1 The proverbs of David’s son Solomon, king of Israel.
2 These proverbs are[a] for gaining[b] wisdom and discipline;[c] for understanding words of insight; 3 for acquiring the discipline[d] that produces wise behavior, righteousness, justice, and upright living;[e] 4 for giving prudence to the naïve, and knowledge and discretion to the young.
5 Let the wise listen and increase their[f] learning; let the person of understanding receive guidance 6 in understanding proverbs, clever sayings, words of the wise, and their riddles.
The Major Theme
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.[g]
The Minor Theme
8 My son, listen to your father’s instruction, and do not let go of your mother’s teaching. 9 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.”
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