Proverbs 1:8-33; Proverbs 2:1-22; Proverbs 3:1-35; Proverbs 4:1-27; Proverbs 5:1-23; Proverbs 6:1-35; Proverbs 7:1-27; Proverbs 8:1-36; Proverbs 9:1-18 (Common English Bible w/ Apocrypha)

Avoid evil associations

8 Listen, my son, to your father's instruction; don't neglect your mother's teaching; 9 for they are a graceful wreath on your head, and beads for your neck. 10 My son, don't let sinners entice you. Don't go 11 when they say: "Come with us. Let's set up a deadly ambush. Let's secretly wait for the innocent just for fun. 12 Let's swallow up the living like the grave— whole, like those who go down into the pit. 13 We'll find all sorts of precious wealth; we'll fill our houses with plunder. 14 Throw in your lot with us; we'll share our money." 15 My son, don't go on the path with them; keep your feet from their way, 16 because their feet run to evil; they hurry to spill blood. 17 It's useless to cast a net in the sight of a bird. 18 But these sinners set up a deadly ambush; they lie in wait for their own lives. 19 These are the ways of all who seek unjust gain; it costs them their lives.

Listen to Woman Wisdom

20 Wisdom shouts in the street; in the public square she raises her voice. 21 Above the noisy crowd, she calls out. At the entrances of the city gates, she has her say: 22 "How long will you clueless people love your naïveté, mockers hold their mocking dear, and fools hate knowledge? 23 You should respond when I correct you. Look, I'll pour out my spirit on you. I'll reveal my words to you. 24 I invited you, but you rejected me; I stretched out my hand to you, but you paid no attention. 25 You ignored all my advice, and you didn't want me to correct you. 26 So I'll laugh at your disaster; I'll make fun of you when dread comes over you, 27 when terror hits you like a hurricane, and your disaster comes in like a tornado, when distress and oppression overcome you. 28 Then they will call me, but I won't answer; they will seek me, but won't find me 29 because they hated knowledge and didn't choose the fear of the LORD. 30 They didn't want my advice; they rejected all my corrections. 31 They will eat from the fruit of their way, and they'll be full of their own schemes. 32 The immature will die because they turn away; smugness will destroy fools. 33 Those who obey me will dwell securely, untroubled by the dread of harm."

Benefits of wisdom

1 My son, accept my words and store up my commands. 2 Turn your ear toward wisdom, and stretch your mind toward understanding. 3 Call out for insight, and cry aloud for understanding. 4 Seek it like silver; search for it like hidden treasure. 5 Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, and discover the knowledge of God. 6 The LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7 He reserves ability for those with integrity. He is a shield for those who live a blameless life. 8 He protects the paths of justice and guards the way of those who are loyal to him. 9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice, as well as integrity, every good course. 10 Wisdom will enter your mind, and knowledge will fill you with delight. 11 Discretion will guard you; understanding will protect you. 12 Wisdom will rescue you from the evil path, from people who twist their words. 13 They forsake the way of integrity and go on obscure paths. 14 They enjoy doing evil, rejoicing in their twisted evil. 15 Their paths are confused; they get lost on their way. 16 Wisdom will rescue you from the mysterious woman, from the foreign woman with her slick words. 17 She leaves behind the partner of her youth; she even forgets her covenant with God. 18 Her house sinks down to death, and her paths go down to the shadowy dead. 19 All those who go to her will never return; they will never again reach the ways of the living. 20 So you should stay on the path of good people, guarding the road of the righteous. 21 Those who have integrity will dwell in the land; the innocent will remain in it. 22 But the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the treacherous will be ripped up.

Trust in the LORD

1 My son, don't forget my instruction. Let your heart guard my commands, 2 because they will help you live a long time and provide you with well-being. 3 Don't let loyalty and faithfulness leave you. Bind them on your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will find favor and approval in the eyes of God and humanity. 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; don't rely on your own intelligence. 6 Know him in all your paths, and he will keep your ways straight. 7 Don't consider yourself wise. Fear the LORD and turn away from evil. 8 Then your body will be healthy and your bones strengthened. 9 Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the first of all your crops. 10 Then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will burst with wine. 11 Don't reject the instruction of the LORD, my son; don't despise his correction. 12 The LORD loves those he corrects, just like a father who treats his son with favor.

