1. He who fears the Lord will do this,
And he who holds fast to the law will obtain wisdom.
2. She will come to meet him like a mother,
And accept him like the wife of one's youth.+
3. She will feed him the bread of understanding,
And give him the water of wisdom to drink.
4. He will be supported by her and not fall;
And he will hold on to her and not be put to shame.
5. She will exalt him alongside his neighbors,
And in the midst of the assembly she will open his mouth.
6. He will find gladness and a crown of rejoicing
And will inherit an everlasting name.
7. But foolish men will not find her,
And sinful men will not see her.
8. She is far from the arrogant,
And lying men will not keep her in mind.
9. Praise is not proper in the mouth of a sinner,
Because it was not sent from the Lord.
10. For praise should be spoken in wisdom;
Then the Lord will prosper it.
*Our Sin Is Our Fault*
11. Do not say, "I fell away because of the Lord,"
For He will not do what He hates.+
12. Do not say, "It was He who led me astray,"
For He has no need of a sinful man.
13. The Lord hates all abominations,
And they are not loved by those who fear Him.
14. He Himself created man in the beginning
And left him in the counsel of his will.
15. If you will, you will keep the commandments,
And faithfully do His good pleasure.
16. He has set before you fire and water;
If you will, stretch forth your hand.+
17. Life and death are before mankind,
And whichever he chooses, it will be given to him.
18. For great is the wisdom of the Lord;
He is mighty in power and sees all things.
19. His eyes are upon those who fear him,
And He Himself knows every deed of man.+
20. He has commanded no one to be ungodly,
And he has given no one license to sin.
+15:2 - Wisdom is for those who will seek her with the love of a mother seeking her child, or of a groom being received by his young wife.
+15:11, 12 - It is not rational to say God led me astray into sin. (Nor is it Orthodox to give the excuse, "The devil made me do it.") In His creation of mankind, God gave us the freedom to choose good or evil. Without that freedom we could neither be held accountable for our evil deeds nor rewarded for our good works.
+15:16 - Fire and water represent extreme opposites. One could allegorize: we can choose between condemnation and baptism.
+15:19 - The fear of God is reverential awe, the foundation of worship, love, and obedience to Him (see Dt 30:15-20).