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The Rewards of Wisdom

1–2 My child, if you truly want a long and satisfying life,
    never forget the things that I’ve taught you.
    Follow closely every truth that I’ve given you.
    Then you will have a full, rewarding life.
Hold on to loyal love and don’t let go,
    and be faithful to all that you’ve been taught.
    Let your life be shaped by integrity,[a]
    with truth written upon your heart.
That’s how you will find favor and understanding
    with both God and men—
    you will gain the reputation of living life well.

Wisdom’s Guidance

Trust in the Lord completely,
    and do not rely on your own opinions.
    With all your heart rely on him to guide you,
    and he will lead you in every decision you make.
Become intimate with him in whatever you do,
    and he will lead you wherever you go.[b]
Don’t think for a moment that you know it all,[c]
    for wisdom comes when you adore him with undivided devotion
    and avoid everything that’s wrong.
Then you will find the healing refreshment
    your body and spirit long for.[d]
Glorify God with all your wealth,
    honoring him with your firstfruits,
    with every increase that comes to you.
10 Then every dimension of your life will overflow with blessings
    from an uncontainable source of inner joy!

Wisdom’s Correction

11 My child, when the Lord God speaks to you,
    never take his words lightly,
    and never be upset when he corrects you.
12 For the Father’s discipline comes only
    from his passionate love and pleasure for you.
    Even when it seems like his correction is harsh,
    it’s still better than any father on earth gives to his child.
13 Blessings pour over the ones who find wisdom,
    for they have obtained living-understanding.[e]
14 As wisdom increases, a great treasure is imparted,
    greater than many bars of refined gold.
15 It is a more valuable commodity than gold and gemstones,[f]
    for there is nothing you desire that could compare to her.
16 Wisdom extends to you long life in one hand
    and wealth and promotion[g] in the other.
    Out of her mouth flows righteousness,
    and her words release both law and mercy.[h]
17 The ways of wisdom are sweet,
    always drawing you into the place of wholeness.[i]
18 Seeking for her brings the discovery of untold blessings,
    for she is the healing tree of life to those who taste her fruits.[j]

Wisdom’s Blueprints

19 The Lord laid the earth’s foundations with wisdom’s blueprints.
    By his living-understanding all the universe came into being.[k]
20 By his divine revelation he broke open
    the hidden fountains of the deep,
    bringing secret springs to the surface
    as the mist of the night dripped down from heaven.[l]

Wisdom, Our Hiding Place

21 My child, never drift off course from these two goals for your life:
    to walk in wisdom and to discover your purpose.[m]
    Don’t ever forget how they empower you.
22 For they strengthen you inside and out
    and inspire you to do what’s right;[n]
    you will be energized and refreshed by the healing they bring.
23 They give you living hope to guide you,
    and not one of life’s tests will cause you to stumble.
24 You will sleep like a baby, safe and sound—
    your rest will be sweet and secure.
25 You will not be subject to terror, for it will not terrify you.
    Nor will the disrespectful be able to push you aside,[o]
26 because God is your confidence in times of crisis,
    keeping your heart at rest in every situation.[p]

Wisdom in Relationships

27 Why would you withhold payment on your debt[q]
    when you have the ability to pay? Just do it![r]
28 When your friend comes to ask you for a favor,
    why would you say, “Perhaps tomorrow,”
    when you have the money right there in your pocket?
    Help him today!
29 Why would you hold a grudge[s] in your heart
    toward your neighbor who lives right next door?
30 And why would you quarrel with those
    who have done nothing wrong to you?
    Is that a chip on your shoulder?[t]
31 Don’t act like those bullies or learn their ways.
32 Every violent thug is despised by the Lord,
    but every tender lover finds friendship with God
    and will hear his intimate secrets.[u]
33 The wicked walk under God’s constant curse,
    but the righteous walk under a stream of his blessing,
    for they seek to do what is right.
34 If you walk with the mockers you will learn to mock,
    but God’s grace and favor flow to the meek.[v]
35 Stubborn fools fill their lives with disgrace,
    but glory and honor rest upon the wise.

Footnotes

  1. 3:3 Or “Tie my commands around your neck.” The neck is a symbol of our will and conscience.
  2. 3:6 Or “he will cut a straight path before you.”
  3. 3:7 We should always be willing to listen to correction and instruction.
  4. 3:8 Literally “healing to your navel and moistening to your bones.” The blood supply for a baby in the womb comes through the navel. New cells are made in the marrow of our bones. As the navel and bones picture the life flow of our bodies, so the navel and bones are a picture of our inner being. See John 7:37–39.
  5. 3:13 The Hebrew text here implies that wisdom gives the ability to take raw facts and draw right conclusions and meaning from them.
  6. 3:15 The Hebrew word translated here as “gemstones” can also refer to rubies, coral, or pearls.
  7. 3:16 Or “honor.”
  8. 3:16 The Septuagint adds this last sentence, which is not found in the Hebrew.
  9. 3:17 The Hebrew word translated here as “wholeness” can also mean “peace” or “prosperity.”
  10. 3:18 Verses 17 and 18 are recited in contemporary Torah services as the Torah scroll is returned to the ark, where it is kept.
  11. 3:19 When compared with Col. 1:16, we can see that Wisdom is used as a title in Proverbs for the Living Wisdom, Jesus Christ. See 1 Cor. 1:30.
  12. 3:20 The dew is a metaphor for the Holy Spirit, who comes from the heavens and drenches us with God’s presence. See Gen. 27:28; Deut. 32:2; Judg. 6:37–40; Ps. 133:3.
  13. 3:21 Like many Hebrew words, there are various possible translations. The word translated here as “purpose” can also mean “discretion,” “counsel,” “meditation,” or “discernment.”
  14. 3:22 Or “adorn your neck.” The neck is a picture of our will and conscience.
  15. 3:25 As translated from the Septuagint.
  16. 3:26 Or “keeping your foot from being caught.”
  17. 3:27 The Septuagint is “Why would you withhold from the poor [those who need it]?”
  18. 3:27 The Hebrew text here literally means “Do not withhold wealth from its owners.” See Rom. 13:7.
  19. 3:29 Or “plot evil.”
  20. 3:30 See Rom. 12:18.
  21. 3:32 See Ps. 25:14.
  22. 3:34 See James 4:6 and 1 Peter 5:5.

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