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The Beginning of Knowledge
1 These are the proverbs of Solomon son of David,
king of Israel,
2 for gaining wisdom and discipline,
for comprehending words of insight,
3 and for receiving instruction in wise living
and in righteousness, justice, and equity.
4 To impart prudence to the simple a
and knowledge and discretion to the young,
5 let the wise listen and gain instruction,
and the discerning acquire wise counsel
6 by understanding the proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.
7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools b despise wisdom and discipline.
The Enticement of Sin
8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction,
and do not forsake the teaching of your mother.
9 For they are a garland of grace on your head
and a pendant around your neck.
10 My son, if sinners entice you,
do not yield to them.
11 If they say, “Come along, let us lie in wait for blood,
let us ambush the innocent without cause,
12 let us swallow them alive like Sheol,
and whole like those descending into the Pit.
13 We will find all manner of precious goods;
we will fill our houses with plunder.
14 Throw in your lot with us;
let us all share one purse”—
15 my son, do not walk the road with them
or set foot upon their path.
16 For their feet run to evil,
and they are swift to shed blood.
17 How futile it is to spread the net
where any bird can see it!
18 But they lie in wait for their own blood;
they ambush their own lives.
19 Such is the fate of all who are greedy,
whose unjust gain takes the lives of its possessors.
Wisdom Calls Aloud
20 Wisdom calls out in the street,
she lifts her voice in the square;
21 in the main concourse c she cries aloud,
at the city gates she makes her speech:
22 “How long, O simple ones, will you love your simple ways?
How long will scoffers delight in their scorn
and fools hate knowledge?
23 If you had repented at my rebuke,
then surely I would have poured out my spirit on you;
I would have made my words known to you.
24 Because you refused my call,
and no one took my outstretched hand,
25 because you neglected all my counsel,
and wanted none of my correction,
26 in turn I will mock your calamity;
I will sneer when terror strikes you,
27 when your dread comes like a storm,
and your destruction like a whirlwind,
when distress and anguish overwhelm you.
28 Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
they will earnestly seek me, but will not find me.
29 For they hated knowledge
and chose not to fear the LORD.
30 They accepted none of my counsel;
they despised all my reproof.
31 So they will eat the fruit of their own way,
and be filled with their own devices.
32 For the waywardness of the simple will slay them,
and the complacency of fools will destroy them.
33 But whoever listens to me will dwell in safety,
secure from the fear of evil.”
4 a The Hebrew word rendered simple in Proverbs refers to one who is naive, without moral direction, or inclined to evil.
7 b The Hebrew words rendered as fool in Proverbs denote one who is morally deficient.
21 c Or from the top of the wall