Chapter 1

    The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: to know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; to give subtlety to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. A wise man will hear and will increase learning, and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels; to understand a proverb, and the interpretation — the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

  1. My son, hear the instruction of your father, and forsake not the law of your mother; for they shall be an ornament of grace unto your head, and chains about your neck. My son, if sinners entice you, consent not. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause, let us swallow them up alive as the grave, and whole, as those that go down into the pit; we shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil, cast in your lot among us, let us all have one purse — my son, walk not in the way with them. Restrain your foot from their path, for their feet run to evil and make haste to shed blood — surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird — and they lay wait for their own blood, they lurk secretly for their own lives. So are the ways of everyone that is greedy of gain which take away the life of the owners thereof.
  2. Wisdom cries outside; she utters her voice in the streets, she cries in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates. In the city she utters her words, saying, How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? And the scorners delight in their scorning? And fools hate knowledge? Turn at my reproof. Behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.
  3. Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no man regarded, but you have despised all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear comes. When your fear comes as desolation and your destruction comes as a whirlwind, when distress and anguish comes upon you — then shall they call upon me; but I will not answer. They shall seek me early, but they shall not find me, for they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord. They would have none of my counsel, they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices; for the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.
  4. But whoever listens unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.
  5. My son, if you will receive my words and hide my commandments with you, so that you incline your ear unto wisdom and apply your heart to understanding, yea, if you cry after knowledge and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver and search for her as for hidden treasures, then shall you understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God; for the Lord gives wisdom, out of his mouth comes knowledge and understanding. He lays up sound wisdom for the righteous, he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keeps the paths of judgment and preserves the way of his saints. Then shall you understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity, yea, every good path.
  6. When wisdom enters into your heart and knowledge is pleasant unto your soul, discretion shall preserve you, understanding shall keep you, to deliver you from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaks froward things, who leave the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness, who rejoice to do evil and delight in the frowardness of the wicked, whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths; to deliver you from the strange woman, even from the stranger who flatters with her words, who forsakes the guide of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God — for her house inclines unto death and her paths unto the dead, none that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life — that you may walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous. For the upright shall dwell in the land and the perfect shall remain in it, but the wicked shall be cut off from the earth and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.
  7. My son, forget not my law, but let your heart keep my commandments; for length of days, and long life, and peace shall they add to you. Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them about your neck, write them upon the tablet of your heart. So shall you find favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man.
  8. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord, and depart from evil; it shall be health to your navel and marrow to your bones.
  9. Honor the Lord with your substance, and with the firstfruits of all your increase. So shall your barns be filled with plenty, and your presses shall burst out with new wine.
  10. My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord, neither be weary of his correction; for whom the Lord loves, he corrects, even as a father the son in whom he delights.
  11. Happy is the man that finds wisdom, and the man that gets understanding; for the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you can desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand, riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her, and happy is everyone that retains her. The Lord, by wisdom, has founded the earth; by understanding has he established the heavens; by his knowledge, the depths are broken up and the clouds drop down the dew. My son, do not let them depart from your eyes.
  12. Keep sound wisdom and discretion; so shall they be life unto your soul and grace to your neck. Then shall you walk in your way safely, and your foot shall not stumble. When you lie down, you shall not be afraid; yea, you shall lie down and your sleep shall be sweet.
  13. Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked when it comes; for the Lord shall be your confidence, and shall keep your foot from being taken.
  14. Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do it. Say not unto your neighbor, Go, and come again, and tomorrow I will give — when you have it by you. Devise not evil against your neighbor, seeing he dwells securely by you. Quarrel not with a man without cause, if he has done you no harm.
  15. Envy not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways; for the froward is abomination to the Lord, but his secret is with the righteous. The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked, but he blesses the habitation of the just. Surely he scorns the scorners, but he gives grace unto the lowly. The wise shall inherit glory, but shame shall be the promotion of fools.
  16. Hear, you children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding; for I give you good teachings. Forsake not my law; for I was my father’s son, tender and only-beloved in the sight of my mother. He taught me also, and said unto me, Let your heart retain my words; keep my commandments, and live. Get wisdom, get understanding; forget it not, neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve you; love her, and she shall keep you. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom; and with all your getting, get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote you. She shall bring you to honor when you do embrace her. She shall give to your head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to you.
  17. Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings, and the years of your life shall be many. I have taught you in the way of wisdom, I have led you in right paths. When you go, your steps shall not be distressed; and when you run, you shall not stumble. Take fast hold of instruction, let her not go; keep her, for she is your life.
  18. Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it and pass away; for they sleep not except they have done mischief, and their sleep is taken away unless they cause some to fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence. But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shines more and more unto the perfect day; the way of the wicked is as darkness, they know not at what they stumble.
  19. My son, attend to my words, incline your ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from your eyes, keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from you a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from you. Let your eyes look right on, and let your eyelids look straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left; remove your foot from evil.
  20. My son, attend unto my wisdom and bow your ear to my understanding, that you may regard discretion and that your lips may keep knowledge. For the lips of a strange woman drop as a honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil; but her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death, her steps take hold on hell. Lest you should ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that you cannot know them. Hear me now therefore, O you children, and depart not from the words of my mouth. Remove your way far from her, and come not near the door of her house, lest you give your honor unto others and your years unto the cruel; lest strangers be filled with your wealth and your labors be in the house of a stranger, and you mourn at the last, when your flesh and your body are consumed, and say, How I have hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof, and have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined my ear to them that instructed me! I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.
