Proverbs 4

1 Listen, sons, to a father’s instruction. Pay attention and know understanding;
2 for I give you sound learning. Don’t forsake my law.
3 For I was a son to my father, tender and an only child in the sight of my mother.
4 He taught me, and said to me: “Let your heart retain my words. Keep my commandments, and live.
5 Get wisdom. Get understanding. Don’t forget, neither swerve from the words of my mouth.
6 Don’t forsake her, and she will preserve you. Love her, and she will keep you.
7 Wisdom is supreme. Get wisdom. Yes, though it costs all your possessions, get understanding.
8 Esteem her, and she will exalt you. She will bring you to honor, when you embrace her.
9 She will give to your head a garland of grace. She will deliver a crown of splendor to you.”
10 Listen, my son, and receive my sayings. The years of your life will be many.
11 I have taught you in the way of wisdom. I have led you in straight paths.
12 When you go, your steps will not be hampered. When you run, you will not stumble.
13 Take firm hold of instruction. Don’t let her go. Keep her, for she is your life.
14 Don’t enter into the path of the wicked. Don’t walk in the way of evil men.
15 Avoid it, and don’t pass by it. Turn from it, and pass on.
16 For they don’t sleep, unless they do evil. Their sleep is taken away, unless they make someone fall.
17 For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.
18 But the path of the righteous is like the dawning light that shines more and more until the perfect day.
19 The way of the wicked is like darkness. They don’t know what they stumble over.
20 My son, attend to my words. Turn your ear to my sayings.
21 Let them not depart from your eyes. Keep them in the center of your heart.
22 For they are life to those who find them, and health to their whole body.
23 Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it is the wellspring of life.
24 Put away from yourself a perverse mouth. Put corrupt lips far from you.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead. Fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Make the path of your feet level. Let all of your ways be established.
27 Don’t turn to the right hand nor to the left. Remove your foot from evil.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

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.

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