Purpose and Theme
- The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
- for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight;
- for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair;
- for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young—
- let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance—
- for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.
Prologue: Exhortations to Embrace Wisdom
- The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Warning Against the Invitation of Sinful Men
- Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching.
- They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.
- My son, if sinful men entice you, do not give in to them.
- If they say, "Come along with us; let's lie in wait for innocent blood, let's ambush some harmless soul;
- let's swallow them alive, like the grave, and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
- we will get all sorts of valuable things and fill our houses with plunder;
- cast lots with us; we will all share the loot"—
- my son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths;
- for their feet rush into evil, they are swift to shed blood.
- How useless to spread a net where every bird can see it!
- These men lie in wait for their own blood; they ambush only themselves!
- Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the life of those who get it.
- Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square;
- on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech:
- "How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?
- Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings.
- But since you refuse to listen when I call and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand,
- since you disregard all my advice and do not accept my rebuke,
- I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you; I will mock when calamity overtakes you—
- when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you.
- "Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me,
- since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the LORD.
- Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke,
- they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.
- For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
- but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm."
- The Hebrew word rendered 'simple' in Proverbs denotes a person who is gullible, without moral direction and inclined to evil.
- Or 'understanding a proverb, namely, a parable, / and the sayings of the wise, their riddles'
- The Hebrew words rendered 'fool' in Proverbs, and often elsewhere in the Old Testament, denote a person who is morally deficient.
- Septuagint; Hebrew '/ at noisy street corners'