  21. Drink waters out of your own cistern, and running waters out of your own well. Let your fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets. Let them be only your own, and not strangers’ with you. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy you at all times, and you be ravished always with her love. And why will you, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?
  22. For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all his goings. His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be held with the cords of his sins. He shall die without instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.
  23. My son, if you be surety for your friend, if you have stricken your hand with a stranger, you are snared with the words of your mouth, you are caught with the words of your mouth. Do this now, my son, and deliver yourself: when you have come into the hand of your friend, go humble yourself, and make sure your friend. Give not sleep to your eyes, nor slumber to your eyelids. Deliver yourself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.
  24. Go to the ant, you sluggard. Consider her ways and be wise — which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provides her food in the summer and gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you sleep, O sluggard? When will you arise out of your sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep; so shall your poverty come as one that travels, and your lack as an armed man.
  25. A naughty person, a wicked man, walks with a froward mouth. He winks with his eyes, he speaks with his feet, he teaches with his fingers. Frowardness is in his heart, he devises mischief continually; he sows discord. Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy.
  26. These six things does the Lord hate, yea, seven are an abomination unto him: a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaks lies, and he that sows discord among brethren.
  27. My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of your mother. Bind them continually upon your heart, and tie them about your neck. When you go, it shall lead you; when you sleep, it shall keep you; and when you awake, it shall talk with you. For the commandment is a lamp, and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.
  28. To keep you from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman, lust not after her beauty in your heart, neither let her catch you with her eyelids; for by means of a whorish woman, a man is brought to a piece of bread, and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life. Can a man take fire in his bosom and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals and his feet not be burned? So he that goes in to his neighbor’s wife, whoever touches her shall not be innocent.
  29. Men do not despise a thief if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry; but if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold, he shall give all the substance of his house.
  30. But whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; he that does it destroys his own soul. A wound and dishonor shall he get, and his reproach shall not be wiped away. For jealousy is the rage of a man, therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. He will not regard any ransom, neither will he rest content, though you give many gifts.
  31. My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with you. Keep my commandments and live, and my law as the apple of your eye. Bind them upon your fingers, write them upon the tablet of your heart. Say unto wisdom, You are my sister — and call understanding your kinswoman, that they may keep you from the strange woman, from the stranger who flatters with her words.
  32. For at the window of my house I looked through my lattice, and beheld among the simple ones; I discerned among the youths a young man, void of understanding, passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house in the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night. And behold, there met him a woman, with the attire of a harlot and subtle of heart. (She is loud and stubborn; her feet remain not in her house — now is she outside, now in the streets, and lies in wait at every corner.) So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, I have peace offerings with me, this day have I paid my vows. Therefore came I forth to meet you, diligently to seek your face, and I have found you. I have adorned my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning, let us solace ourselves with loves; for the master of the house is not at home, he is gone, a long journey; he has taken a bag of money with him and will come home at the day appointed. With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. He goes after her immediately, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks, until a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hastens to the snare, and knows not that it is for his life.
  33. Listen unto me now therefore, O you children, and attend to the words of my mouth. Let not your heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths; for she has cast down many wounded, yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.
  34. Does not Wisdom cry, and understanding put forth her voice? She stands in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths. She cries at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors. Unto you, O men, I call, and my voice is to the sons of man. O you simple, understand Wisdom; and you fools, be of an understanding heart.
  35. Hear, for I will speak of excellent things, and the opening of my lips shall be right things; for my mouth shall speak truth, and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are in righteousness, there is nothing froward or perverse in them. They are all plain to him that understands, and right to them that find knowledge. Receive my instruction, and not silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies, and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.
  36. I, Wisdom, dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of clever inventions. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil. Pride, and arrogance, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom. I am understanding, I have strength. By me kings reign and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles — even all the judges of the earth. I love them that love me, and those that seek me early shall find me. Riches and honor are with me — yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold, and my revenue than choice silver. I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment, that I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasuries.
  37. The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth, when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth, while as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there. When he set a compass upon the face of the depth, when he established the clouds above, when he strengthened the fountains of the deep, when he gave to the sea his decree that the waters should not pass his commandment, when he appointed the foundations of the earth — then I was by him, as one brought up with him, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him, rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.
  38. Now therefore listen unto me, O you children, for blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that hears me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors; for whoever finds me finds life and shall obtain favor of the Lord; but he that sins against me wrongs his own soul. All they that hate me love death.
  39. Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn out her seven pillars. She has killed her beasts, she has mingled her wine, she has also furnished her table.
  40. She has sent forth her maidens. She cries upon the highest places of the city, Whoever is simple, let him turn in here. As for him that lacks understanding, she says to him, Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine which I have mingled.
  41. Forsake the foolish and live, and go in the way of understanding. He that reproves a scorner gets to himself shame, and he that rebukes a wicked man gets himself a blot. Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate you; rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man and he will be yet wiser, teach a just man and he will increase in learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the holy is understanding; for by me your days shall be multiplied and the years of your life shall be increased. If you are wise, you shall be wise for yourself; but if you scorn, you alone shall bear it.
  42. A foolish woman is clamorous, she is simple and knows nothing; for she sits at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city, to call passengers who go right on their ways, Whoever is simple, let him turn in here. And as for him that lacks understanding, she says to him, Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. But he knows not that the dead are there, and that her guests are in the depths of hell.