23 The invitation takes the form of a conditional clause—“If only you’d respond” (NEB). Wisdom is firmly resolved to pour out her words (lit., “my breath,” a metonymy for words spoken, and not in the sense of “my spirit”) on those who respond. Like a copious spring she will gush forth to them.
23 After the aside about the religious affections of mockers and fools, Wisdom again addresses the overgrown, unresponsive youths, calling them to turn back (or repent, tāšûbû); there is still hope for them (see ch. 9), but not forever (see vv. 29–31 and the inclusio “turn away” in v. 32). Šûb has the central meaning of “having moved in a particular direction to move thereupon in the opposite direction.…” Its original physical notion gives way metaphorically to the psychic-spiritual turning of the heart (see 2:2) away from evil to good, from folly to wisdom, so that it becomes the most important term for repentance in the Bible. In 1:23 its physical and psychological meanings become attenuated. She pleads with the heretofore-unresponsive youths to turn back and listen to her rebuke. She identifies her sermon as a rebuke (or correction, tôkaḥat), whose root meaning, “to determine what is right,” belonged in the sphere of judicial proceedings. Out of the 16 occurrences of tôkaḥat, it is paired with mûsār (“instruction”) nine times. In 3:11 the father’s instruction is equated with the Lord’s. The marks of a “wild donkey’s colt” (cf. Job 11:12) is that he considers himself wise (26:5, 12; cf. 3:7), and, correlatively, these cocksure fellows are contemptuous toward their teachers. This description of the foolish son in contrast to the prudent is found as early as Ptah-hotep (ca. 2450 b.c.). The Mosaic law prescribed that parents stone a stubborn and rebellious child (Deut. 21:18–21). “This provision did not spring from an inflated sense of the wisdom and authority of parents, but from a very sober sense of the importance of the family as the basis for nourishing the lives of individuals and the life of the community.…” When referred to someone in the wrong, tôkaḥat means “to reprimand,” “to call to account,” its meaning in its 16 occurrences, out of 24, in Proverbs. If they turn back, their action will in itself imply their repentance, for they will have humbled themselves and acknowledged that Wisdom is right and that they have been in the wrong in nursing their love to be careless and free of her discipline. In the parallel v. 23b, she resolves to deliver her harsh sermon found in vv. 24–27. The introductory demonstrative see (hinnēh) points to her intention and arrests their attention to what she is about to say, as in 2 Chr. 25:19. I will pour forth (ʾabbîʿâ) connotes an uncontrollable or uncontrolled gushing forth, like that, for example, of the swollen waters of a wadi. The metaphor expresses “the free pouring forth of thoughts and words, for the mouth is conceived of as a fountain (cf. 18:4; with Matt 12:34).” In the Hiphil its object is usually an utterance in speech, as here. My thoughts (rûḥî [lit. “my spirit”]; see n. 17) are obviously brought to expression in the parallel, my words (deboray; see 1:6), and refer to her denunciation of them in vv. 24–27. To you (lākem), not “upon you” (ʿalêkem), notes Emerton. The parallel “to pour out to you,” I will make known to you (ʾôdîʿâ) means that they will so internalize her spirited speech that they will never forget it. When the threatened judgment falls, however, it will be too late to respond.
Wisdom promises blessing to those who repent (v. 23)
There is hope, however, that fools can change if they will only heed the voice of Wisdom, who offers to pour out her spirit upon the listener. Who would refuse such a wonderful and gracious invitation? Do you realize that you have been a fool? If so, you are well on your way to wisdom. Seek wisdom from God who will not refuse you (James 1:5).
1:23 This verse may be understood in two ways. First, it may mean,
Since you won’t listen to my invitation, now turn and listen to my rebuke. I will pour out my spirit in words of judgment, and will tell you what lies ahead for you.
According to this interpretation, verses 24–27 are the words which describe their fate.
The second possible meaning is this:
Turn and repent when I reprove you. If you do, then I will pour out my spirit on you in blessing, and make my words of wisdom known to you.
The word “spirit” here probably means “thoughts” or “mind.” While it is true that Christ pours out the Holy Spirit on those who answer His call, this truth was not as clearly stated in the OT as it is in the NT.
1:23 reproof. God’s wisdom brings to bear against the sinner indictments for sin that demand repentance. To the one who does repent, God promises the spirit or essence of true wisdom linked to divine revelation.
1:23 my spirit. Proverbs recognizes wisdom as both a divine gift and a human task. The former is seen in 1:7, where the fear of the Lord grows from the grace of God in redemption. Redemption involves renewal of the mind as well as regeneration of the soul (Rom. 12:1, 2; 1 Cor. 1:18–2:6).
Ver. 23.—Turn you at my reproof. A call is here made to repentance. The meaning seems to be “return to my reproof,” i.e. place yourselves under my reproof (as Gejerus, Delitzsch), the לְ being represented by ad, as in the Vulgate: convertimini ad correptionem meam. It is susceptible, however, of a different reading, i.e. “in consequence of, or because of (propter), my reproof,” the prefix לְ being found in Numb. 16:34, “They fled at the cry,” i.e. because of the cry. Reproof (תוֹכַחַת, thochakhath); i.e. rebuke, or correction, by words. The LXX. ἔλεγχος conveys the argumentative conviction which will be present in the reproof. The word occurs again in vers. 23, 25, and 30 of this chapter, and also in ch. 3:11; 5:12; 6:23; 27:5; 29:15. Behold, I will pour out my Spirit unto you. The promise consequent upon, and the encouragement to, repentance. The promise is conditioned—if those addressed will heed the reproof of Wisdom, then she will pour forth her Spirit upon them, and cause them to know her words. The verb hibbia (הִבִּיעַ), “to stream forth, or gush out,” is here used figuratively. The outflow of the Spirit of Wisdom will be like the abundant and continuous gushing forth of water from the spring or fountain. The verb unites in it the figures of abundant fulness and refreshing invigoration (Umbreit, Elster); comp. ch. 15:2, 28: Ps. 59:7; 119:171; Eccles. 10:1. We have here a striking anticipation of the prophecy of Joel (2:28). The Spirit is that of Wisdom “and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and godly strength, the Spirit of knowledge and true godliness” (see Confirmation Office). The explanation of Beda, that it signifies her anger, is clearly inadmissible. I will make known my words unto you; i.e. as the LXX., “I will teach you my word” (διδάξω), or as the Vulgate “show” (ostendam), “expound, or make clear.” My words (d’vari); i.e. precepts, or doctrine, or secrets. An intimate relation subsists between the “Spirit” of Wisdom and her “words,” with which it is parallel. The former is the illuminating, invigorating principle which infuses life and power into the “words” of Wisdom, which she has already given, and which are already in our possession. Wisdom stands in the same relation to her words as the Divine Logos does to his utterances, into which he infuses himself. “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63. See Delitzsch, Wardlaw, in loc.).
 MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 794). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Pr 1:23). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
 Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 874). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.