4:6; 1 Pet 5:5.
- 4:1 Hebrew My sons.
- 4:10 Hebrew My son; also in 4:20.
- 5:5 Hebrew to Sheol.
- 5:15 Hebrew Drink water from your own cistern, / flowing water from your own well.
- 5:16 Hebrew Why spill your springs in the streets, / your streams in the city squares?
- 6:1 Hebrew My son.
- 6:26 Hebrew to a loaf of bread.
- 7:2 Hebrew as the pupil of your eye.
- 7:20 Hebrew until the moon is full.
- 7:22 As in Greek and Syriac versions; Hebrew reads slaughter, as shackles are for the discipline of a fool.
- 7:27 Hebrew to Sheol.
- 8:16 Some Hebrew manuscripts and Greek version read and nobles are judges over the earth.
- 8:32 Hebrew my sons.
- 9:18 Hebrew in Sheol.
Contemporary English Version
How Proverbs Can Be Used
1 These are the proverbs
of King Solomon of Israel,
the son of David.
2 Proverbs will teach you
wisdom and self-control
and how to understand
sayings with deep meanings.
3 You will learn what is right
and honest and fair.
4 From these, an ordinary person
can learn to be smart,
and young people can gain
knowledge and good sense.
5 If you are already wise,
you will become even wiser.
And if you are smart,
you will learn to understand
6 proverbs and sayings,
as well as words of wisdom
and all kinds of riddles.
7 Respect and obey the Lord!
This is the beginning
Only a fool rejects wisdom
and good advice.
Warnings against Bad Friends
8 My child, obey the teachings
of your parents,
9 and wear their teachings
as you would a lovely hat
or a pretty necklace.
10 Don’t be tempted by sinners
or listen 11 when they say,
“Come on! Let’s gang up
and kill somebody,
just for the fun of it!
12 They’re well and healthy now,
but we’ll finish them off
once and for all.
13 We’ll take their valuables
and fill our homes
with stolen goods.
14 If you join our gang,
you’ll get your share.”
15 Don’t follow anyone like that
or do what they do.
16 They are in a big hurry
to commit some crime,
perhaps even murder.
17 They are like a bird
that sees the bait,
but ignores the trap.[b]
18 They gang up to murder someone,
but they are the victims.
19 The wealth you get from crime
robs you of your life.
20 Wisdom[c] shouts in the streets
wherever crowds gather.
21 She shouts in the marketplaces
and near the city gates
as she says to the people,
22 “How much longer
will you enjoy
being stupid fools?
Won’t you ever stop sneering
and laughing at knowledge?
23 Listen as I correct you
and tell you what I think.
24 You completely ignored me
and refused to listen;
25 you rejected my advice
and paid no attention
when I warned you.
26 “So when you are struck
by some terrible disaster,
27 or when trouble and distress
surround you like a whirlwind,
I will laugh and make fun.
28 You will ask for my help,
but I won’t listen;
you will search,
but you won’t find me.
29 No, you would not learn,
and you refused
to respect the Lord.
30 You rejected my advice
and paid no attention
when I warned you.
31 “Now you will eat the fruit
of what you have done,
until you are stuffed full
with your own schemes.
32 Sin and self-satisfaction
bring destruction and death
to stupid fools.
33 But if you listen to me,
you will be safe and secure
without fear of disaster.”
Wisdom and Bad Friends
2 My child, you must follow
and my instructions.
2 Keep in tune with wisdom
and think what it means
to have common sense.
3 Beg as loud as you can
for good common sense.
4 Search for wisdom
as you would search for silver
or hidden treasure.
5 Then you will understand
what it means to respect
and to know the Lord God.
6 All wisdom comes from the Lord,
and so do common sense
7 God gives helpful advice[d]
to everyone who obeys him
and protects all of those
who live as they should.
8 God sees that justice is done,
and he watches over everyone
who is faithful to him.
9 With wisdom you will learn
what is right
and honest and fair.
10 Wisdom will control your mind,
and you will be pleased
11 Sound judgment and good sense
will watch over you.
12 Wisdom will protect you
from evil schemes
and from those liars
13 who turned from doing good
to live in the darkness.
14 Most of all they enjoy
being mean and deceitful.
15 They are dishonest themselves,
and all they do is crooked.
Wisdom and Sexual Purity
16 Wisdom will protect you
from the smooth talk
of a sinful woman,
17 who breaks her wedding vows
and leaves the man she married
when she was young.
18 The road to her house leads
to the dark world
of the dead.
19 Visit her, and you will never
find the road to life again.
20 Follow the example
of good people
and live an honest life.
21 If you are honest and innocent,
you will keep your land;
22 if you do wrong
and can never be trusted,
you will be rooted out.
3 My child, remember
my teachings and instructions
and obey them completely.
2 They will help you live
a long and prosperous life.
3 Let love and loyalty
always show like a necklace,
and write them in your mind.
4 God and people will like you
and consider you a success.
5 With all your heart
you must trust the Lord
and not your own judgment.
6 Always let him lead you,
and he will clear the road
for you to follow.
7 Don’t ever think that you
are wise enough,
but respect the Lord
and stay away from evil.
8 This will make you healthy,
and you will feel strong.
9 Honor the Lord by giving him
and the first part
of all your crops.
10 Then you will have
more grain and grapes
than you will ever need.
11 My child, don’t turn away
or become bitter
when the Lord corrects you.
12 The Lord corrects
everyone he loves,
just as parents correct
their favorite child.
The Value of Wisdom
13 God blesses everyone
who has wisdom
and common sense.
14 Wisdom is worth more
it makes you much richer
15 Wisdom is more valuable
than precious jewels;
nothing you want
compares with her.
16 In her right hand
Wisdom holds a long life,
and in her left hand
are wealth and honor.
17 Wisdom makes life pleasant
and leads us safely along.
18 Wisdom is a life-giving tree,
the source of happiness
for all who hold on to her.
19 By his wisdom and knowledge
the Lord created
heaven and earth.
20 By his understanding
he let the ocean break loose
and clouds release the rain.
21 My child, use common sense
and sound judgment!
Always keep them in mind.
22 They will help you to live
a long and beautiful life.
23 You will walk safely
and never stumble;
24 you will rest without a worry
and sleep soundly.
25 So don’t be afraid
of sudden disasters
or storms that strike
those who are evil.
26 You can be sure
that the Lord
will protect you from harm.
27 Do all you can for everyone
who deserves your help.
28 Don’t tell your neighbor
to come back tomorrow,
if you can help today.
29 Don’t try to be mean
to neighbors who trust you.
30 Don’t argue just to be arguing,
when you haven’t been hurt.
31 Don’t be jealous
of cruel people
or follow their example.
32 The Lord doesn’t like
anyone who is dishonest,
but he lets good people
be his friends.
33 He places a curse on the home
of everyone who is evil,
but he blesses the home
of every good person.
