The Rewards of Wisdom
1-2My child, if you truly want a long and satisfying life,
never forget the things that I’ve taught you.
Follow closely every truth that I’ve given you.
Then you will have a full, rewarding life.
3Hold on to loyal love and don’t let go,
and be faithful to all that you’ve been taught.
Let your life be shaped by integrity, # 3:3 Or “Tie my commands around your neck.” The neck is a symbol of our will and conscience.
with truth written upon your heart.
4That’s how you will find favor and understanding
with both God and men—
you will gain the reputation of living life well.
5Trust in the Lord completely,
and do not rely on your own opinions.
With all your heart rely on him to guide you,
and he will lead you in every decision you make.
6Become intimate with him in whatever you do,
and he will lead you wherever you go. # 3:6 Or “he will cut a straight path before you.”
7Don’t think for a moment that you know it all, # 3:7 We should always be willing to listen to correction and instruction.
for wisdom comes when you adore him with undivided devotion
and avoid everything that’s wrong.
8Then you will find the healing refreshment
your body and spirit long for. # 3:8 Literally “healing to your navel and moistening to your bones.” The blood supply for a baby in the womb comes through the navel. New cells are made in the marrow of our bones. As the navel and bones picture the life flow of our bodies, so the navel and bones are a picture of our inner being. See John 7:37–39.
9Glorify God with all your wealth,
honoring him with your firstfruits,
with every increase that comes to you.
10Then every dimension of your life will overflow with blessings
from an uncontainable source of inner joy!
11My child, when the Lord God speaks to you,
never take his words lightly,
and never be upset when he corrects you.
12For the Father’s discipline comes only
from his passionate love and pleasure for you.
Even when it seems like his correction is harsh,
it’s still better than any father on earth gives to his child.
13Blessings pour over the ones who find wisdom,
for they have obtained living-understanding. # 3:13 The Hebrew text here implies that wisdom gives the ability to take raw facts and draw right conclusions and meaning from them.
14As wisdom increases, a great treasure is imparted,
greater than many bars of refined gold.
15It is a more valuable commodity than gold and gemstones, # 3:15 The Hebrew word translated here as “gemstones” can also refer to rubies, coral, or pearls.
for there is nothing you desire that could compare to her.
16Wisdom extends to you long life in one hand
and wealth and promotion # 3:16 Or “honor.” in the other.
Out of her mouth flows righteousness,
and her words release both law and mercy. # 3:16 The Septuagint adds this last sentence, which is not found in the Hebrew.
17The ways of wisdom are sweet,
always drawing you into the place of wholeness. # 3:17 The Hebrew word translated here as “wholeness” can also mean “peace” or “prosperity.”
18Seeking for her brings the discovery of untold blessings,
for she is the healing tree of life to those who taste her fruits. # 3:18 Verses 17 and 18 are recited in contemporary Torah services as the Torah scroll is returned to the ark, where it is kept.
19The Lord laid the earth’s foundations with wisdom’s blueprints.
By his living-understanding all the universe came into being. # 3:19 When compared with Col. 1:16, we can see that Wisdom is used as a title in Proverbs for the Living Wisdom, Jesus Christ. See 1 Cor. 1:30.
20By his divine revelation he broke open
the hidden fountains of the deep,
bringing secret springs to the surface
as the mist of the night dripped down from heaven. # 3:20 The dew is a metaphor for the Holy Spirit, who comes from the heavens and drenches us with God’s presence. See Gen. 27:28; Deut. 32:2; Judg. 6:37–40; Ps. 133:3.
Wisdom, Our Hiding Place
21My child, never drift off course from these two goals for your life:
to walk in wisdom and to discover your purpose. # 3:21 Like many Hebrew words, there are various possible translations. The word translated here as “purpose” can also mean “discretion,” “counsel,” “meditation,” or “discernment.”
Don’t ever forget how they empower you.
22For they strengthen you inside and out
and inspire you to do what’s right; # 3:22 Or “adorn your neck.” The neck is a picture of our will and conscience.
you will be energized and refreshed by the healing they bring.
23They give you living hope to guide you,
and not one of life’s tests will cause you to stumble.
24You will sleep like a baby, safe and sound—
your rest will be sweet and secure.
25You will not be subject to terror, for it will not terrify you.
Nor will the disrespectful be able to push you aside, # 3:25 As translated from the Septuagint.
26because God is your confidence in times of crisis,
keeping your heart at rest in every situation. # 3:26 Or “keeping your foot from being caught.”
Wisdom in Relationships
27Why would you withhold payment on your debt # 3:27 The Septuagint is “Why would you withhold from the poor [those who need it]?”
when you have the ability to pay? Just do it! # 3:27 The Hebrew text here literally means “Do not withhold wealth from its owners.” See Rom. 13:7.
28When your friend comes to ask you for a favor,
why would you say, “Perhaps tomorrow,”
when you have the money right there in your pocket?
Help him today!
29Why would you hold a grudge # 3:29 Or “plot evil.” in your heart
toward your neighbor who lives right next door?
30And why would you quarrel with those
who have done nothing wrong to you?
Is that a chip on your shoulder? # 3:30 See Rom. 12:18.
31Don’t act like those bullies or learn their ways.
32Every violent thug is despised by the Lord,
but every tender lover finds friendship with God
and will hear his intimate secrets. # 3:32 See Ps. 25:14.
33The wicked walk under God’s constant curse,
but the righteous walk under a stream of his blessing,
for they seek to do what is right.
34If you walk with the mockers you will learn to mock,
but God’s grace and favor flow to the meek. # 3:34 See James 4:6 and 1 Peter 5:5.
35Stubborn fools fill their lives with disgrace,
but glory and honor rest upon the wise.