Proverbs 1 – New International Version (NIV)

Purpose and Theme

  1. The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
  2. for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight;
  3. for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair;
  4. for giving prudence to those who are simple,[a] knowledge and discretion to the young—
  5. let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance—
  6. for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.[b]
  7. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools[c] despise wisdom and instruction.

Prologue: Exhortations to Embrace Wisdom

Warning Against the Invitation of Sinful Men

  1. Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
  2. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.
  3. My son, if sinful men entice you, do not give in to them.
  4. If they say, “Come along with us; let’s lie in wait for innocent blood, let’s ambush some harmless soul;
  5. let’s swallow them alive, like the grave, and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
  6. we will get all sorts of valuable things and fill our houses with plunder;
  7. cast lots with us; we will all share the loot”—
  8. my son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths;
  9. for their feet rush into evil, they are swift to shed blood.
  10. How useless to spread a net where every bird can see it!
  11. These men lie in wait for their own blood; they ambush only themselves!
  12. Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the life of those who get it.

Wisdom’s Rebuke

  1. Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square;
  2. on top of the wall[d] she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech:
  3. “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?
  4. Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings.
  5. But since you refuse to listen when I call and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand,
  6. since you disregard all my advice and do not accept my rebuke,
  7. I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you; I will mock when calamity overtakes you—
  8. when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you.
  9. “Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me,
  10. since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord.
  11. Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke,
  12. they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.
  13. For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
  14. but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”


a. Proverbs 1:4 The Hebrew word rendered simple in Proverbs denotes a person who is gullible, without moral direction and inclined to evil.
b. Proverbs 1:6 Or understanding a proverb, namely, a parable, / and the sayings of the wise, their riddles
c. Proverbs 1:7 The Hebrew words rendered fool in Proverbs, and often elsewhere in the Old Testament, denote a person who is morally deficient.
d. Proverbs 1:21 Septuagint; Hebrew / at noisy street corners

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Proverbs 1 – King James Version (KJV)

  1. The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;
  2. To know wisdom and instruction; To perceive the words of understanding;
  3. To receive the instruction of wisdom, Justice, and judgment, and equity;
  4. To give subtilty to the simple, To the young man knowledge and discretion.
  5. A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; And a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
  6. To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; The words of the wise, and their dark sayings.
  7. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
  8. My son, hear the instruction of thy father, And forsake not the law of thy mother:
  9. For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, And chains about thy neck.
  10. My son, if sinners entice thee, Consent thou not.
  11. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, Let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause:
  12. Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; And whole, as those that go down into the pit:
  13. We shall find all precious substance, We shall fill our houses with spoil:
  14. Cast in thy lot among us; Let us all have one purse:
  15. My son, walk not thou in the way with them; Refrain thy foot from their path:
  16. For their feet run to evil, And make haste to shed blood.
  17. Surely in vain the net is spread In the sight of any bird.
  18. And they lay wait for their own blood; They lurk privily for their own lives.
  19. So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; Which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.

The Cry of Wisdom

  1. Wisdom crieth without; She uttereth her voice in the streets:
  2. She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: In the city she uttereth her words, saying,
  3. How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? And the scorners delight in their scorning, And fools hate knowledge?
  4. Turn you at my reproof: Behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.
  5. Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;
  6. But ye have set at nought all my counsel, And would none of my reproof:
  7. I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;
  8. When your fear cometh as desolation, And your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; When distress and anguish cometh upon you.
  9. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; They shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:
  10. For that they hated knowledge, And did not choose the fear of the LORD:
  11. They would none of my counsel: They despised all my reproof.
  12. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, And be filled with their own devices.
  13. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, And the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.
  14. But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, And shall be quiet from fear of evil.