1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:
2 To know wisdom and instruction, To discern the sayings of understanding, 3 To receive instruction in wise behavior, Righteousness, justice and equity; 4 To give prudence to the [a]naive, To the youth knowledge and discretion, 5 A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel, 6 To understand a proverb and a figure, The words of the wise and their riddles.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.
The Enticement of Sinners
8 Hear, my son, your father’s instruction And do not forsake your mother’s teaching; 9 Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head And [b]ornaments about your neck. 10 My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent. 11 If they say, “Come with us, Let us lie in wait for blood, Let us ambush the innocent without cause; 12 Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, Even whole, as those who go down to the pit; 13 We will find all kinds of precious wealth, We will fill our houses with spoil; 14 Throw in your lot [c]with us, We shall all have one purse,” 15 My son, do not walk in the way with them. Keep your feet from their path, 16 For their feet run to evil And they hasten to shed blood. 17 Indeed, it is [d]useless to spread the baited net In the sight of any [e]bird; 18 But they lie in wait for their own blood; They ambush their own lives. 19 So are the ways of everyone who gains by violence; It takes away the life of its possessors.
20 Wisdom shouts in the street, She [f]lifts her voice in the square; 21 At the head of the noisy streets she cries out; At the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings: 22 “How long, O [g]naive ones, will you love [h]being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing And fools hate knowledge? 23 “Turn to my reproof, Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. 24 “Because I called and you refused, I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention; 25 And you neglected all my counsel And did not want my reproof; 26 I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes, 27 When your dread comes like a storm And your calamity comes like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come upon you. 28 “Then they will call on 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 would not accept my counsel, They spurned all my reproof. 31 “So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way And be satiated with their own devices. 32 “For the waywardness of the [i]naive will kill them, And the complacency of fools will destroy them. 33 “But he who listens to me shall [j]live securely And will be at ease from the dread of evil.”
The Pursuit of Wisdom Brings Security
2 My son, if you will receive my words And treasure my commandments within you, 2 Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding; 3 For if you cry for discernment, [k]Lift your voice for understanding; 4 If you seek her as silver And search for her as for hidden treasures; 5 Then you will discern the fear of the Lord And discover the knowledge of God. 6 For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, 8 Guarding the paths of justice, And He preserves the way of His godly ones. 9 Then you will discern righteousness and justice And equity and every good course. 10 For wisdom will enter your heart And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; 11 Discretion will guard you, Understanding will watch over you, 12 To deliver you from the way of evil, From the man who speaks perverse things; 13 From those who leave the paths of uprightness To walk in the ways of darkness; 14 Who delight in doing evil And rejoice in the perversity of evil; 15 Whose paths are crooked, And who are devious in their ways; 16 To deliver you from the strange woman, From the [l]adulteress who flatters with her words; 17 That leaves the companion of her youth And forgets the covenant of her God; 18 For her house [m]sinks down to death And her tracks lead to the [n]dead; 19 None who go to her return again, Nor do they reach the paths of life. 20 So you will walk in the way of good men And keep to the paths of the righteous. 21 For the upright will [o]live in the land And the blameless will remain in it; 22 But the wicked will be cut off from the land And the treacherous will be uprooted from it.
The Rewards of Wisdom
3 My son, do not forget my [p]teaching, But let your heart keep my commandments; 2 For length of days and years of life And peace they will add to you. 3 Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 So you will find favor and good [q]repute In the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. 8 It will be healing to your [r]body And refreshment to your bones. 9 Honor the Lord from your wealth And from the first of all your produce; 10 So your barns will be filled with plenty And your vats will overflow with new wine. 11 My son, do not reject the [s]discipline of the Lord Or loathe His reproof, 12 For whom the Lord loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.
