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Proverbs chapter 8

New International Version

1 Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice? 2 At the highest point along the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand; 3 beside the gate leading into the city, at the entrance, she cries aloud: 4 To you, O people, I call out; I raise my voice to all mankind. 5 You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, set your hearts on it. 6 Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right. 7 My mouth speaks what is true, for my lips detest wickedness. 8 All the words of my mouth are just; none of them is crooked or perverse. 9 To the discerning all of them are right; they are upright to those who have found knowledge. 10 Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold,
11 for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her. 12 I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion. 13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. 14 Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have insight, I have power. 15 By me kings reign and rulers issue decrees that are just; 16 by me princes govern, and nobles--all who rule on earth. 17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. 18 With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity. 19 My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver. 20 I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice,
21 bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me and making their treasuries full. 22 The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old; 23 I was formed long ages ago, at the very beginning, when the world came to be. 24 When there were no watery depths, I was given birth, when there were no springs overflowing with water; 25 before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was given birth, 26 before he made the world or its fields or any of the dust of the earth. 27 I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep, 28 when he established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep, 29 when he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command, and when he marked out the foundations of the earth. 30 Then I was constantly at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence,
31 rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind. 32 Now then, my children, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways. 33 Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard it. 34 Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. 35 For those who find me find life and receive favor from the LORD. 36 But those who fail to find me harm themselves; all who hate me love death.'
English Standard Version

1 Does not wisdom call? Does not understanding raise her voice? 2 On the heights beside the way, at the crossroads she takes her stand; 3 beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud: 4 “To you, O men, I call, and my cry is to the children of man. 5 O simple ones, learn prudence; O fools, learn sense. 6 Hear, for I will speak noble things, and from my lips will come what is right, 7 for my mouth will utter truth; wickedness is an abomination to my lips. 8 All the words of my mouth are righteous; there is nothing twisted or crooked in them. 9 They are all straight to him who understands, and right to those who find knowledge. 10 Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, 11 for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her. 12 “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion. 13 The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. 14 I have counsel and sound wisdom; I have insight; I have strength. 15 By me kings reign, and rulers decree what is just; 16 by me princes rule, and nobles, all who govern justly. 17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me. 18 Riches and honor are with me, enduring wealth and righteousness. 19 My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold, and my yield than choice silver. 20 I walk in the way of righteousness, in the paths of justice, 21 granting an inheritance to those who love me, and filling their treasuries. 22 “The LORD possessed me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old. 23 Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth. 24 When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water. 25 Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth, 26 before he had made the earth with its fields, or the first of the dust of the world. 27 When he established the heavens, I was there; when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, 28 when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep, 29 when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth, 30 then I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, 31 rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the children of man. 32 “And now, O sons, listen to me: blessed are those who keep my ways. 33 Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. 34 Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. 35 For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD, 36 but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death.”
King James Version

1 Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice? 2 She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths. 3 She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors. 4 Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man. 5 O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart. 6 Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things. 7 For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. 8 All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. 9 They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge. 10 Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. 11 For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.
12 I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions. 13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. 14 Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength. 15 By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. 16 By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth. 17 I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. 18 Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. 19 My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver. 20 I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: 21 That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.
22 The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. 23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. 24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. 25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: 26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. 27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: 28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: 29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: 30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; 31 Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.
32 Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways. 33 Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. 34 Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. 35 For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD. 36 But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.
New American Standard Bible

