Proverbs 4

A Father's Instruction

1 Hear, O sons, the 1instruction of a father, And 2give attention that you may gain understanding,
2 For I give you sound 3teaching; 4Do not abandon my instruction.
3 When I was a son to my father, 5Tender and 6the only son in the sight of my mother,
4 Then he 7taught me and said to me, "Let your heart 8hold fast my words; 9Keep my commandments and live;
5 10Acquire wisdom! 11Acquire understanding! Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
6 "Do not forsake her, and she will guard you; 12Love her, and she will watch over you.
7 "13The beginning of wisdom is: 14Acquire wisdom; And with all your acquiring, get understanding.
8 "15Prize her, and she will exalt you; She will honor you if you embrace her.
9 "She will place 16on your head a garland of grace; She will present you with a crown of beauty."
10 Hear, my son, and 17accept my sayings And the 18years of your life will be many.
11 I have 19directed you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in upright paths.
12 When you walk, your 20steps will not be impeded; And if you run, you 21will not stumble.
13 22Take hold of instruction; do not let go. Guard her, for she is your 23life.
14 24Do not enter the path of the wicked And do not proceed in the way of evil men.
15 Avoid it, do not pass by it; Turn away from it and pass on.
16 For they 25cannot sleep unless * they do evil; And they are robbed of sleep unless * they make someone stumble.
17 For they 26eat the bread of wickedness And drink the wine of violence.
18 But the 27path of the righteous is like the 28light of dawn, That 29shines brighter and brighter until the 30full day.
19 The 31way of the wicked is like darkness; They do not know over what they 32stumble.
20 My son, 33give attention to my words; 34Incline your ear to my sayings.
21 35Do not let them depart from your sight; 36Keep them in the midst of your heart.
22 For they are 37life to those who find them And 38health to all their body.
23 Watch over your heart with all diligence, For 39from it flow the springs of life.
24 Put away from you a 40deceitful mouth And 41put devious speech far from you.
25 Let your eyes look directly ahead And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you.
26 42Watch the path of your feet And all your 43ways will be established.
27 44Do not turn to the right nor to the left; 45Turn your foot from evil.

Proverbs 4 Commentary

Chapter 4

Exhortation to the study of wisdom. (1-13) Cautions against bad company, Exhortation to faith and holiness. (14-27)

Verses 1-13 We must look upon our teachers as our fathers: though instruction carry in it reproof and correction, bid it welcome. Solomon's parents loved him, therefore taught him. Wise and godly men, in every age of the world, and rank in society, agree that true wisdom consists in obedience, and is united to happiness. Get wisdom, take pains for it. Get the rule over thy corruptions; take more pains to get this than the wealth of this world. An interest in Christ's salvation is necessary. This wisdom is the one thing needful. A soul without true wisdom and grace is a dead soul. How poor, contemptible, and wretched are those, who, with all their wealth and power, die without getting understanding, without Christ, without hope, and without God! Let us give heed to the sayings of Him who has the words of eternal life. Thus our path will be plain before us: by taking, and keeping fast hold of instruction, we shall avoid being straitened or stumbling.

Verses 14-27 The way of evil men may seem pleasant, and the nearest way to compass some end; but it is an evil way, and will end ill; if thou love thy God and thy soul, avoid it. It is not said, Keep at a due distance, but at a great distance; never think you can get far enough from it. The way of the righteous is light; Christ is their Way, and he is the Light. The saints will not be perfect till they reach heaven, but there they shall shine as the sun in his strength. The way of sin is as darkness. The way of the wicked is dark, therefore dangerous; they fall into sin, but know not how to avoid it. They fall into trouble, but never seek to know wherefore God contends with them, nor what will be in the end of it. This is the way we are bid to shun. Attentive hearing the word of God, is a good sign of a work of grace begun in the heart, and a good means of carrying it on. There is in the word of God a proper remedy for all diseases of the soul. Keep thy heart with all diligence. We must set a strict guard upon our souls; keep our hearts from doing hurt, and getting hurt. A good reason is given; because out of it are the issues of life. Above all, we should seek from the Lord Jesus that living water, the sanctifying Spirit, issuing forth unto everlasting life. Thus we shall be enabled to put away a froward mouth and perverse lips; our eyes will be turned from beholding vanity, looking straight forward, and walking by the rule of God's word, treading in the steps of our Lord and Master. Lord, forgive the past, and enable us to follow thee more closely for the time to come.

Cross References 45

  • 1. Psalms 34:11; Proverbs 1:8
  • 2. Proverbs 1:2; Proverbs 2:2
  • 3. Deuteronomy 32:2; Job 11:4
  • 4. Psalms 89:30; Psalms 119:87; Proverbs 3:1
  • 5. 1 Chronicles 22:5; 1 Chronicles 29:1
  • 6. Zechariah 12:10
  • 7. Ephesians 6:4
  • 8. Psalms 119:168
  • 9. Proverbs 7:2
  • 10. Proverbs 4:7
  • 11. Proverbs 16:16
  • 12. 2 Thessalonians 2:10
  • 13. Proverbs 8:23
  • 14. Proverbs 23:23
  • 15. 1 Samuel 2:30
  • 16. Proverbs 1:9
  • 17. Proverbs 2:1
  • 18. Proverbs 3:2
  • 19. 1 Samuel 12:23
  • 20. Job 18:7; Psalms 18:36
  • 21. Psalms 91:11; Proverbs 3:23
  • 22. Proverbs 3:18
  • 23. Proverbs 3:22; John 6:63
  • 24. Psalms 1:1; Proverbs 1:15
  • 25. Psalms 36:4; Micah 2:1
  • 26. Proverbs 13:2
  • 27. Isaiah 26:7; Matthew 5:14; Philippians 2:15
  • 28. 2 Samuel 23:4
  • 29. Daniel 12:3
  • 30. Job 11:17
  • 31. Job 18:5, 6; Proverbs 2:13; Isaiah 59:9, 10; Jeremiah 23:12; John 12:35
  • 32. John 11:10
  • 33. Proverbs 5:1
  • 34. Proverbs 2:2
  • 35. Proverbs 3:21
  • 36. Proverbs 7:1, 2
  • 37. Proverbs 3:22
  • 38. Proverbs 3:8; Proverbs 12:18
  • 39. Matthew 12:34; Matthew 15:18, 19; Mark 7:21; Luke 6:45
  • 40. Proverbs 6:12; Proverbs 10:32
  • 41. Proverbs 19:1
  • 42. Proverbs 5:21; Hebrews 12:13
  • 43. Psalms 119:5
  • 44. Deuteronomy 5:32; Deuteronomy 28:14
  • 45. Proverbs 1:15; Isaiah 1:16

Footnotes 9

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, Pr 4:1-4; He exhorts above all things to get wisdom, from the superior excellency of it, and from the preservation, promotion, and honour, to be had by it, Pr 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, Pr 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 that walk in it, and from the darkness of it, to which the path of the just is opposed, Pr 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, Pr 4:20-22; and that they might be preserved, and not departed from, direction's are given about ordering the heart, mouth, lips, eyes, and feet, Pr 4:23-27.

Proverbs 4 Commentaries

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