34 The Lord sneers at those
who sneer at him,
but he is kind to everyone
who is humble.
35 You will be praised
if you are wise,
but you will be disgraced
if you are a stubborn fool.
Advice to Young People
4 My child, listen closely
to my teachings
and learn common sense.
2 My advice is useful,
so don’t turn away.
3 When I was still very young
and my mother’s favorite child,
my father 4 said to me:
“If you follow my teachings
and keep them in mind,
you will live.
5 Be wise and learn good sense;
remember my teachings
and do what I say.
6 If you love Wisdom
and don’t reject her,
she will watch over you.
7 The best thing about Wisdom
is Wisdom herself;
good sense is more important
than anything else.
8 If you value Wisdom
and hold tightly to her,
great honors will be yours.
9 It will be like wearing
a glorious crown
of beautiful flowers.
The Right Way and the Wrong Way
10 My child, if you listen
and obey my teachings,
you will live a long time.
11 I have shown you the way
that makes sense;
I have guided you
along the right path.
12 Your road won’t be blocked,
and you won’t stumble
when you run.
13 Hold firmly to my teaching
and never let go.
It will mean life for you.
14 Don’t follow the bad example
of cruel and evil people.
15 Turn aside and keep going.
Stay away from them.
16 They can’t sleep or rest
until they do wrong
some innocent victim.
17 Their food and drink
are violence and cruelty.
18 The lifestyle of good people
is like sunlight at dawn
that keeps getting brighter
until broad daylight.
19 The lifestyle of the wicked
is like total darkness,
and they will never know
what makes them stumble.
20 My child, listen carefully
to everything I say.
21 Don’t forget a single word,
but think about it all.
22 Knowing these teachings
will mean true life
and good health for you.
23 Carefully guard your thoughts
because they are the source
of true life.
24 Never tell lies or be deceitful
in what you say.
25 Keep looking straight ahead,
without turning aside.
26 Know where you are headed,
and you will stay
on solid ground.
27 Don’t make a mistake by turning
to the right or the left.
Be Faithful to Your Wife
5 My son, if you listen closely
to my wisdom and good sense,
2 you will have sound judgment,
and you will always know
the right thing to say.
3 The words of an immoral woman
may be as sweet as honey
and as smooth as olive oil.
4 But all that you really get
from being with her
is bitter poison and pain.
5 If you follow her,
she will lead you down
to the world of the dead.
6 She has missed the path
that leads to life
and doesn’t even know it.
7 My son, listen to me
and do everything I say.
8 Stay away from a bad woman!
Don’t even go near the door
of her house.
9 You will lose your self-respect
and end up in debt
to some cruel person
for the rest of your life.
10 Strangers will get your money
and everything else
you have worked for.
11 When it’s all over,
your body will waste away,
as you groan 12 and shout,
“I hated advice and correction!
13 I paid no attention
to my teachers,
14 and now I am disgraced
in front of everyone.”
15 You should be faithful
to your wife,
just as you take water
from your own well.[e]
16 And don’t be like a stream
from which just any woman
may take a drink.
17 Save yourself for your wife
and don’t have sex
with other women.
18 Be happy with the wife
when you were young.
19 She is beautiful and graceful,
just like a deer;
you should be attracted to her
and stay deeply in love.
20 Don’t go crazy over a woman
who is unfaithful
to her own husband!
21 The Lord sees everything,
and he watches us closely.
22 Sinners are trapped and caught
by their own evil deeds.
23 They get lost and die
because of their foolishness
and lack of self-control.
Don’t Be Foolish
6 My child, suppose you agree
to pay the debt of someone,
who cannot repay a loan.
2 Then you are trapped
by your own words,
3 and you are now in the power
of someone else.
Here is what you should do:
Go and beg for permission
to call off the agreement.
4 Do this before you fall asleep
or even get sleepy.
5 Save yourself, just as a deer
or a bird
tries to escape
from a hunter.
6 You lazy people can learn
by watching an anthill.
7 Ants don’t have leaders,
8 but they store up food
during harvest season.
9 How long will you lie there
doing nothing at all?
When are you going to get up
and stop sleeping?
10 Sleep a little. Doze a little.
Fold your hands
and twiddle your thumbs.
11 Suddenly, everything is gone,
as though it had been taken
by an armed robber.
12 Worthless liars go around
and giving signals
to deceive others.
14 They are always thinking up
something cruel and evil,
and they stir up trouble.
15 But they will be struck
by sudden disaster
and left without a hope.
16 There are six or seven
kinds of people
the Lord doesn’t like:
17 Those who are too proud
or tell lies or murder,
18 those who make evil plans
or are quick to do wrong,
19 those who tell lies in court
or stir up trouble
in a family.
20 Obey the teaching
of your parents—
21 always keep it in mind
and never forget it.
22 Their teaching will guide you
when you walk,
protect you when you sleep,
and talk to you
when you are awake.
23 The Law of the Lord is a lamp,
and its teachings
Correction and self-control
will lead you through life.
24 They will protect you
from the flattering words
of someone else’s wife.[f]
25 Don’t let yourself be attracted
by the charm
and lovely eyes
of someone like that.
26 A woman who sells her love
can be bought
for as little
as the price of a meal.
But making love
to another man’s wife
will cost you everything.
27 If you carry burning coals,
you burn your clothes;
28 if you step on hot coals,
you burn your feet.
29 And if you go to bed
with another man’s wife,
you pay the price.
30 We don’t put up with thieves,
not even[g] with one who steals
for something to eat.
31 And thieves who get caught
must pay back
seven times what was stolen
and lose everything.
32 But if you go to bed
with another man’s wife,
you will destroy yourself
by your own stupidity.
33 You will be beaten
and forever disgraced,
34 because a jealous husband
can be furious and merciless
when he takes revenge.
35 He won’t let you pay him off,
no matter what you offer.
The Foolishness of Unfaithfulness
7 My son, pay close attention
and don’t forget
what I tell you to do.
2 Obey me, and you will live!
Let my instructions be
your greatest treasure.
3 Keep them at your fingertips
and write them
in your mind.
4 Let wisdom be your sister
and make common sense
your closest friend.
5 They will protect you
from the flattering words
of someone else’s wife.
6 From the window of my house,
I once happened to see
7 some foolish young men.
8 It was late in the evening,
sometime after dark.
9 One of these young men
turned the corner
and was walking by the house
of an unfaithful wife.
10 She was dressed fancy
like a woman of the street
with only one thing in mind.
11 She was one of those women
who are loud and restless
and never stay at home,
12 who walk street after street,
waiting to trap a man.
13 She grabbed him and kissed him,
and with no sense of shame,
14 “I had to offer a sacrifice,
and there is enough meat
left over for a feast.
15 So I came looking for you,
and here you are!
16 The sheets on my bed
are bright-colored cloth
17 And I have covered it
made of myrrh,
aloes, and cinnamon.
