The Value of Proverbs
11 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: 2 For learning about wisdom and instruction, for understanding words of insight, 3 for gaining instruction in wise dealing, righteousness, justice, and equity; 4 to teach shrewdness to the simple, knowledge and prudence to the young- 5 let the wise also hear and gain in learning, and the discerning acquire skill, 6 to understand a proverb and a figure, the words of the wise and their riddles.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
8 Hear, my child, your father's instruction, and do not reject your mother's teaching; 9 for they are a fair garland for your head, and pendants for your neck.
10 My child, if sinners entice you, do not consent. 11 If they say, "Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood; let us wantonly ambush the innocent; 12 like Sheol let us swallow them alive and whole, like those who go down to the Pit. 13 We shall find all kinds of costly things; we shall fill our houses with booty. 14 Throw in your lot among us; we will all have one purse"- 15 my child, do not walk in their way, keep your foot from their paths; 16 for their feet run to evil, and they hurry to shed blood. 17 For in vain is the net baited while the bird is looking on; 18 yet they lie in wait-to kill themselves! and set an ambush-for their own lives! 19 Such is the end of all who are greedy for gain; it takes away the life of its possessors.
20 Wisdom cries out in the street; in the squares she raises her voice. 21 At the busiest corner she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: 22 "How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge? 23 Give heed to my reproof; I will pour out my thoughts to you; I will make my words known to you. 24 Because I have called and you refused, have stretched out my hand and no one heeded, 25 and because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, 26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when panic strikes you, 27 when panic strikes you like a storm, and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. 28 Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but will not find me. 29 Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord, 30 would have none of my counsel, and despised all my reproof, 31 therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way and be sated with their own devices. 32 For waywardness kills the simple, and the complacency of fools destroys them; 33 but those who listen to me will be secure and will live at ease, without dread of disaster."
The Reward of Seeking Wisdom
21 My child, if you accept my words and treasure up my commandments within you, 2 making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; 3 if you indeed cry out for insight, and raise your voice for understanding; 4 if you seek it like silver, and search for it as for hidden treasures- 5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; 7 he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk blamelessly, 8 guarding the paths of justice and preserving the way of his faithful ones. 9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path;
10 for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; 11 prudence will watch over you; and understanding will guard you. 12 It will save you from the way of evil, from those who speak perversely, 13 who forsake the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness, 14 who rejoice in doing evil and delight in the perverseness of evil; 15 those whose paths are crooked, and who are devious in their ways. 16 You will be saved from the loose woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words, 17 who forsakes the partner of her youth and forgets her sacred covenant; 18 for her way leads down to death, and her paths to the shades; 19 those who go to her never come back, nor do they regain the paths of life. 20 Therefore walk in the way of the good, and keep to the paths of the just. 21 For the upright will abide in the land, and the innocent will remain in it; 22 but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the treacherous will be rooted out of it.
Exhortations to Obedience
31 My child, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; 2 for length of days and years of life and abundant welfare they will give you. 3 Do not let loyalty and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and of people. 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. 8 It will be a healing for your flesh and a refreshment for your body. 9 Honor the Lord with your substance and with the first fruits of all your produce; 10 then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. 11 My child, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, 12 for the Lord reproves the one he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.
13 Happy are those who find wisdom, and those who get understanding, 14 for her income is better than silver, and her revenue better than gold. 15 She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. 16 Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. 17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. 18 She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called happy. 19 The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; 20 by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew.
21 My child, do not let these escape from your sight: keep sound wisdom and prudence, 22 and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck. 23 Then you will walk on your way securely and your foot will not stumble. 24 If you sit down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. 25 Do not be afraid of sudden panic, or of the storm that strikes the wicked; 26 for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.
27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. 28 Do not say to your neighbor, "Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it"-when you have it with you. 29 Do not plan harm against your neighbor who lives trustingly beside you. 30 Do not quarrel with anyone without cause, when no harm has been done to you. 31 Do not envy the violent and do not choose any of their ways; 32 for the perverse are an abomination to the Lord, but the upright are in his confidence. 33 The Lord's curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the abode of the righteous. 34 Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he shows favor. 35 The wise will inherit honor, but stubborn fools, disgrace.