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Proverbs 1:1–9:18

Prologue

1 Proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:

To know wisdom and instruction,

to understand sayings of understanding,

to gain insightful instruction,a

righteousness and justice and equity,

to give shrewdnessb to the simple,

knowledge and purposec to the young,

may the wise hear and increase learning,

and the one who understands gain direction,d

to understand a proverb and an expression,

words of wisdom and their riddles.

Fear of Yahweh is the beginning of knowledge;

wisdom and instruction, fools despise.

Lecture Against Gang Behavior

My child, may you keepe your father’s instruction,

and do not reject your mother’s teachings,

for they are a garland of favor 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!

We shall lie in wait for blood;

we shall ambush the innocent without cause.f

12 Like Sheol,g we will swallow them alive

and whole, like those who descend to the pit.h

13 We shall find all precious wealth,

we shall fill our houses with booty,

14 you shall throw your lot in our midst,

there will be one purse for all of us.”

15 My child, do not walk in their way.i

Keep your foot from their paths,

16 for their feet run to evil,

and they hurry to shed blood,

17 for “in vainj is the net scattered,

in the sight of any winged bird.”k

18 They lie in wait for their own blood.

They ambush their own lives.

19 Thus are the ways of all who are greedy for gain—

it will take the life of its possessors.

The Call of Lady Wisdom

20 Wisdom calls out in the streets,

in the squares she raises her voice.

21 On a busy cornerl she cries out,

at the entrances of the gates in the city, she speaks her sayings:

22 How long,m O simple ones, will you love simplicity?

And how long will scoffers delight in their scoffing,

and fools hate knowledge?

23 May you turn to my argument!n

Behold, I shall pour out my spirit upon you;

I will make my words known to you.

24 Because I called out and you refused me,

I stretched out my hand, yet there is none who heeds.

25 You have ignored all my counsel,

and my reproof you are not willing to accept.

26 I will also laugh at your calamity;o

I will mock when panicp comes upon you.

27 When your panic comes like a storm,

and your calamity arrives like a whirlwind,

when distress and anguish come upon you,

28 then they will callq me, but I will not answer;

they will seek me diligently but not find me.

29 Since they hated knowledge,

and did not choose the fear of Yahweh,

30 they were not willing to accept my counsel,

they despised all my reproof.

31 They shall eat from the fruit of their way,

and they shall be sated from their own schemes,

32 for the waywardness of the simple ones will kill them,

and the complacency of fools will destroy them.

33 Whoever listens to me will dwell in security

and rest securelyr from dread and disaster.”

The Benefits of Wisdom

2 My child, if you will receivea my sayings,

and hide my commands with you,

in order to incline your ear toward wisdom,

then you shall apply your heart to understanding.

For if you cry out for understanding,b

if you liftc your voice for insight,

if you seek her like silver

and search her out like treasure,d

then you will understand the fear of Yahweh,

and the knowledge of God you will find.

For Yahweh will give wisdom;

from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

For the upright, he storese sound judgment, a shield for those who walk uprightly,

in order to guard paths of justice

and keepf the way of his faithful ones.

Then you will understand righteousness and justice

and uprightness—every good course—

10 for wisdom will enter your heart,

and knowledge will be pleasing to your soul.g

11 Discretion will watch over you;

understanding will protect you,

12 in order to deliver you from the way of evil,h

from a man who speaks devious things—

13 those who forsake the paths of uprightness

to walk in ways of darkness,

14 those who are happy to do evil,

for they delight in the deviousness of evil,

15 who are crooked in their ways,i

and devious in their paths;

16 in order to deliver you from a strange woman,

from a foreign woman who flattersj with her sayings,

17 she who forsakes the partner of her youth

and has forgotten the covenant of her God,

18 for her house sinks to death,

and to the deadk are her paths.

19 Of all who go to her, none shall return,

nor do they reach paths of life.

20 So that you will walk on the road of those who are good,

and the paths of those who are righteous you shall keep.

21 For those who are upright will dwell in the land,l

and those who are blamelessm will remain in it.

22 And those who are wicked will be cut off from the land,

and those who are treacherous will be uprooted from it.

Wisdom and Piety

3 My child, do not forget my instruction,

and may your heart guard my commands.

For length of days, years of life,

and peace theya shall add to you.

May loyal loveb and truth not forsake you;

bind them around your neck,

write them upon your heart.

