New International Version - UK

Proverbs 1

Purpose and theme

1The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

for gaining wisdom and instruction;
    for understanding words of insight;
for receiving instruction in prudent behaviour,
    doing what is right and just and fair;
for giving prudence to those who are simple,[a]
    knowledge and discretion to the young –
let the wise listen and add to their learning,
    and let the discerning get guidance –
for understanding proverbs and parables,
    the sayings and riddles of the wise.[b]

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
    but fools[c] despise wisdom and instruction.

Prologue: exhortations to embrace wisdom

Warning against the invitation of sinful men

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
    and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
They are a garland to grace your head
    and a chain to adorn your neck.

10 My son, if sinful men entice you,
    do not give in to them.
11 If they say, ‘Come along with us;
    let’s lie in wait for innocent blood,
    let’s ambush some harmless soul;
12 let’s swallow them alive, like the grave,
    and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
13 we will get all sorts of valuable things
    and fill our houses with plunder;
14 cast lots with us;
    we will all share the loot’–
15 my son, do not go along with them,
    do not set foot on their paths;
16 for their feet rush into evil,
    they are swift to shed blood.
17 How useless to spread a net
    where every bird can see it!
18 These men lie in wait for their own blood;
    they ambush only themselves!
19 Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain;
    it takes away the life of those who get it.

Wisdom’s rebuke

20 Out in the open wisdom calls aloud,
    she raises her voice in the public square;
21 on top of the wall[d] 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?
23 Repent at my rebuke!
    Then I will pour out my thoughts to you,
    I will make known to you my teachings.
24 But since you refuse to listen when I call
    and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand,
25 since you disregard all my advice
    and do not accept my rebuke,
26 I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you;
    I will mock when calamity overtakes you –
27 when 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,
29 since they hated knowledge
    and did not choose to fear the Lord.
30 Since they would not accept my advice
    and spurned my rebuke,
31 they will eat the fruit of their ways
    and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.
32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,
    and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety
    and be at ease, without fear of harm.’

  1. Proverbs 1:4 The Hebrew word rendered simple in Proverbs denotes a person who is gullible, without moral direction and inclined to evil.
  2. Proverbs 1:6 Or understanding a proverb, namely, a parable, / and the sayings of the wise, their riddles
  3. Proverbs 1:7 The Hebrew words rendered fool in Proverbs, and often elsewhere in the Old Testament, denote a person who is morally deficient.
  4. Proverbs 1:21 Septuagint; Hebrew / at noisy street corners

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.”