Value of wisdom

13 Happy are those who find wisdom and those who gain understanding. 14 Her profit is better than silver, and her gain better than gold. 15 Her value exceeds pearls; all you desire can't compare with her. 16 In her right hand is a long life; in her left are wealth and honor. 17 Her ways are pleasant; all her paths are peaceful. 18 She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who hold her tight are happy. 19 The LORD laid the foundations of the earth with wisdom, establishing the heavens with understanding. 20 With his knowledge, the watery depths burst open, and the skies drop dew.

Integrity of wisdom

21 My son, don't let them slip from your eyes; hold on to sound judgment and discretion. 22 They will be life for your whole being, and an ornament for your neck. 23 Then you will walk safely on your path, and your foot won't stumble. 24 If you lie down, you won't be terrified. When you lie down, your sleep will be pleasant. 25 Don't fear sudden terror or the ruin that comes to the wicked. 26 The LORD will be your confidence; he will guard your feet from being snared. 27 Don't withhold good from someone who deserves it, when it is in your power to do so. 28 Don't say to your neighbor, "Go and come back; I'll give it to you tomorrow," when you have it. 29 Don't plan to harm your neighbor who trusts and lives near you. 30 Don't accuse anyone without reason, when they haven't harmed you. 31 Don't envy violent people or choose any of their ways. 32 Devious people are detestable to the LORD, but the virtuous are his close friends. 33 The LORD's curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous. 34 He mocks mockers, but he shows favor to the humble. 35 The wise gain respect, but fools receive shame.

Love wisdom

1 Hear, children, fatherly instruction; pay attention to gain understanding. 2 I'll teach you well. Don't abandon my instruction. 3 When I was a son to my father, tender and my mother's favorite, 4 he taught me and said to me: "Let your heart hold on to my words: Keep my commands and live. 5 Get wisdom; get understanding. Don't forget and don't turn away from my words. 6 Don't abandon her, and she will guard you. Love her, and she will protect you. 7 The beginning of wisdom: Get wisdom! Get understanding before anything else. 8 Highly esteem her, and she will exalt you. She will honor you if you embrace her. 9 She will place a graceful wreath on your head; she will give you a glorious crown."

Stay on the path of wisdom

10 Listen, my son, and take in my speech, then the years of your life will be many. 11 I teach you the path of wisdom. I lead you in straight courses. 12 When you walk, you won't be hindered; when you run, you won't stumble. 13 Hold on to instruction; don't slack off; protect it, for it is your life. 14 Don't go on the way of the wicked; don't walk on the path of evil people. 15 Avoid it! Don't turn onto it; stay off of it and keep going! 16 They don't sleep unless they do evil; they are robbed of sleep unless they make someone stumble. 17 They eat the bread of evil, and they drink the wine of violence. 18 The way of the righteous is like morning light that gets brighter and brighter till it is full day. 19 The path of the wicked is like deep darkness; they don't know where they will stumble.

Be careful about what you say

20 My son, pay attention to my words. Bend your ear to my speech. 21 Don't let them slip from your sight. Guard them in your mind. 22 They are life to those who find them, and healing for their entire body. 23 More than anything you guard, protect your mind, for life flows from it. 24 Have nothing to do with a corrupt mouth; keep devious lips far from you. 25 Focus your eyes straight ahead; keep your gaze on what is in front of you. 26 Watch your feet on the way, and all your paths will be secure. 27 Don't deviate a bit to the right or the left; turn your feet away from evil.