18 “Let’s go there
and make love all night.
19 My husband is traveling,
and he’s far away.
20 He took a lot of money along,
and he won’t be back home
before the middle
of the month.”
21 And so, she tricked him
with all of her sweet talk
and her flattery.
22 Right away he followed her
like an ox on the way
to be slaughtered,
or like a fool on the way
to be punished[h]
23 and killed with arrows.
He was no more than a bird
rushing into a trap,
it would cost him his life.
24 My son, pay close attention
to what I have said.
25 Don’t even think about
that kind of woman
or let yourself be misled
by someone like her.
26 Such a woman has caused
of a lot of men.
27 Her house is a one-way street
leading straight down
to the world of the dead.
In Praise of Wisdom
8 With great understanding,
Wisdom[i] is calling out
2 as she stands at the crossroads
and on every hill.
3 She stands by the city gate
where everyone enters the city,
and she shouts:
4 “I am calling out
to each one of you!
5 Good sense and sound judgment
can be yours.
6 Listen, because what I say
is worthwhile and right.
7 I always speak the truth
and refuse to tell a lie.
8 Every word I speak is honest,
not one is misleading
9 “If you have understanding,
you will see that my words
are just what you need.
10 Let instruction and knowledge
mean more to you
or the finest gold.
11 Wisdom is worth much more
than precious jewels
or anything else you desire.”
12 I am Wisdom[j]—Common Sense
is my closest friend;
I possess knowledge
and sound judgment.
13 If you respect the Lord,
you will hate evil.
I hate pride and conceit
and deceitful lies.
14 I am strong,
and I offer
and sound judgment.
15 By my power kings govern,
and rulers make laws
that are fair.
16 Every honest leader rules
with help from me.
17 I love everyone who loves me,
and I will be found by all
who honestly search.
18 I can make you rich and famous,
important and successful.
19 What you receive from me
is more valuable
than even the finest gold
or the purest silver.
20 I always do what is right,
21 and I give great riches
to everyone who loves me.
22 From the beginning,
I was with the Lord.[k]
I was there before he began
23 to create the earth.
At the very first,
the Lord gave life to[l] me.
24 When I was born,
there were no oceans
or springs of water.
25 My birth was before
mountains were formed
or hills were put in place.
26 It happened long before God
had made the earth
or any of its fields
or even the dust.
27 I was there when the Lord
put the heavens in place
and stretched the sky
over the surface of the sea.
28 I was with him when he placed
the clouds in the sky
and created the springs
that fill the ocean.
29 I was there when he set
boundaries for the sea
to make it obey him,
and when he laid foundations
to support the earth.
30 I was right beside the Lord,
helping him plan and build.[m]
I made him happy each day,
and I was happy at his side.
31 I was pleased with his world
and pleased with its people.
32 Pay attention, my children!
Follow my advice,
and you will be happy.
33 Listen carefully
to my instructions,
and you will be wise.
34 Come to my home each day
and listen to me.
You will find happiness.
35 By finding me, you find life,
and the Lord will be pleased
36 But if you don’t find me,
you hurt only yourself,
and if you hate me,
you are in love with death.
Wisdom Gives a Feast
9 Wisdom has built her house
with its seven columns.
2 She has prepared the meat
and set out the wine.
Her feast is ready.
3 She has sent her servant women
to announce her invitation
from the highest hills:
4 “Everyone who is ignorant
or foolish is invited!
5 All of you are welcome
to my meat and wine.
6 If you want to live,
give up your foolishness
and let understanding
guide your steps.”
7 Correct a worthless bragger,
and all you will get
are insults and injuries.
8 Any bragger you correct
will only hate you.
But if you correct someone
who has common sense,
you will be loved.
9 If you have good sense,
instruction will help you
to have even better sense.
And if you live right,
education will help you
to know even more.
10 Respect and obey the Lord!
This is the beginning
To have understanding,
you must know the Holy God.
11 I am Wisdom.
If you follow me,
you will live a long time.
12 Good sense is good for you,
but if you brag,
you hurt yourself.
A Foolish Invitation
13 Stupidity[o] is reckless,
senseless, and foolish.
14 She sits in front of her house
and on the highest hills
in the town.
15 She shouts to everyone
who passes by,
16 “If you are stupid,
come on inside!”
And to every fool she says,
17 “Stolen water tastes best,
and the food you eat in secret
tastes best of all.”
18 None who listen to Stupidity
that her guests
are as good as dead.
- 1.7 the beginning of knowledge: Or “what knowledge is all about.”
- 1.17 They are. . . trap: Or “Be like a bird that won’t go for the bait, if it sees the trap.”
- 1.20 Wisdom: In the book of Proverbs the word “wisdom” is sometimes used as though wisdom were a supernatural being who was with God at the time of creation.
- 2.7 helpful advice: Or “wisdom.”
- 5.15 own well: In biblical times water was scarce and wells were carefully guarded.
- 6.24 someone else’s wife: Or “an evil woman.”
- 6.30 not even: Or “except.”
- 7.22 a fool. . . punished: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- 8.1,12 Wisdom: See the note at 1.20.
- 8.1,12 Wisdom: See the note at 1.20.
- 8.22 From the beginning. . . with the Lord: Or “In the very beginning, the Lord created me.”
- 8.23 gave life to: Or “formed.”
- 8.30 helping. . . build: Or “like his own child.”
- 9.10 the beginning of wisdom: Or “what wisdom is all about.”
- 9.13 Stupidity: Or “A foolish woman.”
New International Version
Purpose and Theme
2 for gaining wisdom and instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
3 for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
doing what is right and just and fair;
4 for giving prudence to those who are simple,[a](D)
knowledge and discretion(E) to the young—
5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,(F)
and let the discerning get guidance—
6 for understanding proverbs and parables,(G)
the sayings and riddles(H) of the wise.[b](I)
Prologue: Exhortations to Embrace Wisdom
Warning Against the Invitation of Sinful Men
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)
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)
Moral Benefits of Wisdom
2 My son,(AX) if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding(AY)—
3 indeed, if you call out for insight(AZ)
and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,(BA)
5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.(BB)
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;(BC)
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.(BD)
7 He holds success in store for the upright,
he is a shield(BE) to those whose walk is blameless,(BF)
8 for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.(BG)
9 Then you will understand(BH) what is right and just
and fair—every good path.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart,(BI)
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
11 Discretion will protect you,
and understanding will guard you.(BJ)
12 Wisdom will save(BK) you from the ways of wicked men,
from men whose words are perverse,
13 who have left the straight paths
to walk in dark ways,(BL)
14 who delight in doing wrong
and rejoice in the perverseness of evil,(BM)
15 whose paths are crooked(BN)
and who are devious in their ways.(BO)
16 Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman,(BP)
from the wayward woman with her seductive words,
17 who has left the partner of her youth
and ignored the covenant she made before God.[e](BQ)
18 Surely her house leads down to death
and her paths to the spirits of the dead.(BR)
19 None who go to her return
or attain the paths of life.(BS)
20 Thus you will walk in the ways of the good
and keep to the paths of the righteous.
