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.’
1The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; 2To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; 3To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;1.3 equity: Heb. equities 4To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.1.4 discretion: or, advisement 5A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: 6To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.1.6 the interpretation: or, an eloquent speech
7¶ The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.1.7 the beginning: or, the principal part 8My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: 9For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.1.9 an…: Heb. an adding
10¶ My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. 11If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: 12Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: 13We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: 14Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: 15My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: 16For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. 17Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.1.17 in the…: Heb. in the eyes of every thing that hath a wing 18And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives. 19So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.
20¶ Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets:1.20 Wisdom: Heb. Wisdoms, that is, Excellent wisdom 21She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, 22How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? 23Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.
24¶ Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; 25But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: 26I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; 27When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. 28Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: 29For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: 30They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. 31Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. 32For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.1.32 turning…: or, ease of the simple 33But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.