Avoid the mysterious woman

1 My son, pay attention to my wisdom. Bend your ear to what I know, 2 so you might remain discreet, and your lips might guard knowledge. 3 The lips of a mysterious woman drip honey, and her tongue is smoother than oil, 4 but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death; her steps lead to the grave. 6 She doesn't stay on the way of life. Her paths wander, but she doesn't know it. 7 Now children, listen to me, and don't deviate from the words of my mouth. 8 Stay on a path that is far from her; don't approach the entrance to her house. 9 Otherwise, you will give your strength to others, your years to a cruel person. 10 Otherwise, strangers will sap your strength, and your hard work will end up in a foreigner's house. 11 You will groan at the end when your body and flesh are exhausted, 12 and you say, "How I hated instruction! How my heart despised correction! 13 I didn't listen to the voice of my instructor. I didn't obey my teacher. 14 I'm on the brink of utter ruin in the assembled community." 15 Drink water from your own cistern, gushing water from your own well. 16 Should your fountains flood outside, streams of water in the public squares? 17 They are yours alone, not for you as well as strangers. 18 May your spring be blessed. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19 She is a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts intoxicate you all the time; always be drunk on her love. 20 Why, my son, should you lose your senses with a mysterious woman and embrace the breasts of a foreign female? 21 The LORD's eyes watch over every person's path, observing all their ways. 22 The wicked will be caught by their own evil acts, grabbed by the ropes of their own sin. 23 Those without instruction will die, misled by their own stupidity.

Wise advice

1 My son, if you guarantee a loan for your neighbor or shake hands in agreement with a stranger, 2 you will be trapped by your words; you will be caught by your words. 3 Do this, my son, to get out of it, for you have come under the control of your neighbor. So go, humble yourself, and pester your neighbor. 4 Don't give sleep to your eyes or slumber to your eyelids. 5 Get yourself free like a gazelle from a hunter, like a bird from the hand of a fowler. 6 Go to the ant, you lazy person; observe its ways and grow wise. 7 The ant has no commander, officer, or ruler. 8 Even so, it gets its food in summer; gathers its provisions at harvest. 9 How long, lazy person, will you lie down? When will you rise from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the arms to lie down— 11 and poverty will come on you like a prowler, destitution like a warrior. 12 Worthless people and guilty people go around with crooked talk. 13 They wink their eyes, gesture with their feet, and point with their fingers. 14 Their hearts are corrupt and determined to do evil; they create controversies all the time. 15 Therefore, sudden disaster will come upon them; they will be quickly broken beyond healing. 16 There are six things that the LORD hates, seven things detestable to him: 17 snobbish eyes, a lying tongue, hands that spill innocent blood, 18 a heart set on wicked plans, feet that run quickly to evil, 19 a false witness who breathes lies, and one who causes conflicts among relatives.

Danger of adultery

20 My son, keep your father's command; don't abandon your mother's instruction. 21 Bind them on your heart for all time; fasten them around your neck. 22 When you walk around, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will protect you; when you awake, they will occupy your attention. 23 The commandment is a lamp and instruction a light; corrective teaching is the path of life. 24 They guard you from the evil woman, from the flattering tongue of the foreign woman. 25 Don't desire her beauty in secret; don't let her take you in with her eyelashes, 26 for a prostitute costs a loaf of bread, but a married woman hunts for a man's very life. 27 Can a man scoop fire into his lap and his clothes not get burned? 28 If a man walks on hot coals, don't his feet get burned? 29 So is the man who approaches his neighbor's wife; anyone who touches her will be punished. 30 People don't despise a thief if he steals to fill his starving stomach. 31 But if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold; he must give all the riches of his house. 32 He who commits adultery is senseless. Doing so, he destroys himself. 33 He is wounded and disgraced. His shame will never be wiped away. 34 Jealousy makes a man rage; he'll show no mercy on his day of revenge. 35 He won't accept compensation; he'll refuse even a large bribe.

Avoid loose women

1 My son, keep my words; store up my commands within you. 2 Keep my commands and live, and my instruction like the pupil of your eye. 3 Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Say to wisdom, "You are my sister"; call understanding "friend," 5 so she might guard you against the mysterious woman, from the foreign woman who flatters you. 6 When from the window of my house, from behind the screen, I gazed down, 7 I looked among the naive young men and noticed among the youth, one who had no sense. 8 He was crossing the street at her corner and walked down the path to her house 9 in the early evening, at the onset of night and darkness. 10 All of a sudden a woman approaches him, dressed like a prostitute and with a cunning mind. 11 She is noisy and defiant; her feet don't stay long in her own house. 12 She has one foot in the street, one foot in the public square. She lies in wait at every corner. 13 She grabs him and kisses him. Her face is brazen as she speaks to him: 14 "I've made a sacrifice of well-being; today I fulfilled my solemn promises. 15 So I've come out to meet you, seeking you, and I have found you. 16 I've spread my bed with luxurious covers, with colored linens from Egypt. 17 I've sprinkled my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18 Come, let's drink deep of love until morning; let's savor our lovemaking. 19 For my husband isn't home; he's gone far away. 20 He took a pouch of money with him; he won't come home till full moon." 21 She seduces him with all her talk. She entices him with her flattery. 22 He goes headlong after her, like an ox to the slaughter, like a deer leaping into a trap, 23 until an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird hurrying to the snare, not aware that it will cost him his life. 24 Now children, listen to me, and pay attention to my speech. 25 Don't turn your heart to her ways; don't wander down her paths. 26 She has caused many corpses to fall; she has killed many people. 27 Her house is a path to the grave, going down to the chambers of death.

