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Proverbs 1-8 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Beginning of Knowledge

(A)The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:

To know wisdom and instruction,
    to understand words of insight,
to receive instruction in wise dealing,
    in (B)righteousness, justice, and equity;
to give prudence to (C)the simple,
    knowledge and (D)discretion to the youth—
Let the wise hear and (E)increase in learning,
    and the one who understands obtain guidance,
to understand a proverb and a saying,
    (F)the words of the wise and their (G)riddles.

(H)The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
    fools despise wisdom and instruction.

The Enticement of Sinners

(I)Hear, my son, your father's instruction,
    and forsake not your mother's teaching,
for they are (J)a graceful garland for your head
    and (K)pendants for your neck.
10 My son, if sinners (L)entice you,
    do not consent.
11 If they say, “Come with us, (M)let us lie in wait for blood;
    (N)let us ambush the innocent without reason;
12 like Sheol let us (O)swallow them alive,
    and whole, like (P)those who go down to the pit;
13 we shall find all precious goods,
    we shall fill our houses with plunder;
14 throw in your lot among us;
    we will all have one purse”—
15 my son, (Q)do not walk in the way with them;
    (R)hold back your foot from their paths,
16 for (S)their feet run to evil,
    and they make haste to shed blood.
17 (T)For in vain is a net spread
    in the sight of any bird,
18 but these men (U)lie in wait for their own blood;
    they (V)set an ambush for their own lives.
19 (W)Such are the ways of everyone who is (X)greedy for unjust gain;
    (Y)it takes away the life of its possessors.

The Call of Wisdom

20 (Z)Wisdom cries aloud in the street,
    in the markets she raises her voice;
21 at the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
    at (AA)the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
22 “How long, O (AB)simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will (AC)scoffers delight in their scoffing
    and fools (AD)hate knowledge?
23 If you turn at my reproof,[a]
behold, I will (AE)pour out my spirit to you;
    I will make my words known to you.
24 (AF)Because I have called and (AG)you refused to listen,
    have (AH)stretched out my hand and no one has heeded,
25 because you have (AI)ignored all my counsel
    and (AJ)would have none of my reproof,
26 I also (AK)will laugh at your calamity;
    I will mock when (AL)terror strikes you,
27 when terror strikes you like (AM)a storm
    and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
    when distress and anguish come upon you.
28 (AN)Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer;
    they will seek me diligently but will not find me.
29 Because they (AO)hated knowledge
    and (AP)did not choose the fear of the Lord,
30 (AQ)would have none of my counsel
    and (AR)despised all my reproof,
31 therefore they shall eat (AS)the fruit of their way,
    and have (AT)their fill of their own devices.
32 For the simple are killed by (AU)their turning away,
    and (AV)the complacency of fools destroys them;
33 but (AW)whoever listens to me will dwell secure
    and will be (AX)at ease, without dread of disaster.”

The Value of Wisdom

(AY)My son, (AZ)if you receive my words
    and treasure up my commandments with you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom
    and inclining your heart to understanding;
yes, if you call out for insight
    and raise your voice (BA)for understanding,
if you seek it like (BB)silver
    and search for it as for (BC)hidden treasures,
then (BD)you will understand the fear of the Lord
    and find the knowledge of God.
For (BE)the Lord gives wisdom;
    from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
    he is (BF)a shield to those who (BG)walk in integrity,
guarding the paths of justice
    and (BH)watching over the way of his (BI)saints.
(BJ)Then you will understand (BK)righteousness and justice
    and equity, every good path;
10 for wisdom will come into your heart,
    and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
11 (BL)discretion will (BM)watch over you,
    understanding will guard you,
12 delivering you from the way of evil,
    from men of perverted speech,
13 who forsake the paths of uprightness
    to (BN)walk in the ways of darkness,
14 who (BO)rejoice in doing evil
    and (BP)delight in the perverseness of evil,
15 men whose (BQ)paths are crooked,
    (BR)and who are (BS)devious in their ways.

16 So (BT)you will be delivered from the forbidden[b] woman,
    from (BU)the adulteress[c] with (BV)her smooth words,
17 who forsakes (BW)the companion of her youth
    and forgets (BX)the covenant of her God;
18 (BY)for her house sinks down to death,
    and her paths to the departed;[d]
19 none who go to her come back,
    nor do they regain the paths of life.

