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Introduction and Purpose

The proverbs of David’s son Solomon, king of Israel.

These proverbs are[a] for gaining[b] wisdom and discipline;[c]
    for understanding words of insight;
for acquiring the discipline[d] that produces wise behavior,
    righteousness, justice, and upright living;[e]
for giving prudence to the naïve,
    and knowledge and discretion to the young.

Let the wise listen and increase their[f] learning;
    let the person of understanding receive guidance
in understanding proverbs, clever sayings,
    words of the wise, and their riddles.

The Major Theme

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
    but fools despise wisdom and discipline.[g]

The Minor Theme

My son, listen to your father’s instruction,
    and do not let go of your mother’s teaching.
They will be a graceful wreath for your head
    and a chain for your neck.

Avoid Evil Counsel

10 My son, if sinners entice you,
    do not consent.
11 If they say, “Come with us!
    Let’s lie in wait for blood;
        let’s ambush some innocent person for no reason at all.
12 Let’s swallow them alive like Sheol,[h]
    and whole like those who go down into the Pit.[i]
13 We’ll find all kinds of valuable wealth,
    and we’ll fill our houses with spoil.
14 Throw your lot in with us,
    and all of us will have one purse.”

15 My son, do not go along with them,[j]
    and keep your feet away from their paths!
16 For they[k] run toward evil;
    these enticers[l] shed blood without hesitation.[m]
17 Look, it is useless to spread a net in full view of[n] all the birds,
18 but these people[o] lie in wait for their own blood.[p]
        They ambush only themselves.
19 Such is the way of all those who seek illicit gain—
    it takes away the lives of those who possess it.

The Benefits of Choosing Wisdom

20 Wisdom cries out in the street;
    she raises her voice in the public squares.
21 She calls out at the busiest part[q] of the noisy streets,[r]
    and at the entrance to the gates of the city she utters her words:
22 “You naïve ones, how long will you love naiveté?
    And how long will scoffers delight in scoffing
        or fools hate knowledge?”
23 Return to my correction!
    Look, I will pour out my spirit on you,
        and I will make my words known to you.

The Consequences of Refusing Wisdom

24 “Because I called out to you and you refused to respond—[s]
    I appealed,[t] but no one paid attention—
25 because[u] you neglected all my advice
    and did not want my correction,
26 I will laugh at your calamity.
    I will mock when what you fear[v] comes,
27 when what you dread comes like a storm,
    and your calamity comes on like a whirlwind,
        when distress and anguish come upon you.

28 “Then they will call out to me,
    but I will not answer;
they will seek me diligently,
    but they will not find me.

29 “Because they hated knowledge
    and did not choose the fear of the Lord;
30 they did not want my advice,
    and they rejected all my correction.
31 They will eat the fruit[w] of their way,
    and they will be filled with their own devices.
32 Indeed, the waywardness[x] of the naïve will kill them,
    and the complacency of fools will destroy them.

33 “But the person who listens to me will live safely
    and will be secure from the fear of evil.”


  1. Proverbs 1:2 The Heb. lacks These proverbs are
  2. Proverbs 1:2 Or knowing
  3. Proverbs 1:2 Or instruction
  4. Proverbs 1:3 Or instruction
  5. Proverbs 1:3 Lit. and uprightness
  6. Proverbs 1:5 The Heb. lacks their
  7. Proverbs 1:7 Or instruction
  8. Proverbs 1:12 I.e. the realm of the dead; possibly an allusion to the rebellion of Korah (cf. Num 16:33)
  9. Proverbs 1:12 I.e. the place of punishment in the afterlife
  10. Proverbs 1:15 Lit. in the way with them
  11. Proverbs 1:16 Lit. For their feet
  12. Proverbs 1:16 Lit. they
  13. Proverbs 1:16 Lit. blood quickly
  14. Proverbs 1:17 Lit. in the eyes of
  15. Proverbs 1:18 Lit. they
  16. Proverbs 1:18 The Heb. lacks their own
  17. Proverbs 1:21 Lit. head
  18. Proverbs 1:21 So MT; LXX Syr Targ read and on top of the walls
  19. Proverbs 1:24 Lit. you refused
  20. Proverbs 1:24 Lit. I stretched out my hand
  21. Proverbs 1:25 The Heb. lacks because
  22. Proverbs 1:26 Lit. when your fear
  23. Proverbs 1:31 I.e. experience the consequences
  24. Proverbs 1:32 So MT; DSS 4QProva reads narrow-mindedness; lit. the pull of; LXX reads Because they would wrong the naïve, they will be murdered