Solomon passes on the teachings to his son that he received from his father David. Wisdom protects from trouble. It brings health.
VERSE 1. Listen, sons, to a father’s instruction. Pay attention and know understanding;
sons. Previous chapters were addressed to “my son” (singular). But this chapter is addressed to “my sons” (plural).
to a father’s instruction. Solomon is passing on the teachings he received from his own parents David and Bathsheba. So the teaching spans three generations:
David » Solomon » Solomon’s son
Those three generations illustrate Deuteronomy 6:2:
Deuteronomy 6:2. that you might fear the LORD your God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you—you, your son, and your son’s son, all the days of your life; and that your days may be prolonged.
VERSE 2. for I give you sound learning. Don’t forsake my law.
law. The Hebrew word is torah. It is normally translated “Law.” But many translations render it here as “teaching.”
VERSE 3. For I was a son to my father, tender and an only child in the sight of my mother.
my father. That is, David.
my mother. That is, Bathsheba.
VERSE 4. He taught me, and said to me: “Let your heart retain my words. Keep my commandments, and live.
VERSE 5. Get wisdom. Get understanding. Don’t forget, and don’t deviate from the words of my mouth.
Get wisdom. Perhaps this instruction from David to Solomon helped influence Solomon to ask God for it:
1 Kings 3:9. Give your servant therefore an understanding heart to judge your people, that I may discern between good and evil; for who is able to judge this great people of yours?
VERSE 6. Don’t forsake her, and she will preserve you. Love her, and she will keep you.
VERSE 7. Wisdom is supreme. Get wisdom. Yes, though it costs all your possessions, get understanding.
Wisdom is supreme. Nothing can be compared with wisdom.
VERSE 8. Esteem her, and she will exalt you. She will bring you to honor, when you embrace her.
VERSE 9. She will give to your head a garland of grace. She will deliver a crown of splendor to you.”
VERSE 10. Listen, my son, and receive my sayings. The years of your life will be many.
VERSE 11. I have taught you in the way of wisdom. I have led you in straight paths.
NAB translation: When you walk, your step will not be impeded, and should you run, you will not stumble.
When you walk. Some people have experienced years of chronic pain while walking. But then their ability to walk was gradually restored to them.
should you run. Similarly, some people have experienced years of chronic pain while running. But then their ability to run was gradually restored to them.
VERSE 13. Take firm hold of instruction. Don’t let her go. Keep her, for she is your life.
VERSE 14. Don’t enter into the path of the wicked. Don’t walk in the way of evil men.
VERSE 15. Avoid it, and don’t pass by it. Turn from it, and pass on.
VERSE 16. For they don’t sleep, unless they do evil. Their sleep is taken away, unless they make someone fall.
they don’t sleep, unless they do evil. Wicked people are so taken up with evil that they are unable to sleep until they hurt someone.
VERSE 17. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.
eat … drink. Sin is so much a part of the wicked that it is their food and drink.
VERSE 18. But the path of the righteous is like the dawning light, that shines more and more until the perfect day.
the path of the righteous. Solomon assumes that believers will be wise like himself. However, in our day, many Christian believers are not wise. Some of them exemplify the very foolishness that Solomon denounces.
VERSE 19. The way of the wicked is like darkness. They don’t know what they stumble over.
VERSE 20. My son, attend to my words. Turn your ear to my sayings.
VERSE 21. Let them not depart from your eyes. Keep them in the center of your heart.
VERSE 22. For they are life to those who find them, and health to their whole body.
health to their whole body. Some Christians believe we can be healed of our illnesses. Have you had a miraculous healing of an illness? Do you know someone who has?
VERSE 23. Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it is the wellspring of life.
Keep your heart. We are to guard our heart.
perverse. The Hebrew word is iqqeish. It means crooked.
corrupt lips. Believers are to be honest, and not corrupt. Many Christians assume this verse is about cussing. However, it is about “corrupt” words. Think of a corrupt politician. Their words are deceptive.
Proverbs 4:24. Put away from yourself a perverse mouth. Put corrupt lips far from you.
Proverbs 25:28. Like a city that is broken down and without walls is a man whose spirit is without restraint.
Sirach 6:5. Sweet words will multiply a man’s friends; And a fair-speaking tongue will multiply courtesies.
Ephesians 4:29. Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but only what is good for building others up as the need may be, that it may give grace to those who hear.
VERSE 25. Let your eyes look straight ahead. Fix your gaze directly before you.
VERSE 26. Make the path of your feet level. Let all of your ways be established.
the path. “Proverbs provides both a goal and route. The goal is successful living and the route is the way of wisdom” (Robert L. Alden, Proverbs: A Commentary on an Ancient Book of Timeless Advice, p. 48).
VERSE 27. Don’t turn to the right hand nor to the left. Remove your foot from evil.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.