20 So you will walk in the way of the good
    and keep to the paths of the righteous.
21 For the upright (BZ)will inhabit the land,
    and those with integrity will remain in it,
22 but the wicked will be (CA)cut off from the land,
    and the treacherous will be (CB)rooted out of it.

Trust in the Lord with All Your Heart

(CC)My son, do not forget my teaching,
    (CD)but let your heart keep my commandments,
for (CE)length of days and years of life
    and (CF)peace they will add to you.

Let not (CG)steadfast love and (CH)faithfulness forsake you;
    (CI)bind them around your neck;
    (CJ)write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will (CK)find favor and (CL)good success[e]
    in the sight of God and man.

(CM)Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and (CN)do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways (CO)acknowledge him,
    and he (CP)will make straight your paths.
(CQ)Be not wise in your own eyes;
    (CR)fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be (CS)healing to your flesh[f]
    and (CT)refreshment[g] to your bones.

Honor the Lord with your wealth
    and with (CU)the firstfruits of all your produce;
10 then your (CV)barns will be filled with plenty,
    and your vats will be bursting with wine.

11 (CW)My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline
    or be weary of his reproof,
12 for the Lord reproves him whom he loves,
    as (CX)a father the son in whom he delights.

Blessed Is the One Who Finds Wisdom

13 (CY)Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
    and the one who gets understanding,
14 (CZ)for the gain from her is better than gain from silver
    and her profit better than (DA)gold.
15 She is more precious than (DB)jewels,
    and (DC)nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 (DD)Long life is in her right hand;
    in her left hand are (DE)riches and honor.
17 Her (DF)ways are ways of pleasantness,
    and all her paths are peace.
18 She is (DG)a tree of life to those who (DH)lay hold of her;
    those who hold her fast are called blessed.

19 (DI)The Lord by wisdom founded the earth;
    by understanding (DJ)he established the heavens;
20 by his knowledge (DK)the deeps broke open,
    and (DL)the clouds drop down the dew.

21 My son, (DM)do not lose sight of these—
    keep sound wisdom and discretion,
22 and they will be (DN)life for your soul
    and (DO)adornment for your neck.
23 (DP)Then you will walk on your way securely,
    (DQ)and your foot will not stumble.
24 (DR)If you lie down, you will not be afraid;
    when you lie down, (DS)your sleep will be sweet.
25 (DT)Do not be afraid of sudden terror
    or of (DU)the ruin[h] of the wicked, when it comes,
26 for the Lord will be your confidence
    and will (DV)keep your foot from being caught.
27 (DW)Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,[i]
    when it is in your power to do it.

28 (DX)Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again,
    tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you.
29 (DY)Do not plan evil against your neighbor,
    who (DZ)dwells trustingly beside you.
30 (EA)Do not contend with a man for no reason,
    when he has done you no harm.
31 (EB)Do not envy (EC)a man of violence
    and do not choose any of his ways,
32 for (ED)the devious person is an abomination to the Lord,
    but the upright are (EE)in his confidence.
33 (EF)The Lord's curse is on the house of the wicked,
    but he (EG)blesses the dwelling of the righteous.
34 Toward the (EH)scorners he (EI)is scornful,
    (EJ)but to the humble he gives favor.[j]
35 The wise will inherit honor,
    but fools get[k] disgrace.

A Father's Wise Instruction

(EK)Hear, O sons, a father's instruction,
    and be attentive, that you may (EL)gain[l] insight,
for I give you good (EM)precepts;
    do not forsake my teaching.
When I was a son with my father,
    (EN)tender, (EO)the only one in the sight of my mother,
he (EP)taught me and said to me,
(EQ)“Let your heart hold fast my words;
    (ER)keep my commandments, and live.
(ES)Get wisdom; get (ET)insight;
    do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.
Do not forsake her, and she will keep you;
    (EU)love her, and she will guard you.
(EV)The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,
    and whatever you get, get (EW)insight.
Prize her highly, and she will exalt you;
    she will (EX)honor you (EY)if you embrace her.
She will place on your head (EZ)a graceful garland;
    she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.”

