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For other English-language translations of this work, see Proverbs (Bible).
Proverbs , translated by Wikisource
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Chapter 1[edit]

1 These are Solomon's proverbs, the son of David and king of Israel:

2 for attaining wisdom and teaching;

3 for learning prudence— doing what is right;

4 for informing the uninformed; for guiding the young and unexperienced;

5 also for those who are already wise;

6 and for understanding words of wisdom.

7 A revering attitude toward the LORD is the beginning of true knowledge,

But fools hate knowledge of prudence and wisdom.

8 Children, listen to the teaching of your parents.

9 Their instruction is very valuable for you, a treasure.

10 Dear reader, if sinful men seem alluring to you,

Do not submit to their false authority.

11 If they say to you, "Come, join us

and go hunting for innocent souls.

12 We can devour their innocence

In wonderful splendor.

13 We can go in to their houses

And take all their valuable items.

14 Then we will divide up the loot among us all." 15

My son, do not go with them on their way

Keep your foot from their road.

16 For their feet run for evil

And they are quick to spill blood.

17 For the net is spread in vain

In the eyes of every winged being.

18 And they lie to ambush their [own] blood

They hide [against] their own lives.

19 These are the ways of every seeker of wealth

it takes the life of its owner.

20Wisdom sings outside

It gives voice in the streets.

21 It calls in the most bustling places

It speaks in the openings of the city gates.

22 Until when, O fools, will you love foolishness, and mockers [will you] desire mockery

and [how long will] idiots hate intelligence?

23 Return to my reproving

Here! I will speak my mind to you

I will tell you what I have to say to you.

24 For I called, but you refused,

I raised my hand, but there was no one listening.

25 And you disregarded all my advice,

And did not desire my reproving.

26 I too will rejoice in your distress

I will mock when your fears come true.

27 When your fear comes as a consumption,

and your distress arrives as a storm,

When trouble and narrow straits come upon you.

28 Then they will call me but I will not answer,

They will seek me, but will not find me.

29 Because they hated intelligence,

and did not choose the fear of Yahweh.

30 They did not desire my advice,

they cursed all my reproving.

31 And they will eat the fruit of their path,

And fill themselves with their counsels.

32 For the dismissive attitude of fools will kill them,

and the calmness of idiots will destroy them.

33 But he who hears me will live securely,

and safe from the fear of evil.

Chapter 2[edit]

1 My son, if you take my words

and store up my commands,

2 drawing your ears to wisdom,

turning your heart to knowledge,

3 indeed, if you call for knowing,

for knowledge raise your voice,

4 if you seek her like silver,

and like treasures look for her,

5 then you will know the fear of Yahweh,

and God's guidance you will find.

6 For Yahweh gives wisdom,

from his mouth, guidance and knowledge.

7 He lays up counsel for the upright,

a shield for those with integrity.

8 Guarding the paths of justice,

he will watch over the ways of his faithful.

9 Then you will know decency and justice,

uprightness, and every good road.

10 When wisdom enters your heart,

and learning pleases your soul,

11 sagacity will preserve you;

knowledge will keep you;

12 delivering you from evil's way,

from the man who speaks perversity,

13 who leave upright paths

to walk the ways of darkness,

14 who rejoice to do evil,

delight in evil's perversity,

15 whose paths are crooked,

whose roads go astray;

16 to keep you from a strange woman,

from the foreigner with her slippery words,

17 who leaves the spouse of her youth,

and her god's covenant forgets,

18 for her house slips toward death,

and to the underworld's denizens[1] her tracks.

19 All who approach her return not,

nor gasp the paths of life.

20 Thus you may walk in good ways

and keep righteous paths.

21 For the upright will dwell in the land,

and those with integrity remain in it.

22 But rebels will be cut off the earth,

and the perfidious plucked from it.

Chapter 3[edit]

1 My son, forget not my instruction;

let your heart guard my commands.

2 Long days and years of life

and peace they will grant you.

3 Let loyalty and truth not forsake you.

Bind them about your neck;
write them on your heart's tablet.

4 And you will find grace and great success

in the eyes of God and man.

5 Trust Yahweh with all your heart,

and lean not on your own understanding.

6 In all your ways know him,

and he will level your paths.

7 Be not wise in your own eyes.

Fear God and turn from evil.