13 How blessed is the man who finds wisdom And the man who gains understanding. 14 For her profit is better than the profit of silver And her gain better than fine gold. 15 She is more precious than [t]jewels; And nothing you desire compares with her. 16 [u]Long life is in her right hand; In her left hand are riches and honor. 17 Her ways are pleasant ways And all her paths are peace. 18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, And happy are all who hold her fast. 19 The Lordby wisdom founded the earth, By understanding He established the heavens. 20 By His knowledge the deeps were broken up And the skies drip with dew. 21 My son, let them not [v]vanish from your sight; Keep sound wisdom and discretion, 22 So they will be life to your soul And adornment to your neck. 23 Then you will walk in your way securely And your foot will not stumble. 24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid; When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. 25 Do not be afraid of sudden fear Nor of the [w]onslaught of the wicked when it comes; 26 For the Lord will be [x]your confidence And will keep your foot from being caught.
27 Do not withhold good from [y]those to whom it is due, When it is in your power to do it. 28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back, And tomorrow I will give it,” When you have it with you. 29 Do not devise harm against your neighbor, While he lives securely beside you. 30 Do not contend with a man without cause, If he has done you no harm. 31 Do not envy a man of violence And do not choose any of his ways. 32 For the devious are an abomination to the Lord; But [z]He is intimate with the upright. 33 The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked, But He blesses the dwelling of the righteous. 34 Though He scoffs at the scoffers, Yet He gives grace to the afflicted. 35 The wise will inherit honor, But fools [aa]display dishonor.
A Father’s Instruction
4 Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father, And give attention that you may [ab]gain understanding, 2 For I give you [ac]sound teaching; Do not abandon my [ad]instruction. 3 When I was a son to my father, Tender and the only son in the sight of my mother, 4 Then he taught me and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words; Keep my commandments and live; 5 Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding! Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth. 6 “Do not forsake her, and she will guard you; Love her, and she will watch over you. 7 “The [ae]beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom; And with all your acquiring, get understanding. 8 “Prize her, and she will exalt you; She will honor you if you embrace her. 9 “She will place on your head a garland of grace; She will present you with a crown of beauty.”
10 Hear, my son, and accept my sayings And the years of your life will be many. 11 I have directed you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in upright paths. 12 When you walk, your steps will not be impeded; And if you run, you will not stumble. 13 Take hold of instruction; do not let go. Guard her, for she is your life. 14 Do not enter the path of the wicked And do not proceed in the way of evil men. 15 Avoid it, do not pass by it; Turn away from it and pass on. 16 For they cannot sleep unless they do evil; And [af]they are robbed of sleep unless they make someone stumble. 17 For they eat the bread of wickedness And drink the wine of violence. 18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, That shines brighter and brighter until the full day. 19 The way of the wicked is like darkness; They do not know over what they [ag]stumble.
20 My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. 21 Do not let them depart from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart. 22 For they are life to those who find them And health to all [ah]their body. 23 Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. 24 Put away from you a deceitful mouth And put devious [ai]speech far from you. 25 Let your eyes look directly ahead And let your [aj]gaze be fixed straight in front of you. 26 Watch the path of your feet And all your ways will be established. 27 Do not turn to the right nor to the left; Turn your foot from evil.
Pitfalls of Immorality
5 My son, give attention to my wisdom, Incline your ear to my understanding; 2 That you may observe discretion And your lips may reserve knowledge. 3 For the lips of an [ak]adulteress drip honey And smoother than oil is her [al]speech; 4 But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, Sharp as a two-edged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death, Her steps take hold of Sheol. 6 [am]She does not ponder the path of life; Her ways are unstable, she does not know it.
7 Now then, my sons, listen to me And do not depart from the words of my mouth. 8 Keep your way far from her And do not go near the door of her house, 9 Or you will give your vigor to others And your years to the cruel one; 10 And strangers will be filled with your strength And your hard-earned goods will go to the house of an alien; 11 And you groan at your [an]final end, When your flesh and your body are consumed; 12 And you say, “How I have hated instruction! And my heart spurned reproof! 13 “I have not listened to the voice of my teachers, Nor inclined my ear to my instructors! 14 “I was almost in utter ruin In the midst of the assembly and congregation.”
