1 Kings

Chapter 3

Early Promise of Solomon’s Reign. 1Solomon allied himself by marriage with Pharaoh, king of Egypt. He married the daughter of Pharaoh and brought her to the City of David, until he should finish building his own house, and the house of the Lord, and the wall around Jerusalem. 2The people were sacrificing on the high places, however, for up to that time no house had been built for the name of the Lord. 3Although Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father, he offered sacrifice and burned incense on the high places.

4The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, because that was the great high place. Upon its altar Solomon sacrificed a thousand burnt offerings. 5In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream at night. God said: Whatever you ask I shall give you. 6Solomon answered: “You have shown great kindness to your servant, David my father, because he walked before you with fidelity, justice, and an upright heart; and you have continued this great kindness toward him today, giving him a son to sit upon his throne. 7Now, Lord, my God, you have made me, your servant, king to succeed David my father; but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act— 8I, your servant, among the people you have chosen, a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted. 9Give your servant, therefore, a listening heart to judge your people and to distinguish between good and evil. For who is able to give judgment for this vast people of yours?”

10The Lord was pleased by Solomon’s request. 11So God said to him: Because you asked for this—you did not ask for a long life for yourself, nor for riches, nor for the life of your enemies—but you asked for discernment to know what is right— 12I now do as you request. I give you a heart so wise and discerning that there has never been anyone like you until now, nor after you will there be anyone to equal you. 13In addition, I give you what you have not asked for: I give you such riches and glory that among kings there will be no one like you all your days. 14And if you walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and commandments, as David your father did, I will give you a long life. 15Solomon awoke; it was a dream! He went to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, sacrificed burnt offerings and communion offerings, and gave a feast for all his servants.

Solomon’s Listening Heart. 16Later, two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. 17One woman said: “By your leave, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house, and I gave birth in the house while she was present. 18On the third day after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth. We were alone; no one else was in the house with us; only the two of us were in the house. 19This woman’s son died during the night when she lay on top of him. 20So in the middle of the night she got up and took my son from my side, as your servant was sleeping. Then she laid him in her bosom and laid her dead son in my bosom. 21I rose in the morning to nurse my son, and he was dead! But when I examined him in the morning light, I saw it was not the son I had borne.” 22The other woman answered, “No! The living one is my son, the dead one is yours.” But the first kept saying, “No! the dead one is your son, the living one is mine!” Thus they argued before the king. 23Then the king said: “One woman claims, ‘This, the living one, is my son, the dead one is yours.’ The other answers, ‘No! The dead one is your son, the living one is mine.’” 24The king continued, “Get me a sword.” When they brought the sword before the king, 25he said, “Cut the living child in two, and give half to one woman and half to the other.” 26The woman whose son was alive, because she was stirred with compassion for her son, said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby—do not kill it!” But the other said, “It shall be neither mine nor yours. Cut it in two!” 27The king then answered, “Give her the living baby! Do not kill it! She is the mother.” 28When all Israel heard the judgment the king had given, they were in awe of him, because they saw that the king had in him the wisdom of God for giving right judgment.


Chapter 8

The Discourse of Wisdom

1Does not Wisdom call,
    and Understanding raise her voice?
2On the top of the heights along the road,
    at the crossroads she takes her stand;
3By the gates at the approaches of the city,
    in the entryways she cries aloud:
4“To you, O people, I call;
    my appeal is to you mortals.
5You naive ones, gain prudence,
    you fools, gain sense.
6Listen! for noble things I speak;
    my lips proclaim honest words.
7Indeed, my mouth utters truth,
    and my lips abhor wickedness.
8All the words of my mouth are sincere,
    none of them wily or crooked;
9All of them are straightforward to the intelligent,
    and right to those who attain knowledge.
10Take my instruction instead of silver,
    and knowledge rather than choice gold.
11[For Wisdom is better than corals,
    and no treasures can compare with her.]
12I, Wisdom, dwell with prudence,
    and useful knowledge I have.
13[The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil;]
Pride, arrogance, the evil way,
    and the perverse mouth I hate.
14Mine are counsel and advice;
    Mine is strength; I am understanding.
15By me kings reign,
    and rulers enact justice;
16By me princes govern,
    and nobles, all the judges of the earth.
17Those who love me I also love,
    and those who seek me find me.
18With me are riches and honor,
    wealth that endures, and righteousness.
19My fruit is better than gold, even pure gold,
    and my yield than choice silver.
20On the way of righteousness I walk,
    along the paths of justice,
21Granting wealth to those who love me,
    and filling their treasuries.

