Proverbs 1

How Proverbs Can Be Used

1 These are the proverbs
    of King Solomon of Israel,
        the son of David.
2 Proverbs will teach you
        wisdom and self-control
    and how to understand
        sayings with deep meanings.
3 You will learn what is right
        and honest and fair.
4 From these, an ordinary person
        can learn to be smart,
    and young people can gain
        knowledge and good sense.

5 If you are already wise,
        you will become even wiser.
    And if you are smart,
    you will learn to understand
6      proverbs and sayings,
    as well as words of wisdom
        and all kinds of riddles.
7 Respect and obey the Lord!
   This is the beginning
        of knowledge.
    Only a fool rejects wisdom
        and good advice.

Warnings against Bad Friends

8 My child, obey the teachings
        of your parents,
9 and wear their teachings
   as you would a lovely hat
        or a pretty necklace.
10 Don’t be tempted by sinners
        or listen 11 when they say,
   “Come on! Let’s gang up
    and kill somebody,
        just for the fun of it!
12 They’re well and healthy now,
     but we’ll finish them off
        once and for all.
13 We’ll take their valuables
     and fill our homes
        with stolen goods.
14 If you join our gang,
        you’ll get your share.”

15 Don’t follow anyone like that
        or do what they do.
16 They are in a big hurry
     to commit some crime,
        perhaps even murder.
17 They are like a bird
     that sees the bait,
        but ignores the trap.
18 They gang up to murder someone,
        but they are the victims.
19 The wealth you get from crime
        robs you of your life.

Wisdom Speaks

20 Wisdom shouts in the streets
        wherever crowds gather.
21 She shouts in the marketplaces
     and near the city gates
        as she says to the people,
22 “How much longer
     will you enjoy
        being stupid fools?
     Won’t you ever stop sneering
        and laughing at knowledge?
23 Listen as I correct you
        and tell you what I think.
24 You completely ignored me
        and refused to listen;
25 you rejected my advice
     and paid no attention
        when I warned you.

26 “So when you are struck
        by some terrible disaster,
27 or when trouble and distress
     surround you like a whirlwind,
        I will laugh and make fun.
28 You will ask for my help,
        but I won’t listen;
    you will search,
        but you won’t find me.
29 No, you would not learn,
     and you refused
        to respect the Lord.
30 You rejected my advice
     and paid no attention
        when I warned you.

31 “Now you will eat the fruit
        of what you have done,
     until you are stuffed full
        with your own schemes.
32 Sin and self-satisfaction
     bring destruction and death
        to stupid fools.
33 But if you listen to me,
     you will be safe and secure
        without fear of disaster.”

The Contemporary English Version, c1995 by the American Bible Society.
Selected texts provided for use with the Hypertext Bible Commentary