Proverbs 4:14-17

14 1Do 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 2cannot sleep unless * they do evil; And they are robbed of sleep unless * they make someone stumble.
17 For they 3eat the bread of wickedness And drink the wine of violence.

Proverbs 4:14-17 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO PROVERBS 4

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 4:14-17 In-Context

12 When you walk, your steps will not be impeded; And if you run, you will not stumble.
13 Take hold of instruction; do not let go. Guard her, for she is your life.
14 Do 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 cannot sleep unless they do evil; And they are robbed of sleep unless they make someone stumble.
17 For they eat the bread of wickedness And drink the wine of violence.
18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, That shines brighter and brighter until the full day.
19 The way of the wicked is like darkness; They do not know over what they stumble.

Cross References 3

  • 1. Psalms 1:1; Proverbs 1:15
  • 2. Psalms 36:4; Micah 2:1
  • 3. Proverbs 13:2

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Lit "their sleep is robbed"
New American Standard Bible Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, California.  All rights reserved.