Listen therefore, O kings, and understand; learn, O judges of the ends of the earth.
Give ear, you that rule over multitudes, and boast of many nations.
For your dominion was given you from the Lord, and your sovereignty from the Most High, who will search out your works and inquire into your plans.
Because as servants of his kingdom you did not rule rightly, nor keep the law, nor walk according to the purpose of God,
he will come upon you terribly and swiftly, because severe judgment falls on those in high places.
For the lowliest man may be pardoned in mercy, but mighty men will be mightily tested.
For the Lord of all will not stand in awe of any one, nor show deference to greatness; because he himself made both small and great, and he takes thought for all alike.
But a strict inquiry is in store for the mighty.
To you then, O monarchs, my words are directed, that you may learn wisdom and not transgress.
For they will be made holy who observe holy things in holiness, and those who have been taught them will find a defense.
Therefore set your desire on my words; long for them, and you will be instructed.
Wisdom is radiant and unfading, and she is easily discerned by those who love her, and is found by those who seek her.
She hastens to make herself known to those who desire her.
He who rises early to seek her will have no difficulty, for he will find her sitting at his gates.
To fix one's thought on her is perfect understanding, and he who is vigilant on her account will soon be free from care,
because she goes about seeking those worthy of her, and she graciously appears to them in their paths, and meets them in every thought.
The beginning of wisdom is the most sincere desire for instruction, and concern for instruction is love of her,
and love of her is the keeping of her laws, and giving heed to her laws is assurance of immortality,
and immortality brings one near to God;
so the desire for wisdom leads to a kingdom.
Therefore if you delight in thrones and scepters, O monarchs over the peoples, honor wisdom, that you may reign for ever.
I will tell you what wisdom is and how she came to be, and I will hide no secrets from you, but I will trace her course from the beginning of creation, and make knowledge of her clear, and I will not pass by the truth;
neither will I travel in the company of sickly envy, for envy does not associate with wisdom.
A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world, and a sensible king is the stability of his people.
Therefore be instructed by my words, and you will profit.
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (Revised Standard Version w/ Apocrypha)