New International Reader's Version

Proverbs 1

Purpose

1These are the proverbs of Solomon. He was the son of David and the king of Israel.

Proverbs teach you wisdom and instruct you.
    They help you understand wise sayings.
They provide you with instruction and help you live wisely.
    They lead to what is right and honest and fair.
They give understanding to childish people.
    They give knowledge and good sense to those who are young.
Let wise people listen and add to what they have learned.
    Let those who understand what is right get guidance.
What I’m teaching also helps you understand proverbs and stories.
    It helps you understand the sayings and riddles of those who are wise.

If you really want to gain knowledge, you must begin by having respect for the Lord.
    But foolish people hate wisdom and instruction.

Think and Live Wisely

A Warning Against Sinful Men

My son, listen to your father’s advice.
    Don’t turn away from your mother’s teaching.
What they teach you will be like a beautiful crown on your head.
    It will be like a chain to decorate your neck.

10 My son, if sinful men tempt you,
    don’t give in to them.
11 They might say, “Come along with us.
    Let’s hide and wait to kill someone who hasn’t done anything wrong.
    Let’s catch some harmless person in our trap.
12 Let’s swallow them alive, as the grave does.
    Let’s swallow them whole, like those who go down into the pit.
13 We’ll get all kinds of valuable things.
    We’ll fill our houses with what we steal.
14 Cast lots with us for what they own.
    We’ll share everything we take from them.”
15 My son, don’t go along with them.
    Don’t even set your feet on their paths.
16 They are always in a hurry to sin.
    They are quick to spill someone’s blood.
17 How useless it is to spread a net
    where every bird can see it!
18 Those who hide and wait will spill their own blood.
    They will be caught in their own trap.
19 That’s what happens to everyone
    who goes after money in the wrong way.
That kind of money takes away
    the life of those who get it.

Wisdom’s Warning

20 Out in the open wisdom calls out.
    She raises her voice in a public place.
21 On top of the city wall she cries out.
    Here is what she says near the gate of the city.

22 “How long will you childish people love your childish ways?
    How long will you rude people enjoy making fun of God and others?
    How long will you foolish people hate knowledge?
23 Pay attention to my warning!
    Then I will pour out my thoughts to you.
    I will make known to you my teachings.
24 But you refuse to listen when I call out to you.
    No one pays attention when I reach out my hand.
25 You turn away from all my advice.
    And you do not accept my warning.
26 So I will laugh at you when you are in danger.
    I will make fun of you when hard times come.
27 I will laugh when hard times hit you like a storm.
    I will laugh when danger comes your way like a windstorm.
    I will make fun of you when suffering and trouble come.

28 “Then you will call to me. But I won’t answer.
    You will look for me. But you won’t find me.
29 You hated knowledge.
    You didn’t choose to have respect for the Lord.
30 You wouldn’t accept my advice.
    You turned your backs on my warnings.
31 So you will eat the fruit of the way you have lived.
    You will choke on the fruit of what you have planned.

32 “The wrong path that childish people take will kill them.
    Foolish people will be destroyed by being satisfied with the way they live.
33 But those who listen to me will live in safety.
    They will be at ease and have no fear of being harmed.”

The Message

Proverbs 1

Wise Sayings of Solomon

A Manual for Living

11-6 These are the wise sayings of Solomon,
    David’s son, Israel’s king—
Written down so we’ll know how to live well and right,
    to understand what life means and where it’s going;
A manual for living,
    for learning what’s right and just and fair;
To teach the inexperienced the ropes
    and give our young people a grasp on reality.
There’s something here also for seasoned men and women,
    still a thing or two for the experienced to learn—
Fresh wisdom to probe and penetrate,
    the rhymes and reasons of wise men and women.

Start with God

Start with God—the first step in learning is bowing down to God;
    only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning.

8-19 Pay close attention, friend, to what your father tells you;
    never forget what you learned at your mother’s knee.
Wear their counsel like flowers in your hair,
    like rings on your fingers.
Dear friend, if bad companions tempt you,
    don’t go along with them.
If they say—“Let’s go out and raise some hell.
    Let’s beat up some old man, mug some old woman.
Let’s pick them clean
    and get them ready for their funerals.
We’ll load up on top-quality loot.
    We’ll haul it home by the truckload.
Join us for the time of your life!
    With us, it’s share and share alike!”—
Oh, friend, don’t give them a second look;
    don’t listen to them for a minute.
They’re racing to a very bad end,
    hurrying to ruin everything they lay hands on.
Nobody robs a bank
    with everyone watching,
Yet that’s what these people are doing—
    they’re doing themselves in.
When you grab all you can get, that’s what happens:
    the more you get, the less you are.

Lady Wisdom

20-21 Lady Wisdom goes out in the street and shouts.
    At the town center she makes her speech.
In the middle of the traffic she takes her stand.
    At the busiest corner she calls out:

22-24 “Simpletons! How long will you wallow in ignorance?
    Cynics! How long will you feed your cynicism?
Idiots! How long will you refuse to learn?
    About face! I can revise your life.
Look, I’m ready to pour out my spirit on you;
    I’m ready to tell you all I know.
As it is, I’ve called, but you’ve turned a deaf ear;
    I’ve reached out to you, but you’ve ignored me.

25-28 “Since you laugh at my counsel
    and make a joke of my advice,
How can I take you seriously?
    I’ll turn the tables and joke about your troubles!
What if the roof falls in,
    and your whole life goes to pieces?
What if catastrophe strikes and there’s nothing
    to show for your life but rubble and ashes?
You’ll need me then. You’ll call for me, but don’t expect
        an answer.
    No matter how hard you look, you won’t find me.

29-33 “Because you hated Knowledge
    and had nothing to do with the Fear-of-God,
Because you wouldn’t take my advice
    and brushed aside all my offers to train you,
Well, you’ve made your bed—now lie in it;
    you wanted your own way—now, how do you like it?
Don’t you see what happens, you simpletons, you idiots?
    Carelessness kills; complacency is murder.
First pay attention to me, and then relax.
    Now you can take it easy—you’re in good hands.”