The Beginning of Knowledge

(A)The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:

To know wisdom and instruction,
    to understand words of insight,
to receive instruction in wise dealing,
    in (B)righteousness, justice, and equity;
to give prudence to (C)the simple,
    knowledge and (D)discretion to the youth—
Let the wise hear and (E)increase in learning,
    and the one who understands obtain guidance,
to understand a proverb and a saying,
    (F)the words of the wise and their (G)riddles.

(H)The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
    fools despise wisdom and instruction.

The Enticement of Sinners

(I)Hear, my son, your father's instruction,
    and forsake not your mother's teaching,
for they are (J)a graceful garland for your head
    and (K)pendants for your neck.
10 My son, if sinners (L)entice you,
    do not consent.
11 If they say, “Come with us, (M)let us lie in wait for blood;
    (N)let us ambush the innocent without reason;
12 like Sheol let us (O)swallow them alive,
    and whole, like (P)those who go down to the pit;
13 we shall find all precious goods,
    we shall fill our houses with plunder;
14 throw in your lot among us;
    we will all have one purse”—
15 my son, (Q)do not walk in the way with them;
    (R)hold back your foot from their paths,
16 for (S)their feet run to evil,
    and they make haste to shed blood.
17 (T)For in vain is a net spread
    in the sight of any bird,
18 but these men (U)lie in wait for their own blood;
    they (V)set an ambush for their own lives.
19 (W)Such are the ways of everyone who is (X)greedy for unjust gain;
    (Y)it takes away the life of its possessors.

The Call of Wisdom

20 (Z)Wisdom cries aloud in the street,
    in the markets she raises her voice;
21 at the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
    at (AA)the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
22 “How long, O (AB)simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will (AC)scoffers delight in their scoffing
    and fools (AD)hate knowledge?
23 If you turn at my reproof,[a]
behold, I will (AE)pour out my spirit to you;
    I will make my words known to you.
24 (AF)Because I have called and (AG)you refused to listen,
    have (AH)stretched out my hand and no one has heeded,
25 because you have (AI)ignored all my counsel
    and (AJ)would have none of my reproof,
26 I also (AK)will laugh at your calamity;
    I will mock when (AL)terror strikes you,
27 when terror strikes you like (AM)a storm
    and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
    when distress and anguish come upon you.
28 (AN)Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer;
    they will seek me diligently but will not find me.
29 Because they (AO)hated knowledge
    and (AP)did not choose the fear of the Lord,
30 (AQ)would have none of my counsel
    and (AR)despised all my reproof,
31 therefore they shall eat (AS)the fruit of their way,
    and have (AT)their fill of their own devices.
32 For the simple are killed by (AU)their turning away,
    and (AV)the complacency of fools destroys them;
33 but (AW)whoever listens to me will dwell secure
    and will be (AX)at ease, without dread of disaster.”

The Value of Wisdom

(AY)My son, (AZ)if you receive my words
    and treasure up my commandments with you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom
    and inclining your heart to understanding;
yes, if you call out for insight
    and raise your voice (BA)for understanding,
if you seek it like (BB)silver
    and search for it as for (BC)hidden treasures,
then (BD)you will understand the fear of the Lord
    and find the knowledge of God.
For (BE)the Lord gives wisdom;
    from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
    he is (BF)a shield to those who (BG)walk in integrity,
guarding the paths of justice
    and (BH)watching over the way of his (BI)saints.
(BJ)Then you will understand (BK)righteousness and justice
    and equity, every good path;
10 for wisdom will come into your heart,
    and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
11 (BL)discretion will (BM)watch over you,
    understanding will guard you,
12 delivering you from the way of evil,
    from men of perverted speech,
13 who forsake the paths of uprightness
    to (BN)walk in the ways of darkness,
14 who (BO)rejoice in doing evil
    and (BP)delight in the perverseness of evil,
15 men whose (BQ)paths are crooked,
    (BR)and who are (BS)devious in their ways.

