II. Wisdom Speeches
1. Exhortation to the young, 1:8-19
1:8 Listen, my child, to the instruction from your father,
and do not forsake the teaching from your mother.
9 For they will be like an elegant garland on your head,
and like pendants around your neck.
Admonition to Avoid Easy but Unjust Riches
1:10 My child, if sinners try to entice you,
do not consent!
11 If they say, “Come with us!
We will lie in wait to shed blood;
we will ambush an innocent person capriciously.
12 We will swallow them alive like Sheol,
those full of vigor like those going down to the Pit.
13 We will seize all kinds of precious wealth;
we will fill our houses with plunder.
14 Join with us!
We will all share equally in what we steal.”
15 My child, do not go down their way,
withhold yourself from their path;
16 for they are eager to inflict harm,
and they hasten to shed blood.
17 Surely it is futile to spread a net
in plain sight of any bird,
18 but these men lie in wait for their own blood,
they ambush their own lives!
19 Such are the ways of all who gain profit unjustly;
it takes away the life of those who obtain it!
2. The personified wisdom talks, 1:20-33
Warning Against Disregarding Wisdom
1:20 Wisdom calls out in the street,
she shouts loudly in the plazas;
21 at the head of the noisy streets she calls,
in the entrances of the gates in the city she utters her words:
22 “How long will you simpletons love naiveté?
How long will mockers delight in mockery
and fools hate knowledge?
23 If only you will respond to my rebuke,
then I will pour out my thoughts to you
and I will make my words known to you.
24 However, because I called but you refused to listen,
because I stretched out my hand but no one paid attention,
25 because you neglected all my advice,
and did not comply with my rebuke,
26 so I myself will laugh when disaster strikes you,
I will mock when what you dread comes,
27 when what you dread comes like a whirlwind,
and disaster strikes you like a devastating storm,
when distressing trouble comes on you.
28 Then they will call to me, but I will not answer;
they will diligently seek me, but they will not find me.
29 Because they hated moral knowledge,
and did not choose to fear the Lord,
30 they did not comply with my advice,
they spurned all my rebuke.
31 Therefore they will eat from the fruit of their way,
and they will be stuffed full of their own counsel.
32 For the waywardness of the
simpletons will kill them,
and the careless ease of fools will destroy them.
33 But the one who listens to me will live in security,
and will be at ease from the dread of harm.
3. The importance of seeking wisdom, 2:1-7:27
Benefits of Seeking Wisdom
2:1 My child, if you receive my words,
and store up my commands within you,
2 by making your ear attentive to wisdom,
and by turning your heart to understanding,
3 indeed, if you call out for discernment -
raise your voice for understanding -
4 if you seek it like silver,
and search for it like hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand how to fear the Lord,
and you will discover knowledge about God.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom,
and from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding.
7 He stores up effective counsel for the upright,
and is like a shield for those who live with integrity,
8 to guard the paths of the righteous
and to protect the way of his pious ones.
9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice
and equity - every good way.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart,
and moral knowledge will be attractive to you.
11 Discretion will protect you,
understanding will guard you,
12 to deliver you from the way of the wicked,
from those speaking perversity,
13 who leave the upright paths
to walk on the dark ways,
14 who delight in doing evil,
they rejoice in perverse evil;
15 whose paths are morally crooked,
and who are devious in their ways;
16 to deliver you from the adulteress,
from the sexually loose woman who speaks flattering words;
17 who leaves the husband from her younger days,
and forgets her marriage covenant made before God.
18 For her house sinks down to death,
and her paths lead to the place of the departed spirits.
19 None who go in to her will return,
nor will they reach the paths of life.
20 So you will walk in the way of good people,
and will keep on the paths of the righteous.
21 For the upright will reside in the land,
and those with integrity will remain in it,
22 but the wicked will be removed from the land,
and the treacherous will be torn away from it.
Exhortations to Seek Wisdom and Walk with the Lord
3:1 My child, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments,
2 for they will provide a long and full life,
and they will add well-being to you.
3 Do not let truth and mercy leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Then you will find favor and good understanding,
in the sight of God and people.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own understanding.
6 Acknowledge him in all your ways,
and he will make your paths straight.
7 Do not be wise in your own estimation;
fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
8 This will bring healing to your body,
and refreshment to your inner self.
9 Honor the Lord from your wealth
and from the first fruits of all your crops;
10 then your barns will be filled completely,
and your vats will overflow with new wine.
11 My child, do not despise discipline from the Lord,
and do not loathe his rebuke.
12 For the Lord disciplines those he loves,
just as a father disciplines the son in whom he delights.
Blessings of Obtaining Wisdom
3:13 Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
and the one who obtains understanding.
