Proverbs 4:1-22

Get Wisdom at Any Cost

1 Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding.
2 I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching.
3 For I too was a son to my father, still tender, and cherished by my mother.
4 Then he taught me, and he said to me, “Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live.
5 Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them.
6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.
7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get[a] wisdom. Though it cost all you have,[b] get understanding.
8 Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.
9 She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown.”
10 Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many.
11 I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.
12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.
13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.
14 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers.
15 Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way.
16 For they cannot rest until they do evil; they are robbed of sleep till they make someone stumble.
17 They eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.
18 The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.
20 My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words.
21 Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.

Proverbs 4:1-22 Meaning and Commentary


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.

Cross References 30

  • 1. S Proverbs 1:8
  • 2. Proverbs 19:20
  • 3. S Job 8:10
  • 4. S 1 Kings 9:4
  • 5. Proverbs 7:2
  • 6. S Proverbs 2:12; Proverbs 3:13-18; Proverbs 16:16
  • 7. 2 Thessalonians 2:10
  • 8. S Proverbs 2:11
  • 9. Matthew 13:44-46
  • 10. Proverbs 23:23
  • 11. 1 Samuel 2:30; S Proverbs 3:18
  • 12. S Proverbs 1:8-9
  • 13. Psalms 34:11-16; Proverbs 1:8-9
  • 14. S Deuteronomy 11:21; Proverbs 3:2
  • 15. S 1 Samuel 12:23
  • 16. 2 Samuel 22:37; Psalms 5:8
  • 17. S Job 18:7; Proverbs 3:23
  • 18. S Proverbs 3:22
  • 19. Psalms 1:1; S Proverbs 1:15
  • 20. Psalms 36:4; Micah 7:3; Micah 2:1
  • 21. Genesis 49:5; Psalms 73:6; Proverbs 1:10-19; Proverbs 14:22; Isaiah 59:6; Jeremiah 22:3; Habakkuk 1:2; Malachi 2:16
  • 22. Job 17:9; Isaiah 26:7
  • 23. S Job 22:28
  • 24. S 2 Samuel 23:4; Daniel 12:3; Matthew 5:14; John 8:12; Philippians 2:15
  • 25. Job 18:5; S Proverbs 2:13; Isaiah 59:9-10; John 12:35
  • 26. S Deuteronomy 32:35; S Job 3:23; Proverbs 13:9; S Isaiah 8:15
  • 27. Psalms 34:11-16; Proverbs 1:8-9
  • 28. Proverbs 5:1
  • 29. Proverbs 3:21; Proverbs 7:1-2
  • 30. S Proverbs 3:8; Proverbs 12:18

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Or "Wisdom is supreme; therefore get"
  • [b]. Or "wisdom. / Whatever else you get"
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