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How Proverbs Can Be Used

These are the proverbs
of King Solomon of Israel,
    the son of David.
Proverbs will teach you
    wisdom and self-control
    and how to understand
    sayings with deep meanings.
You will learn what is right
    and honest and fair.
From these, an ordinary person
    can learn to be smart,
    and young people can gain
    knowledge and good sense.

If you are already wise,
    you will become even wiser.
And if you are smart,
you will learn to understand
    proverbs and sayings,
as well as words of wisdom
    and all kinds of riddles.
Respect and obey the Lord!
This is the beginning
    of knowledge.[a]
    Only a fool rejects wisdom
    and good advice.

Warnings against Bad Friends

My child, obey the teachings
    of your parents,
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.

Wisdom Speaks

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.”

Footnotes

  1. 1.7 the beginning of knowledge: Or “what knowledge is all about.”
  2. 1.17 They are. . . trap: Or “Be like a bird that won’t go for the bait, if it sees the trap.”
  3. 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.