The Usefulness of Proverbs
1The proverbs (truths obscurely expressed, maxims) of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
To know [skillful and godly] wisdom and instruction;
To discern and comprehend the words of understanding and insight,
To receive instruction in wise behavior and the discipline of wise thoughtfulness,
Righteousness, justice, and integrity;
That prudence (good judgment, astute common sense) may be given to the naive or inexperienced [who are easily misled],
And knowledge and discretion (intelligent discernment) to the youth,
The wise will hear and increase their learning,
And the person of understanding will acquire wise counsel and the skill [to steer his course wisely and lead others to the truth],
To understand a proverb and a figure [of speech] or an enigma with its interpretation,
And the words of the wise and their riddles [that require reflection].
The [reverent] fear of the Lord [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome] is the beginning and the preeminent part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence];
But arrogant [a]fools despise [skillful and godly] wisdom and instruction and self-discipline.
The Enticement of Sinners
My son, hear the instruction of your father,
And do not reject the teaching of your mother.
For they are a garland of grace on your head,
And chains and ornaments [of gold] around your neck.
My son, if sinners entice you,
Do not consent.
If they say, “Come with us;
Let us lie in wait to shed blood,
Let us ambush the innocent without cause;
Let us swallow them alive like Sheol (the place of the dead),
Even whole, as those who go down to the pit [of death];
We will find and take all kinds of precious possessions,
We will fill our houses with spoil;
Throw in your lot with us [they insist];
We will all have one money bag [in common],”
My son, do not walk on the road with them;
Keep your foot [far] away from their path,
For their feet run to evil,
And they hurry to shed blood.
Indeed, it is useless to spread the baited net
In the sight of any bird;
But [when these people set a trap for others] they lie in wait for their own blood;
They set an ambush for their own lives [and rush to their destruction].
So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain;
Greed takes away the lives of its possessors.
[b]Wisdom shouts in the street,
She raises her voice in the markets;
She calls out at the head of the noisy streets [where large crowds gather];
At the entrance of the city gates she speaks her words:
“How long, O naive ones [you who are easily misled], will you love being simple-minded and undiscerning?
How long will scoffers [who ridicule and deride] delight in scoffing,
How long will fools [who obstinately mock truth] hate knowledge?
“If you will turn and pay attention to my rebuke,
Behold, I [Wisdom] will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.
“Because I called and you refused [to answer],
I stretched out my hand and no one has paid attention [to my offer];
And you treated all my counsel as nothing
And would not accept my reprimand,
I also will laugh at your disaster;
I will mock when your dread and panic come,
When your dread and panic come like a storm,
And your disaster comes like a whirlwind,
When anxiety and distress come upon you [as retribution].
“Then they will call upon me (Wisdom), but I will not answer;
They will seek me eagerly but they will not find me,
Because they hated knowledge
And did not choose the fear of the Lord [that is, obeying Him with reverence and awe-filled respect],
They would not accept my counsel,
And they spurned all my rebuke.
“Therefore they shall eat of the fruit of their own [wicked] way
And be satiated with [the penalty of] their own devices.
“For the turning away of the [c]naive will kill them,
And the careless ease of [self-righteous] fools will destroy them.
“But whoever listens to me (Wisdom) will live securely and in confident trust
And will be at ease, without fear or dread of evil.”