Purpose and theme
1The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
2for gaining wisdom and instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
3for receiving instruction in prudent behaviour,
doing what is right and just and fair;
4for giving prudence to those who are simple,1:4 The Hebrew word rendered simple in Proverbs denotes a person who is gullible, without moral direction and inclined to evil.
knowledge and discretion to the young –
5let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance –
6for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.1:6 Or understanding a proverb, namely, a parable, / and the sayings of the wise, their riddles
7The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools1:7 The Hebrew words rendered fool in Proverbs, and often elsewhere in the Old Testament, denote a person who is morally deficient. despise wisdom and instruction.
Prologue: exhortations to embrace wisdom
Warning against the invitation of sinful men
8Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
9They are a garland to grace your head
and a chain to adorn your neck.
10My son, if sinful men entice you,
do not give in to them.
11If they say, ‘Come along with us;
let’s lie in wait for innocent blood,
let’s ambush some harmless soul;
12let’s swallow them alive, like the grave,
and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
13we will get all sorts of valuable things
and fill our houses with plunder;
14cast lots with us;
we will all share the loot’ –
15my son, do not go along with them,
do not set foot on their paths;
16for their feet rush into evil,
they are swift to shed blood.
17How useless to spread a net
where every bird can see it!
18These men lie in wait for their own blood;
they ambush only themselves!
19Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain;
it takes away the life of those who get it.
20Out in the open wisdom calls aloud,
she raises her voice in the public square;
21on top of the wall1:21 Septuagint; Hebrew / at noisy street corners she cries out,
at the city gate she makes her speech:
22‘How long will you who are simple love your simple ways?
How long will mockers delight in mockery
and fools hate knowledge?
23Repent at my rebuke!
Then I will pour out my thoughts to you,
I will make known to you my teachings.
24But since you refuse to listen when I call
and no-one pays attention when I stretch out my hand,
25since you disregard all my advice
and do not accept my rebuke,
26I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you;
I will mock when calamity overtakes you –
27when calamity overtakes you like a storm,
when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind,
when distress and trouble overwhelm you.
28‘Then they will call to me but I will not answer;
they will look for me but will not find me,
29since they hated knowledge
and did not choose to fear the Lord.
30Since they would not accept my advice
and spurned my rebuke,
31they will eat the fruit of their ways
and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.
32For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,
and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
33but whoever listens to me will live in safety
and be at ease, without fear of harm.’