21 For the upright will live in the land,(BT)
and the blameless will remain in it;
22 but the wicked(BU) will be cut off from the land,(BV)
and the unfaithful will be torn from it.(BW)
Wisdom Bestows Well-Being
13 Blessed are those who find wisdom,
those who gain understanding,
14 for she is more profitable than silver
and yields better returns than gold.(CT)
15 She is more precious than rubies;(CU)
nothing you desire can compare with her.(CV)
16 Long life is in her right hand;(CW)
in her left hand are riches and honor.(CX)
17 Her ways are pleasant ways,
and all her paths are peace.(CY)
18 She is a tree of life(CZ) to those who take hold of her;
those who hold her fast will be blessed.(DA)
21 My son,(DE) do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight,(DF)
preserve sound judgment and discretion;
22 they will be life for you,(DG)
an ornament to grace your neck.(DH)
23 Then you will go on your way in safety,(DI)
and your foot will not stumble.(DJ)
24 When you lie down,(DK) you will not be afraid;(DL)
when you lie down, your sleep(DM) will be sweet.
25 Have no fear of sudden disaster
or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
26 for the Lord will be at your side(DN)
and will keep your foot(DO) from being snared.(DP)
27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
when it is in your power to act.
28 Do not say to your neighbor,
“Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”—
when you already have it with you.(DQ)
29 Do not plot harm against your neighbor,
who lives trustfully near you.(DR)
30 Do not accuse anyone for no reason—
when they have done you no harm.
31 Do not envy(DS) the violent
or choose any of their ways.
32 For the Lord detests the perverse(DT)
but takes the upright into his confidence.(DU)
33 The Lord’s curse(DV) is on the house of the wicked,(DW)
but he blesses the home of the righteous.(DX)
34 He mocks(DY) proud mockers(DZ)
but shows favor to the humble(EA) and oppressed.
35 The wise inherit honor,
but fools get only shame.
Get Wisdom at Any Cost
4 Listen, my sons,(EB) to a father’s instruction;(EC)
pay attention and gain understanding.(ED)
2 I give you sound learning,
so do not forsake my teaching.
3 For I too was a son to my father,
still tender, and cherished by my mother.
4 Then he taught me, and he said to me,
“Take hold(EE) of my words with all your heart;
keep my commands, and you will live.(EF)
5 Get wisdom,(EG) get understanding;
do not forget my words or turn away from them.
6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;(EH)
love her, and she will watch over you.(EI)
7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get[h] wisdom.
Though it cost all(EJ) you have,[i] get understanding.(EK)
8 Cherish her, and she will exalt you;
embrace her, and she will honor you.(EL)
9 She will give you a garland to grace your head
and present you with a glorious crown.(EM)”
10 Listen, my son,(EN) accept what I say,
and the years of your life will be many.(EO)
11 I instruct(EP) you in the way of wisdom
and lead you along straight paths.(EQ)
12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;
when you run, you will not stumble.(ER)
13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go;
guard it well, for it is your life.(ES)
14 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked
or walk in the way of evildoers.(ET)
15 Avoid it, do not travel on it;
turn from it and go on your way.
16 For they cannot rest until they do evil;(EU)
they are robbed of sleep till they make someone stumble.
17 They eat the bread of wickedness
and drink the wine of violence.(EV)
18 The path of the righteous(EW) is like the morning sun,(EX)
shining ever brighter till the full light of day.(EY)
19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness;(EZ)
they do not know what makes them stumble.(FA)
20 My son,(FB) pay attention to what I say;
turn your ear to my words.(FC)
21 Do not let them out of your sight,(FD)
keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them
and health to one’s whole body.(FE)
23 Above all else, guard(FF) your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.(FG)
24 Keep your mouth free of perversity;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
25 Let your eyes(FH) look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the[j] paths for your feet(FI)
and be steadfast in all your ways.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;(FJ)
keep your foot from evil.
Warning Against Adultery
5 My son,(FK) pay attention to my wisdom,
turn your ear to my words(FL) of insight,
2 that you may maintain discretion
and your lips may preserve knowledge.
3 For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil;(FM)
4 but in the end she is bitter as gall,(FN)
sharp as a double-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death;
her steps lead straight to the grave.(FO)
6 She gives no thought to the way of life;
her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it.(FP)
7 Now then, my sons, listen(FQ) to me;
do not turn aside from what I say.
8 Keep to a path far from her,(FR)
do not go near the door of her house,
9 lest you lose your honor to others
and your dignity[k] to one who is cruel,
10 lest strangers feast on your wealth
and your toil enrich the house of another.(FS)
11 At the end of your life you will groan,
when your flesh and body are spent.
12 You will say, “How I hated discipline!
How my heart spurned correction!(FT)
13 I would not obey my teachers
or turn my ear to my instructors.
14 And I was soon in serious trouble(FU)
in the assembly of God’s people.”(FV)
15 Drink water from your own cistern,
running water from your own well.
16 Should your springs overflow in the streets,
your streams of water in the public squares?
17 Let them be yours alone,
never to be shared with strangers.
18 May your fountain(FW) be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.(FX)
19 A loving doe, a graceful deer(FY)—
may her breasts satisfy you always,
may you ever be intoxicated with her love.
20 Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife?
Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman?
21 For your ways are in full view(FZ) of the Lord,
and he examines(GA) all your paths.(GB)
22 The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them;(GC)
the cords of their sins hold them fast.(GD)
23 For lack of discipline they will die,(GE)
led astray by their own great folly.(GF)
Warnings Against Folly
6 My son,(GG) if you have put up security(GH) for your neighbor,(GI)
if you have shaken hands in pledge(GJ) for a stranger,
2 you have been trapped by what you said,
ensnared by the words of your mouth.
3 So do this, my son, to free yourself,
since you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands:
Go—to the point of exhaustion—[l]
and give your neighbor no rest!
4 Allow no sleep to your eyes,
no slumber to your eyelids.(GK)
5 Free yourself, like a gazelle(GL) from the hand of the hunter,(GM)
like a bird from the snare of the fowler.(GN)
9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard?(GR)
When will you get up from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest(GS)—
11 and poverty(GT) will come on you like a thief
and scarcity like an armed man.
12 A troublemaker and a villain,
who goes about with a corrupt mouth,
13 who winks maliciously with his eye,(GU)
signals with his feet
and motions with his fingers,(GV)
14 who plots evil(GW) with deceit in his heart—
he always stirs up conflict.(GX)
15 Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant;(GY)
he will suddenly(GZ) be destroyed—without remedy.(HA)
16 There are six things the Lord hates,(HB)
seven that are detestable to him:
17 haughty eyes,(HC)
a lying tongue,(HD)
hands that shed innocent blood,(HE)
18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,(HF)
19 a false witness(HG) who pours out lies(HH)
and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.(HI)
Warning Against Adultery
20 My son,(HJ) keep your father’s command
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.(HK)
21 Bind them always on your heart;
fasten them around your neck.(HL)
22 When you walk, they will guide you;
when you sleep, they will watch over you;
when you awake, they will speak to you.
