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Proverbs 4:10-19 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

The Two Ways[a]

10 Hear, my son, and receive my words,
    and the years of your life shall be many.
11 On the way of wisdom I direct you,
    I lead you on straight paths.
12 When you walk, your step will not be impeded,
    and should you run, you will not stumble.
13 Hold fast to instruction, never let it go;
    keep it, for it is your life.
14 [b]The path of the wicked do not enter,
    nor walk in the way of the evil;
15 Shun it, do not cross it,
    turn aside from it, pass on.
16 For they cannot rest unless they have done evil;
    if they do not trip anyone they lose sleep.
17 For they eat the bread of wickedness
    and drink the wine of violence.
18 But the path of the just is like shining light,
    that grows in brilliance till perfect day.[c]
19 The way of the wicked is like darkness;
    they do not know on what they stumble.


  1. 4:10–19 A central metaphor of the poem is “the way.” The way of wisdom leads directly to life (vv. 10–13); it is a light that grows brighter (v. 18). The wise are bound to shun (vv. 14–17) the dark and violent path of the wicked (v. 19). Singleness of purpose and right conduct proceed from the heart of the wise as from the source of life (vv. 23–26), saving them from destruction on evil paths (4:27; 5:21–23). As in 1:8–19 and 2:12–15, the obstacles to the quest are men and their way. Elsewhere in chaps. 1–9, the obstacle is the foreign woman (2:16–19; chap. 5; 6:20–35; chap. 7; 9:13–18).
  2. 4:14–15 One is always free to choose. The righteous may choose to leave their path to walk on the wicked path and the wicked may choose the righteous path.
  3. 4:18 Till perfect day: lit., “till the day is established”; this may refer to full daylight or to noonday.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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