Wisdom’s autobiography

1 Doesn't Wisdom cry out and Understanding shout? 2 Atop the heights along the path, at the crossroads she takes her stand. 3 By the gate before the city, at the entrances she shouts: 4 I cry out to you, people; my voice goes out to all of humanity. 5 Understand skill, you who are naive. Take this to heart, you fools. 6 Listen, for I speak things that are correct; from my lips comes what is right. 7 My mouth utters the truth; my lips despise wickedness. 8 All the words of my mouth are righteous; nothing in them is twisted or crooked. 9 All of them are straightforward to those who understand, and upright for the knowledgeable. 10 Take my instruction rather than silver, knowledge rather than choice gold. 11 Wisdom is better than pearls; nothing is more delightful than she. 12 I, Wisdom, dwell with prudence; I have found knowledge and discretion. 13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil. I hate pride and arrogance, the path of evil and corrupt speech. 14 I have advice and ability, as well as understanding and strength. 15 By me kings rule, and princes issue righteous decrees. 16 By me rulers govern, and officials judge righteously. 17 I love those who love me; those who seek me will find me. 18 Riches and honor are with me, as well as enduring wealth and righteousness. 19 My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold; my crops are better than choice silver. 20 I walk on the way of righteousness, on the paths of justice, 21 to provide for those who love me and to fill up their treasuries. 22 The LORD created me at the beginning of his way, before his deeds long in the past. 23 I was formed in ancient times, at the beginning, before the earth was. 24 When there were no watery depths, I was brought forth, when there were no springs flowing with water. 25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills, I was brought forth; 26 before God made the earth and the fields or the first of the dry land. 27 I was there when he established the heavens, when he marked out the horizon on the deep sea, 28 when he thickened the clouds above, when he secured the fountains of the deep, 29 when he set a limit for the sea, so the water couldn't go beyond his command, when he marked out the earth's foundations. 30 I was beside him as a master of crafts. I was having fun, smiling before him all the time, 31 frolicking with his inhabited earth and delighting in the human race. 32 Now children, listen to me: Happy are those who keep to my ways! 33 Listen to instruction, and be wise; don't avoid it. 34 Happy are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorposts. 35 Those who find me find life; they gain favor from the LORD. 36 Those who offend me injure themselves; all those who hate me love death.

Woman Wisdom’s invitation

1 Wisdom built her house; she has carved out her seven pillars. 2 She slaughtered her animals, mixed her wine, and set her table. 3 She sends out her female servants; she issues an invitation from the top of the city heights: 4 "Whoever is naive turn aside here," she says to those who lack sense. 5 "Come, eat my food, and drink the wine I have mixed. 6 Abandon your simplistic ways and live; walk in the way of understanding."

Wise advice

7 Whoever instructs the cynic gets insulted; whoever corrects the wicked gets hurt. 8 Don't correct the impudent, or they will hate you; correct the wise, and they will love you. 9 Teach the wise, and they will become wiser; inform the righteous, and their learning will increase. 10 The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the LORD; the knowledge of the holy one is understanding. 11 Through me your days will be many; years will be added to your life. 12 If you are wise, it is to your benefit; if you are cynical, you will bear it all alone.

Woman Folly’s invitation

13 Woman Folly is noisy; she's stupid and doesn't even know it. 14 She sits at the doorway of her house, on a seat at the city heights. 15 She invites those who pass by on the path, those going straight on their way. 16 "Whoever is naive, come in here," she says to those who lack sense. 17 "Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is pleasant." 18 But they don't know that the dead are there; her guests are in the depths of the grave.
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