And you shall find favor and good sensec

in the eyes of God and humankind.

Trust Yahwehd with all your heart;

do not lean toward your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge him,

and he will straighten your paths.

Do not be wise in your own eyes;

fear Yahweh and retreat from evil.

There shall be healing for your flesh,e

and refreshment for your body.

Honor Yahweh from your substance,f

and from the firstfruits of all that will come to you,

10 and your barns shall be full of plenty,

and your vats shall burst with new wine.

Happy Is the One Who Finds Wisdom

11 Do not despise the discipline of Yahweh, my child.

Do not be weary of his reproof

12 because whomever Yahweh will love, he will rebuke,

as a father delights in his son.

13 Happy is the oneg who finds wisdom,

and one who obtains understanding.

14 For herh income is better than the income of silver,

and her revenue than that of gold.

15 She is more precious than rubies,

and all your desires shall not compare with her.

16 Length of days 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 for those who seize her;

those who take hold of her are considered happy.

Role of Wisdom in Creation and Society

19 Yahweh in wisdom founded the earth;

he established the heavens in understanding.

20 With his knowledge, depths broke open,

and clouds dropped dew.

21 My child, may theyi not escape from your sight;j

may you keep sound wisdom and prudence.

22 They shall be life for your soulk

and adornmentl for your neck.

23 Then you will walk in the confidence of your ways,

and your foot will not stumble.

24 If you sit down, you will not panic,m

and if you lie down, then your sleep shall be sweet.

25 Do not be afraid of sudden panic,n

or the storm of wickedness that will come.

26 Yahweh will be your confidenceo

and guard your foot from capture.

27 Do not withhold good from its ownerp

when it is in the power of your hand to do.

28 Do not say to your neighbor,

“Go and return and tomorrow I will give it,”

when it is with you.q

29 Do not plot harm against your neighbor

who dwells in confidence beside you.

30 Do not quarrel with anyone without cause,

when he did not do you harm.

31 Do not envy a man of violence,

and do not choose any of his ways,

32 for he who is perverse is an abomination of Yahweh,

but those who are upright are his confidence.

33 The curse of Yahweh is on the house of the wicked,

and the abode of the righteous ones he blesses.

34 With those who scorn, he is scornful,

but to those who are humble, he gives favor.

35 They will inherit the honor of the wise,

but stubborn fools, disgrace.

The Father’s Wisdom

4 Children, listen to the instruction of a father,

and be attentive in order to know insight.

For I have given you good instruction;

do not forsake my teaching.

When I was a son to my father,

tender and alone before my mother,

he taught me and said to me,

“May your heart hold fast to my words;

guard my commandments and live.

Get wisdom and insight;

do not forget and do not turn from the sayings of my mouth.

Do not forsake her—then she will guard you;

love her and she will keep you.

The beginning of wisdom: Get wisdom!

With all that is in your possession, gain insight.

Cherish her and she will exalt you;

she will honor you if you embrace her.

She will give a garland for your head;

she shall bestow a crown of glory upon you.”

The Right Path

10 Listen, my child, take my sayings,

and the years of your life shall be great.

11 In the way of wisdom I have instructed you;

I have led you in the path of uprightness.

12 When you walk,a your step will not be hampered,

and if you run, you will not stumble.

13 Seize the instruction! Do not let go!

Guard her, for she is your life.

14 In the path of the wicked do not go;

do not walk in the way of those who do evil.

15 Avoid it; do not transgress it;

turn away from it and pass by.

16 For they will not sleep if they have not done wrong,

and they are robbed of their sleep if they do not cause stumbling.

17 For they ate the bread of wickedness,

and they drank the wine of violence.

18 But the path of the righteous ones is like the light of dawn,

leading and shining until the day is full.b

19 The way of the wicked ones is like deep darkness;

they do not know what they stumble over.

Staying the Course

20 My child, be attentive to my words;

to my sayings incline your ear.

21 May they not escape from your sight;c

keep them in the midst of your heart.

22 For they are life to those who find them

and healing to the entire body.d

23 With all vigilance, keep your heart,

for from it comes the sourcee of life.

24 Remove from yourself deceitful speech,f

and abolish devious talkg from yourself.

25 May your eyes look forwardh

and your gaze be straight before you.

26 May the path of your foot be balanced

and all your ways be sure.

27 Do not swerve …

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