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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.

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