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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 (Holman Christian Standard)

Avoid the Path of the Violent

8 Listen, my son, to your father's instruction, and don't reject your mother's teaching, 9 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. Let's attack some innocent person just for fun! 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"- 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. 17 It is foolish to spread a net where any bird can see it, 18 but they set an ambush to kill themselves; they attack their own lives. 19 Such are the paths of all who pursue gain dishonestly; it takes the lives of those who profit from it.

Wisdom's Plea

20 Wisdom calls out in the street; she raises her voice in the public squares. 21 She cries out above 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 turn to my discipline, 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 waywardness 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."

Wisdom's Worth

1 My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2 listening closely to wisdom and directing your heart to understanding; 3 furthermore, if you call out to insight and lift your voice to understanding, 4 if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure, 5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God. 6 For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7 He stores up success for the upright; He is a shield for those who live with integrity 8 so that He may guard the paths of justice and protect the way of His loyal followers. 9 Then you will understand righteousness, justice, and integrity-every good path. 10 For wisdom will enter your mind, and knowledge will delight your heart. 11 Discretion will watch over you, and understanding will guard you, 12 rescuing you from the way of evil- from the one who says perverse things, 13 [from] those who abandon the right paths to walk in ways of darkness, 14 [from] those who enjoy doing evil and celebrate perversity, 15 whose paths are crooked, and whose ways are devious. 16 It will rescue you from a forbidden woman, from a stranger with her flattering talk, 17 who abandons the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God; 18 for her house sinks down to death and her ways to the land of the departed spirits. 19 None return who go to her; none reach the paths of life. 20 So follow the way of good people, and keep to the paths of the righteous. 21 For the upright will inhabit the land, and those of integrity will remain in it; 22 but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the treacherous uprooted from it.

Trust the Lord

1 My son, don't forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commands; 2 for they will bring you many days, a full life, and well-being. 3 Never let loyalty and faithfulness leave you. Tie them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will find favor and high regard in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; 6 think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths. 7 Don't consider yourself to be wise; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. 8 This will be healing for your body and strengthening for your bones. 9 Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest; 10 then your barns will be completely filled, and your vats will overflow with new wine. 11 Do not despise the Lord's instruction, my son, and do not loathe His discipline; 12 for the Lord disciplines the one He loves, just as a father, the son he delights in.

Wisdom Brings Happiness

13 Happy is a man who finds wisdom and who acquires understanding, 14 for she is more profitable than silver, and her revenue is better than gold. 15 She is more precious than jewels; nothing you desire compares with her. 16 Long life is in her right hand; in her left, riches and honor. 17 Her ways are pleasant, and all her paths, peaceful. 18 She is a tree of life to those who embrace her, and those who hold on to her are happy. 19 The Lord founded the earth by wisdom and established the heavens by understanding. 20 By His knowledge the watery depths broke open, and the clouds dripped with dew. 21 Maintain [your] competence and discretion. My son, don't lose sight of them. 22 They will be life for you and adornment for your neck. 23 Then you will go safely on your way; your foot will not stumble. 24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid; you will lie down, and your sleep will be pleasant. 25 Don't fear sudden danger or the ruin of the wicked when it comes, 26 for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from a snare.

Treat Others Fairly

27 When it is in your power, don't withhold good from the one to whom it is due. 28 Don't say to your neighbor, "Go away! Come back later. I'll give it tomorrow"-when it is there with you. 29 Don't plan any harm against your neighbor, for he trusts you and lives near you. 30 Don't accuse anyone without cause, when he has done you no harm. 31 Don't envy a violent man or choose any of his ways; 32 for the devious are detestable to the Lord, but He is a friend to the upright. 33 The Lord's curse is on the household of the wicked, but He blesses the home of the righteous; 34 He mocks those who mock, but gives grace to the humble. 35 The wise will inherit honor, but He holds up fools to dishonor.

A Father's Example

1 Listen, [my] sons, to a father's discipline, and pay attention so that you may gain understanding, 2 for I am giving you good instruction. Don't abandon my teaching. 3 When I was a son with my father, tender and precious to my mother, 4 he taught me and said: "Your heart must hold on to my words. Keep my commands and live. 5 Get wisdom, get understanding; don't forget or turn away from the words of my mouth. 6 Don't abandon wisdom, and she will watch over you; love her, and she will guard you. 7 Wisdom is supreme-so get wisdom. And whatever else you get, get understanding. 8 Cherish her, and she will exalt you; if you embrace her, she will honor you. 9 She will place a garland of grace on your head; she will give you a crown of beauty."

Two Ways of Life

10 Listen, my son. Accept my words, and you will live many years. 11 I am teaching you the way of wisdom; I am guiding you on straight paths. 12 When you walk, your steps will not be hindered; when you run, you will not stumble. 13 Hold on to instruction; don't let go. Guard it, for it is your life. 14 Don't set foot on the path of the wicked; don't proceed in the way of evil ones. 15 Avoid it; don't travel on it. Turn away from it, and pass it by. 16 For they can't sleep unless they have done what is evil; they are robbed of sleep unless they make someone stumble. 17 They eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence. 18 The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, shining brighter and brighter until midday. 19 But the way of the wicked is like the darkest gloom; they don't know what makes them stumble.

