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