The Purpose of Proverbs

The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

For learning what wisdom and discipline are;

for understanding insightful sayings;

for receiving wise instruction

in righteousness, justice, and integrity;

for teaching shrewdness to the inexperienced,[a]

knowledge and discretion to a young man—

a wise man will listen and increase his learning,

and a discerning man will obtain guidance—

for understanding a proverb or a parable,[b]

the words of the wise, and their riddles.

The fear of the Lord

is the beginning of knowledge;

fools despise wisdom and discipline.

Avoid the Path of the Violent

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction,

and don’t reject your mother’s teaching,

for they will be a garland of grace on your head

and a gold chain around your neck.

10 My son, if sinners entice you,

don’t be persuaded.

11 If they say—“Come with us!

Let’s set an ambush and kill someone.[c]

Let’s attack some innocent person just for fun![d]

12 Let’s swallow them alive, like Sheol,

still healthy as they go down to the Pit.

13 We’ll find all kinds of valuable property

and fill our houses with plunder.

14 Throw in your lot with us,

and we’ll all share our money”[e]

15 my son, don’t travel that road with them

or set foot on their path,

16 because their feet run toward trouble

and they hurry to commit murder.[f]

17 It is foolish to spread a net

where any bird can see it,

18 but they set an ambush to kill themselves;[g]

they attack their own lives.

19 Such are the paths of all who make profit dishonestly;

it takes the lives of those who receive it.[h]

Wisdom’s Plea

20 Wisdom calls out in the street;

she raises her voice in the public squares.

21 She cries out above[i] the commotion;

she speaks at the entrance of the city gates:

22 “How long, foolish ones, will you love ignorance?

How long will you mockers enjoy mocking

and you fools hate knowledge?

23 If you respond to my warning,[j]

then I will pour out my spirit on you

and teach you my words.

24 Since I called out and you refused,

extended my hand and no one paid attention,

25 since you neglected all my counsel

and did not accept my correction,

26 I, in turn, will laugh at your calamity.

I will mock when terror strikes you,

27 when terror strikes you like a storm

and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,

when trouble and stress overcome you.

28 Then they will call me, but I won’t answer;

they will search for me, but won’t find me.

29 Because they hated knowledge,

didn’t choose to fear the Lord,

30 were not interested in my counsel,

and rejected all my correction,

31 they will eat the fruit of their way

and be glutted with their own schemes.

32 For the turning away of the inexperienced will kill them,

and the complacency of fools will destroy them.

33 But whoever listens to me will live securely

and be free from the fear of danger.”


  1. Proverbs 1:4 Or simple, or gullible
  2. Proverbs 1:6 Or an enigma
  3. Proverbs 1:11 Lit Let’s ambush for blood
  4. Proverbs 1:11 Lit person for no reason
  5. Proverbs 1:14 Lit us; one bag will be for all of us
  6. Proverbs 1:16 Lit to shed blood
  7. Proverbs 1:18 Lit they ambush for their blood
  8. Proverbs 1:19 Lit takes the life of its masters
  9. Proverbs 1:21 Lit at the head of
  10. Proverbs 1:23 Lit back to my reprimand