The Value of Proverbs
1 1 Proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel: 2 to know wisdom and instruction; to discern the words of understanding; 3 to receive the instruction of wisdom, righteousness and judgment, and equity; 4 to give prudence to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. 5 He that is wise will hear, and will increase learning; and the intelligent will gain wise counsels: 6 to understand a proverb and an allegory, the words of the wise and their enigmas.
7 The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of knowledge: fools despise wisdom and instruction.
10 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent not. 11 If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause; 12 let us swallow them up alive as Sheol, and whole, as those that go down into the pit; 13 we shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: 14 cast in thy lot among us; we will all have one purse: 15 —my son, walk not in the way with them, keep back thy foot from their path; 16 for their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood. 17 For in vain the net is spread in the sight of anything which hath wings. 18 And these lay wait for their own blood; they lurk secretly for their own lives. 19 So are the paths of every one that is greedy of gain: it taketh away the life of its possessors.
20 Wisdom crieth without; she raiseth her voice in the broadways; 21 she calleth in the chief [place] of concourse, in the entry of the gates; in the city she uttereth her words: 22 How long, simple ones, will ye love simpleness, and scorners take pleasure in their scorning, and the foolish hate knowledge? 23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour forth my spirit unto you, I will make known to you my words. 24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no one regarded; 25 and ye have rejected all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: 26 I also will laugh in your calamity, I will mock when your fear cometh; 27 when your fear cometh as sudden destruction, and your calamity cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish come upon you: 28 —then will they call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me early, and shall not find me. 29 Because they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of Jehovah; 30 they would none of my counsel, they despised all my reproof: 31 therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their way, and be filled with their own devices. 32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of the foolish shall cause them to perish. 33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be at rest from fear of evil.
The Reward of Seeking Wisdom
2 1 My son, if thou receivest my words, and layest up my commandments with thee, 2 so that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom [and] thou apply thy heart to understanding; 3 yea, if thou criest after discernment [and] liftest up thy voice to understanding; 4 if thou seekest her as silver and searchest for her as for hidden treasures: 5 then shalt thou understand the fear of Jehovah, and find the knowledge of God. 6 For Jehovah giveth wisdom; out of his mouth [come] knowledge and understanding. 7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the upright; [he] is a shield to them that walk in integrity; 8 guarding the paths of just judgment and keeping the way of his godly ones. 9 Then shalt thou understand righteousness and judgment and equity: every good path.
10 When wisdom entereth into thy heart and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul, 11 discretion shall keep thee, understanding shall preserve thee: 12 To deliver thee from the way of evil, from the man that speaketh froward things; 13 [from those] who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; 14 who rejoice to do evil, [and] delight in the frowardness of evil; 15 whose paths are crooked, and who are perverted in their course: 16 To deliver thee from the strange woman, from the stranger who flattereth with her words; 17 who forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God; 18 —for her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead; 19 none that go unto her return again, neither do they attain to the paths of life: 20 —that thou mayest walk in the way of the good, and keep the paths of the righteous. 21 For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it; 22 but the wicked shall be cut off from the land, and the unfaithful shall be plucked up out of it.
Exhortations to Obedience
3 1 My son, forget not my teaching, and let thy heart observe my commandments; 2 for length of days, and years of life, and peace shall they add to thee. 3 Let not loving-kindness and truth forsake thee; bind them about thy neck, write them upon the tablet of thy heart: 4 and thou shalt find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. 5 Confide in Jehovah with all thy heart, and lean not unto thine own intelligence; 6 in all thy ways acknowledge him, and he will make plain thy paths.
7 Be not wise in thine own eyes; fear Jehovah, and depart from evil: 8 it shall be health for thy navel, and moisture for thy bones. 9 Honour Jehovah with thy substance, and with the first-fruits of all thine increase; 10 so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy vats shall overflow with new wine. 11 My son, despise not the instruction of Jehovah, neither be weary of his chastisement; 12 for whom Jehovah loveth he chasteneth, even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
13 Blessed is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. 14 For the gain thereof is better than the gain of silver, and her revenue than fine gold. 15 She is more precious than rubies; and all the things thou canst desire are not equal unto her. 16 Length of days is in her right hand; in her left hand riches and honour. 17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. 18 She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her; and happy is he that retaineth her. 19 Jehovah by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens. 20 By his knowledge the deeps were broken up, and the skies drop down the dew.
21 My son, let them not depart from thine eyes; keep sound wisdom and discretion: 22 so shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace unto thy neck. 23 Then shalt thou walk in thy way securely, and thy foot shall not stumble; 24 when thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid, but thou shalt lie down and thy sleep shall be sweet. 25 Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the destruction of the wicked, when it cometh; 26 for Jehovah shall be thy confidence, and he will keep thy foot from being taken.
27 Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thy hand to do it. 28 Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to-morrow I will give, when thou hast it by thee. 29 Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee. 30 Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm. 31 Envy not the man of violence, and choose none of his ways. 32 For the perverse is an abomination to Jehovah; but his secret is with the upright. 33 The curse of Jehovah is in the house of the wicked; but he blesseth the habitation of the righteous. 34 He indeed scorneth the scorners; but he giveth grace unto the lowly. 35 The wise shall inherit glory; but shame shall be the promotion of the foolish.