10 (FA)Hear, (FB)my son, and accept my words,
    that (FC)the years of your life may be many.
11 I have (FD)taught you the way of wisdom;
    I have led you in the paths of uprightness.
12 When you walk, (FE)your step will not be hampered,
    and (FF)if you run, you will not stumble.
13 (FG)Keep hold of instruction; do not let go;
    guard her, for she is your (FH)life.
14 (FI)Do not enter the path of the wicked,
    and do not walk in the way of the evil.
15 Avoid it; do not go on it;
    turn away from it and pass on.
16 For they (FJ)cannot sleep unless they have done wrong;
    they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble.
17 For they eat the bread of wickedness
    (FK)and drink the wine of violence.
18 But (FL)the path of the righteous is like (FM)the light of dawn,
    which shines (FN)brighter and brighter until (FO)full day.
19 (FP)The way of the wicked is like deep (FQ)darkness;
    they do not know over what they (FR)stumble.

20 (FS)My son, be attentive to my words;
    incline your ear to my sayings.
21 (FT)Let them not escape from your sight;
    (FU)keep them within your heart.
22 For they are (FV)life to those who find them,
    and healing to all their[m] flesh.
23 Keep your heart with all vigilance,
    for (FW)from it flow (FX)the springs of life.
24 Put away from you (FY)crooked speech,
    and put (FZ)devious talk far from you.
25 (GA)Let your eyes look directly forward,
    and your gaze be straight before you.
26 (GB)Ponder[n] the path of your feet;
    (GC)then all your ways will be sure.
27 (GD)Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
    turn your foot away from evil.

Warning Against Adultery

(GE)My son, be attentive to my wisdom;
    (GF)incline your ear to my understanding,
that you may keep (GG)discretion,
    and your lips may (GH)guard knowledge.
For the lips of (GI)a forbidden[o] woman drip honey,
    and her speech[p] is (GJ)smoother than oil,
but in the end she is (GK)bitter as (GL)wormwood,
    (GM)sharp as (GN)a two-edged sword.
Her feet (GO)go down to death;
    her steps follow the path to[q] Sheol;
she (GP)does not ponder the path of life;
    her ways wander, and she does not know it.

And (GQ)now, O sons, listen to me,
    and do not depart from the words of my mouth.
Keep your way far from her,
    and do not go near the door of her house,
lest you give your honor to others
    and your years to the merciless,
10 lest strangers take their fill of your strength,
    and your (GR)labors go to the house of a foreigner,
11 and at the end of your life you (GS)groan,
    when your flesh and body are consumed,
12 and you say, (GT)“How I hated discipline,
    and my heart (GU)despised reproof!
13 I did not listen to the voice of my teachers
    or incline my ear to my instructors.
14 (GV)I am at the brink of utter ruin
    in the assembled congregation.”

15 Drink (GW)water from your own cistern,
    flowing water from your own well.
16 Should your (GX)springs be scattered abroad,
    streams of water (GY)in the streets?
17 (GZ)Let them be for yourself alone,
    and not for strangers with you.
18 Let your (HA)fountain be blessed,
    and (HB)rejoice in (HC)the wife of your youth,
19     a lovely (HD)deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts (HE)fill you at all times with delight;
    be intoxicated[r] always in her love.
20 Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with (HF)a forbidden woman
    and embrace the bosom of (HG)an adulteress?[s]
21 For (HH)a man's ways are (HI)before the eyes of the Lord,
    and he (HJ)ponders[t] all his paths.
22 The (HK)iniquities of the wicked (HL)ensnare him,
    and he is held fast in the cords of his sin.
23 (HM)He dies for lack of discipline,
    and because of his great folly he is (HN)led astray.

Practical Warnings

My son, if you have put up (HO)security for your neighbor,
    have (HP)given your pledge for a stranger,
if you are (HQ)snared in the words of your mouth,
    caught in the words of your mouth,
then do this, my son, and save yourself,
    for you have come into the hand of your neighbor:
    go, hasten,[u] and (HR)plead urgently with your neighbor.
(HS)Give your eyes no sleep
    and your eyelids no slumber;
save yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,[v]
    (HT)like a bird from the hand of the fowler.