23 For this command is a lamp,
this teaching is a light,(HM)
and correction and instruction
are the way to life,(HN)
24 keeping you from your neighbor’s wife,
from the smooth talk of a wayward woman.(HO)
25 Do not lust in your heart after her beauty
or let her captivate you with her eyes.
26 For a prostitute can be had for a loaf of bread,
but another man’s wife preys on your very life.(HP)
27 Can a man scoop fire into his lap
without his clothes being burned?
28 Can a man walk on hot coals
without his feet being scorched?
29 So is he who sleeps(HQ) with another man’s wife;(HR)
no one who touches her will go unpunished.
30 People do not despise a thief if he steals
to satisfy his hunger when he is starving.
31 Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold,(HS)
though it costs him all the wealth of his house.
32 But a man who commits adultery(HT) has no sense;(HU)
whoever does so destroys himself.
33 Blows and disgrace are his lot,
and his shame will never(HV) be wiped away.
Warning Against the Adulterous Woman
7 My son,(HZ) keep my words
and store up my commands within you.
2 Keep my commands and you will live;(IA)
guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.
3 Bind them on your fingers;
write them on the tablet of your heart.(IB)
4 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
and to insight, “You are my relative.”
5 They will keep you from the adulterous woman,
from the wayward woman with her seductive words.(IC)
6 At the window of my house
I looked down through the lattice.
7 I saw among the simple,
I noticed among the young men,
a youth who had no sense.(ID)
8 He was going down the street near her corner,
walking along in the direction of her house
9 at twilight,(IE) as the day was fading,
as the dark of night set in.
10 Then out came a woman to meet him,
dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent.
11 (She is unruly(IF) and defiant,
her feet never stay at home;
12 now in the street, now in the squares,
at every corner she lurks.)(IG)
13 She took hold of him(IH) and kissed him
and with a brazen face she said:(II)
14 “Today I fulfilled my vows,
and I have food from my fellowship offering(IJ) at home.
15 So I came out to meet you;
I looked for you and have found you!
16 I have covered my bed
with colored linens from Egypt.
17 I have perfumed my bed(IK)
with myrrh,(IL) aloes and cinnamon.
18 Come, let’s drink deeply of love till morning;
let’s enjoy ourselves with love!(IM)
19 My husband is not at home;
he has gone on a long journey.
20 He took his purse filled with money
and will not be home till full moon.”
21 With persuasive words she led him astray;
she seduced him with her smooth talk.(IN)
22 All at once he followed her
like an ox going to the slaughter,
like a deer[m] stepping into a noose[n](IO)
23 till an arrow pierces(IP) his liver,
like a bird darting into a snare,
little knowing it will cost him his life.(IQ)
24 Now then, my sons, listen(IR) to me;
pay attention to what I say.
25 Do not let your heart turn to her ways
or stray into her paths.(IS)
26 Many are the victims she has brought down;
her slain are a mighty throng.
27 Her house is a highway to the grave,
leading down to the chambers of death.(IT)
8 Does not wisdom call out?(IU)
Does not understanding raise her voice?
2 At the highest point along the way,
where the paths meet, she takes her stand;
3 beside the gate leading into the city,
at the entrance, she cries aloud:(IV)
4 “To you, O people, I call out;(IW)
I raise my voice to all mankind.
5 You who are simple,(IX) gain prudence;(IY)
you who are foolish, set your hearts on it.[o]
6 Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say;
I open my lips to speak what is right.
7 My mouth speaks what is true,(IZ)
for my lips detest wickedness.
8 All the words of my mouth are just;
none of them is crooked or perverse.
9 To the discerning all of them are right;
they are upright to those who have found knowledge.
10 Choose my instruction instead of silver,
knowledge rather than choice gold,(JA)
11 for wisdom is more precious(JB) than rubies,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.(JC)
12 “I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence;
I possess knowledge and discretion.(JD)
13 To fear the Lord(JE) is to hate evil;(JF)
I hate(JG) pride and arrogance,
evil behavior and perverse speech.
14 Counsel and sound judgment are mine;
I have insight, I have power.(JH)
15 By me kings reign
and rulers(JI) issue decrees that are just;
16 by me princes govern,(JJ)
and nobles—all who rule on earth.[p]
17 I love those who love me,(JK)
and those who seek me find me.(JL)
18 With me are riches and honor,(JM)
enduring wealth and prosperity.(JN)
19 My fruit is better than fine gold;(JO)
what I yield surpasses choice silver.(JP)
20 I walk in the way of righteousness,(JQ)
along the paths of justice,
21 bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me
and making their treasuries full.(JR)
22 “The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works,[q][r]
before his deeds of old;
23 I was formed long ages ago,
at the very beginning, when the world came to be.
24 When there were no watery depths, I was given birth,
when there were no springs overflowing with water;(JS)
25 before the mountains were settled in place,(JT)
before the hills, I was given birth,(JU)
26 before he made the world or its fields
or any of the dust of the earth.(JV)
27 I was there when he set the heavens in place,(JW)
when he marked out the horizon(JX) on the face of the deep,
28 when he established the clouds above(JY)
and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,(JZ)
29 when he gave the sea its boundary(KA)
so the waters would not overstep his command,(KB)
and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.(KC)
30 Then I was constantly[s] at his side.(KD)
I was filled with delight day after day,
rejoicing always in his presence,
31 rejoicing in his whole world
and delighting in mankind.(KE)
32 “Now then, my children, listen(KF) to me;
blessed are(KG) those who keep my ways.(KH)
33 Listen to my instruction and be wise;
do not disregard it.
34 Blessed are those who listen(KI) to me,
watching daily at my doors,
waiting at my doorway.
35 For those who find me(KJ) find life(KK)
and receive favor from the Lord.(KL)
36 But those who fail to find me harm themselves;(KM)
all who hate me love death.”(KN)
Invitations of Wisdom and Folly
9 Wisdom has built(KO) her house;
she has set up[t] its seven pillars.
2 She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine;(KP)
she has also set her table.(KQ)
3 She has sent out her servants, and she calls(KR)
from the highest point of the city,(KS)
4 “Let all who are simple(KT) come to my house!”
To those who have no sense(KU) she says,
5 “Come,(KV) eat my food
and drink the wine I have mixed.(KW)
6 Leave your simple ways and you will live;(KX)
walk in the way of insight.”(KY)
7 Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults;
whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse.(KZ)
8 Do not rebuke mockers(LA) or they will hate you;
rebuke the wise and they will love you.(LB)
9 Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still;
teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.(LC)
- Proverbs 1:4 The Hebrew word rendered simple in Proverbs denotes a person who is gullible, without moral direction and inclined to evil.
