Proverbs 9:10 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Proverbs 9:10, NIV: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."

Proverbs 9:10, ESV: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight."

Proverbs 9:10, KJV: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding."

Proverbs 9:10, NASB: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."

Proverbs 9:10, NLT: "Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment."

Proverbs 9:10, CSB: ""The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."

What does Proverbs 9:10 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The dividing line between those who are "wise" or "righteous" in their approach to wisdom (Proverbs 9:8–9) and those who are foolish and wicked is in this fundamental principle. This is a statement made often in Proverbs and echoed elsewhere in the Bible (Proverbs 1:7; 15:33; Psalm 111:10; Job 28:28). The word translated "beginning" here is from the root tachillah, which implies a foundation or an origin. In this context, Solomon means it is a prerequisite for wisdom. Without a humble, sincere reverence for who God is, a person will be arrogant and instinctively lash out when they are corrected (Proverbs 9:7).

No one can be truly wise unless he fears the Lord. The term "fear of the Lord," occurs more than a dozen times in the book of Proverbs. This is not "just" respect, but it does not imply terror or panic. The idea is one of humility, deep reverence, and submission. The basis for fearing God in this way is belief that He is holy and hates and punishes sin. Those who properly understand God's role have a clear view of reality, leading to insight and better outcomes.

After the exodus from Egypt, God pronounced blessings upon Israel if the people faithfully obeyed Him, but He also pronounced curses upon them if they refused to obey Him. He warns, "If you are not careful to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, the LORD your God, then the LORD will bring on you and your offspring extraordinary afflictions, afflictions severe and lasting, and sicknesses grievous and lasting" (Deuteronomy 28:58–59). The same passage continues to warn that a lack of fear of the Lord will diminish Israel's population and bring ruin on the nation, removal from the Promised Land, dispersion, fear, and persecution.