The Value of Proverbs
1 The proverbs of Solomon, son of David and king of Israel.
2 Here are proverbs that will help you recognize wisdom and good advice, and understand sayings with deep meaning. 3 They can teach you how to live intelligently and how to be honest, just, and fair. 4 They can make an inexperienced person clever and teach young people how to be resourceful. 5 These proverbs can even add to the knowledge of the wise and give guidance to the educated, 6 so that they can understand the hidden meanings of proverbs and the problems that the wise raise.
Advice to the Young
7 To have knowledge, you must first have reverence for the Lord. Stupid people have no respect for wisdom and refuse to learn.
8 My child, pay attention to what your father and mother tell you. 9 Their teaching will improve your character as a handsome turban or a necklace improves your appearance.
10 My child, when sinners tempt you, don't give in. 11 Suppose they say, “Come on; let's find someone to kill! Let's attack some innocent people for the fun of it! 12 They may be alive and well when we find them, but they'll be dead when we're through with them! 13 We'll find all kinds of riches and fill our houses with loot! 14 Come and join us, and we'll all share what we steal.”
15 My child, don't go with people like that. Stay away from them. 16 They can't wait to do something bad. They're always ready to kill. 17 It does no good to spread a net when the bird you want to catch is watching, 18 but people like that are setting a trap for themselves, a trap in which they will die. 19 Robbery always claims the life of the robber—this is what happens to anyone who lives by violence.
Wisdom Calls
20 Listen! Wisdom is calling out in the streets and marketplaces, 21 calling loudly at the city gates and wherever people come together:
22 “Foolish people! How long do you want to be foolish? How long will you enjoy making fun of knowledge? Will you never learn? 23 Listen when I reprimand you; I will give you good advice and share my knowledge with you. 24 I have been calling you, inviting you to come, but you would not listen. You paid no attention to me. 25 You have ignored all my advice and have not been willing to let me correct you. 26 So when you get into trouble, I will laugh at you. I will make fun of you when terror strikes— 27 when it comes on you like a storm, bringing fierce winds of trouble, and you are in pain and misery. 28 Then you will call for wisdom, but I will not answer. You may look for me everywhere, but you will not find me. 29 You have never had any use for knowledge and have always refused to obey the Lord. 30 You have never wanted my advice or paid any attention when I corrected you. 31 So then, you will get what you deserve, and your own actions will make you sick. 32 Inexperienced people die because they reject wisdom. Stupid people are destroyed by their own lack of concern. 33 But whoever listens to me will have security. He will be safe, with no reason to be afraid.”