- Proverbs 1:6 Or understanding a proverb, namely, a parable, / and the sayings of the wise, their riddles
- Proverbs 1:7 The Hebrew words rendered fool in Proverbs, and often elsewhere in the Old Testament, denote a person who is morally deficient.
- Proverbs 1:21 Septuagint; Hebrew / at noisy street corners
- Proverbs 2:17 Or covenant of her God
- Proverbs 3:6 Or will direct your paths
- Proverbs 3:12 Hebrew; Septuagint loves, / and he chastens everyone he accepts as his child
- Proverbs 4:7 Or Wisdom is supreme; therefore get
- Proverbs 4:7 Or wisdom. / Whatever else you get
- Proverbs 4:26 Or Make level
- Proverbs 5:9 Or years
- Proverbs 6:3 Or Go and humble yourself,
- Proverbs 7:22 Syriac (see also Septuagint); Hebrew fool
- Proverbs 7:22 The meaning of the Hebrew for this line is uncertain.
- Proverbs 8:5 Septuagint; Hebrew foolish, instruct your minds
- Proverbs 8:16 Some Hebrew manuscripts and Septuagint; other Hebrew manuscripts all righteous rulers
- Proverbs 8:22 Or way; or dominion
- Proverbs 8:22 Or The Lord possessed me at the beginning of his work; or The Lord brought me forth at the beginning of his work
- Proverbs 8:30 Or was the artisan; or was a little child
- Proverbs 9:1 Septuagint, Syriac and Targum; Hebrew has hewn out
- Proverbs 9:11 Septuagint, Syriac and Targum; Hebrew me
New Century Version
The Importance of Proverbs
1 These are the wise words of Solomon son of David, king of Israel.
2 They teach wisdom and self-control;
they will help you understand wise words.
3 They will teach you how to be wise and self-controlled
and will teach you to do what is honest and fair and right.
4 They make the uneducated wise
and give knowledge and sense to the young.
5 Wise people can also listen and learn;
even they can find good advice in these words.
6 Then anyone can understand wise words and stories,
the words of the wise and their riddles.
7 Knowledge begins with respect for the Lord,
but fools hate wisdom and discipline.
Warnings Against Evil
8 My child, listen to your father’s teaching
and do not forget your mother’s advice.
9 Their teaching will be like flowers in your hair
or a necklace around your neck.
10 My child, if sinners try to lead you into sin,
do not follow them.
11 They will say, “Come with us.
Let’s ambush and kill someone;
let’s attack some innocent people just for fun.
12 Let’s swallow them alive, as death does;
let’s swallow them whole, as the grave does.
13 We will take all kinds of valuable things
and fill our houses with stolen goods.
14 Come join us,
and we will share with you stolen goods.”
15 My child, do not go along with them;
do not do what they do.
16 They are eager to do evil
and are quick to kill.
17 It is useless to spread out a net
right where the birds can see it.
18 But sinners will fall into their own traps;
they will only catch themselves!
19 All greedy people end up this way;
greed kills selfish people.
20 Wisdom is like a woman shouting in the street;
she raises her voice in the city squares.
21 She cries out in the noisy street
and shouts at the city gates:
22 “You fools, how long will you be foolish?
How long will you make fun of wisdom
and hate knowledge?
23 If only you had listened when I corrected you,
I would have told you what’s in my heart;
I would have told you what I am thinking.
24 I called, but you refused to listen;
I held out my hand, but you paid no attention.
25 You did not follow my advice
and did not listen when I corrected you.
26 So I will laugh when you are in trouble.
I will make fun when disaster strikes you,
27 when disaster comes over you like a storm,
when trouble strikes you like a whirlwind,
when pain and trouble overwhelm you.
28 “Then you will call to me,
but I will not answer.
You will look for me,
but you will not find me.
29 It is because you rejected knowledge
and did not choose to respect the Lord.
30 You did not accept my advice,
and you rejected my correction.
31 So you will get what you deserve;
you will get what you planned for others.
32 Fools will die because they refuse to listen;
they will be destroyed because they do not care.
33 But those who listen to me will live in safety
and be at peace, without fear of injury.”
Rewards of Wisdom
2 My child, listen to what I say
and remember what I command you.
2 Listen carefully to wisdom;
set your mind on understanding.
3 Cry out for wisdom,
and beg for understanding.
4 Search for it like silver,
and hunt for it like hidden treasure.
5 Then you will understand respect for the Lord,
and you will find that you know God.
6 Only the Lord gives wisdom;
he gives knowledge and understanding.
7 He stores up wisdom for those who are honest.
Like a shield he protects the innocent.
8 He makes sure that justice is done,
and he protects those who are loyal to him.
9 Then you will understand what is honest and fair
and what is the good and right thing to do.
10 Wisdom will come into your mind,
and knowledge will be pleasing to you.
11 Good sense will protect you;
understanding will guard you.
12 It will keep you from the wicked,
from those whose words are bad,
13 who don’t do what is right
but what is evil.
14 They enjoy doing wrong
and are happy to do what is crooked and evil.
15 What they do is wrong,
and their ways are dishonest.
16 It will save you from the unfaithful wife
who tries to lead you into adultery with pleasing words.
17 She leaves the husband she married when she was young.
She ignores the promise she made before God.
18 Her house is on the way to death;
those who took that path are now all dead.
19 No one who goes to her comes back
or walks the path of life again.
20 But wisdom will help you be good
and do what is right.
21 Those who are honest will live in the land,
and those who are innocent will remain in it.
22 But the wicked will be removed from the land,
and the unfaithful will be thrown out of it.
Advice to Children
3 My child, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in mind.
2 Then you will live a long time,
and your life will be successful.
3 Don’t ever forget kindness and truth.
Wear them like a necklace.
Write them on your heart as if on a tablet.
4 Then you will be respected
and will please both God and people.
5 Trust the Lord with all your heart,
and don’t depend on your own understanding.
6 Remember the Lord in all you do,
and he will give you success.
7 Don’t depend on your own wisdom.
Respect the Lord and refuse to do wrong.
8 Then your body will be healthy,
and your bones will be strong.
9 Honor the Lord with your wealth
and the firstfruits from all your crops.
10 Then your barns will be full,
and your wine barrels will overflow with new wine.
11 My child, do not reject the Lord’s discipline,
and don’t get angry when he corrects you.
12 The Lord corrects those he loves,
just as parents correct the child they delight in.
13 Happy is the person who finds wisdom,
the one who gets understanding.
14 Wisdom is worth more than silver;
it brings more profit than gold.
15 Wisdom is more precious than rubies;
nothing you could want is equal to it.
