Proverbs 4

The Value of Wisdom

uMy son, vif you receive my words

and treasure up my commandments with you,

making your ear attentive to wisdom

and inclining your heart to understanding;

yes, if you call out for insight

and raise your voice wfor understanding,

if you seek it like xsilver

and search for it as for yhidden treasures,

then zyou will understand the fear of the Lord

and find the knowledge of God.

For athe Lord gives wisdom;

from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;

he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;

he is ba shield to those who cwalk in integrity,

guarding the paths of justice

and dwatching over the way of his esaints.

fThen you will understand grighteousness and justice

and equity, every good path;

10  for wisdom will come into your heart,

and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;

11  hdiscretion will iwatch over you,

understanding will guard you,

12  delivering you from the way of evil,

from men of perverted speech,

13  who forsake the paths of uprightness

to jwalk in the ways of darkness,

14  who krejoice in doing evil

and ldelight in the perverseness of evil,

15  men whose mpaths are crooked,

nand who are odevious in their ways.

16  So pyou will be delivered from the forbidden1 woman,

from qthe adulteress2 with rher smooth words,

17  who forsakes sthe companion of her youth

and forgets tthe covenant of her God;

18  ufor her house sinks down to death,

and her paths to the departed;3

19  none who go to her come back,

nor do they regain the paths of life.

20  So you will walk in the way of the good

and keep to the paths of the righteous.

21  For the upright vwill inhabit the land,

and those with integrity will remain in it,

22  but the wicked will be wcut off from the land,

and the treacherous will be xrooted out of it.

Trust in the Lord with All Your Heart

yMy son, do not forget my teaching,

zbut let your heart keep my commandments,

for alength of days and years of life

and bpeace they will add to you.

Let not csteadfast love and dfaithfulness forsake you;

ebind them around your neck;

fwrite them on the tablet of your heart.

So you will gfind favor and hgood success1

in the sight of God and man.

iTrust in the Lord with all your heart,

and jdo not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways kacknowledge him,

and he lwill make straight your paths.

mBe not wise in your own eyes;

nfear the Lord, and turn away from evil.

It will be ohealing to your flesh2

and prefreshment3 to your bones.

Honor the Lord with your wealth

and with qthe firstfruits of all your produce;

10  then your rbarns will be filled with plenty,

and your vats will be bursting with wine.

11  sMy son, do not despise the Lord's discipline

or be weary of his reproof,

12  for the Lord reproves him whom he loves,

as ta father the son in whom he delights.

Blessed Is the One Who Finds Wisdom

13  uBlessed is the one who finds wisdom,

and the one who gets understanding,

14  vfor the gain from her is better than gain from silver

and her profit better than wgold.

15  She is more precious than xjewels,

and ynothing you desire can compare with her.

16  zLong life is in her right hand;

in her left hand are ariches and honor.

17  Her bways are ways of pleasantness,

and all her paths are peace.

18  She is ca tree of life to those who dlay hold of her;

those who hold her fast are called blessed.

19  eThe Lord by wisdom founded the earth;

by understanding ehe established the heavens;

20  by his knowledge fthe deeps broke open,

and gthe clouds drop down the dew.

21  My son, hdo not lose sight of these

keep sound wisdom and discretion,

22  and they will be ilife for your soul

and jadornment for your neck.

23  kThen you will walk on your way securely,

land your foot will not stumble.

24  mIf you lie down, you will not be afraid;

when you lie down, nyour sleep will be sweet.

25  oDo not be afraid of sudden terror

or of pthe ruin4 of the wicked, when it comes,

26  for the Lord will be your confidence

and will qkeep your foot from being caught.

27  rDo not withhold good from those to whom it is due,5

when it is in your power to do it.

28  sDo not say to your neighbor, Go, and come again,

tomorrow I will give itwhen you have it with you.

29  tDo not plan evil against your neighbor,

who udwells trustingly beside you.

30  vDo not contend with a man for no reason,

when he has done you no harm.

31  wDo not envy xa man of violence

and do not choose any of his ways,

32  for ythe devious person is an abomination to the Lord,

but the upright are zin his confidence.

33  aThe Lord's curse is on the house of the wicked,

but he bblesses the dwelling of the righteous.

34  Toward the cscorners he dis scornful,

ebut to the humble he gives favor.6

35  The wise will inherit honor,

but fools get7 disgrace.

A Father's Wise Instruction

fHear, O sons, a father's instruction,

and be attentive, that you may ggain1 insight,

for I give you good hprecepts;

do not forsake my teaching.

When I was a son with my father,

itender, jthe only one in the sight of my mother,

he ktaught me and said to me,

lLet your heart hold fast my words;

mkeep my commandments, and live.

nGet wisdom; get ginsight;

do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.

Do not forsake her, and she will keep you;

olove her, and she will guard you.

pThe beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,

and whatever you get, get ginsight.

Prize her highly, and she will exalt you;

she will qhonor you rif you embrace her.

She will place on your head sa graceful garland;

she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.

10  fHear, tmy son, and accept my words,

that uthe years of your life may be many.

11  I have vtaught you the way of wisdom;

I have led you in the paths of uprightness.

12  When you walk, wyour step will not be hampered,

and xif you run, you will not stumble.

13  yKeep hold of instruction; do not let go;

guard her, for she is your zlife.

14  aDo not enter the path of the wicked,

and do not walk in the way of the evil.

15  Avoid it; do not go on it;

turn away from it and pass on.