(HU)Go to (HV)the ant, O (HW)sluggard;
    consider her ways, and (HX)be wise.
(HY)Without having any chief,
    (HZ)officer, or ruler,
she prepares her bread (IA)in summer
    and (IB)gathers her food in harvest.
(IC)How long will you lie there, (ID)O sluggard?
    When will you arise from your sleep?
10 (IE)A little sleep, a little slumber,
    (IF)a little (IG)folding of the hands to rest,
11 (IH)and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
    and want like an armed man.

12 (II)A worthless person, a wicked man,
    goes about with (IJ)crooked speech,
13 (IK)winks with his eyes, signals[w] with his feet,
    points with his finger,
14 with (IL)perverted heart (IM)devises evil,
    continually (IN)sowing discord;
15 therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly;
    (IO)in a moment he will be broken (IP)beyond healing.

16 There are (IQ)six things that the Lord hates,
    (IR)seven that are an abomination to him:
17 (IS)haughty eyes, (IT)a lying tongue,
    and (IU)hands that shed innocent blood,
18 (IV)a heart that devises wicked plans,
    (IW)feet that make haste to run to evil,
19 (IX)a false witness who (IY)breathes out lies,
    and one who (IZ)sows discord among brothers.

Warnings Against Adultery

20 (JA)My son, keep your father's commandment,
    (JB)and forsake not your mother's teaching.
21 (JC)Bind them on your heart always;
    (JD)tie them around your neck.
22 (JE)When you walk, they[x] will lead you;
    (JF)when you lie down, they will (JG)watch over you;
    and when you awake, they will talk with you.
23 For the commandment is (JH)a lamp and the teaching a light,
    and the (JI)reproofs of discipline are the way of life,
24 to preserve you from the evil woman,[y]
    from the smooth tongue of (JJ)the adulteress.[z]
25 (JK)Do not desire her beauty in your heart,
    and do not let her capture you with her (JL)eyelashes;
26 for (JM)the price of a prostitute is only (JN)a loaf of bread,[aa]
    but a married woman[ab] (JO)hunts down a precious life.
27 Can a man carry (JP)fire next to his (JQ)chest
    and his clothes not be burned?
28 Or can one (JR)walk on hot coals
    and his feet not be scorched?
29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor's wife;
    none who touches her (JS)will go unpunished.
30 People do not despise a thief if he steals
    to (JT)satisfy his appetite when he is hungry,
31 but (JU)if he is caught, he will pay (JV)sevenfold;
    he will give all the goods of his house.
32 He who commits adultery lacks sense;
    he who does it destroys himself.
33 He will get wounds and dishonor,
    and his disgrace will not be wiped away.
34 For (JW)jealousy makes a man furious,
    and he will not spare when (JX)he takes revenge.
35 He will accept no compensation;
    he will refuse though you multiply gifts.

Warning Against the Adulteress

(JY)My son, keep my words
    and (JZ)treasure up my commandments with you;
(KA)keep my commandments and live;
    keep my teaching as (KB)the apple of your eye;
(KC)bind them on your fingers;
    (KD)write them on the tablet of your heart.
Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
    and call insight your intimate friend,
to keep you from (KE)the forbidden[ac] woman,
    from (KF)the adulteress[ad] with her smooth words.

For at (KG)the window of my house
    I have looked out through my lattice,
and I have seen among (KH)the simple,
    I have perceived among the youths,
    a young man (KI)lacking sense,
passing along the street (KJ)near her corner,
    taking the road to her house
in (KK)the twilight, in the evening,
    at (KL)the time of night and darkness.

10 And behold, the woman meets him,
    (KM)dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart.[ae]
11 She is (KN)loud and (KO)wayward;
    (KP)her feet do not stay at home;
12 now in the street, now in the market,
    and (KQ)at every corner she (KR)lies in wait.
13 She seizes him and kisses him,
    and with (KS)bold face she says to him,
14 “I had to (KT)offer sacrifices,[af]
    and today I have (KU)paid my vows;
15 so now I have come out to meet you,
    to seek you eagerly, and I have found you.
16 I have spread my couch with (KV)coverings,
    colored linens from (KW)Egyptian linen;
17 I have perfumed my bed with (KX)myrrh,
    aloes, and (KY)cinnamon.
18 Come, let us take our fill of love till morning;
    let us delight ourselves with love.
19 For (KZ)my husband is not at home;
    he has gone on a long journey;
20 he took a bag of money with him;
    at full moon he will come home.”

