The Value of Proverbs
1 1 The wise sayings of Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel. 2 To have knowledge of wise teaching; to be clear about the words of reason: 3 To be trained in the ways of wisdom, in righteousness and judging truly and straight behaviour: 4 To make the simple-minded sharp, and to give the young man knowledge, and serious purpose: 5 (The wise man, hearing, will get greater learning, and the acts of the man of good sense will be wisely guided:) 6 To get the sense of wise sayings and secrets, and of the words of the wise and their dark sayings.
7 The fear of the Lord is the start of knowledge: but the foolish have no use for wisdom and teaching.
10 My son, if sinners would take you out of the right way, do not go with them. 11 If they say, Come with us; let us make designs against the good, waiting secretly for the upright, without cause; 12 Let us overcome them living, like the underworld, and in their strength, as those who go down to death; 13 Goods of great price will be ours, our houses will be full of wealth; 14 Take your chance with us, and we will all have one money-bag: 15 My son, do not go with them; keep your feet from their ways: 16 For their feet are running after evil, and they are quick to take a man's life. 17 Truly, to no purpose is the net stretched out before the eyes of the bird: 18 And they are secretly waiting for their blood and making ready destruction for themselves. 19 Such is the fate of everyone who goes in search of profit; it takes away the life of its owners.
20 Wisdom is crying out in the street; her voice is loud in the open places; 21 Her words are sounding in the meeting-places, and in the doorways of the town: 22 How long, you simple ones, will foolish things be dear to you? and pride a delight to the haters of authority? how long will the foolish go on hating knowledge? 23 Be turned again by my sharp words: see, I will send the flow of my spirit on you, and make my words clear to you. 24 Because your ears were shut to my voice; no one gave attention to my out-stretched hand; 25 You were not controlled by my guiding, and would have nothing to do with my sharp words: 26 So in the day of your trouble I will be laughing; I will make sport of your fear; 27 When your fear comes on you like a storm, and your trouble like a rushing wind; when pain and sorrow come on you. 28 Then I will give no answer to their cries; searching for me early, they will not see me: 29 For they were haters of knowledge, and did not give their hearts to the fear of the Lord: 30 They had no desire for my teaching, and my words of protest were as nothing to them. 31 So the fruit of their way will be their food, and with the designs of their hearts they will be made full. 32 For the turning back of the simple from teaching will be the cause of their death, and the peace of the foolish will be their destruction. 33 But whoever gives ear to me will take his rest safely, living in peace without fear of evil.
The Reward of Seeking Wisdom
2 1 My son, if you will take my words to your heart, storing up my laws in your mind; 2 So that your ear gives attention to wisdom, and your heart is turned to knowledge; 3 Truly, if you are crying out for good sense, and your request is for knowledge; 4 If you are looking for her as for silver, and searching for her as for stored-up wealth; 5 Then the fear of the Lord will be clear to you, and knowledge of God will be yours. 6 For the Lord gives wisdom; out of his mouth come knowledge and reason: 7 He has salvation stored up for the upright, he is a breastplate to those in whom there is no evil; 8 He keeps watch on the ways which are right, and takes care of those who have the fear of him. 9 Then you will have knowledge of righteousness and right acting, and upright behaviour, even of every good way.
10 For wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasing to your soul; 11 Wise purposes will be watching over you, and knowledge will keep you; 12 Giving you salvation from the evil man, from those whose words are false; 13 Who give up the way of righteousness, to go by dark roads; 14 Who take pleasure in wrongdoing, and have joy in the evil designs of the sinner; 15 Whose ways are not straight, and whose footsteps are turned to evil: 16 To take you out of the power of the strange woman, who says smooth words with her tongue; 17 Who is false to the husband of her early years, and does not keep the agreement of her God in mind: 18 For her house is on the way down to death; her footsteps go down to the shades: 19 Those who go to her do not come back again; their feet do not keep in the ways of life: 20 So that you may go in the way of good men, and keep in the footsteps of the upright. 21 For the upright will be living in the land, and the good will have it for their heritage. 22 But sinners will be cut off from the land, and those whose acts are false will be uprooted.
Exhortations to Obedience
3 1 My son, keep my teaching in your memory, and my rules in your heart: 2 For they will give you increase of days, years of life, and peace. 3 Let not mercy and good faith go from you; let them be hanging round your neck, recorded on your heart; 4 So you will have grace and a good name in the eyes of God and men. 5 Put all your hope in God, not looking to your reason for support. 6 In all your ways give ear to him, and he will make straight your footsteps.
7 Put no high value on your wisdom: let the fear of the Lord be before you, and keep yourself from evil: 8 This will give strength to your flesh, and new life to your bones. 9 Give honour to the Lord with your wealth, and with the first-fruits of all your increase: 10 So your store-houses will be full of grain, and your vessels overflowing with new wine. 11 My son, do not make your heart hard against the Lord's teaching; do not be made angry by his training: 12 For to those who are dear to him the Lord says sharp words, and makes the son in whom he has delight undergo pain.
13 Happy is the man who makes discovery of wisdom, and he who gets knowledge. 14 For trading in it is better than trading in silver, and its profit greater than bright gold. 15 She is of more value than jewels, and nothing for which you may have a desire is fair in comparison with her. 16 Long life is in her right hand, and in her left are wealth and honour. 17 Her ways are ways of delight, and all her goings are peace. 18 She is a tree of life to all who take her in their hands, and happy is everyone who keeps her. 19 The Lord by wisdom put in position the bases of the earth; by reason he put the heavens in their place. 20 By his knowledge the deep was parted, and dew came dropping from the skies.
21 My son, keep good sense, and do not let wise purpose go from your eyes. 22 So they will be life for your soul, and grace for your neck. 23 Then you will go safely on your way, and your feet will have no cause for slipping. 24 When you take your rest you will have no fear, and on your bed sleep will be sweet to you. 25 Have no fear of sudden danger, or of the storm which will come on evil-doers: 26 For the Lord will be your hope, and will keep your foot from being taken in the net.
27 Do not keep back good from those who have a right to it, when it is in the power of your hand to do it. 28 Say not to your neighbour, Go, and come again, and tomorrow I will give; when you have it by you at the time. 29 Do not make evil designs against your neighbour, when he is living with you without fear. 30 Do not take up a cause at law against a man for nothing, if he has done you no wrong. 31 Have no envy of the violent man, or take any of his ways as an example. 32 For the wrong-hearted man is hated by the Lord, but he is a friend to the upright. 33 The curse of the Lord is on the house of the evil-doer, but his blessing is on the tent of the upright. 34 He makes sport of the men of pride, but he gives grace to the gentle-hearted. 35 The wise will have glory for their heritage, but shame will be the reward of the foolish.