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How Proverbs Can Be Used

These are the proverbs
of King Solomon of Israel,
    the son of David.
Proverbs will teach you
    wisdom and self-control
    and how to understand
    sayings with deep meanings.
You will learn what is right
    and honest and fair.
From these, an ordinary person
    can learn to be smart,
    and young people can gain
    knowledge and good sense.

If you are already wise,
    you will become even wiser.
And if you are smart,
you will learn to understand
    proverbs and sayings,
as well as words of wisdom
    and all kinds of riddles.
Respect and obey the Lord!
This is the beginning
    of knowledge.[a]
    Only a fool rejects wisdom
    and good advice.

Warnings against Bad Friends

My child, obey the teachings
    of your parents,
and wear their teachings
as you would a lovely hat
    or a pretty necklace.
10 Don’t be tempted by sinners
    or listen 11 when they say,
“Come on! Let’s gang up
and kill somebody,
    just for the fun of it!
12 They’re well and healthy now,
    but we’ll finish them off
    once and for all.
13 We’ll take their valuables
    and fill our homes
    with stolen goods.
14 If you join our gang,
    you’ll get your share.”

15 Don’t follow anyone like that
    or do what they do.
16 They are in a big hurry
to commit some crime,
    perhaps even murder.
17 They are like a bird
that sees the bait,
    but ignores the trap.[b]
18 They gang up to murder someone,
    but they are the victims.
19 The wealth you get from crime
    robs you of your life.

Wisdom Speaks

20 Wisdom[c] shouts in the streets
    wherever crowds gather.
21 She shouts in the marketplaces
and near the city gates
    as she says to the people,
22 “How much longer
will you enjoy
    being stupid fools?
Won’t you ever stop sneering
    and laughing at knowledge?
23     Listen as I correct you
    and tell you what I think.
24 You completely ignored me
    and refused to listen;
25 you rejected my advice
and paid no attention
    when I warned you.

26 “So when you are struck
    by some terrible disaster,
27 or when trouble and distress
surround you like a whirlwind,
    I will laugh and make fun.
28 You will ask for my help,
    but I won’t listen;
    you will search,
    but you won’t find me.
29 No, you would not learn,
    and you refused
    to respect the Lord.
30 You rejected my advice
and paid no attention
    when I warned you.

31 “Now you will eat the fruit
    of what you have done,
    until you are stuffed full
    with your own schemes.
32 Sin and self-satisfaction
bring destruction and death
    to stupid fools.
33 But if you listen to me,
you will be safe and secure
    without fear of disaster.”

Wisdom and Bad Friends

My child, you must follow
and treasure
    my teachings
    and my instructions.
Keep in tune with wisdom
    and think what it means
    to have common sense.
Beg as loud as you can
    for good common sense.
Search for wisdom
    as you would search for silver
    or hidden treasure.
Then you will understand
what it means to respect
    and to know the Lord God.

All wisdom comes from the Lord,
    and so do common sense
    and understanding.
God gives helpful advice[d]
    to everyone who obeys him
    and protects all of those
    who live as they should.
God sees that justice is done,
    and he watches over everyone
    who is faithful to him.
With wisdom you will learn
    what is right
    and honest and fair.

10 Wisdom will control your mind,
    and you will be pleased
    with knowledge.
11 Sound judgment and good sense
    will watch over you.
12 Wisdom will protect you
    from evil schemes
and from those liars
13     who turned from doing good
    to live in the darkness.
14 Most of all they enjoy
    being mean and deceitful.
15 They are dishonest themselves,
    and all they do is crooked.

Wisdom and Sexual Purity

16 Wisdom will protect you
    from the smooth talk
    of a sinful woman,
17 who breaks her wedding vows
    and leaves the man she married
    when she was young.
18 The road to her house leads
down
    to the dark world
    of the dead.
19 Visit her, and you will never
    find the road to life again.

20 Follow the example
of good people
    and live an honest life.
21 If you are honest and innocent,
    you will keep your land;
22 if you do wrong
and can never be trusted,
    you will be rooted out.

Trust God

My child, remember
my teachings and instructions
    and obey them completely.
They will help you live
    a long and prosperous life.
Let love and loyalty
always show like a necklace,
    and write them in your mind.
God and people will like you
    and consider you a success.

With all your heart
you must trust the Lord
    and not your own judgment.
Always let him lead you,
    and he will clear the road
    for you to follow.
Don’t ever think that you
    are wise enough,
    but respect the Lord
    and stay away from evil.
This will make you healthy,
    and you will feel strong.
Honor the Lord by giving him
your money
    and the first part
    of all your crops.
10 Then you will have
more grain and grapes
    than you will ever need.

11 My child, don’t turn away
or become bitter
    when the Lord corrects you.
12 The Lord corrects
    everyone he loves,
    just as parents correct
    their favorite child.

The Value of Wisdom

13 God blesses everyone
who has wisdom
    and common sense.
14 Wisdom is worth more
    than silver;
    it makes you much richer
    than gold.
15 Wisdom is more valuable
    than precious jewels;
    nothing you want
    compares with her.

16 In her right hand
    Wisdom holds a long life,
    and in her left hand
    are wealth and honor.
17 Wisdom makes life pleasant
    and leads us safely along.
18 Wisdom is a life-giving tree,
    the source of happiness
    for all who hold on to her.

19 By his wisdom and knowledge
    the Lord created
    heaven and earth.
20 By his understanding
he let the ocean break loose
    and clouds release the rain.
21 My child, use common sense
and sound judgment!
    Always keep them in mind.
22 They will help you to live
    a long and beautiful life.
23 You will walk safely
    and never stumble;
24     you will rest without a worry
    and sleep soundly.
25 So don’t be afraid
    of sudden disasters
    or storms that strike
    those who are evil.
26 You can be sure
    that the Lord
    will protect you from harm.

27 Do all you can for everyone
    who deserves your help.
28 Don’t tell your neighbor
to come back tomorrow,
    if you can help today.
29 Don’t try to be mean
    to neighbors who trust you.
30 Don’t argue just to be arguing,
    when you haven’t been hurt.
31 Don’t be jealous
of cruel people
    or follow their example.

32 The Lord doesn’t like
    anyone who is dishonest,
    but he lets good people
    be his friends.
33 He places a curse on the home
    of everyone who is evil,
    but he blesses the home
    of every good person.
34 The Lord sneers at those
    who sneer at him,
    but he is kind to everyone
    who is humble.
35 You will be praised
    if you are wise,
    but you will be disgraced
    if you are a stubborn fool.

Footnotes

  1. 1.7 the beginning of knowledge: Or “what knowledge is all about.”
  2. 1.17 They are. . . trap: Or “Be like a bird that won’t go for the bait, if it sees the trap.”
  3. 1.20 Wisdom: In the book of Proverbs the word “wisdom” is sometimes used as though wisdom were a supernatural being who was with God at the time of creation.
  4. 2.7 helpful advice: Or “wisdom.”

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