15 Drink water from your own cistern And [ao]fresh water from your own well. 16 Should your springs be dispersed abroad, Streams of water in the streets? 17 Let them be yours alone And not for strangers with you. 18 Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19 As a loving hind and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; Be [ap]exhilarated always with her love. 20 For why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an [aq]adulteress And embrace the bosom of a foreigner? 21 For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the Lord, And He watches all his paths. 22 His own iniquities will capture the wicked, And he will be held with the cords of his sin. 23 He will die for lack of instruction, And in the greatness of his folly he will go astray.
6 My son, if you have become surety for your neighbor, Have [ar]given a pledge for a stranger, 2 If you have been snared with the words of your mouth, Have been caught with the words of your mouth, 3 Do this then, my son, and deliver yourself; Since you have come into the [as]hand of your neighbor, Go, humble yourself, and importune your neighbor. 4 Give no sleep to your eyes, Nor slumber to your eyelids; 5 Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hunter’s hand And like a bird from the hand of the fowler.
6 Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise, 7 Which, having no chief, Officer or ruler, 8 Prepares her food in the summer And gathers her provision in the harvest. 9 How long will you lie down, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? 10 “A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to [at]rest”— 11 Your poverty will come in like a [au]vagabond And your need like [av]an armed man.
12 A worthless person, a wicked man, Is the one who walks with a perverse mouth, 13 Who winks with his eyes, who [aw]signals with his feet, Who [ax]points with his fingers; 14 Who withperversity in his heart continually devises evil, Who [ay]spreads strife. 15 Therefore his calamity will come suddenly; Instantly he will be broken and there will be no healing.
16 There are six things which the Lord hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination [az]to Him: 17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, 19 A false witness who utters lies, And one who [ba]spreads strife among brothers.
20 My son, observe the commandment of your father And do not forsake the [bb]teaching of your mother; 21 Bind them continually on your heart; Tie them around your neck. 22 When you walk about, [bc]they will guide you; When you sleep, [bd]they will watch over you; And when you awake, [be]they will talk to you. 23 For the commandment is a lamp and the [bf]teaching is light; And reproofs for discipline are the way of life 24 To keep you from the evil woman, From the smooth tongue of the [bg]adulteress. 25 Do not desire her beauty in your heart, Nor let her capture you with her eyelids. 26 For on account of a harlot one is reduced to a loaf of bread, And [bh]an adulteress hunts for the precious life. 27 Can a man [bi]take fire in his bosom And his clothes not be burned? 28 Or can a man walk on hot coals And his feet not be scorched? 29 So is the one who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; Whoever touches her will not [bj]go unpunished. 30 [bk]Men do not despise a thief if he steals To satisfy [bl]himself when he is hungry; 31 But when he is found, he must repay sevenfold; He must give all the [bm]substance of his house. 32 The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking [bn]sense; He who would destroy [bo]himself does it. 33 Wounds and disgrace he will find, And his reproach will not be blotted out. 34 For jealousy [bp]enrages a man, And he will not spare in the day of vengeance. 35 He will not [bq]accept any ransom, Nor will he be [br]satisfied though you give many [bs]gifts.
The Wiles of the Harlot
7 My son, keep my words And treasure my commandments within you. 2 Keep my commandments and live, And my [bt]teaching as the [bu]apple of your eye. 3 Bind them on your fingers; Write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” And call understanding your intimate friend; 5 That they may keep you from an [bv]adulteress, From the foreigner who [bw]flatters with her words.
