So, I decided while preparing for a lecture on Proverbs to look at my old friend Msgr. Knox's translation. I have mentioned often how I adore this translation and the edition published by Baronius Press. (One of my wishes in life is that there would be a parallel Bible that uses the Knox with the NRSV or NABRE. What a great resource that would be!) I think this translations greatest strength is found in the New Testament, as well as the Old Testament narrative sections. However, last year, while teaching the Prophets, I found him a little less helpful. I should say that this year I have appreciated his attempts to convey Hebrew acrostics into English.
Now one of the brilliant things about Knox is that he comes up with some profoundly beautiful renderings of certain passages. I think this is absolutely the case with the opening verses of Proverbs. I will let you read through and enjoy his rendering, which still seems quite fresh. (Consider comparing it to your favorite formal translation.)
For more on the beautiful edition of Knox's Bible published by Baronius Press, go here. My review of it can be found here.
These proverbs were written by David's son Solomon, that was king of Israel, for the better understanding of true wisdom, and self-command. Here is made known the secret of discernment; here men may learn the lesson of insight, the dictates of duty and right and honour. Here simplicity is put on its guard; here youth may find instruction and advice both together. The wise, too, may be the wiser for hearing them; they will aid even the discerning to guide his course aright; he will read both parables and the interpretation of parables, both wise words and the hidden thoughts they signify.
True wisdom is founded on the fear of the Lord; who but a fool would despise such wisdom, and the lessons she teaches? Heed well, my son, thy father’s warnings, nor make light of thy mother’s teaching; no richer heirloom, crown or necklace, can be thine. Turn a deaf ear, my son, to the blandishments of evil-doers that would make thee of their company. There are lives to be had for the ambushing, the lives of unsuspecting folk whose uprightness shall little avail them; there are fortunes to be swallowed up whole, as a man is swallowed up by death when he goes to his grave. No lack of treasures here, they say, rich plunder that shall find its way into our houses; thou hast but to throw in thy lot with us; every man shares alike. Such errands, my son, are not for thee; never stir a foot in their company; thou knowest well how eager they are for mischief, how greedy for blood, and the snare is laid to no purpose if the bird is watching. What do they, but compass their own ruin, plot against their own lives? Such is ever the end of greed; he who cherishes it must fall by it at last.