16  For they bcannot sleep unless they have done wrong;

they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble.

17  For they eat the bread of wickedness

cand drink the wine of violence.

18  But dthe path of the righteous is like ethe light of dawn,

which shines fbrighter and brighter until gfull day.

19  hThe way of the wicked is like deep idarkness;

they do not know over what they jstumble.

20  kMy son, be attentive to my words;

incline your ear to my sayings.

21  lLet them not escape from your sight;

mkeep them within your heart.

22  For they are nlife to those who find them,

and healing to all their2 flesh.

23  Keep your heart with all vigilance,

for ofrom it flow pthe springs of life.

24  Put away from you qcrooked speech,

and put rdevious talk far from you.

25  sLet your eyes look directly forward,

and your gaze be straight before you.

26  tPonder3 the path of your feet;

uthen all your ways will be sure.

27  vDo not swerve to the right or to the left;

turn your foot away from evil.

Warning Against Adultery

wMy son, be attentive to my wisdom;

xincline your ear to my understanding,

that you may keep ydiscretion,

and your lips may zguard knowledge.

For the lips of aa forbidden1 woman drip honey,

and her speech2 is bsmoother than oil,

but in the end she is cbitter as dwormwood,

esharp as fa two-edged sword.

Her feet ggo down to death;

her steps follow the path to3 Sheol;

she hdoes not ponder the path of life;

her ways wander, and she does not know it.

And inow, O sons, listen to me,

and do not depart from the words of my mouth.

Keep your way far from her,

and do not go near the door of her house,

lest you give your honor to others

and your years to the merciless,

10  lest strangers take their fill of your strength,

and your jlabors go to the house of a foreigner,

11  and at the end of your life you kgroan,

when your flesh and body are consumed,

12  and you say, lHow I hated discipline,

and my heart mdespised reproof!

13  I did not listen to the voice of my teachers

or incline my ear to my instructors.

14  nI am at the brink of utter ruin

in the assembled congregation.

15  Drink owater from your own cistern,

flowing water from your own well.

16  Should your psprings be scattered abroad,

streams of water qin the streets?

17  rLet them be for yourself alone,

and not for strangers with you.

18  Let your ofountain be blessed,

and srejoice in tthe wife of your youth,

19  a lovely udeer, a graceful doe.

Let her breasts vfill you at all times with delight;

be intoxicated4 always in her love.

20  Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with wa forbidden woman

and embrace the bosom of wan adulteress?5

21  For xa man's ways are ybefore the eyes of the Lord,

and he zponders6 all his paths.

22  The ainiquities of the wicked bensnare him,

and he is held fast in the cords of his sin.

23  cHe dies for lack of discipline,

and because of his great folly he is dled astray.

Practical Warnings

My son, if you have put up esecurity for your neighbor,

have egiven your pledge for a stranger,

if you are fsnared in the words of your mouth,

caught in the words of your mouth,

then do this, my son, and save yourself,

for you have come into the hand of your neighbor:

go, hasten,1 and gplead urgently with your neighbor.

hGive your eyes no sleep

and your eyelids no slumber;

save yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,2

ilike a bird from the hand of the fowler.

jGo to kthe ant, O lsluggard;

consider her ways, and mbe wise.

nWithout having any chief,

oofficer, or ruler,

she prepares her bread pin summer

and qgathers her food in harvest.

rHow long will you lie there, lO sluggard?

When will you arise from your sleep?

10  sA little sleep, a little slumber,

ta little sfolding of the hands to rest,

11  uand poverty will come upon you like a robber,

and want like an armed man.

12  vA worthless person, a wicked man,

goes about with wcrooked speech,

13  xwinks with his eyes, signals3 with his feet,

points with his finger,

14  with yperverted heart zdevises evil,

continually asowing discord;

15  therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly;

bin a moment he will be broken cbeyond healing.

16  There are dsix things that the Lord hates,

dseven that are an abomination to him:

17  ehaughty eyes, fa lying tongue,

and ghands that shed innocent blood,

18  ha heart that devises wicked plans,

ifeet that make haste to run to evil,

19  ja false witness who kbreathes out lies,

and one who asows discord among brothers.

Warnings Against Adultery

20  lMy son, keep your father's commandment,

land forsake not your mother's teaching.

21  mBind them on your heart always;

ntie them around your neck.

22  oWhen you walk, they4 will lead you;

owhen you lie down, they will pwatch over you;

and when you awake, they will talk with you.

23  For the commandment is qa lamp and the teaching a light,

and the rreproofs of discipline are the way of life,

24  to preserve you from the evil woman,5

from the smooth tongue of sthe adulteress.6

25  tDo not desire her beauty in your heart,

and do not let her capture you with her ueyelashes;

26  for vthe price of a prostitute is only wa loaf of bread,7

but a married woman8 xhunts down a precious life.

27  Can a man carry yfire next to his zchest

and his clothes not be burned?

28  Or can one awalk on hot coals

and his feet not be scorched?

29  So is he who goes in to his neighbor's wife;

none who touches her bwill go unpunished.

30  People do not despise a thief if he steals

to csatisfy his appetite when he is hungry,

31  but dif he is caught, he will pay esevenfold;

he will give all the goods of his house.

32  He who commits adultery lacks sense;

he who does it destroys himself.

33  He will get wounds and dishonor,

and his disgrace will not be wiped away.

34  For fjealousy makes a man furious,

and he will not spare when ghe takes revenge.

35  He will accept no compensation;

he will refuse though you multiply gifts.