14 For her benefit is more profitable than silver,
and her gain is better than gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies,
and none of the things you desire can compare with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are very pleasant,
and all her paths are peaceful.
18 She is like a tree of life to those who obtain her,
and everyone who grasps hold of her will be blessed.
19 By wisdom the Lord laid the foundation of the earth;
he established the heavens by understanding.
20 By his knowledge the primordial sea was broken open,
and the clouds drip down dew.
21 My child, do not let them escape from your sight;
safeguard sound wisdom and discretion.
22 So they will give life to you,
and grace to adorn your neck.
23 Then you will walk on your way with security,
and you will not stumble.
24 When you lie down you will not be filled with fear;
when you lie down your sleep will be pleasant.
25 You will not be afraid of sudden disaster,
or when destruction overtakes the wicked;
26 for the Lord will be the source of your confidence,
and he will guard your foot from being caught in a trap.
Wisdom Demonstrated in Relationships with People
3:27 Do not withhold good from those who need it,
when you have the ability to help.
28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Go! Return tomorrow
and I will give it,” when you have it with you at the time.
29 Do not plot evil against your neighbor
when he dwells by you unsuspectingly.
30 Do not accuse anyone without legitimate cause,
if he has not treated you wrongly.
31 Do not envy a violent man,
and do not choose to imitate any of his ways;
32 for one who goes astray is an abomination to the Lord,
but he reveals his intimate counsel to the upright.
33 The Lordʼs curse is on the household of the wicked,
but he blesses the home of the righteous.
34 Although he is scornful to arrogant scoffers,
yet he shows favor to the humble.
35 The wise inherit honor,
but he holds fools up to public contempt.
Admonition to Follow Righteousness and Avoid Wickedness
4:1 Listen, children, to a fatherʼs instruction,
and pay attention so that you may gain discernment.
2 Because I give you good instruction,
do not forsake my teaching.
3 When I was a son to my father,
a tender only child before my mother,
4 he taught me, and he said to me:
“Let your heart lay hold of my words;
keep my commands so that you will live.
5 Acquire wisdom, acquire understanding;
do not forget and do not turn aside from the words I speak.
6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
love her, and she will guard you.
7 Wisdom is supreme - so acquire wisdom,
and whatever you acquire, acquire understanding!
8 Esteem her highly and she will exalt you;
she will honor you if you embrace her.
9 She will place a fair garland on your head;
she will bestow a beautiful crown on you.”
10 Listen, my child, and accept my words,
so that the years of your life will be many.
11 I will guide you in the way of wisdom
and I will lead you in upright paths.
12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered,
and when you run, you will not stumble.
13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go;
protect it, because it is your life.
14 Do not enter the path of the wicked
or walk in the way of those who are evil.
15 Avoid it, do not go on it;
turn away from it, and go on.
16 For they cannot sleep unless they cause harm;
they are robbed of sleep until they make someone stumble.
17 For they eat bread gained from wickedness
and drink wine obtained from violence.
18 But the path of the righteous is like the bright morning light,
growing brighter and brighter until full day.
19 The way of the wicked is like gloomy darkness;
they do not know what causes them to stumble.
20 My child, pay attention to my words;
listen attentively to my sayings.
21 Do not let them depart from your sight,
guard them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them
and healing to oneʼs entire body.
23 Guard your heart with all vigilance,
for from it are the sources of life.
24 Remove perverse speech from your mouth;
keep devious talk far from your lips.
25 Let your eyes look directly in front of you
and let your gaze look straight before you.
26 Make the path for your feet level,
so that all your ways may be established.
27 Do not turn to the right or to the left;
turn yourself away from evil.
Admonition to Avoid Seduction to Evil
5:1 My child, be attentive to my wisdom,
pay close attention to my understanding,
2 in order to safeguard discretion,
and that your lips may guard knowledge.
3 For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey,
and her seductive words are smoother than olive oil,
4 but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
sharp as a two-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death;
her steps lead straight to the grave.
6 Lest she should make level the path leading to life,
her paths are unstable but she does not know it.
7 So now, children, listen to me;
do not turn aside from the words I speak.
8 Keep yourself far from her,
and do not go near the door of her house,
9 lest you give your vigor to others
and your years to a cruel person,
10 lest strangers devour your strength,
and your labor benefit another manʼs house.
11 And at the end of your life you will groan
when your flesh and your body are wasted away.
12 And you will say, “How I hated discipline!
My heart spurned reproof!
13 For I did not obey my teachers
and I did not heed my instructors.
14 I almost came to complete ruin
in the midst of the whole congregation!”
15 Drink water from your own cistern
and running water from your own well.
