The Usefulness of Proverbs
1 The proverbs (truths obscurely expressed, maxims, and parables) of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
2 That people may know skillful and godly Wisdom and instruction, discern and comprehend the words of understanding and insight, 3 Receive instruction in wise dealing and the discipline of wise thoughtfulness, righteousness, justice, and integrity, 4 That prudence may be given to the simple, and knowledge, discretion, and discernment to the youth -- " 5 The wise also will hear and increase in learning, and the person of understanding will acquire skill and attain to sound counsel [so that he may be able to steer his course rightly] -- " 6 That people may understand a proverb and a figure of speech or an enigma with its interpretation, and the words of the wise and their dark sayings or riddles.
7 The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; but fools despise skillful and godly Wisdom, instruction, and discipline.
The Enticement of Sinners
8 My son, hear the instruction of your father; reject not nor forsake the teaching of your mother. 9 For they are a [victor's] chaplet (garland) of grace upon your head and chains and pendants [of gold worn by kings] 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 [to shed] blood, let us ambush the innocent without cause [and show that his piety is in vain]; 12 Let us swallow them up alive as does Sheol (the place of the dead), and whole, as those who go down into the pit [of the dead]; 13 We shall find and take all kinds of precious goods [when our victims are put out of the way], we shall fill our houses with plunder; 14 Throw in your lot with us [they insist] and be a sworn brother and comrade; let us all have one purse in common -- " 15 My son, do not walk in the way with them; restrain your foot from their path; 16 For their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood. 17 For in vain is the net spread in the sight of any bird! 18 But [when these men set a trap for others] they are lying in wait for their own blood; they set an ambush for their own lives. 19 So are the ways of everyone who is greedy of gain; such [greed for plunder] takes away the lives of its possessors.
20 Wisdom cries aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the markets; 21 She cries at the head of the noisy intersections [in the chief gathering places]; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: 22 How long, O simple ones [open to evil], will you love being simple? And the scoffers delight in scoffing and [self-confident] fools hate knowledge? 23 If you will turn (repent) and give heed to my reproof, behold, I [ Wisdom] will pour out my spirit upon you, I will make my words known to you. 24 Because I have called and you have refused [to answer], have stretched out my hand and no man has heeded it, 25 And you treated as nothing all my counsel and would accept none of my reproof, 26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when the thing comes that shall cause you terror and panic -- " 27 When your panic comes as a storm and desolation and your calamity comes on as a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. 28 Then will they call upon me [Wisdom] but I will not answer; they will seek me early and diligently but they will not find me. 29 Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord, 30 Would accept none of my counsel, and despised all my reproof, 31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way and be satiated with their own devices. 32 For the backsliding of the simple shall slay them, and the careless ease of [self-confident] fools shall destroy them. 33 But whoso hearkens to me [Wisdom] shall dwell securely and in confident trust and shall be quiet, without fear or dread of evil.