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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 6

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1 HEAR then, you kings, take this to heart; lords of the wide world, learn this lesson; 2give ear, you rulers of the multitude, who take pride in the myriads of your people. 3Your authority was bestowed on you by the Lord, your power comes from the Most High. He will probe your actions and scrutinize your intentions. 4Though you are servants appointed by the King, you have not been upright judges; you have not maintained the law or guided your steps by the will of God. 5Swiftly and terribly he will descend on you, for judgement falls relentlessly on those in high places. 6The lowest may find pity and forgiveness, but those in power will be called powerfully to account; 7for he who is Master of all is obsequious to none, and shows no deference to greatness. Small and great alike are of his making, and all are under his providence equally; 8but it is for those who wield authority that he reserves the sternest inquisition. 9To you, then, who have absolute power I speak, in hope that you may learn wisdom and not go astray; 10those who in holiness have kept a holy course will be accounted holy, and those who have learnt that lesson will be able to make their defence. 11Therefore be eager to hear me; long for my teaching, and you will learn.

12Wisdom shines brightly and never fades; she is readily discerned by those who love her, and by those who seek her she is found. 13She is quick to make herself known to all who desire knowledge of her; 14he who rises early in search of her will not grow weary in the quest, for he will find her seated at his door. 15To meditate on her is prudence in its perfect shape, and to be vigilant in her cause is the short way to freedom from care; 16she herself searches far and wide for those who are worthy of her, and on their daily path she appears to them with kindly intent, meeting them half-way in all their purposes.

17The true beginning of wisdom is the desire to learn, and a concern for learning means love towards her; 18the love of her means the keeping of her laws; to keep her laws is a warrant of immortality; 19and immortality brings a person near to God. 20Thus desire for wisdom leads to a kingdom. 21If, therefore, you value your thrones and your sceptres, you rulers of the nations, you must honour wisdom so that you may reign for ever.

22What wisdom is, and how she came into being, I shall tell you; I shall not conceal her mysteries from you. I shall trace out her course from her first beginnings, and bring the knowledge of her into the light of day; I shall not leave the truth untold. 23Pale envy will not travel in my company, for the spiteful will have no share in wisdom. 24Wise men in plenty are the world's salvation, and a prudent king is the sheet-anchor of his people. 25Therefore learn what I have to teach you, and it will be for your good.

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