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An Address to Sons:
Your Parents Teach You Wisdom

Listen, you sons, to a father’s discipline.
Pay attention so that you will gain discernment,
because I have given you good instruction.
Do not abandon my teaching.
When I was a son living with my father,
a tender and only child with my mother,
he used to instruct me and say to me,
“Cling to my words with all your heart.
Obey my commands so that you may live.
Acquire wisdom. Acquire understanding.
Do not forget,
and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.
Do not abandon it, and it will watch over you.
Love it and it will guard you.”

The beginning of wisdom is to obtain Wisdom.
Give up everything you have, in order to gain Understanding.
Cherish her, and she will exalt you.
She will honor you when you embrace her.
She will set a garland of grace on your head.
She will present you with a beautiful crown.

Fifth Address to a Son:
The Difference Between the Wicked and the Righteous

10 Listen, my son, and accept my words,
so that the years of your life will be many.
11 I have instructed you in the way of wisdom.
I have led you along straight paths.[a]
12 When you walk, your stride will not be hindered.
Even if you run, you will not stumble.
13 Hold on to discipline. Do not let go.
Guard it, because it is your life.
14 Do not travel on the path of the wicked.
Do not walk in the way of evil people.
15 Avoid it! Do not travel on it!
Turn away from it. Pass it by.
16 For they cannot sleep
    unless they have been doing wrong,
and they are robbed of sleep
    unless they are making someone stumble,
17 because wickedness is the food they eat,
and violence is the wine they drink.
18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
shining brighter and brighter until it is day.
19 The way of the wicked is like gloomy darkness.
They never know where they will stumble.

Sixth Address to a Son:
Advice for a Righteous Life

20 My son, pay attention to my words.
Open your ears to what I say.
21 Do not let them escape from your sight.
Keep them deep in your heart,
22 because they are life for those who find them
and healing for the entire body.[b]
23 Above all else, guard your heart carefully,
because your life flows from it.
24 Turn your mouth away from perverted speech,
and keep devious lips far away from you.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead.
Let your gaze[c] be directly in front of you.
26 Make a level pathway for your feet,
and all your ways will be secure.
27 Do not swerve to the right or the left.
Turn your feet away from evil.

Footnotes

  1. Proverbs 4:11 Or on the right track
  2. Proverbs 4:22 Literally all of his flesh
  3. Proverbs 4:25 Literally your eyelids

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