Wisdom Will Enter into Your Heart[a]
1 My son, if you take my words to heart
and look upon my instructions as a treasure,
2 attuning your ear to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding,
3 if you cry out for the gift of discernment[b]
and plead for understanding,
4 if you seek for it as for silver
and search for it as for buried treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord[c]
and discover the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord himself is the one who bestows wisdom;
from his mouth come forth knowledge and understanding.
7 He reserves his wisdom for the upright
and is a shield to those who lead blameless lives,
8 for he guards the paths of justice
and keeps watch over the way of his faithful ones.
9 Then you will understand equity and justice
as well as righteousness—every good path.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart
and knowledge will delight your soul.[d]
11 Prudence will protect you,
and understanding will watch over you.
12 Thus, you will be preserved from the ways of evil
and from those whose speech is perverse,[e]
13 who stray far from the straight paths[f]
to walk along roads of darkness,
14 who take pleasure in doing evil
and delight in leading perverse lives,
15 whose paths are crooked
and whose ways are devious.
16 You will be saved from the wife of another,
from the adulteress[g] with her seductive words,
17 who forsakes the partner of her youth
and forgets her sacred covenant with God.
18 For her house leads downward to death[h]
and her paths descend to the shades.
19 Anyone who goes to her never returns
or regains the paths of life.
20 Take care, then, that you follow the way of the good
and keep to the paths of the righteous.
21 For the upright will live in the land,[i]
and those who are innocent will remain there.
22 However, the wicked will be cut off from the land,
and those who are faithless will be uprooted from it.
- Proverbs 2:1 Coming from God, wisdom serves to enlighten our lives and is indeed the best of the inspirations that guide us. Her ideal far surpasses the human passions. For the ancients, there are two modes of life, two components, and two ways. On the one side are those whose conduct is marked by respect for God and uprightness and who are destined for the Promised Land, the covenant, i.e., true success. On the other side are people full of rebellion, thievery, and injustice. To which side do we belong, and what convictions mark our daily projects and attitude? This text remains capable of posing such a question to us. (Here we also find the theme of the adulterous woman on which the author will often dwell, notably in chs. 5–7.)
- Proverbs 2:3 Wisdom . . . understanding . . . discernment: these are names for the same gift.
- Proverbs 2:5 Fear of the Lord: see note on Prov 1:7.
- Proverbs 2:10 Knowledge will delight your soul: in the same way that the words of a wise man are “sweet to the soul” (Prov 16:24; see Prov 3:17).
- Proverbs 2:12 Speech is perverse: deceitful speech is also mentioned in Prov 6:12; 8:13; 10:31-32; 17:20; 19:1, 28; see also Eph 4:29; Jas 3:6.
- Proverbs 2:13 Straight paths: see Prov 3:6; 9:15-16. Roads of darkness: humans love darkness rather than light (see Jn 3:19-21; see also Job 24:15-16; Isa 29:15; Rom 13:12).
- Proverbs 2:16 Wife of another . . . adulteress: literally, “stranger” and “foreigner” (see Prov 5:20; 7:5). The “immoral woman” (Prov 6:24) and “prostitute” (Prov 23:27) correspond to “wife of another.” The Prophets made use of the metaphor of adultery to indicate that the people had abandoned the true God to run after false gods—an apostasy that leads to the netherworld (see v. 18; 5:5-6; 7:26-27).
- Proverbs 2:18 Leads downward to death: see Prov 7:27: “Her house is the pathway to the netherworld.” Immorality leads to death (see Prov 5:5; 9:18).
- Proverbs 2:21 The upright will live in the land: i.e., in the land of Canaan that had been promised to the people by their God (see Gen 17:8; Deut 4:1). The psalmist (Ps 37:9, 11, 29) says that the upright will possess the land (see also Mt 5:5: “The meek . . . will inherit the earth”).