The Straight Path

20 My son, pay attention to my words; listen closely to my sayings. 21 Don't lose sight of them; keep them within your heart. 22 For they are life to those who find them, and health to one's whole body. 23 Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life. 24 Don't let your mouth speak dishonestly, and don't let your lips talk deviously. 25 Let your eyes look forward; fix your gaze straight ahead. 26 Carefully consider the path for your feet, and all your ways will be established. 27 Don't turn to the right or to the left; keep your feet away from evil.

Avoid Seduction

1 My son, pay attention to my wisdom; listen closely to my understanding 2 so that [you] may maintain discretion and your lips safeguard knowledge. 3 Though the lips of the forbidden woman drip honey and her words are smoother than oil, 4 in the end she's as bitter as wormwood and as sharp as a double-edged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death; her steps head straight for Sheol. 6 She doesn't consider the path of life; she doesn't know that her ways are unstable. 7 So now, [my] sons, listen to me, and don't turn away from the words of my mouth. 8 Keep your way far from her. Don't go near the door of her house. 9 Otherwise, you will give up your vitality to others and your years to someone cruel; 10 strangers will drain your resources, and your earnings will end up in a foreigner's house. 11 At the end of your life, you will lament when your physical body has been consumed, 12 and you will say, "How I hated discipline, and how my heart despised correction. 13 I didn't obey my teachers or listen closely to my mentors. 14 I was on the verge of complete ruin before the entire community."

Enjoy Marriage

15 Drink water from your own cistern, water flowing from your own well. 16 Should your springs flow in the streets, streams of water in the public squares? 17 They should be for you alone and not for you [to share] with strangers. 18 Let your fountain be blessed, and take pleasure in the wife of your youth. 19 A loving doe, a graceful fawn- let her breasts always satisfy you; be lost in her love forever. 20 Why, my son, would you be infatuated with a forbidden woman or embrace the breast of a stranger? 21 For a man's ways are before the Lord's eyes, and He considers all his paths. 22 A wicked man's iniquities entrap him; he is entangled in the ropes of his own sin. 23 He will die because there is no instruction, and be lost because of his great stupidity.

Financial Entanglements

1 My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor or entered into an agreement with a stranger, 2 you have been trapped by the words of your lips- ensnared by the words of your mouth. 3 Do this, then, my son, and free yourself, for you have put yourself in your neighbor's power: Go, humble yourself, and plead with your neighbor. 4 Don't give sleep to your eyes or slumber to your eyelids. 5 Escape like a gazelle from a hunter, like a bird from a fowler's trap.

Laziness

6 Go to the ant, you slacker! Observe its ways and become wise. 7 Without leader, administrator, or ruler, 8 it prepares its provisions in summer; it gathers its food during harvest. 9 How long will you stay in bed, you slacker? When will you get up from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the arms to rest, 11 and your poverty will come like a robber, your need, like a bandit.

The Malicious Man

12 A worthless person, a wicked man, who goes around speaking dishonestly, 13 who winks his eyes, signals with his feet, and gestures with his fingers, 14 who plots evil with perversity in his heart- he stirs up trouble constantly. 15 Therefore calamity will strike him suddenly; he will be shattered instantly-beyond recovery.

What the Lord Hates

16 Six things the Lord hates; in fact, seven are detestable to Him: 17 arrogant eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that plots wicked schemes, feet eager to run to evil, 19 a lying witness who gives false testimony, and one who stirs up trouble among brothers.

Warning against Adultery

20 My son, keep your father's command, and don't reject your mother's teaching. 21 Always bind them to your heart; tie them around your neck. 22 When you walk here and there, they will guide you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; when you wake up, they will talk to you. 23 For a commandment is a lamp, teaching is a light, and corrective instructions are the way to life. 24 They will protect you from an evil woman, from the flattering tongue of a stranger. 25 Don't lust in your heart for her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyelashes. 26 For a prostitute's fee is only a loaf of bread, but an adulteress goes after [your] very life. 27 Can a man embrace fire and his clothes not be burned? 28 Can a man walk on coals without scorching his feet? 29 So it is with the one who sleeps with another man's wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished. 30 People don't despise the thief if he steals to satisfy himself when he is hungry. 31 Still, if caught, he must pay seven times as much; he must give up all the wealth in his house. 32 The one who commits adultery lacks sense; whoever does so destroys himself. 33 He will get a beating and dishonor, and his disgrace will never be removed. 34 For jealousy enrages a husband, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge. 35 He will not be appeased by anything or be persuaded by lavish gifts. 1 My son, obey my words, and treasure my commands. 2 Keep my commands and live; protect my teachings as you would the pupil of your eye. 3 Tie them to your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Say to wisdom, "You are my sister," and call understanding [your] relative. 5 She will keep you from a forbidden woman, a stranger with her flattering talk.

