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1These are the wise sayings of Solomon, David's son, Israel's king--

2Written down so we'll know how to live well and right, to understand what life means and where it's going;

3A manual for living, for learning what's right and just and fair;

4To teach the inexperienced the ropes and give our young people a grasp on reality.

5There's something here also for seasoned men and women,

6still a thing or two for the experienced to learn--Fresh wisdom to probe and penetrate, the rhymes and reasons of wise men and women.

7Start with GOD--the first step in learning is bowing down to GOD; only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning.

8Pay close attention, friend, to what your father tells you; never forget what you learned at your mother's knee.

9Wear their counsel like flowers in your hair, like rings on your fingers.

10Dear friend, if bad companions tempt you, don't go along with them.

11If they say--"Let's go out and raise some hell. Let's beat up some old man, mug some old woman.

12Let's pick them clean and get them ready for their funerals.

13We'll load up on top-quality loot. We'll haul it home by the truckload.

14Join us for the time of your life! With us, it's share and share alike!"--

15Oh, friend, don't give them a second look; don't listen to them for a minute.

16They're racing to a very bad end, hurrying to ruin everything they lay hands on.

17Nobody robs a bank with everyone watching,

18Yet that's what these people are doing--they're doing themselves in.

19When you grab all you can get, that's what happens: the more you get, the less you are.

20Lady Wisdom goes out in the street and shouts. At the town center she makes her speech.

21In the middle of the traffic she takes her stand. At the busiest corner she calls out:

22"Simpletons! How long will you wallow in ignorance? Cynics! How long will you feed your cynicism? Idiots! How long will you refuse to learn?

23About face! I can revise your life. Look, I'm ready to pour out my spirit on you; I'm ready to tell you all I know.

24As it is, I've called, but you've turned a deaf ear; I've reached out to you, but you've ignored me.

25"Since you laugh at my counsel and make a joke of my advice,

26How can I take you seriously? I'll turn the tables and joke about your troubles!

27What if the roof falls in, and your whole life goes to pieces? What if catastrophe strikes and there's nothing to show for your life but rubble and ashes?

28You'll need me then. You'll call for me, but don't expect an answer. No matter how hard you look, you won't find me.

29"Because you hated Knowledge and had nothing to do with the Fear-of-GOD,

30Because you wouldn't take my advice and brushed aside all my offers to train you,

31Well, you've made your bed--now lie in it; you wanted your own way--now, how do you like it?

32Don't you see what happens, you simpletons, you idiots? Carelessness kills; complacency is murder.

33First pay attention to me, and then relax. Now you can take it easy--you're in good hands."

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