16 Should your springs be dispersed outside,
your streams of water in the wide plazas?
17 Let them be for yourself alone,
and not for strangers with you.
18 May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in your young wife -
19 a loving doe, a graceful deer;
may her breasts satisfy you at all times,
may you be captivated by her love always.
20 But why should you be captivated, my son, by an adulteress,
and embrace the bosom of a different woman?
21 For the ways of a person are in front of the Lordʼs eyes,
and the Lord weighs all that personʼs paths.
22 The wicked will be captured by his own iniquities,
and he will be held by the cords of his own sin.
23 He will die because there was no discipline;
because of the greatness of his folly he will reel.
Admonitions and Warnings against Dangerous and Destructive Acts
6:1 My child, if you have made a pledge for your neighbor,
and have become a guarantor for a stranger,
2 if you have been ensnared by the words you have uttered,
and have been caught by the words you have spoken,
3 then, my child, do this in order to deliver yourself,
because you have fallen into your neighborʼs power:
go, humble yourself,
and appeal firmly to your neighbor.
4 Permit no sleep to your eyes
or slumber to your eyelids.
5 Deliver yourself like a gazelle from a snare,
and like a bird from the trap of the fowler.
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard;
observe its ways and be wise!
7 It has no commander,
overseer, or ruler,
8 yet it prepares its food in the summer;
it gathers at the harvest what it will eat.
9 How long, you sluggard, will you lie there?
When will you rise from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to relax,
11 and your poverty will come like a robber,
and your need like an armed man.
12 A worthless and wicked person
walks around saying perverse things;
13 he winks with his eyes,
signals with his feet,
and points with his fingers;
14 he plots evil with perverse thoughts in his heart,
he spreads contention at all times.
15 Therefore, his disaster will come suddenly;
in an instant he will be broken, and there will be no remedy.
16 There are six things that the Lord hates,
even seven things that are an abomination to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that are swift to run to evil,
19 a false witness who pours out lies,
and a person who spreads discord among family members.
20 My child, guard the commands of your father
and do not forsake the instruction of your mother.
21 Bind them on your heart continually;
fasten them around your neck.
22 When you walk about, they will guide you;
when you lie down, they will watch over you;
when you wake up, they will talk to you.
23 For the commandments are like a lamp,
instruction is like a light,
and rebukes of discipline are like the road leading to life,
24 by keeping you from the evil woman,
from the smooth tongue of the loose woman.
25 Do not lust in your heart for her beauty,
and do not let her captivate you with her alluring eyes;
26 for on account of a prostitute one is brought down to a loaf of bread,
but the wife of another man preys on your precious life.
27 Can a man hold fire against his chest
without burning his clothes?
28 Can a man walk on hot coals
without scorching his feet?
29 So it is with the one who has sex with his neighborʼs wife;
no one who touches her will escape punishment.
30 People do not despise a thief when he steals
to fulfill his need when he is hungry.
31 Yet if he is caught he must repay seven times over,
he might even have to give all the wealth of his house.
32 A man who commits adultery with a woman lacks wisdom,
whoever does it destroys his own life.
33 He will be beaten and despised,
and his reproach will not be wiped away;
34 for jealousy kindles a husbandʼs rage,
and he will not show mercy when he takes revenge.
35 He will not consider any compensation;
he will not be willing, even if you multiply the compensation.
Admonition to Avoid the Wiles of the Adulteress
7:1 My child, keep my words
and treasure up my commands in your own keeping.
2 Keep my commands so that you may live,
and obey my instruction as your most prized possession.
3 Bind them on your forearm;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
and call understanding a close relative,
5 so that they may keep you from the adulterous woman,
from the loose woman who flatters you with her words.
6 For at the window of my house
through my window lattice I looked out
7 and I saw among the naive -
I discerned among the youths -
a young man who lacked wisdom.
8 He was passing by the street near her corner,
making his way along the road to her house
9 in the twilight, the evening,
in the dark of the night.
10 Suddenly a woman came out to meet him!
She was dressed like a prostitute and with secret intent.
11 (She is loud and rebellious,
she does not remain at home -
12 at one time outside, at another in the wide plazas,
and by every corner she lies in wait.)
13 So she grabbed him and kissed him,
and with a bold expression she said to him,
14 “I have fresh meat at home;
today I have fulfilled my vows!
15 That is why I came out to meet you,
to look for you, and I found you!
16 I have spread my bed with elegant coverings,
with richly colored fabric from Egypt.
17 I have perfumed my bed
with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
18 Come, letʼs drink deeply of lovemaking until morning,
letʼs delight ourselves with sexual intercourse.
19 For my husband is not at home;
he has gone on a journey of some distance.