8 It will be health to your flesh,[2]

and drink for your bones.

9 Honor Yahweh from your wealth,

and from the first-fruits of all your produce.

10 And your barns will fill with plenty;

new wine overflow your vats.

11 Yahweh's rebuke, my son, do not reject,

nor loathe his correction.

12 For whom he loves Yahweh corrects,

as a father, his cherished son.

13 How happy the person who finds wisdom,

the person who obtains understanding.

14 For its value exceeds the value of silver;

its profit is better than gold.

15 She is more precious than rubies,[3]

and nothing you desire compares.

16 Length of days is on her right;

on her left, wealth and honor.

17 Her ways are pleasant ways,

and all her trails are peace.

18 She is the tree of life to those who grasp her,

and blessed is he who holds on to her.

19 Yahweh by wisdom founded the world;

he erected the sky by understanding.

20 By his knowledge he broke up the deeps,

and clouds drop dew.

21 My son, let them not leave your sight;

watch over counsel and discretion.

22 And they will be life to your breath,[4]

and grace to your neck.

23 Then you will go your way safely,

and your foot will not stumble.

24 You will rest without fear;

you will rest and sleep sweetly.

25 Fear no sudden terror,

nor the wicked coming to destroy.

26 For Yahweh will become your confidence,

and guard your feet from the snare.

27 Do not withhold good from those due it,

when it is in your hand's power to do it.

28 Do not say to your neighbor, Go and come back

and tomorrow I will give it, if you have it now.

29 Plot no ill against your neighbor

who dwells safely alongside you.

30 Quarrel with no one without cause,

if he has done you know harm.

31 Do not envy the oppressor,

and choose none of his ways.

32 For the perverse is loathsome to Yahweh,

who associates with the upright.

33 Yahweh's curse is on the wicked house,

but the righteous habitation he blesses.

34 Though he scorns the scorners,

he gives grace to the lowly.

35 The wise will inherit glory,

but fools accumulate[5] shame.

Chapter 4[edit]

1 Hear, sons, a father's admonition,

and incline to learn knowledge,

2 for I give you good instruction.

Do not forsake my guidance.

3 When I was my father's boy,

my mother's only cherished child,

4 he taught me and he said to me,

Take my words to heart;
keep my commands and live.

5 Get wisdom; get understanding.

Forget not, nor turn from, the words of my mouth.

6 Abandon her not, and she will guard you;

love her, and she will watch over you.

7 The beginning of wisdom: obtain wisdom,

and with all you have obtained, obtain understanding.

8 Exalt her, and she will elevate you;

she will glorify you when you embrace her.

9 She will set on your head a garland of grace;

a crown of splendor she will grant you.

10 Hear, my son, and accept my words;

they will multiply your years of life.

11 I have guided you in wisdom's way;

lead you along straight paths.

12 You will walk, your steps unimpeded;

when you run, you will not slip.

13 Take hold of instruction; do not let go.

Guard her; she is your life.

14 Enter not the highway of the wicked;

travel not the road of evil ones.

15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27


  1. (2:8) "the underworld's denizens". Hebrew rephaim, a term with multiple sorts of meaning, but in this context to the shades of the dead in Sheol.
  2. (3:8) "flesh". The Masoretic Text here reads shor, which appears to mean navel (compare Ezekiel 16:4). By the addition of one letter to the Hebrew shor, one can get the word basar ("flesh"). The Septuagint reads soma ("body"). So this translation is working from the assumption either (1) that basar is intended here, or that (2) shor can in some way refer to the body as a whole.
  3. (3:15) "rubies". Hebrew peninim. The exact meaning is unclear, but the use of the word elsewhere indicates that they are something valuable, comparable with gold, and Lamentations 4:7 would seem to indicate that peninim are red in color.
  4. (3:22) "breath". Hebrew nefesh. One of the pities of translating Hebrew poetry is when it is impossible to find an English word with a comparable range of meaning to a Hebrew word. In this case, nefesh can carry meanings roughly equivalent to the English "life", "breath", "being", and even "throat". So there is a poetic "fit" between nefesh (here "breath") and both hayyim ("life") andgargerot ("neck") which is difficult to duplicate in English.
  5. (3:35) In the second half of this verse "fools" and "shame" are clear enough, but the verb translated here as "accumulate" is difficult.