16 So (BT)you will be delivered from the forbidden[b] woman,
    from (BU)the adulteress[c] with (BV)her smooth words,
17 who forsakes (BW)the companion of her youth
    and forgets (BX)the covenant of her God;
18 (BY)for her house sinks down to death,
    and her paths to the departed;[d]
19 none who go to her come back,
    nor do they regain the paths of life.

20 So you will walk in the way of the good
    and keep to the paths of the righteous.
21 For the upright (BZ)will inhabit the land,
    and those with integrity will remain in it,
22 but the wicked will be (CA)cut off from the land,
    and the treacherous will be (CB)rooted out of it.

Trust in the Lord with All Your Heart

(CC)My son, do not forget my teaching,
    (CD)but let your heart keep my commandments,
for (CE)length of days and years of life
    and (CF)peace they will add to you.

Let not (CG)steadfast love and (CH)faithfulness forsake you;
    (CI)bind them around your neck;
    (CJ)write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will (CK)find favor and (CL)good success[e]
    in the sight of God and man.

(CM)Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and (CN)do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways (CO)acknowledge him,
    and he (CP)will make straight your paths.
(CQ)Be not wise in your own eyes;
    (CR)fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be (CS)healing to your flesh[f]
    and (CT)refreshment[g] to your bones.

Honor the Lord with your wealth
    and with (CU)the firstfruits of all your produce;
10 then your (CV)barns will be filled with plenty,
    and your vats will be bursting with wine.

11 (CW)My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline
    or be weary of his reproof,
12 for the Lord reproves him whom he loves,
    as (CX)a father the son in whom he delights.

Blessed Is the One Who Finds Wisdom

13 (CY)Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
    and the one who gets understanding,
14 (CZ)for the gain from her is better than gain from silver
    and her profit better than (DA)gold.
15 She is more precious than (DB)jewels,
    and (DC)nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 (DD)Long life is in her right hand;
    in her left hand are (DE)riches and honor.
17 Her (DF)ways are ways of pleasantness,
    and all her paths are peace.
18 She is (DG)a tree of life to those who (DH)lay hold of her;
    those who hold her fast are called blessed.

19 (DI)The Lord by wisdom founded the earth;
    by understanding (DJ)he established the heavens;
20 by his knowledge (DK)the deeps broke open,
    and (DL)the clouds drop down the dew.

21 My son, (DM)do not lose sight of these—
    keep sound wisdom and discretion,
22 and they will be (DN)life for your soul
    and (DO)adornment for your neck.
23 (DP)Then you will walk on your way securely,
    (DQ)and your foot will not stumble.
24 (DR)If you lie down, you will not be afraid;
    when you lie down, (DS)your sleep will be sweet.
25 (DT)Do not be afraid of sudden terror
    or of (DU)the ruin[h] of the wicked, when it comes,
26 for the Lord will be your confidence
    and will (DV)keep your foot from being caught.
27 (DW)Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,[i]
    when it is in your power to do it.

28 (DX)Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again,
    tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you.
29 (DY)Do not plan evil against your neighbor,
    who (DZ)dwells trustingly beside you.
30 (EA)Do not contend with a man for no reason,
    when he has done you no harm.
31 (EB)Do not envy (EC)a man of violence
    and do not choose any of his ways,
32 for (ED)the devious person is an abomination to the Lord,
    but the upright are (EE)in his confidence.
33 (EF)The Lord's curse is on the house of the wicked,
    but he (EG)blesses the dwelling of the righteous.
34 Toward the (EH)scorners he (EI)is scornful,
    (EJ)but to the humble he gives favor.[j]
35 The wise will inherit honor,
    but fools get[k] disgrace.

