Proverbs 1:21 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Proverbs 1:21, NIV: "on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech:"

Proverbs 1:21, ESV: "at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:"

Proverbs 1:21, KJV: "She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying,"

Proverbs 1:21, NASB: "At the head of the noisy streets she cries out; At the entrance of the gates in the city she declares her sayings:"

Proverbs 1:21, NLT: "She calls to the crowds along the main street, to those gathered in front of the city gate:"

Proverbs 1:21, CSB: "She cries out above the commotion; she speaks at the entrance of the city gates:"

What does Proverbs 1:21 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This verse continues the picture begun in verse 20. Wisdom is crying out to all, in a public and busy place. Many, many people can hear her cries. The streets are busy, the gate is crowded, yet the people are going on about their business. Even though wisdom is available to them and calling out to them, they pass her by without notice (Proverbs 1:22). The imagery Solomon uses is no accident. A woman calling out in a busy public place will be seen and heard, essentially, by everyone in the community. Whether they are looking for her, or not, everyone will have to make a decision about her offer.

Spiritually speaking, no one has the excuse to claim they never had any opportunity to gain wisdom. This echoes other Scriptures which indicate that God will always give us enough knowledge to make the right decision (Romans 1:18–20; Matthew 7:7). The fact that we don't listen to wisdom is entirely our own fault. In the case of wisdom, even those not looking for "her" will have an opportunity to meet her. The only way one can completely avoid wisdom is by purposefully choosing to ignore it.