- 1 The Proverbs of Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel:
- 2 That men may appreciate wisdom and discipline, may understand words of intelligence;
- May receive training in wise conduct, in what is right, just and honest;
- 3 That resourcefulness may be imparted to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.
- A wise man by hearing them will advance in learning, an intelligent man will gain sound guidance,
- That he may comprehend proverb and parable, the words of the wise and their riddles.
- 4 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; wisdom and instruction fools despise.
- 5 Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and reject not your mother's teaching;
- A graceful diadem will they be for your head; a torque for your neck.
- My son, should sinners entice you,
- and say, "Come along with us! Let us lie in wait for the honest man, let us, unprovoked, set a trap for the innocent;
- Let us swallow them up, as the nether world does, alive, in the prime of life, like those who go down to the pit!
- All kinds of precious wealth shall we gain, we shall fill our houses with booty;
- Cast in your lot with us, we shall all have one purse!"--
- My son, walk not in the way with them, hold back your foot from their path!
- (For their feet run to evil, they hasten to shed blood.)
- 6 It is in vain that a net is spread before the eyes of any bird--
- These men lie in wait for their own blood, they set a trap for their own lives.
- This is the fate of everyone greedy of loot: unlawful gain takes away the life of him who acquires it.
- 7 Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the open squares she raises her voice;
- Down the crowded ways she calls out, at the city gates she utters her words:
- "How long, you simple ones, will you love inanity,
- how long will you turn away at my reproof? Lo! I will pour out to you my spirit, I will acquaint you with my words.
- "Because I called and you refused, I extended my hand and no one took notice;
- Because you disdained all my counsel, and my reproof you ignored--
- I, in my turn, will laugh at your doom; I will mock when terror overtakes you;
- When terror comes upon you like a storm, and your doom approaches like a whirlwind; when distress and anguish befall you.
- 8 "Then they call me, but I answer not; they seek me, but find me not;
- Because they hated knowledge, and chose not the fear of the LORD;
- They ignored my counsel, they spurned all my reproof; And in their arrogance they preferred arrogance, and like fools they hated knowledge:
- 9 "Now they must eat the fruit of their own way, and with their own devices be glutted.
- For the self-will of the simple kills them, the smugness of fools destroys them.
- But he who obeys me dwells in security, in peace, without fear of harm."
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Footnotes1 [1-6] This prologue explains the purpose of the book: to educate the inexperienced in knowledge and right conduct, and to increase the learning of the wise man by proverbs, parables and riddles.
2 Discipline: education or formation which dispels ignorance and corrects vice.
3 Simple: immature and inexperienced, hence easily influenced for good or evil.
4 Fear of the LORD: reverential fear and respect for God on account of his sovereignty, goodness and justice toward men. This is the foundation of religion.
5 [8-19] A warning against association with the greedy and the violent who seek to destroy the honest man and to steal his possessions (Prov 1:11-14). The trap which the wicked set for the innocent (Prov 1:11), in the end (Prov 1:19) takes away the life of the wicked themselves.
6 Instructed by the wise man, the youth (of Prov 1:4) will recognize the invitation of the wicked (Prov 1:11-14) as a net spread before him, and he will thus, like the bird, be protected against falling into it.
7 [20-33] Wisdom is here personified; with divine authority she sets forth and proclaims the moral order, instructing and threatening (Prov 1:24-33) the multitudes in the streets and places of assembly.
8 Overtaken by doom, the foolish seek wisdom, but in vain because they do so too late. Cf John 7:34; 8:21.
9 Sinners are punished by the bad fruits which their sins produce. Cf Wisdom 11:16.
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