A Story of Seduction

6 At the window of my house I looked through my lattice. 7 I saw among the inexperienced, I noticed among the youths, a young man lacking sense. 8 Crossing the street near her corner, he strolled down the road to her house 9 at twilight, in the evening, in the dark of the night. 10 A woman came to meet him, dressed like a prostitute, having a hidden agenda. 11 She is loud and defiant; her feet do not stay at home. 12 Now in the street, now in the squares, she lurks at every corner. 13 She grabs him and kisses him; she brazenly says to him, 14 "I've made fellowship offerings; today I've fulfilled my vows. 15 So I came out to meet you, to search for you, and I've found you. 16 I've spread coverings on my bed- richly colored linen from Egypt. 17 I've perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18 Come, let's drink deeply of lovemaking until morning. Let's feast on each other's love! 19 My husband isn't home; he went on a long journey. 20 He took a bag of money with him and will come home at the time of the full moon." 21 She seduces him with her persistent pleading; she lures with her flattering talk. 22 He follows her impulsively like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer bounding toward a trap 23 until an arrow pierces its liver, like a bird darting into a snare- he doesn't know it will cost him his life. 24 Now, [my] sons, listen to me, and pay attention to the words of my mouth. 25 Don't let your heart turn aside to her ways; don't stray onto her paths. 26 For she has brought many down to death; her victims are countless. 27 Her house is the road to Sheol, descending to the chambers of death.

Wisdom's Appeal

1 Doesn't Wisdom call out? Doesn't Understanding make her voice heard? 2 At the heights overlooking the road, at the crossroads, she takes her stand. 3 Beside the gates at the entry to the city, at the main entrance, she cries out: 4 "People, I call out to you; my cry is to mankind. 5 Learn to be shrewd, you who are inexperienced; develop common sense, you who are foolish. 6 Listen, for I speak of noble things, and what my lips say is right. 7 For my mouth tells the truth, and wickedness is detestable to my lips. 8 All the words of my mouth are righteous; none of them are deceptive or perverse. 9 All of them are clear to the perceptive, and right to those who discover knowledge. 10 Accept my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold. 11 For wisdom is better than precious stones, and nothing desirable can compare with it. 12 I, Wisdom, share a home with shrewdness and have knowledge and discretion. 13 To fear the Lord is to hate evil. I hate arrogant pride, evil conduct, and perverse speech. 14 I possess good advice and competence; I have understanding and strength. 15 It is by me that kings reign and rulers enact just law; 16 by me, princes lead, as do nobles [and] all righteous judges. 17 I love those who love me, and those who search for me find me. 18 With me are riches and honor, lasting wealth and righteousness. 19 My fruit is better than solid gold, and my harvest than pure silver. 20 I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, 21 giving wealth as an inheritance to those who love me, and filling their treasuries. 22 The Lord made me at the beginning of His creation, before His works of long ago. 23 I was formed before ancient times, from the beginning, before the earth began. 24 I was brought forth when there were no watery depths and no springs filled with water. 25 I was brought forth before the mountains and hills were established, 26 before He made the land, the fields, or the first soil on earth. 27 I was there when He established the heavens, when He laid out the horizon on the surface of the ocean, 28 when He placed the skies above, when the fountains of the ocean gushed forth, 29 when He set a limit for the sea so that the waters would not violate His command, when He laid out the foundations of the earth. 30 I was a skilled craftsman beside Him. I was His delight every day, always rejoicing before Him. 31 I was rejoicing in His inhabited world, delighting in the human race. 32 And now, [my] sons, listen to me; those who keep my ways are happy. 33 Listen to instruction and be wise; don't ignore it. 34 Anyone who listens to me is happy, watching at my doors every day, waiting by the posts of my doorway. 35 For the one who finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord, 36 but the one who sins against me harms himself; all who hate me love death."

Wisdom versus Foolishness

1 Wisdom has built her house; she has carved out her seven pillars. 2 She has prepared her meat; she has mixed her wine; she has also set her table. 3 She has sent out her servants; she calls out from the highest points of the city: 4 "Whoever is inexperienced, enter here!" To the one who lacks sense, she says, 5 "Come, eat my bread, and drink the wine I have mixed. 6 Leave inexperience behind, and you will live; pursue the way of understanding. 7 The one who corrects a mocker will bring dishonor on himself; the one who rebukes a wicked man will get hurt. 8 Don't rebuke a mocker, or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. 9 Instruct a wise man, and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man, and he will learn more. 10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. 11 For by Wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. 12 If you are wise, you are wise for your own benefit; if you mock, you alone will bear [the consequences]." 13 The woman Folly is rowdy; she is gullible and knows nothing. 14 She sits by the doorway of her house, on a seat at the highest point of the city, 15 calling to those who pass by, who go straight ahead on their paths: 16 "Whoever is inexperienced, enter here!" To the one who lacks sense, she says, 17 "Stolen water is sweet, and bread [eaten] secretly is tasty!" 18 But he doesn't know that the departed spirits are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.
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