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Proverbs 3

New International Version

1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, 2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. 9 Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. 11 My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, 12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. 13 Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, 14 for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. 15 She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. 16 Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. 17 Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. 18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed. 19 By wisdom the LORD laid the earth's foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; 20 by his knowledge the watery depths were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew. 21 My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion; 22 they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. 23 Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble. 24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. 25 Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, 26 for the LORD will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared. 27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. 28 Do not say to your neighbor, 'Come back tomorrow and I'll give it to you'-- when you already have it with you. 29 Do not plot harm against your neighbor, who lives trustfully near you. 30 Do not accuse anyone for no reason-- when they have done you no harm. 31 Do not envy the violent or choose any of their ways. 32 For the LORD detests the perverse but takes the upright into his confidence. 33 The LORD's curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous. 34 He mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed. 35 The wise inherit honor, but fools get only shame.
English Standard Version

1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, 2 for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. 3 Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. 8 It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. 9 Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; 10 then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. 11 My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, 12 for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights. 13 Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, 14 for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. 15 She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. 16 Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. 17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. 18 She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed. 19 The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; 20 by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew. 21 My son, do not lose sight of these— keep sound wisdom and discretion, 22 and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck. 23 Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble. 24 If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. 25 Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes, 26 for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught. 27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. 28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you. 29 Do not plan evil against your neighbor, who dwells trustingly beside you. 30 Do not contend with a man for no reason, when he has done you no harm. 31 Do not envy a man of violence and do not choose any of his ways, 32 for the devious person is an abomination to the LORD, but the upright are in his confidence. 33 The LORD’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the dwelling of the righteous. 34 Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor. 35 The wise will inherit honor, but fools get disgrace.
King James Version

1 My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: 2 For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. 3 Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: 4 So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. 8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. 9 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: 10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. 11 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: 12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. 13 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. 14 For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. 15 She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. 16 Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. 17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. 18 She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her. 19 The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. 20 By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew. 21 My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion: 22 So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck. 23 Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble. 24 When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. 25 Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. 26 For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken. 27 Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. 28 Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee. 29 Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee. 30 Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm. 31 Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways. 32 For the froward is abomination to the LORD: but his secret is with the righteous. 33 The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just. 34 Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly. 35 The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools.
New American Standard Bible

1 My son, do not forget my teaching, But let your heart keep my commandments; 2 For length of days and years of life And peace they will add to you. 3 Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 So you will find favor and good repute In the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil. 8 It will be healing to your body And refreshment to your bones. 9 Honor the LORD from your wealth And from the first of all your produce; 10 So your barns will be filled with plenty And your vats will overflow with new wine. 11 My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD Or loathe His reproof, 12 For whom the LORD loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights. 13 How blessed is the man who finds wisdom And the man who gains understanding. 14 For her profit is better than the profit of silver And her gain better than fine gold. 15 She is more precious than jewels; And nothing you desire compares with her. 16 Long life is in her right hand; In her left hand are riches and honor. 17 Her ways are pleasant ways And all her paths are peace. 18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, And happy are all who hold her fast. 19 The LORD by wisdom founded the earth, By understanding He established the heavens. 20 By His knowledge the deeps were broken up And the skies drip with dew. 21 My son, let them not vanish from your sight; Keep sound wisdom and discretion, 22 So they will be life to your soul And adornment to your neck. 23 Then you will walk in your way securely And your foot will not stumble. 24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid; When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. 25 Do not be afraid of sudden fear Nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes; 26 For the LORD will be your confidence And will keep your foot from being caught. 27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in your power to do it. 28 Do not say to your neighbor, 'Go, and come back, And tomorrow I will give it,' When you have it with you. 29 Do not devise harm against your neighbor, While he lives securely beside you. 30 Do not contend with a man without cause, If he has done you no harm. 31 Do not envy a man of violence And do not choose any of his ways. 32 For the devious are an abomination to the LORD; But He is intimate with the upright. 33 The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked, But He blesses the dwelling of the righteous. 34 Though He scoffs at the scoffers, Yet He gives grace to the afflicted. 35 The wise will inherit honor, But fools display dishonor.
New Living Translation

