Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find, me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of Yahweh, would have none of my counsel, and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way and be sated with their own devices.
For the simple (Mytp) are killed by their turning away, and the complacence of fools (Mylysk)
destroys them; but he who listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of evil." Proverbs 1:20-33
This speech of personified Wisdom falls quite easily into two parts (vv. 22-27 and 28-33) with an introduction (vv. 20-21). Part I, construed in second person plural, is
direct address by Wisdom to the "simple" (Mytp).13 The
address to the simple consists of an admonition with a promise (v. 23),14 a reproach (vv. 24-25) and a threat (vv. 26-27). The only characters who may be portrayed in
enemy terms are the "stupid fellows" (Mylysk) who are
said to hate (xnW) knowledge (v. 22c).
The Mylysk and the Mycl are construed with third person plural verbs in v. 22bc. The bywqm-Nyx 13
of v. 24b is participial and therefore non-finite.
14 R. Murphy, Wisdom Literature: Job Proverbs Ruth Canticles, Ecclesiastes, Esther, The Forms of Old Testament Literature, Vol. XII (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981), 55, takes this as a command although no imperative is used; C. Kayatz, Studien zu Proverbien 1-9: Eine Form-. and Motivgeschichtliche unter Einbeziehung Agyptischen Vergleichsmater (Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1966), p. 120, identifies it correctly as a Mahnung.