1 Does not wisdom call, And understanding lift up her voice? 2 On top of the heights beside the way, Where the paths meet, she takes her stand; 3 Beside the gates, at the opening to the city, At the entrance of the doors, she cries out: 4 'To you, O men, I call, And my voice is to the sons of men. 5 'O naive ones, understand prudence; And, O fools, understand wisdom. 6 'Listen, for I will speak noble things; And the opening of my lips will reveal right things. 7 'For my mouth will utter truth; And wickedness is an abomination to my lips. 8 'All the utterances of my mouth are in righteousness; There is nothing crooked or perverted in them. 9 'They are all straightforward to him who understands, And right to those who find knowledge. 10 'Take my instruction and not silver, And knowledge rather than choicest gold. 11 'For wisdom is better than jewels; And all desirable things cannot compare with her. 12 'I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, And I find knowledge and discretion. 13 'The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverted mouth, I hate. 14 'Counsel is mine and sound wisdom; I am understanding, power is mine. 15 'By me kings reign, And rulers decree justice. 16 'By me princes rule, and nobles, All who judge rightly. 17 'I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me. 18 'Riches and honor are with me, Enduring wealth and righteousness. 19 'My fruit is better than gold, even pure gold, And my yield better than choicest silver. 20 'I walk in the way of righteousness, In the midst of the paths of justice, 21 To endow those who love me with wealth, That I may fill their treasuries. 22 'The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old. 23 'From everlasting I was established, From the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth. 24 'When there were no depths I was brought forth, When there were no springs abounding with water. 25 'Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills I was brought forth; 26 While He had not yet made the earth and the fields, Nor the first dust of the world. 27 'When He established the heavens, I was there, When He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep, 28 When He made firm the skies above, When the springs of the deep became fixed, 29 When He set for the sea its boundary So that the water would not transgress His command, When He marked out the foundations of the earth; 30 Then I was beside Him, as a master workman; And I was daily His delight, Rejoicing always before Him, 31 Rejoicing in the world, His earth, And having my delight in the sons of men. 32 'Now therefore, O sons, listen to me, For blessed are they who keep my ways. 33 'Heed instruction and be wise, And do not neglect it. 34 'Blessed is the man who listens to me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at my doorposts. 35 'For he who finds me finds life And obtains favor from the LORD. 36 'But he who sins against me injures himself; All those who hate me love death.'
New Living Translation

1 Listen as Wisdom calls out! Hear as understanding raises her voice! 2 On the hilltop along the road, she takes her stand at the crossroads. 3 By the gates at the entrance to the town, on the road leading in, she cries aloud, 4 'I call to you, to all of you! I raise my voice to all people. 5 You simple people, use good judgment. You foolish people, show some understanding. 6 Listen to me! For I have important things to tell you. Everything I say is right, 7 for I speak the truth and detest every kind of deception. 8 My advice is wholesome. There is nothing devious or crooked in it. 9 My words are plain to anyone with understanding, clear to those with knowledge. 10 Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold. 11 For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it.
12 'I, Wisdom, live together with good judgment. I know where to discover knowledge and discernment. 13 All who fear the LORD will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech. 14 Common sense and success belong to me. Insight and strength are mine. 15 Because of me, kings reign, and rulers make just decrees. 16 Rulers lead with my help, and nobles make righteous judgments.
17 'I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me. 18 I have riches and honor, as well as enduring wealth and justice. 19 My gifts are better than gold, even the purest gold, my wages better than sterling silver! 20 I walk in righteousness, in paths of justice. 21 Those who love me inherit wealth. I will fill their treasuries.
22 'The LORD formed me from the beginning, before he created anything else. 23 I was appointed in ages past, at the very first, before the earth began. 24 I was born before the oceans were created, before the springs bubbled forth their waters. 25 Before the mountains were formed, before the hills, I was born-- 26 before he had made the earth and fields and the first handfuls of soil. 27 I was there when he established the heavens, when he drew the horizon on the oceans. 28 I was there when he set the clouds above, when he established springs deep in the earth. 29 I was there when he set the limits of the seas, so they would not spread beyond their boundaries. And when he marked off the earth's foundations, 30 I was the architect at his side. I was his constant delight, rejoicing always in his presence. 31 And how happy I was with the world he created; how I rejoiced with the human family!
32 'And so, my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful. 33 Listen to my instruction and be wise. Don't ignore it. 34 Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home! 35 For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD. 36 But those who miss me injure themselves. All who hate me love death.'
Christian Standard Bible