21 With much seductive speech she persuades him;
    with (LA)her smooth talk she compels him.
22 All at once he follows her,
    as an ox goes to the slaughter,
or as a stag is caught fast[ag]
23     till an arrow pierces its liver;
as (LB)a bird rushes into a snare;
    he does not know that it will cost him his life.

24 And (LC)now, O sons, listen to me,
    and be attentive to the words of my mouth.
25 Let not your heart turn aside to her ways;
    do not stray into her paths,
26 for many a victim has she laid low,
    and all her slain are (LD)a mighty throng.
27 Her house is (LE)the way to Sheol,
    going down to the chambers of death.

The Blessings of Wisdom

Does not (LF)wisdom call?
    Does not (LG)understanding raise her voice?
On (LH)the heights beside the way,
    at the crossroads she takes her stand;
beside (LI)the gates in front of (LJ)the town,
    at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud:
“To you, O (LK)men, I call,
    and my cry is to (LL)the children of man.
O (LM)simple ones, learn (LN)prudence;
    O (LO)fools, learn sense.
Hear, for I will speak (LP)noble things,
    and from my lips will come (LQ)what is right,
for my (LR)mouth will utter truth;
    wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
All the words of my mouth are righteous;
    there is nothing (LS)twisted or crooked in them.
They are all (LT)straight to him who understands,
    and right to those who find knowledge.
10 (LU)Take my instruction instead of silver,
    and knowledge rather than choice gold,
11 (LV)for wisdom is better than jewels,
    and (LW)all that you may desire cannot compare with her.

12 “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence,
    and I find knowledge and (LX)discretion.
13 (LY)The fear of the Lord is (LZ)hatred of evil.
(MA)Pride and arrogance and the way of evil
    and (MB)perverted speech I hate.
14 I have (MC)counsel and (MD)sound wisdom;
    I have insight; (ME)I have strength.
15 By me (MF)kings reign,
    and rulers decree what is just;
16 by me princes rule,
    and nobles, all who govern justly.[ah]
17 (MG)I love those who love me,
    and (MH)those who seek me diligently find me.
18 (MI)Riches and honor are with me,
    (MJ)enduring wealth and (MK)righteousness.
19 My fruit is (ML)better than (MM)gold, even fine gold,
    and my yield than (MN)choice silver.
20 I walk in the way of righteousness,
    in the paths of justice,
21 granting an inheritance to those who love me,
    and filling their treasuries.

22 (MO)“The Lord (MP)possessed[ai] me at the beginning of his work,[aj]
    the first of his acts (MQ)of old.
23 Ages ago I was (MR)set up,
    at the first, (MS)before the beginning of the earth.
24 When there were no (MT)depths I was (MU)brought forth,
    when there were no springs abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains (MV)had been shaped,
    (MW)before the hills, I was brought forth,
26 before he had made the earth with its fields,
    or the first of the dust of the world.
27 When he (MX)established the heavens, I was there;
    when he drew (MY)a circle on the face of the deep,
28 when he (MZ)made firm the skies above,
    when he established[ak] the fountains of the deep,
29 when he (NA)assigned to the sea its (NB)limit,
    so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out (NC)the foundations of the earth,
30     then (ND)I was beside him, like a master workman,
and I was daily his[al] (NE)delight,
    rejoicing before him always,
31 (NF)rejoicing in his (NG)inhabited world
    and delighting in the children of man.

32 “And now, (NH)O sons, listen to me:
    (NI)blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 (NJ)Hear instruction and be wise,
    and do not neglect it.
34 (NK)Blessed is the one who listens to me,
    watching daily at my gates,
    waiting beside my doors.
35 For (NL)whoever finds me (NM)finds life
    and (NN)obtains favor from the Lord,
36 but he who fails to find me (NO)injures himself;
    all who (NP)hate me (NQ)love death.”

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.