Good friend, take to heart what I'm telling you; collect my counsels and guard them with your life.
Tune your ears to the world of Wisdom; set your heart on a life of Understanding.
That's right - if you make Insight your priority, and won't take no for an answer,
Searching for it like a prospector panning for gold, like an adventurer on a treasure hunt,
Believe me, before you know it Fear-of-God will be yours; you'll have come upon the Knowledge of God.
And here's why: God gives out Wisdom free, is plainspoken in Knowledge and Understanding.
He's a rich mine of Common Sense for those who live well, a personal bodyguard to the candid and sincere.
He keeps his eye on all who live honestly, and pays special attention to his loyally committed ones.
So now you can pick out what's true and fair, find all the good trails!
Lady Wisdom will be your close friend, and Brother Knowledge your pleasant companion.
Good Sense will scout ahead for danger, Insight will keep an eye out for you.
They'll keep you from making wrong turns, or following the bad directions
Of those who are lost themselves and can't tell a trail from a tumbleweed,
These losers who make a game of evil and throw parties to celebrate perversity,
Traveling paths that go nowhere, wandering in a maze of detours and dead ends.
Wise friends will rescue you from the Temptress - that smooth-talking Seductress
Who's faithless to the husband she married years ago, never gave a second thought to her promises before God.
Her whole way of life is doomed; every step she takes brings her closer to hell.
No one who joins her company ever comes back, ever sets foot on the path to real living.
So - join the company of good men and women, keep your feet on the tried and true paths.
It's the men who walk straight who will settle this land, the women with integrity who will last here.
The corrupt will lose their lives; the dishonest will be gone for good.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)