The Value of Proverbs
11 The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel: 2 That men may know wisdom and instruction, understand words of insight, 3 receive instruction in wise dealing, righteousness, justice, and equity; 4 that prudence may be given to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth-- 5 the wise man also may hear and increase in learning, and the man of understanding 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 son, your father's instruction, and reject not your mother's teaching; 9 for they are a fair garland for your head, and pendants for your neck.
10 My son, 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 precious goods, we shall fill our houses with spoil; 14 throw in your lot among us, we will all have one purse" -- 15 my son, do not walk in the way with them, hold back your foot from their paths; 16 for their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood. 17 For in vain is a net spread in the sight of any bird; 18 but these men lie in wait for their own blood, they set an ambush for their own lives. 19 Such are the ways of all who get gain by violence; it takes away the life of its possessors.
20 Wisdom cries aloud in the street; in the markets she raises her voice; 21 on the top of the walls 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; behold, I will pour out my thoughts to you; I will make my words known to you. 24 Because I have called and you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded, 25 and 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 the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacence of fools destroys them; 33 but he who listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of evil."
The Reward of Seeking Wisdom
21 My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, 2 making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; 3 yes, if you 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 in integrity, 8 guarding the paths of justice and preserving the way of his saints. 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 discretion will watch over you; understanding will guard you; 12 delivering you from the way of evil, from men of perverted speech, 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 men whose paths are crooked, and who are devious in their ways. 16 You will be saved from the loose woman, from the adventuress with her smooth words, 17 who forsakes the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God; 18 for her house sinks down to death, and her paths to the shades; 19 none who go to her come back nor do they regain the paths of life. 20 So you will walk in the way of good men and keep to the paths of the righteous. 21 For the upright will inhabit the land, and men of integrity 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 son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; 2 for length of days and years of life and abundant welfare will they give you. 3 Let not loyalty and faithfulness forsake you; bind them about 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 man. 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 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. 8 It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. 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 son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, 12 for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.
13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gets understanding, 14 for the gain from it is better than gain from silver and its profit 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 forth, and the clouds drop down the dew.
21 My son, keep sound wisdom and discretion; let them not escape from your sight, 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 ruin of the wicked, when it comes; 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 evil against your neighbor who dwells trustingly beside you. 30 Do not contend with a man for no reason, when he has done you no harm. 31 Do not envy a man of violence and do not choose any of his ways; 32 for the perverse man is 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 fools get disgrace.