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a Bible passage

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Parental Advice


Listen, children, to a father’s instruction,

and be attentive, that you may gain insight;


for I give you good precepts:

do not forsake my teaching.


When I was a son with my father,

tender, and my mother’s favorite,


he taught me, and said to me,

“Let your heart hold fast my words;

keep my commandments, and live.


Get wisdom; get insight: do not forget, nor turn away

from the words of my mouth.


Do not forsake her, and she will keep you;

love her, and she will guard you.


The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,

and whatever else you get, get insight.


Prize her highly, and she will exalt you;

she will honor you if you embrace her.


She will place on your head a fair garland;

she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.”


Admonition to Keep to the Right Path


Hear, my child, and accept my words,

that the years of your life may be many.


I have taught you the way of wisdom;

I have led you in the paths of uprightness.


When you walk, your step will not be hampered;

and if you run, you will not stumble.


Keep hold of instruction; do not let go;

guard her, for she is your life.


Do not enter the path of the wicked,

and do not walk in the way of evildoers.


Avoid it; do not go on it;

turn away from it and pass on.


For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong;

they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble.


For they eat the bread of wickedness

and drink the wine of violence.


But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,

which shines brighter and brighter until full day.


The way of the wicked is like deep darkness;

they do not know what they stumble over.


My child, be attentive to my words;

incline your ear to my sayings.


Do not let them escape from your sight;

keep them within your heart.


For they are life to those who find them,

and healing to all their flesh.


Keep your heart with all vigilance,

for from it flow the springs of life.


Put away from you crooked speech,

and put devious talk far from you.


Let your eyes look directly forward,

and your gaze be straight before you.


Keep straight the path of your feet,

and all your ways will be sure.


Do not swerve to the right or to the left;

turn your foot away from evil.


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Pr 4:1-27. To an earnest call for attention to his teachings, the writer adds a commendation of wisdom, preceded and enforced by the counsels of his father and teacher. To this he adds a caution (against the devices of the wicked), and a series of exhortations to docility, integrity, and uprightness.

1, 2. (Compare Pr 1:8).

to know—in order to know.

doctrine—the matter of learning (Pr 1:5), such as he had received (La 3:1).

3. father's son—emphatic, a son specially regarded, and so called tender, as an object of special care (compare 1Ch 22:7; 29:1); an idea further expressed by

only beloved—or, "as an only son" (Ge 22:2), though he had brothers (see on 1Ch 3:5).

4. He taught—or directed me.

retain—as well as receive.

keep … and live—observe, that you may live (Pr 7:2).

5. Get—as a possession not to be given up.

neither decline—that is, from obeying my word.

6. Not only accept but love wisdom, who will keep thee from evil, and evil from thee.

7. (Compare Job 28:28).

getting—or possession; a desire for wisdom is wise.

8. As you highly esteem her, she will raise you to honor.

embrace her—with fond affection.

9. ornament—such as the chaplet or wreath of conquerors.

deliver—(Compare Ge 14:20). The allusion to a shield, contained in the Hebrew, suggests protection as well as honor (compare Pr 4:6).

10. (Compare Pr 2:1; 3:2).

11, 12. way of wisdom—which it prescribes.

led thee—literally, "caused thee to tread," as a path (Ps 107:7).

not be straitened—have ample room (Ps 18:36).

13. (Compare Pr 3:18). The figure of laying hold with the hand suggests earnest effort.

14. (Compare Ps 1:1). Avoid all temptations to the beginning of evil.

16, 17. The reason is found in the character of sinners, whose zeal to do evil is forcibly depicted (Pr 6:4; Ps 36:5). They live by flagrant vices (Pr 1:13). Some prefer to render, "Their bread is wickedness, their drink violence" (compare Job 15:16; 34:7).

18, 19. As shining light increases from twilight to noonday splendor, so the course of the just increases in purity, but that of the wicked is as thickest darkness, in which one knows not on what he stumbles.

20-22. (Compare Pr 4:10, 13; Pr 3:8, &c.).

22. health … flesh—by preserving from vices destructive of health.

23. with all diligence—or, "above," or "more than all," custody (compare Margin), all that is kept (compare Eze 38:7), because the heart is the depository of all wisdom and the source of whatever affects life and character (Mt 12:35; 15:19).

24. a froward mouth—that is, a mouth, or words of ill nature. The Hebrew word differs from that used (Pr 2:15; 3:32).

perverse—or, "quarreling."

lips—or, "words."

25. Let … before thee—that is, pursue a sincere and direct purpose, avoiding temptations.

26. Ponder—Consider well; a wise course results from wise forethought.

27. (Compare Pr 4:25). Avoid all by-paths of evil (De 2:27; 17:11). A life of integrity requires attention to heart, speech, eyes, and conduct.