8 With great understanding, Wisdom[a] is calling out 2 as she stands at the crossroads and on every hill. 3 She stands by the city gate where everyone enters the city, and she shouts: 4 “I am calling out to each one of you! 5 Good sense and sound judgment can be yours. 6 Listen, because what I say is worthwhile and right. 7 I always speak the truth and refuse to tell a lie. 8 Every word I speak is honest, not one is misleading or deceptive.
9 “If you have understanding, you will see that my words are just what you need. 10 Let instruction and knowledge mean more to you than silver or the finest gold. 11 Wisdom is worth much more than precious jewels or anything else you desire.”
12 I am Wisdom[b]—Common Sense is my closest friend; I possess knowledge and sound judgment. 13 If you respect the Lord, you will hate evil. I hate pride and conceit and deceitful lies. 14 I am strong, and I offer sensible advice and sound judgment. 15 By my power kings govern, and rulers make laws that are fair. 16 Every honest leader rules with help from me.
17 I love everyone who loves me, and I will be found by all who honestly search. 18 I can make you rich and famous, important and successful. 19 What you receive from me is more valuable than even the finest gold or the purest silver. 20 I always do what is right, 21 and I give great riches to everyone who loves me.
22 From the beginning, I was with the Lord.[c] I was there before he began 23 to create the earth. At the very first, the Lord gave life to[d] me. 24 When I was born, there were no oceans or springs of water. 25 My birth was before mountains were formed or hills were put in place. 26 It happened long before God had made the earth or any of its fields or even the dust.
27 I was there when the Lord put the heavens in place and stretched the sky over the surface of the sea. 28 I was with him when he placed the clouds in the sky and created the springs that fill the ocean. 29 I was there when he set boundaries for the sea to make it obey him, and when he laid foundations to support the earth.
30 I was right beside the Lord, helping him plan and build.[e] I made him happy each day, and I was happy at his side. 31 I was pleased with his world and pleased with its people.
32 Pay attention, my children! Follow my advice, and you will be happy. 33 Listen carefully to my instructions, and you will be wise.
34 Come to my home each day and listen to me. You will find happiness. 35 By finding me, you find life, and the Lord will be pleased with you. 36 But if you don’t find me, you hurt only yourself, and if you hate me, you are in love with death.
Wisdom Gives a Feast
9 Wisdom has built her house with its seven columns. 2 She has prepared the meat and set out the wine. Her feast is ready.
3 She has sent her servant women to announce her invitation from the highest hills: 4 “Everyone who is ignorant or foolish is invited! 5 All of you are welcome to my meat and wine. 6 If you want to live, give up your foolishness and let understanding guide your steps.”
7 Correct a worthless bragger, and all you will get are insults and injuries. 8 Any bragger you correct will only hate you. But if you correct someone who has common sense, you will be loved. 9 If you have good sense, instruction will help you to have even better sense. And if you live right, education will help you to know even more.
10 Respect and obey the Lord! This is the beginning of wisdom.[f] To have understanding, you must know the Holy God. 11 I am Wisdom. If you follow me, you will live a long time. 12 Good sense is good for you, but if you brag, you hurt yourself.
A Foolish Invitation
13 Stupidity[g] is reckless, senseless, and foolish. 14 She sits in front of her house and on the highest hills in the town. 15 She shouts to everyone who passes by, 16 “If you are stupid, come on inside!” And to every fool she says, 17 “Stolen water tastes best, and the food you eat in secret tastes best of all.” 18 None who listen to Stupidity understand that her guests are as good as dead.
3 Are we once again bragging about ourselves? Do we need letters to you or from you to tell others about us? Some people do need letters that tell about them. 2 But you are our letter, and you are in our[a] hearts for everyone to read and understand. 3 You are like a letter written by Christ and delivered by us. But you are not written with pen and ink or on tablets made of stone. You are written in our hearts by the Spirit of the living God.
4 We are sure about all this. Christ makes us sure in the very presence of God. 5 We don’t have the right to claim that we have done anything on our own. God gives us what it takes to do all that we do. 6 He makes us worthy to be the servants of his new agreement that comes from the Holy Spirit and not from a written Law. After all, the Law brings death, but the Spirit brings life.
7 The Law of Moses brought only the promise of death, even though it was carved on stones and given in a wonderful way. Still the Law made Moses' face shine so brightly that the people of Israel could not look at it, even though it was a fading glory. 8 So won’t the agreement that the Spirit brings to us be even more wonderful? 9 If something that brings the death sentence is glorious, won’t something that makes us acceptable to God be even more glorious? 10 In fact, the new agreement is so wonderful that the Law is no longer glorious at all. 11 The Law was given with a glory that faded away. But the glory of the new agreement is much greater, because it will never fade away.
12 This wonderful hope makes us feel like speaking freely. 13 We are not like Moses. His face was shining, but he covered it to keep the people of Israel from seeing the brightness fade away. 14 The people were stubborn, and something still keeps them from seeing the truth when the Law is read. Only Christ can take away the covering that keeps them from seeing.
15 When the Law of Moses is read, they have their minds covered over 16 with a covering that is removed only for those who turn to the Lord. 17 The Lord and the Spirit are one and the same, and the Lord’s Spirit sets us free. 18 So our faces are not covered. They show the bright glory of the Lord, as the Lord’s Spirit makes us more and more like our glorious Lord.
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