A Father's Wise Instruction

(EK)Hear, O sons, a father's instruction,
    and be attentive, that you may (EL)gain[l] insight,
for I give you good (EM)precepts;
    do not forsake my teaching.
When I was a son with my father,
    (EN)tender, (EO)the only one in the sight of my mother,
he (EP)taught me and said to me,
(EQ)“Let your heart hold fast my words;
    (ER)keep my commandments, and live.
(ES)Get wisdom; get (ET)insight;
    do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.
Do not forsake her, and she will keep you;
    (EU)love her, and she will guard you.
(EV)The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,
    and whatever you get, get (EW)insight.
Prize her highly, and she will exalt you;
    she will (EX)honor you (EY)if you embrace her.
She will place on your head (EZ)a graceful garland;
    she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.”

10 (FA)Hear, (FB)my son, and accept my words,
    that (FC)the years of your life may be many.
11 I have (FD)taught you the way of wisdom;
    I have led you in the paths of uprightness.
12 When you walk, (FE)your step will not be hampered,
    and (FF)if you run, you will not stumble.
13 (FG)Keep hold of instruction; do not let go;
    guard her, for she is your (FH)life.
14 (FI)Do not enter the path of the wicked,
    and do not walk in the way of the evil.
15 Avoid it; do not go on it;
    turn away from it and pass on.
16 For they (FJ)cannot sleep unless they have done wrong;
    they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble.
17 For they eat the bread of wickedness
    (FK)and drink the wine of violence.
18 But (FL)the path of the righteous is like (FM)the light of dawn,
    which shines (FN)brighter and brighter until (FO)full day.
19 (FP)The way of the wicked is like deep (FQ)darkness;
    they do not know over what they (FR)stumble.

20 (FS)My son, be attentive to my words;
    incline your ear to my sayings.
21 (FT)Let them not escape from your sight;
    (FU)keep them within your heart.
22 For they are (FV)life to those who find them,
    and healing to all their[m] flesh.
23 Keep your heart with all vigilance,
    for (FW)from it flow (FX)the springs of life.
24 Put away from you (FY)crooked speech,
    and put (FZ)devious talk far from you.
25 (GA)Let your eyes look directly forward,
    and your gaze be straight before you.
26 (GB)Ponder[n] the path of your feet;
    (GC)then all your ways will be sure.
27 (GD)Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
    turn your foot away from evil.


  1. Proverbs 1:23 Or Will you turn away at my reproof?
  2. Proverbs 2:16 Hebrew strange
  3. Proverbs 2:16 Hebrew foreign woman
  4. Proverbs 2:18 Hebrew to the Rephaim
  5. Proverbs 3:4 Or repute
  6. Proverbs 3:8 Hebrew navel
  7. Proverbs 3:8 Or medicine
  8. Proverbs 3:25 Hebrew storm
  9. Proverbs 3:27 Hebrew Do not withhold good from its owners
  10. Proverbs 3:34 Or grace
  11. Proverbs 3:35 The meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain
  12. Proverbs 4:1 Hebrew know
  13. Proverbs 4:22 Hebrew his
  14. Proverbs 4:26 Or Make level

Bible Gateway Recommends

ESV Thinline Bible--full grain leather, dark brown
ESV Thinline Bible--full grain leather, dark brown
Retail: $79.99
Our Price: $52.99
Save: $27.00 (34%)
4.5 of 5.0 stars
ESV MacArthur Study Bible, 2nd Edition--hardcover
ESV MacArthur Study Bible, 2nd Edition--hardcover
Retail: $49.99
Our Price: $32.99
Save: $17.00 (34%)
5.0 of 5.0 stars
ESV Student Study Bible, TruTone, Sky Blue with Ivy Design
ESV Student Study Bible, TruTone, Sky Blue with Ivy Design
Retail: $44.99
Our Price: $20.99
Save: $24.00 (53%)
4.5 of 5.0 stars
ESV Spiral-Bound Journaling New Testament, hardcover
ESV Spiral-Bound Journaling New Testament, hardcover
Retail: $34.99
Our Price: $23.49
Save: $11.50 (33%)
5.0 of 5.0 stars