22“The Lord begot me, the beginning of his works,
    the forerunner of his deeds of long ago;
23From of old I was formed,
    at the first, before the earth.
24When there were no deeps I was brought forth,
    when there were no fountains or springs of water;
25Before the mountains were settled into place,
    before the hills, I was brought forth;
26When the earth and the fields were not yet made,
    nor the first clods of the world.
27When he established the heavens, there was I,
    when he marked out the vault over the face of the deep;
28When he made firm the skies above,
    when he fixed fast the springs of the deep;
29When he set for the sea its limit,
    so that the waters should not transgress his command;
When he fixed the foundations of earth,
30    then was I beside him as artisan;
I was his delight day by day,
    playing before him all the while,
31Playing over the whole of his earth,
    having my delight with human beings.
32Now, children, listen to me;
    happy are they who keep my ways.
33Listen to instruction and grow wise,
    do not reject it!
34Happy the one who listens to me,
    attending daily at my gates,
    keeping watch at my doorposts;
35For whoever finds me finds life,
    and wins favor from the Lord;
36But those who pass me by do violence to themselves;
    all who hate me love death.”

Chapter 9

The Two Women Invite Passersby to Their Banquets

Woman Wisdom Issues Her Invitation

1Wisdom has built her house,
    she has set up her seven columns;
2She has prepared her meat, mixed her wine,
    yes, she has spread her table.
3She has sent out her maidservants; she calls
    from the heights out over the city:
4“Let whoever is naive turn in here;
    to any who lack sense I say,
5Come, eat of my food,
    and drink of the wine I have mixed!
6Forsake foolishness that you may live;
    advance in the way of understanding.”

Miscellaneous Aphorisms

7Whoever corrects the arrogant earns insults;
    and whoever reproves the wicked incurs opprobrium.
8Do not reprove the arrogant, lest they hate you;
    reprove the wise, and they will love you.
9Instruct the wise, and they become still wiser;
    teach the just, and they advance in learning.
10The beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord,
    and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
11For by me your days will be multiplied
    and the years of your life increased.
12If you are wise, wisdom is to your advantage;
    if you are arrogant, you alone shall bear it.

Woman Folly Issues Her Invitation

13Woman Folly is raucous,
    utterly foolish; she knows nothing.
14She sits at the door of her house
    upon a seat on the city heights,
15Calling to passersby
    as they go on their way straight ahead:
16“Let those who are naive turn in here,
    to those who lack sense I say,
17Stolen water is sweet,
    and bread taken secretly is pleasing!”
18Little do they know that the shades are there,
    that her guests are in the depths of Sheol!

III. First Solomonic Collection of Sayings

Chapter 10

1The Proverbs of Solomon:
A wise son gives his father joy,
    but a foolish son is a grief to his mother.
2Ill-gotten treasures profit nothing,
    but justice saves from death.
3The Lord does not let the just go hungry,
    but the craving of the wicked he thwarts.
4The slack hand impoverishes,
    but the busy hand brings riches.
5A son who gathers in summer is a credit;
    a son who slumbers during harvest, a disgrace.
6Blessings are for the head of the just;
    but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
7The memory of the just serves as blessing,
    but the name of the wicked will rot.
8A wise heart accepts commands,
    but a babbling fool will be overthrown.
9Whoever walks honestly walks securely,
    but one whose ways are crooked will fare badly.
10One who winks at a fault causes trouble,
    but one who frankly reproves promotes peace.
11The mouth of the just is a fountain of life,
    but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
12Hatred stirs up disputes,
     but love covers all offenses.
13On the lips of the intelligent is found wisdom,
    but a rod for the back of one without sense.
14The wise store up knowledge,
    but the mouth of a fool is imminent ruin.
15The wealth of the rich is their strong city;
    the ruin of the poor is their poverty.
16The labor of the just leads to life,
    the gains of the wicked, to futility.
17Whoever follows instruction is in the path to life,
    but whoever disregards reproof goes astray.
18Whoever conceals hatred has lying lips,
    and whoever spreads slander is a fool.
19Where words are many, sin is not wanting;
    but those who restrain their lips do well.
20Choice silver is the tongue of the just;
    the heart of the wicked is of little worth.
21The lips of the just nourish many,
    but fools die for want of sense.
22It is the Lord’s blessing that brings wealth,
    and no effort can substitute for it.
23Crime is the entertainment of the fool;
    but wisdom is for the person of understanding.
24What the wicked fear will befall them,
    but the desire of the just will be granted.
25When the tempest passes, the wicked are no more;
    but the just are established forever.
26As vinegar to the teeth, and smoke to the eyes,
    are sluggards to those who send them.
27Fear of the Lord prolongs life,
    but the years of the wicked are cut short.
28The hope of the just brings joy,
    but the expectation of the wicked perishes.
29The Lord is a stronghold to those who walk honestly,
    downfall for evildoers.
30The just will never be disturbed,
    but the wicked will not abide in the land.
31The mouth of the just yields wisdom,
    but the perverse tongue will be cut off.
32The lips of the just know favor,
    but the mouth of the wicked, perversion.