20 He has taken a bag of money with him;
he will not return until the end of the month.”
21 She persuaded him with persuasive words;
with her smooth talk she compelled him.
22 Suddenly he went after her
like an ox that goes to the slaughter,
like a stag prancing into a trapperʼs snare
23 till an arrow pierces his liver -
like a bird hurrying into a trap,
and he does not know that it will cost him his life.
24 So now, sons, listen to me,
and pay attention to the words I speak.
25 Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways -
do not wander into her pathways;
26 for she has brought down many fatally wounded,
and all those she has slain are many.
27 Her house is the way to the grave,
going down to the chambers of death.
4. The personified wisdom talks again, Chapther 8-9
The Appeal of Wisdom
8:1 Does not wisdom call out?
Does not understanding raise her voice?
2 At the top of the elevated places along the way,
at the intersection of the paths she takes her stand;
3 beside the gates opening into the city,
at the entrance of the doorways she cries out:
4 “To you, O people, I call out,
and my voice calls to all mankind.
5 You who are naive, discern wisdom!
And you fools, understand discernment!
6 Listen, for I will speak excellent things,
and my lips will utter what is right.
7 For my mouth speaks truth,
and my lips hate wickedness.
8 All the words of my mouth are righteous;
there is nothing in them twisted or crooked.
9 All of them are clear to the discerning
and upright to those who find knowledge.
10 Receive my instruction rather than silver,
and knowledge rather than choice gold.
11 For wisdom is better than rubies,
and desirable things cannot be compared to her.
12 “I, wisdom, live with prudence,
and I find knowledge and discretion.
13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil;
I hate arrogant pride and the evil way
and perverse utterances.
14 Counsel and sound wisdom belong to me;
I possess understanding and might.
15 Kings reign by means of me,
and potentates decree righteousness;
16 by me princes rule,
as well as nobles and all righteous judges.
17 I love those who love me,
and those who seek me find me.
18 Riches and honor are with me,
long-lasting wealth and righteousness.
19 My fruit is better than the purest gold,
and what I produce is better than choice silver.
20 I walk in the path of righteousness,
in the pathway of justice,
21 that I may cause those who love me to inherit wealth,
and that I may fill their treasuries.
22 The Lord created me as the beginning of his works,
before his deeds of long ago.
23 From eternity I was appointed,
from the beginning, from before the world existed.
24 When there were no deep oceans I was born,
when there were no springs overflowing with water;
25 before the mountains were set in place -
before the hills - I was born,
26 before he made the earth and its fields,
or the beginning of the dust of the world.
27 When he established the heavens, I was there;
when he marked out the horizon over the face of the deep,
28 when he established the clouds above,
when the fountains of the deep grew strong,
29 when he gave the sea his decree
that the waters should not pass over his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
30 then I was beside him as a master craftsman,
and I was his delight day by day,
rejoicing before him at all times,
31 rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth,
and delighting in its people.
32 “So now, children, listen to me;
blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Listen to my instruction so that you may be wise,
and do not neglect it.
34 Blessed is the one who listens to me,
watching at my doors day by day,
waiting beside my doorway.
35 For the one who finds me finds life
and receives favor from the Lord.
36 But the one who does not find me brings harm to himself;
all who hate me love death.”
The Consequences of Accepting Wisdom or Folly
9:1 Wisdom has built her house;
she has carved out its seven pillars.
2 She has prepared her meat, she has mixed her wine;
she also has arranged her table.
3 She has sent out her female servants;
she calls out on the highest places of the city.
4 “Whoever is naive, let him turn in here,”
she says to those who lack understanding.
5 “Come, eat some of my food,
and drink some of the wine I have mixed.
6 Abandon your foolish ways so that you may live,
and proceed in the way of understanding.”
7 Whoever corrects a mocker is asking for insult;
whoever reproves a wicked person receives abuse.
8 Do not reprove a mocker or he will hate you;
reprove a wise person and he will love you.
9 Give instruction to a wise person, and he will become wiser still;
teach a righteous person and he will add to his learning.
10 The beginning of wisdom is to fear the Lord,
and acknowledging the Holy One is understanding.
11 For because of me your days will be many,
and years will be added to your life.
12 If you are wise, you are wise to your own advantage,
but if you are a mocker, you alone must bear it.
13 The woman called Folly is brash,
she is naive and does not know anything.
14 So she sits at the door of her house,
on a seat at the highest point of the city,
15 calling out to those who are passing by her in the way,
who go straight on their way.
16 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here,”
she says to those who lack understanding.
17 “Stolen waters are sweet,
and food obtained in secret is pleasant!”
18 But they do not realize that the dead are there,
that her guests are in the depths of the grave.