Introduction to the Book, 1-6
1:1 The Proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
1:2 To learn wisdom and moral instruction,
and to discern wise counsel.
1:3 To receive moral instruction in skillful living,
in righteousness, justice, and equity.
1:4 To impart shrewdness to the morally naive,
and a discerning plan to the young person.
1:5 (Let the wise also hear and gain instruction,
and let the discerning acquire guidance!)
1:6 To discern the meaning of a proverb and a parable,
the sayings of the wise and their riddles.
Introduction to the Theme of the Book, 7-9
1:7 Fearing the LORD is the beginning of moral knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
1:8 Listen, my child, to the instruction from your father,
and do not forsake the teaching from your mother.
1:9 For they will be like an elegant garland on your head,
and like pendants around your neck.
Listen, my child – Many translations (including NIV) have ‘my son’. But, as Murphy points out, ‘It should be emphasized that “my son” is not to be taken in a gender exclusive sense. This book is for all Israel, and the observations deal with universal human experience, except in very few cases.’
Admonition to Avoid Easy but Unjust Riches, 10-19
1:10 My child, if sinners try to entice you,
do not consent!
1:11 If they say, “Come with us!
We will lie in wait to shed blood;
we will ambush an innocent person capriciously.
1:12 We will swallow them alive like Sheol,
those full of vigor like those going down to the Pit.
1:13 We will seize all kinds of precious wealth;
we will fill our houses with plunder.
1:14 Join with us!
We will all share equally in what we steal.”
1:15 My child, do not go down their way,
withhold yourself from their path;
1:16 for they are eager to inflict harm,
and they hasten to shed blood.
1:17 Surely it is futile to spread a net
in plain sight of any bird,
1:18 but these men lie in wait for their own blood,
they ambush their own lives!
1:19 Such are the ways of all who gain profit unjustly;
it takes away the life of those who obtain it!
Warning Against Disregarding Wisdom, 20-33
1:20 Wisdom calls out in the street,
she shouts loudly in the plazas;
1:21 at the head of the noisy streets she calls,
in the entrances of the gates in the city she utters her words:
‘Perhaps the easiest and most common excuse for doing wrong and falling into trouble is ignorance, that one just did not know any better. That excuse is implicitly rejected here. Wisdom is not some hidden treasure that has to be dug from the depths of the earth (compare Job 28) or the sole possession of the lonely sage sitting atop a mountain. To the contrary, Wisdom roams the streets looking for someone to instruct. The ways of right and wrong, as presented in this word of God, are open for all to read and follow.’ (Garrett)
1:22 “How long will you simpletons love naiveté?
Once again, wisdom is not addressing those who are merely ignorant, but rather those how know the way of wisdom, yet eschew it. They despite wisdom and love folly.
How long will mockers delight in mockery
and fools hate knowledge?
1:23 If only you will respond to my rebuke,
then I will pour out my thoughts to you
and I will make my words known to you.
Here is an appeal to the foolish to turn from their ways. The outcome of not doing so is spelled out in the next few verses.