1 Doesn't wisdom call out? Doesn't understanding make her voice heard? 2 At the heights overlooking the road, at the crossroads, she takes her stand. 3 Beside the gates leading into the city, at the main entrance, she cries out: 4 "People, I call out to you; my cry is to the children of Adam. 5 Learn to be shrewd, you who are inexperienced; develop common sense, you who are foolish. 6 Listen, for I speak of noble things, and what my lips say is right. 7 For my mouth tells the truth, and wickedness is detestable to my lips. 8 All the words from my mouth are righteous; none of them are deceptive or perverse. 9 All of them are clear to the perceptive, and right to those who discover knowledge. 10 Accept my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold. 11 For wisdom is better than jewels, and nothing desirable can equal it. 12 I, wisdom, share a home with shrewdness and have knowledge and discretion. 13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil. I hate arrogant pride, evil conduct, and perverse speech. 14 I possess good advice and sound wisdom; I have understanding and strength. 15 It is by me that kings reign and rulers enact just law; 16 by me, princes lead, as do nobles and all righteous judges. 17 I love those who love me, and those who search for me find me. 18 With me are riches and honor, lasting wealth and righteousness. 19 My fruit is better than solid gold, and my harvest than pure silver. 20 I walk in the ways of righteousness, along the paths of justice,
21 giving wealth as an inheritance to those who love me, and filling their treasuries. 22 "The LORD acquired me at the beginning of his creation, before his works of long ago. 23 I was formed before ancient times, from the beginning, before the earth began. 24 I was born when there were no watery depths and no springs filled with water. 25 Before the mountains were established, prior to the hills, I was given birth-- 26 before he made the land, the fields, or the first soil on earth. 27 I was there when he established the heavens, when he laid out the horizon on the surface of the ocean, 28 when he placed the skies above, when the fountains of the ocean gushed out, 29 when he set a limit for the sea so that the waters would not violate his command, when he laid out the foundations of the earth. 30 I was a skilled craftsman beside him. I was his delight every day, always rejoicing before him.
31 I was rejoicing in his inhabited world, delighting in the children of Adam. 32 "And now, sons, listen to me; those who keep my ways are happy. 33 Listen to instruction and be wise; don't ignore it. 34 Anyone who listens to me is happy, watching at my doors every day, waiting by the posts of my doorway. 35 For the one who finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD, 36 but the one who misses me harms himself; all who hate me love death."

What does Proverbs chapter 8 mean?

Earlier in the book of Proverbs, wisdom was personified as a woman calling out in public to be heard (Proverbs 1:20–21). Solomon once again uses this metaphor, depicting wisdom as she cries out from near and far for men to heed her call and listen to what she has to say. Wisdom's message is not obscured so that no one can find it. On the contrary, the basic principles of godly wisdom are so obvious that all people ought to hear and listen (Proverbs 8:1–5).

In contrast to those who are corrupt, crooked, or twisted, wisdom speaks noble, righteous, and true things. Her instruction is worth more than the finest gold, silver, and jewels. This is true in both practical and spiritual ways. A person who starts with nothing, but follows wisdom, has a better chance of becoming successful than a foolish person who stumbles into wealth. From an eternal perspective, this is also true (Mark 8:36): the soul is worth infinitely more than anything we might obtain in life (Proverbs 8:6–11).

Wisdom teaches that the fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. This "fear" is the kind of reverential, worshipful obedience that we should rightly offer to God (Proverbs 1:7). In contrast, that which disagrees with wisdom is pride, arrogance, and corruption (Proverbs 8:12–13).

For a leader to be truly benevolent, and just, they must use godly wisdom. This is a national application of the same benefits wisdom offers to individual people: she loves those who love her. Once again extolling the value of godly wisdom, Solomon notes that the effects of honoring God are better than fine gold and choice silver (Proverbs 8:14–21).

Solomon also notes that wisdom existed before God created the earth and the heavens. The depiction here of wisdom as something established by God before even the creation of the world speaks to God's perfection. At the same time, wisdom poetically speaks of being alongside the Lord as a master workman. This wording has led some to interpret this passage as a statement from Jesus, who was more literally "with" God in the beginning (John 1:1). However, this is a different context and not a literal representation of Christ. Rather, wisdom is an intrinsic part of how God created and enjoyed His work (Proverbs 8:22–31).

Returning to the theme of advice, wisdom urges human beings to listen to her and promises blessings to those who respond positively. She promises life to those who listen to her as well as favor from the Lord. However, those who fail to find wisdom—those who ignore God's teaching inflict injury on themselves and love death. They will ultimately be separated from God (Proverbs 8:32–36).