Get Wisdom at Any Cost

Listen, my sons,(A) to a father’s instruction;(B)
    pay attention and gain understanding.(C)
I give you sound learning,
    so do not forsake my teaching.
For I too was a son to my father,
    still tender, and cherished by my mother.
Then he taught me, and he said to me,
    “Take hold(D) of my words with all your heart;
    keep my commands, and you will live.(E)
Get wisdom,(F) get understanding;
    do not forget my words or turn away from them.
Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;(G)
    love her, and she will watch over you.(H)
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get[a] wisdom.
    Though it cost all(I) you have,[b] get understanding.(J)
Cherish her, and she will exalt you;
    embrace her, and she will honor you.(K)
She will give you a garland to grace your head
    and present you with a glorious crown.(L)

10 Listen, my son,(M) accept what I say,
    and the years of your life will be many.(N)
11 I instruct(O) you in the way of wisdom
    and lead you along straight paths.(P)
12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;
    when you run, you will not stumble.(Q)
13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go;
    guard it well, for it is your life.(R)
14 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked
    or walk in the way of evildoers.(S)
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;(T)
    they are robbed of sleep till they make someone stumble.
17 They eat the bread of wickedness
    and drink the wine of violence.(U)

18 The path of the righteous(V) is like the morning sun,(W)
    shining ever brighter till the full light of day.(X)
19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness;(Y)
    they do not know what makes them stumble.(Z)

20 My son,(AA) pay attention to what I say;
    turn your ear to my words.(AB)
21 Do not let them out of your sight,(AC)
    keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them
    and health to one’s whole body.(AD)
23 Above all else, guard(AE) your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it.(AF)
24 Keep your mouth free of perversity;
    keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
25 Let your eyes(AG) look straight ahead;
    fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the[c] paths for your feet(AH)
    and be steadfast in all your ways.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;(AI)
    keep your foot from evil.

Warning Against Adultery

My son,(AJ) pay attention to my wisdom,
    turn your ear to my words(AK) of insight,
that you may maintain discretion
    and your lips may preserve knowledge.
For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey,
    and her speech is smoother than oil;(AL)
but in the end she is bitter as gall,(AM)
    sharp as a double-edged sword.
Her feet go down to death;
    her steps lead straight to the grave.(AN)
She gives no thought to the way of life;
    her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it.(AO)

Now then, my sons, listen(AP) to me;
    do not turn aside from what I say.
Keep to a path far from her,(AQ)
    do not go near the door of her house,
lest you lose your honor to others
    and your dignity[d] to one who is cruel,
10 lest strangers feast on your wealth
    and your toil enrich the house of another.(AR)
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!(AS)
13 I would not obey my teachers
    or turn my ear to my instructors.
14 And I was soon in serious trouble(AT)
    in the assembly of God’s people.”(AU)

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(AV) be blessed,
    and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.(AW)
19 A loving doe, a graceful deer(AX)
    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(AY) of the Lord,
    and he examines(AZ) all your paths.(BA)
22 The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them;(BB)
    the cords of their sins hold them fast.(BC)
23 For lack of discipline they will die,(BD)
    led astray by their own great folly.(BE)

Warnings Against Folly

My son,(BF) if you have put up security(BG) for your neighbor,(BH)
    if you have shaken hands in pledge(BI) for a stranger,
you have been trapped by what you said,
    ensnared by the words of your mouth.
So do this, my son, to free yourself,
    since you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands:
Go—to the point of exhaustion—[e]
    and give your neighbor no rest!
Allow no sleep to your eyes,
    no slumber to your eyelids.(BJ)
Free yourself, like a gazelle(BK) from the hand of the hunter,(BL)
    like a bird from the snare of the fowler.(BM)

Go to the ant, you sluggard;(BN)
    consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
    no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer(BO)
    and gathers its food at harvest.(BP)

How long will you lie there, you sluggard?(BQ)
    When will you get up from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest(BR)
11 and poverty(BS) 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,(BT)
    signals with his feet
    and motions with his fingers,(BU)
14     who plots evil(BV) with deceit in his heart—
    he always stirs up conflict.(BW)
15 Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant;(BX)
    he will suddenly(BY) be destroyed—without remedy.(BZ)

16 There are six things the Lord hates,(CA)
    seven that are detestable to him:
17         haughty eyes,(CB)
        a lying tongue,(CC)
        hands that shed innocent blood,(CD)
18         a heart that devises wicked schemes,
        feet that are quick to rush into evil,(CE)
19         a false witness(CF) who pours out lies(CG)
        and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.(CH)

Warning Against Adultery

20 My son,(CI) keep your father’s command
    and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.(CJ)
21 Bind them always on your heart;
    fasten them around your neck.(CK)
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,(CL)
and correction and instruction
    are the way to life,(CM)
24 keeping you from your neighbor’s wife,
    from the smooth talk of a wayward woman.(CN)

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.(CO)
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(CP) with another man’s wife;(CQ)
    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,(CR)
    though it costs him all the wealth of his house.
32 But a man who commits adultery(CS) has no sense;(CT)
    whoever does so destroys himself.
33 Blows and disgrace are his lot,
    and his shame will never(CU) be wiped away.

34 For jealousy(CV) arouses a husband’s fury,(CW)
    and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge.
35 He will not accept any compensation;
    he will refuse a bribe, however great it is.(CX)


  1. Proverbs 4:7 Or Wisdom is supreme; therefore get
  2. Proverbs 4:7 Or wisdom. / Whatever else you get
  3. Proverbs 4:26 Or Make level
  4. Proverbs 5:9 Or years
  5. Proverbs 6:3 Or Go and humble yourself,

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