What does Proverbs 1:29 mean?
ESV: Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD,
NIV: since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the LORD.
NASB: Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the Lord.
CSB: Because they hated knowledge, didn't choose to fear the Lord,
NLT: For they hated knowledge and chose not to fear the Lord.
KJV: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:
NKJV: Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the Lord,
Verse Commentary:
Proverbs 1:7 is the key verse for the entire book. Verse 29 emphasizes how ignoring this crucial tip results in catastrophe. True wisdom is always grounded in a healthy, respectful, reverent "fear" of God. When we choose not to fear the Lord, when we choose not to place Him in His proper place in our lives, we despise knowledge, and refuse to act wisely.

The use of terms such as "hate" and "despise" in these passages needs to be understood in context. Writings of this time and place often used extreme contrasts to make a point. In this case, those who preferred to be ignorant, rather than follow the truth, are said to "hate" knowledge. This isn't meant in an absolute or overly literal sense. In symbolic terms, and as used in this type of literature, it means that they rejected knowledge—true knowledge, which is rooted in respect for God—in favor of something else.
Verse Context:
Proverbs 1:20–33 concludes the first chapter of Proverbs with the dire consequences of the behaviors defined in the previous section. Also, in this segment is the first personification of wisdom as a female. Throughout Proverbs, Solomon likens wisdom to a woman crying out. The theme is that she is not hiding but is out in the open for all to hear, even though she often goes overlooked.
Chapter Summary:
Proverbs Chapter 1 provides a clear description of the purpose of the book. It is stated plainly who wrote the book, the lineage of Solomon, and to whom he was writing. Solomon gives four distinct purpose statements in the opening verses. The essence of these is to explain why he is writing the book as well as the source of his inspiration. Solomon concludes with a warning against sinfulness and a personal plea for his children to act wisely.
Chapter Context:
Proverbs Chapter 1 is clearly born out of Solomon’s life history. Solomon held himself back from no earthly pleasure, he had everything he could ever desire, and in the end he saw the foolishness of his actions. Chapter 1 is Solomon’s reflection on his own life, how he had all the wisdom of God available to him, and yet chose to follow after foolish desires. Other chapters detail the advice which this experience allows Solomon to give.
Book Summary:
Proverbs is best understood in context with the books of Ecclesiastes and Job. In Proverbs, “wisdom” is given in short, simple, general terms. Ecclesiastes represents wisdom based on observation and experience. This often shows how the general principles of the book of Proverbs don’t apply in absolutely every circumstance. Job represents wisdom based on the experience of suffering and injustice. All three come to the conclusion that God does indeed know best, and the most sensible course of action is to follow His will.
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