16 With her right hand wisdom offers you a long life,
and with her left hand she gives you riches and honor.
17 Wisdom will make your life pleasant
and will bring you peace.
18 As a tree produces fruit, wisdom gives life to those who use it,
and everyone who uses it will be happy.
19 The Lord made the earth, using his wisdom.
He set the sky in place, using his understanding.
20 With his knowledge, he made springs flow into rivers
and the clouds drop rain on the earth.
21 My child, hold on to wisdom and good sense.
Don’t let them out of your sight.
22 They will give you life
and beauty like a necklace around your neck.
23 Then you will go your way in safety,
and you will not get hurt.
24 When you lie down, you won’t be afraid;
when you lie down, you will sleep in peace.
25 You won’t be afraid of sudden trouble;
you won’t fear the ruin that comes to the wicked,
26 because the Lord will keep you safe.
He will keep you from being trapped.
27 Whenever you are able,
do good to people who need help.
28 If you have what your neighbor asks for,
don’t say, “Come back later.
I will give it to you tomorrow.”
29 Don’t make plans to hurt your neighbor
who lives nearby and trusts you.
30 Don’t accuse a person for no good reason;
don’t accuse someone who has not harmed you.
31 Don’t be jealous of those who use violence,
and don’t choose to be like them.
32 The Lord hates those who do wrong,
but he is a friend to those who are honest.
33 The Lord will curse the evil person’s house,
but he will bless the home of those who do right.
34 The Lord laughs at those who laugh at him,
but he gives grace to those who are not proud.
35 Wise people will receive honor,
but fools will be disgraced.
Wisdom Is Important
4 My children, listen to your father’s teaching;
pay attention so you will understand.
2 What I am telling you is good,
so do not forget what I teach you.
3 When I was a young boy in my father’s house
and like an only child to my mother,
4 my father taught me and said,
“Hold on to my words with all your heart.
Keep my commands and you will live.
5 Get wisdom and understanding.
Don’t forget or ignore my words.
6 Hold on to wisdom, and it will take care of you.
Love it, and it will keep you safe.
7 Wisdom is the most important thing; so get wisdom.
If it costs everything you have, get understanding.
8 Treasure wisdom, and it will make you great;
hold on to it, and it will bring you honor.
9 It will be like flowers in your hair
and like a beautiful crown on your head.”
10 My child, listen and accept what I say.
Then you will have a long life.
11 I am guiding you in the way of wisdom,
and I am leading you on the right path.
12 Nothing will hold you back;
you will not be overwhelmed.
13 Always remember what you have been taught,
and don’t let go of it.
Keep all that you have learned;
it is the most important thing in life.
14 Don’t follow the ways of the wicked;
don’t do what evil people do.
15 Avoid their ways, and don’t follow them.
Stay away from them and keep on going,
16 because they cannot sleep until they do evil.
They cannot rest until they harm someone.
17 They feast on wickedness and cruelty
as if they were eating bread and drinking wine.
18 The way of the good person is like the light of dawn,
growing brighter and brighter until full daylight.
19 But the wicked walk around in the dark;
they can’t even see what makes them stumble.
20 My child, pay attention to my words;
listen closely to what I say.
21 Don’t ever forget my words;
keep them always in mind.
22 They are the key to life for those who find them;
they bring health to the whole body.
23 Be careful what you think,
because your thoughts run your life.
24 Don’t use your mouth to tell lies;
don’t ever say things that are not true.
25 Keep your eyes focused on what is right,
and look straight ahead to what is good.
26 Be careful what you do,
and always do what is right.
27 Don’t turn off the road of goodness;
keep away from evil paths.
Warning About Adultery
5 My son, pay attention to my wisdom;
listen to my words of understanding.
2 Be careful to use good sense,
and watch what you say.
3 The words of another man’s wife may seem sweet as honey;
they may be as smooth as olive oil.
4 But in the end she will bring you sorrow,
causing you pain like a two-edged sword.
5 She is on the way to death;
her steps are headed straight to the grave.
6 She gives little thought to life.
She doesn’t even know that her ways are wrong.
7 Now, my sons, listen to me,
and don’t ignore what I say.
8 Stay away from such a woman.
Don’t even go near the door of her house,
9 or you will give your riches to others,
and the best years of your life will be given to someone cruel.
10 Strangers will enjoy your wealth,
and what you worked so hard for will go to someone else.
11 You will groan at the end of your life
when your health is gone.
12 Then you will say, “I hated being told what to do!
I would not listen to correction!
13 I would not listen to my teachers
or pay attention to my instructors.
14 I came close to being completely ruined
in front of a whole group of people.”
15 Be faithful to your own wife,
just as you drink water from your own well.
16 Don’t pour your water in the streets;
don’t give your love to just any woman.
17 These things are yours alone
and shouldn’t be shared with strangers.
18 Be happy with the wife you married when you were young.
She gives you joy, as your fountain gives you water.
19 She is as lovely and graceful as a deer.
Let her love always make you happy;
let her love always hold you captive.
20 My son, don’t be held captive by a woman who takes part in adultery.
Don’t fondle a woman who is not your wife.
21 The Lord sees everything you do,
and he watches where you go.
22 An evil man will be caught in his wicked ways;
the ropes of his sins will tie him up.
23 He will die because he does not control himself,
and he will be held captive by his foolishness.
Dangers of Being Foolish
6 My child, be careful about giving a guarantee for somebody else’s loan,
about promising to pay what someone else owes.
2 You might get trapped by what you say;
you might be caught by your own words.
3 My child, if you have done this and are under your neighbor’s control,
here is how to get free.
Don’t be proud. Go to your neighbor
and beg to be free from your promise.
4 Don’t go to sleep
or even rest your eyes,
5 but free yourself like a deer running from a hunter,
like a bird flying away from a trapper.
6 Go watch the ants, you lazy person.
Watch what they do and be wise.
7 Ants have no commander,
no leader or ruler,
8 but they store up food in the summer
and gather their supplies at harvest.
9 How long will you lie there, you lazy person?
When will you get up from sleeping?
10 You sleep a little; you take a nap.
You fold your hands and lie down to rest.
11 So you will be as poor as if you had been robbed;
you will have as little as if you had been held up.
12 Some people are wicked and no good.
They go around telling lies,
13 winking with their eyes, tapping with their feet,
and making signs with their fingers.
14 They make evil plans in their hearts
and are always starting arguments.
15 So trouble will strike them in an instant;
suddenly they will be so hurt no one can help them.
16 There are six things the Lord hates.
There are seven things he cannot stand:
17 a proud look,
a lying tongue,
hands that kill innocent people,
18 a mind that thinks up evil plans,
feet that are quick to do evil,
19 a witness who lies,
and someone who starts arguments among families.
Warning About Adultery
20 My son, keep your father’s commands,
and don’t forget your mother’s teaching.
21 Keep their words in mind forever
as though you had them tied around your neck.
