The Bible: Proverbs Chapter 1: with Audio and Commentary.

Version: World English Bible.

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Proverbs Chapter 1

1 The proverbs of Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel:

2 to know wisdom and instruction; to discern the words of understanding;

3 to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity;

4 to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young man:

5 that the wise man may hear, and increase in learning; that the man of understanding may attain to sound counsel:

6 to understand a proverb, and parables, the words and riddles of the wise.

7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; but the foolish despise wisdom and instruction.

8 My son, listen to your father's instruction, and don't forsake your mother's teaching:

9 for they will be a garland to grace your head, and chains around your neck.

10 My son, if sinners entice you, don't consent.

11 If they say, "Come with us. Let's lay in wait for blood. Let's lurk secretly for the innocent without cause.

12 Let's swallow them up alive like Sheol, and whole, like those who go down into the pit.

13 We'll find all valuable wealth. We'll fill our houses with plunder.

14 You shall cast your lot amongst us. We'll all have one purse."

15 My son, don't walk on the path with them. Keep your foot from their path,

16 for their feet run to evil. They hurry to shed blood.

17 For the net is spread in vain in the sight of any bird;

18 but these lay in wait for their own blood. They lurk secretly for their own lives.

19 So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain. It takes away the life of its owners.

20 Wisdom calls aloud in the street. She utters her voice in the public squares.

21 She calls at the head of noisy places. At the entrance of the city gates, she utters her words:

22 "How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? How long will mockers delight themselves in mockery, and fools hate knowledge?

23 Turn at my reproof. Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you. I will make known my words to you.

24 Because I have called, and you have refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no one has paid attention;

25 but you have ignored all my counsel, and wanted none of my reproof;

26 I also will laugh at your disaster. I will mock when calamity overtakes you,

27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when your disaster comes on like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come on you.

28 Then they will call on me, but I will not answer. They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me;

29 because they hated knowledge, and didn't choose the fear of the LORD.

30 They wanted none of my counsel. They despised all my reproof.

31 Therefore they will eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own schemes.

32 For the backsliding of the simple will kill them. The careless ease of fools will destroy them.

33 But whoever listens to me will dwell securely, and will be at ease, without fear of harm."


Verse 7
When rendered in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, "LORD" or "GOD" is the translation of God's Proper Name.
Verse 12 (Sheol)
Sheol is the place of the dead.
Verse 23 (Behold)
"Behold" means look at, take notice, observe, see, or gaze at. It is often used as an interjection.

Version: World English Bible


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Proverbs Chapter 1 Guide

The Book of Proverbs is one of the wisdom books of the Hebrew people. Emotionally and fundamentally, wisdom is the fear of God; intellectually, a knowledge of the manifestations of the divine wisdom; and, volitionally, obedience rendered thereto.

The first verse of this chapter constitutes the title of this Book, and the following six verses contain what we today would speak of as preface. That preface first declares the purpose of the Book in terms so simple as to need no comment (verses Proverbs 1:3-5). Then follows a statement of method, which is necessary to a right use of the whole Book (verses Proverbs 1:6-7). The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord. The facts of God, and man's relation to Him, must be taken for granted and answered if there is to be any true wisdom. After the preface, the first section of the Book contains general instructions on wisdom which prepare the way for the Proverbs themselves, which come later.

The first instruction is a parental counsel, in which the wisdom of recognizing true friends is set forth in words which urge the habit of loyalty to father and mother; and the folly of forming false friendships is set forth in a series of warnings against them. This wisdom is personified, and her first call is written. It is, first, an appeal to turn from simplicity and scorning and hatred of knowledge, with the promise that she will give knowledge (verses Proverbs 1:22-23). This is followed by a warning that wisdom neglected at last refuses to answer (verses Proverbs 1:24-32). The call ends with a repeated promise of blessing to those who attend.

From "An Exposition of the Whole Bible" by G. Campbell Morgan.

Proverbs Chapter 1 Commentary

Chapter Outline

  1. The use of the Proverbs. -- (1-6)
  2. Exhortations to fear God and obey parents. -- (7-9)
  3. To avoid the enticings of sinners. -- (10-19)
  4. The address of Wisdom to sinners. -- (20-33)

Verses 1-6

The lessons here given are plain, and likely to benefit those who feel their own ignorance, and their need to be taught. If young people take heed to their ways, according to Solomon's Proverbs, they will gain knowledge and discretion. Solomon speaks of the most important points of truth, and a greater than Solomon is here. Christ speaks by his word and by his Spirit. Christ is the Word and the Wisdom of God, and he is made to us wisdom.

Verses 7-9

Fools are persons who have no true wisdom, who follow their own devices, without regard to reason, or reverence for God. Children are reasonable creatures, and when we tell them what they must do, we must tell them why. But they are corrupt and wilful, therefore with the instruction there is need of a law. Let Divine truths and commands be to us most honourable; let us value them, and then they shall be so to us.

Verses 10-19

Wicked people are zealous in seducing others into the paths of the destroyer: sinners love company in sin. But they have so much the more to answer for. How cautious young people should be! "Consent thou not." Do not say as they say, nor do as they do, or would have thee to do; have no fellowship with them. Who could think that it should be a pleasure to one man to destroy another! See their idea of worldly wealth; but it is neither substance, nor precious. It is the ruinous mistake of thousands, that they overvalue the wealth of this world. Men promise themselves in vain that sin will turn to their advantage. The way of sin is down-hill; men cannot stop themselves. Would young people shun temporal and eternal ruin, let them refuse to take one step in these destructive paths. Men's greediness of gain hurries them upon practices which will not suffer them or others to live out half their days. What is a man profited, though he gain the world, if he lose his life? much less if he lose his soul?

Verses 20-33

Solomon, having showed how dangerous it is to hearken to the temptations of Satan, here declares how dangerous it is not to hearken to the calls of God. Christ himself is Wisdom, is Wisdoms. Three sorts of persons are here called by Him:

  1. Simple ones. Sinners are fond of their simple notions of good and evil, their simple prejudices against the ways of God, and flatter themselves in their wickedness.
  2. Scorners. Proud, jovial people, that make a jest of every thing. Scoffers at religion, that run down every thing sacred and serious.
  3. Fools. Those are the worst of fools that hate to be taught, and have a rooted dislike to serious godliness. The precept is plain; Turn you at my reproof. We do not make a right use of reproofs, if we do not turn from evil to that which is good. The promises are very encouraging. Men cannot turn by any power of their own; but God answers, Behold, I will pour out my Spirit unto you. Special grace is needful to sincere conversion. But that grace shall never be denied to any who seek it. The love of Christ, and the promises mingled with his reproofs, surely should have the attention of every one. It may well be asked, how long men mean to proceed in such a perilous path, when the uncertainty of life and the consequences of dying without Christ are considered? Now sinners live at ease, and set sorrow at defiance; but their calamity will come. Now God is ready to hear their prayers; but then they shall cry in vain. Are we yet despisers of wisdom? Let us hearken diligently, and obey the Lord Jesus, that we may enjoy peace of conscience and confidence in God; be free from evil, in life, in death, and for ever.

From the "Concise Commentary on the Bible" by Matthew Henry.