Solomon persuades to wisdom, 1-13, and to shun wickedness, 14-19. He exhorts to sanctification, 20-27.
1 Hear, children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding,
2 For I give you good doctrine. Do not forsake my law.
3 For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother.
4 He taught me also, and said to me, "Let your heart retain my words. Keep my commandments, and live.
5 Get wisdom. Get understanding. Do not forget it. Do not decline from the words of my mouth.
6 Do not forsake her, and she shall preserve you. Love her, and she shall keep you.
7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom. And with all your getting get understanding.
8 Exalt her, and she shall promote you. She shall bring you to honor when you embrace her.
9 She shall give to your head an ornament of grace. A crown of glory she shall deliver to you."
10 Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings, and the years of your life shall be many.
11 I have taught you in the way of wisdom. I have led you in right paths.
12 When you go, your steps shall not be hindered, and when you run, you shall not stumble.
13 Take firm hold of instruction. Do not let her go. Keep her, for she is your life.
14 Do not enter into the path of the wicked, and do not go in the way of evil men.
15 Avoid it, do not pass by it, turn from it, and pass away.
16 For they do not sleep, unless they have done mischief, and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.
17 For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.
18 But the path of the just is as the shining light that shines more and more to the perfect day.
19 The way of the wicked is as darkness. They do not know at what they stumble.
20 My son, attend to my words. Incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Do not let them depart from your eyes. Keep them in the midst of your heart.
22 For they are life to those who find them and health to all their flesh.
23 Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it flows the source of life.
24 Put away from you a crooked mouth, and perverse lips put far from you.
25 Let your eyes look right on, and let your eyelids look straight before you.
26 Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established.
27 Do not turn to the right hand nor to the left. Remove your foot from evil.
Matthew Henry Commentary - Proverbs, Chapter 4[➚]
John Gill's Chapter Summary:
In this chapter Solomon advises to seek after wisdom, to avoid bad company, and to continue in the right paths of goodness and truth. He excites attention to what he had to say, from the relation he stood in to the persons addressed, from the nature of his instructions, which were good and profitable, and from his own example in attending to those his parents gave him (Proverbs 4:1-4); he exhorts above all things to get wisdom, from the superior excellency of it and from the preservation, promotion, and honor to be had by it (Proverbs 4:5-9); and he further enforces big exhortations, from their being the means of a comfortable life and of the prolongation of it, and of leading in a right way without straitness or stumbling (Proverbs 4:10-13); and then proceeds to caution against bad company and going into a bad way of life, which is enforced from the mischief done by those who walk in it and from the darkness of it, to which the path of the just is opposed (Proverbs 4:14-19). And the exhortation to attend to and observe his instructions, and keep them, is repeated, from the consideration of their being life and health to them (Proverbs 4:20-22); and that they might be preserved and not departed from, directions are given about ordering the heart, mouth, lips, eyes, and feet (Proverbs 4:23-27).