1 My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart. 2 If you do this, you will live many years, and your life will be satisfying. 3 Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. 4 Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation. 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. 7 Don't be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the LORD and turn away from evil. 8 Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones. 9 Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. 10 Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine. 11 My child, don't reject the LORD's discipline, and don't be upset when he corrects you. 12 For the LORD corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. 13 Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding. 14 For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold. 15 Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. 16 She offers you long life in her right hand, and riches and honor in her left. 17 She will guide you down delightful paths; all her ways are satisfying. 18 Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly. 19 By wisdom the LORD founded the earth; by understanding he created the heavens. 20 By his knowledge the deep fountains of the earth burst forth, and the dew settles beneath the night sky. 21 My child, don't lose sight of common sense and discernment. Hang on to them, 22 for they will refresh your soul. They are like jewels on a necklace. 23 They keep you safe on your way, and your feet will not stumble. 24 You can go to bed without fear; you will lie down and sleep soundly. 25 You need not be afraid of sudden disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked, 26 for the LORD is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap. 27 Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it's in your power to help them. 28 If you can help your neighbor now, don't say, 'Come back tomorrow, and then I'll help you.' 29 Don't plot harm against your neighbor, for those who live nearby trust you. 30 Don't pick a fight without reason, when no one has done you harm. 31 Don't envy violent people or copy their ways. 32 Such wicked people are detestable to the LORD, but he offers his friendship to the godly. 33 The LORD curses the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the upright. 34 The LORD mocks the mockers but is gracious to the humble. 35 The wise inherit honor, but fools are put to shame!
Christian Standard Bible

1 My son, don't forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commands; 2 for they will bring you many days, a full life, and well-being. 3 Never let loyalty and faithfulness leave you. Tie them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will find favor and high regard with God and people. 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight. 7 Don't be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil. 8 This will be healing for your body and strengthening for your bones. 9 Honor the LORD with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest; 10 then your barns will be completely filled, and your vats will overflow with new wine. 11 Do not despise the LORD's instruction, my son, and do not loathe his discipline; 12 for the LORD disciplines the one he loves, just as a father disciplines the son in whom he delights. 13 Happy is a man who finds wisdom and who acquires understanding, 14 for she is more profitable than silver, and her revenue is better than gold. 15 She is more precious than jewels; nothing you desire can equal her. 16 Long life is in her right hand; in her left, riches and honor. 17 Her ways are pleasant, and all her paths, peaceful. 18 She is a tree of life to those who embrace her, and those who hold on to her are happy. 19 The LORD founded the earth by wisdom and established the heavens by understanding. 20 By his knowledge the watery depths broke open, and the clouds dripped with dew. 21 Maintain sound wisdom and discretion. My son, don't lose sight of them. 22 They will be life for you and adornment for your neck. 23 Then you will go safely on your way; your foot will not stumble. 24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid; you will lie down, and your sleep will be pleasant. 25 Don't fear sudden danger or the ruin of the wicked when it comes, 26 for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from a snare. 27 When it is in your power, don't withhold good from the one to whom it belongs. 28 Don't say to your neighbor, "Go away! Come back later. I'll give it tomorrow"--when it is there with you. 29 Don't plan any harm against your neighbor, for he trusts you and lives near you. 30 Don't accuse anyone without cause, when he has done you no harm. 31 Don't envy a violent man or choose any of his ways; 32 for the devious are detestable to the LORD, but he is a friend to the upright. 33 The LORD's curse is on the household of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous; 34 He mocks those who mock, but gives grace to the humble. 35 The wise will inherit honor, but he holds up fools to dishonor.

What does Proverbs 3 mean?

This chapter begins with another encouragement for the reader to embrace the wisdom being imparted. Solomon's reference to "my son" most likely means his actual child or children. However, it was common for teachers in that era to refer to their students using father-son terminology. Typical of wisdom literature, the remarks that follow are segments of general-case advice. Wise living doesn't guarantee a person a worry-free experience (Proverbs 3:25–26). Still, it greatly increases one's chance of success. In that common-sense way, obeying these instructions will bring comparative peace and longevity (Proverbs 3:1–4).

The book of Proverbs often uses alternating patterns. These are sometimes used to contrast positive statements with negative ones. Here, Solomon presents several cycles of instructions and benefits. These emphasize the need to submit to godly wisdom, placing God and His will first and foremost in one's life. This includes being willing to see God's discipline as a sign of love, not a reason to despair (Proverbs 3:5–12).

Solomon also wrote the book of Ecclesiastes, which describes the results of trying to attain happiness through worldly means. In this passage, the reader is encouraged to see wisdom and discretion as unimaginably more valuable than wealth and material goods. Once again, true wisdom is grounded in the character and will of God. As in other parts of Proverbs, the term wisdom implies an ability to act according to godly knowledge. Discretion is the ability to carefully consider a situation, separating right from wrong and making the judicious choice. This passage also indicates that hardship can come even to those who follow godly wisdom. Still, among the advantages of godly wisdom are a clear conscience and confidence that God will stand beside a believer, no matter what (Proverbs 3:13–26).

The chapter ends with another set of instructions. These are focused on relationships, especially with other people. Among these are commands not to delay in doing good for others, especially when such honor is expected or owed. This passage touches on the fact that the ungodly often seem to have success—but this is nothing to envy. Even those who seem to prosper in their sin will eventually be held accountable to God. Those who are arrogant and foolish will one day be humiliated and disgraced; those who submit to godly wisdom will be blessed (Proverbs 3:27–35).