22 They will guide you when you walk.
They will guard you when you sleep.
They will speak to you when you are awake.
23 These commands are like a lamp;
this teaching is like a light.
And the correction that comes from them
will help you have life.
24 They will keep you from sinful women
and from the pleasing words of another man’s unfaithful wife.
25 Don’t desire her because she is beautiful.
Don’t let her capture you by the way she looks at you.
26 A prostitute will treat you like a loaf of bread,
and a woman who takes part in adultery may cost you your life.
27 You cannot carry hot coals against your chest
without burning your clothes,
28 and you cannot walk on hot coals
without burning your feet.
29 The same is true if you have sexual relations with another man’s wife.
Anyone who does so will be punished.
30 People don’t hate a thief
when he steals because he is hungry.
31 But if he is caught, he must pay back seven times what he stole,
and it may cost him everything he owns.
32 A man who takes part in adultery has no sense;
he will destroy himself.
33 He will be beaten up and disgraced,
and his shame will never go away.
34 Jealousy makes a husband very angry,
and he will have no pity when he gets revenge.
35 He will accept no payment for the wrong;
he will take no amount of money.
The Woman of Adultery
7 My son, remember what I say, and treasure my commands.
2 Obey my commands, and you will live.
Guard my teachings as you would your own eyes.
3 Remind yourself of them;
write them on your heart as if on a tablet.
4 Treat wisdom as a sister,
and make understanding your closest friend.
5 Wisdom and understanding will keep you away from adultery,
away from the unfaithful wife and her pleasing words.
6 Once while I was at the window of my house
I looked out through the shutters
7 and saw some foolish, young men.
I noticed one of them had no wisdom.
8 He was walking down the street near the corner
on the road leading to her house.
9 It was the twilight of the evening;
the darkness of the night was just beginning.
10 Then the woman approached him,
dressed like a prostitute
and planning to trick him.
11 She was loud and stubborn
and never stayed at home.
12 She was always out in the streets or in the city squares,
waiting around on the corners of the streets.
13 She grabbed him and kissed him.
Without shame she said to him,
14 “I made my fellowship offering and took some of the meat home.
Today I have kept my special promises.
15 So I have come out to meet you;
I have been looking for you and have found you.
16 I have covered my bed
with colored sheets from Egypt.
17 I have made my bed smell sweet
with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
18 Come, let’s make love until morning.
Let’s enjoy each other’s love.
19 My husband is not home;
he has gone on a long trip.
20 He took a lot of money with him
and won’t be home for weeks.”
21 By her clever words she made him give in;
by her pleasing words she led him into doing wrong.
22 All at once he followed her,
like an ox led to the butcher,
like a deer caught in a trap
23 and shot through the liver with an arrow.
Like a bird caught in a trap,
he didn’t know what he did would kill him.
24 Now, my sons, listen to me;
pay attention to what I say.
25 Don’t let yourself be tricked by such a woman;
don’t go where she leads you.
26 She has ruined many good men,
and many have died because of her.
27 Her house is on the road to death,
the road that leads down to the grave.
Listen to Wisdom
8 Wisdom calls to you like someone shouting;
understanding raises her voice.
2 On the hilltops along the road
and at the crossroads, she stands calling.
3 Beside the city gates,
at the entrances into the city, she calls out:
4 “Listen, everyone, I’m calling out to you;
I am shouting to all people.
5 You who are uneducated, seek wisdom.
You who are foolish, get understanding.
6 Listen, because I have important things to say,
and what I tell you is right.
7 What I say is true,
I refuse to speak evil.
8 Everything I say is honest;
nothing I say is crooked or false.
9 People with good sense know what I say is true;
and those with knowledge know my words are right.
10 Choose my teachings instead of silver,
and knowledge rather than the finest gold.
11 Wisdom is more precious than rubies.
Nothing you could want is equal to it.
12 “I am wisdom, and I have good judgment.
I also have knowledge and good sense.
13 If you respect the Lord, you will also hate evil.
I hate pride and bragging,
evil ways and lies.
14 I have good sense and advice,
and I have understanding and power.
15 I help kings to govern
and rulers to make fair laws.
16 Princes use me to lead,
and so do all important people who judge fairly.
17 I love those who love me,
and those who seek me find me.
18 Riches and honor are mine to give.
So are wealth and lasting success.
19 What I give is better than the finest gold,
better than the purest silver.
20 I do what is right
and follow the path of justice.
21 I give wealth to those who love me,
filling their houses with treasures.
22 “I, wisdom, was with the Lord when he began his work,
long before he made anything else.
23 I was created in the very beginning,
even before the world began.
24 I was born before there were oceans,
or springs overflowing with water,
25 before the hills were there,
before the mountains were put in place.
26 God had not made the earth or fields,
not even the first dust of the earth.
27 I was there when God put the skies in place,
when he stretched the horizon over the oceans,
28 when he made the clouds above
and put the deep underground springs in place.
29 I was there when he ordered the sea
not to go beyond the borders he had set.
I was there when he laid the earth’s foundation.
30 I was like a child by his side.
I was delighted every day,
enjoying his presence all the time,
31 enjoying the whole world,
and delighted with all its people.
32 “Now, my children, listen to me,
because those who follow my ways are happy.
33 Listen to my teaching, and you will be wise;
do not ignore it.
34 Happy are those who listen to me,
watching at my door every day,
waiting at my open doorway.
35 Those who find me find life,
and the Lord will be pleased with them.
36 Those who do not find me hurt themselves.
Those who hate me love death.”
Being Wise or Foolish
9 Wisdom has built her house;
she has made its seven columns.
2 She has prepared her food and wine;
she has set her table.
3 She has sent out her servant girls,
and she calls out from the highest place in the city.
4 She says to those who are uneducated,
“Come in here, you foolish people!
5 Come and eat my food
and drink the wine I have prepared.
6 Stop your foolish ways, and you will live;
take the road of understanding.
7 “If you correct someone who makes fun of wisdom, you will be insulted.
If you correct an evil person, you will get hurt.
8 Do not correct those who make fun of wisdom, or they will hate you.
But correct the wise, and they will love you.
9 Teach the wise, and they will become even wiser;
teach good people, and they will learn even more.
10 “Wisdom begins with respect for the Lord,
and understanding begins with knowing the Holy One.
11 If you live wisely, you will live a long time;
wisdom will add years to your life.
12 The wise person is rewarded by wisdom,
but whoever makes fun of wisdom will suffer for it.”
13 Foolishness is like a loud woman;
she does not have wisdom or knowledge.
14 She sits at the door of her house
at the highest place in the city.
15 She calls out to those who are passing by,
who are going along, minding their own business.
16 She says to those who are uneducated,
“Come in here, you foolish people!
17 Stolen water is sweeter,
and food eaten in secret tastes better.”
18 But these people don’t know that everyone who goes there dies,
that her guests end up deep in the grave.