6 For at the window of my house I looked out through my lattice, 7 And I saw among the [bx]naive, And discerned among the [by]youths A young man lacking [bz]sense, 8 Passing through the street near her corner; And he [ca]takes the way to her house, 9 In the twilight, in the [cb]evening, In the [cc]middle of the night and in the darkness. 10 And behold, a woman comes to meet him, Dressed as a harlot and cunning of heart. 11 She is boisterous and rebellious, Her feet do not remain at home; 12 She is now in the streets, now in the squares, And lurks by every corner. 13 So she seizes him and kisses him [cd]And with a brazen face she says to him: 14 “[ce]I was due to offer peace offerings; Today I have paid my vows. 15 “Therefore I have come out to meet you, To seek your presence earnestly, and I have found you. 16 “I have spread my couch with coverings, With colored linens of Egypt. 17 “I have sprinkled my bed With myrrh, aloes and cinnamon. 18 “Come, let us drink our fill of love until morning; Let us delight ourselves with caresses. 19 “For [cf]my husband is not at home, He has gone on a long journey; 20 He has taken a bag of money [cg]with him, At the full moon he will come home.” 21 With her many persuasions she entices him; With her [ch]flattering lips she seduces him. 22 Suddenly he follows her As an ox goes to the slaughter, Or as [ci]one in fetters to the discipline of a fool, 23 Until an arrow pierces through his liver; As a bird hastens to the snare, So he does not know that it will cost him his life.
24 Now therefore, my sons, listen to me, And pay attention to the words of my mouth. 25 Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, Do not stray into her paths. 26 For many are the [cj]victims she has cast down, And numerous are all her slain. 27 Her house is the way to Sheol, Descending to the chambers of death.
The Commendation of Wisdom
8 Does not wisdom call, And understanding [ck]lift up her voice? 2 On top of the heights beside the way, Where the paths meet, she takes her stand; 3 Beside the gates, at the opening to the city, At the entrance of the doors, she cries out: 4 “To you, O men, I call, And my voice is to the sons of men. 5 “O [cl]naive ones, understand prudence; And, O fools, understand [cm]wisdom. 6 “Listen, for I will speak noble things; And the opening of my lips will revealright things. 7 “For my mouth will utter truth; And wickedness is an abomination to my lips. 8 “All the utterances of my mouth are in righteousness; There is nothing crooked or perverted in them. 9 “They are all straightforward to him who understands, And right to those who find knowledge. 10 “Take my instruction and not silver, And knowledge rather than choicest gold. 11 “For wisdom is better than [cn]jewels; And all desirable things cannot compare with her.
12 “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, And I find knowledge and discretion. 13 “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverted mouth, I hate. 14 “Counsel is mine and sound wisdom; I am understanding, power is mine. 15 “By me kings reign, And rulers decree justice. 16 “By me princes rule, and nobles, All who judge rightly. 17 “I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me. 18 “Riches and honor are with me, Enduring wealth and righteousness. 19 “My fruit is better than gold, even pure gold, And my yield better than choicest silver. 20 “I walk in the way of righteousness, In the midst of the paths of justice, 21 To endow those who love me with wealth, That I may fill their treasuries.
22 “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way, Before His works [co]of old. 23 “From everlasting I was [cp]established, From the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth. 24 “When there were no depths I was [cq]brought forth, When there were no springs abounding with water. 25 “Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills I was [cr]brought forth; 26 While He had not yet made the earth and the [cs]fields, Nor the first dust of the world. 27 “When He established the heavens, I was there, When He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep, 28 When He made firm the skies above, When the springs of the deep became [ct]fixed, 29 When He set for the sea its boundary So that the water would not transgress His [cu]command, When He marked out the foundations of the earth; 30 Then I was beside Him, as a master workman; And I was daily His delight, [cv]Rejoicing always before Him, 31 [cw]Rejoicing in the world, His earth, And havingmy delight in the sons of men.
32 “Now therefore, O sons, listen to me, For blessed are they who keep my ways. 33 “Heed instruction and be wise, And do not neglect it. 34 “Blessed is the man who listens to me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at my doorposts. 35 “For he who finds me finds life And obtains favor from the Lord. 36 “But he who [cx]sins against me injures himself; All those who hate me love death.”
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