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The Father’s Wisdom

Children, listen to the instruction of a father,
    and be attentive in order to know insight.
For I have given you good instruction;
    do not forsake my teaching.
When I was a son to my father,
    tender and alone before my mother,
he taught me and said to me,
    “May your heart hold fast to my words;
    guard my commandments and live.
Get wisdom and insight;
    do not forget and do not turn from the sayings of my mouth.
Do not forsake her—then she will guard you;
    love her and she will keep you.
The beginning of wisdom: Get wisdom!
    With all that is in your possession, gain insight.
Cherish her and she will exalt you;
    she will honor you if you embrace her.
She will give a garland for your head;
    she shall bestow a crown of glory upon you.”

The Right Path

10 Listen, my child, take my sayings,
    and the years of your life shall be great.
11 In the way of wisdom I have instructed you;
    I have led you in the path of uprightness.
12 When you walk,[a] your step will not be hampered,
    and if you run, you will not stumble.
13 Seize the instruction! Do not let go!
    Guard her, for she is your life.
14 In the path of the wicked do not go;
    do not walk in the way of those who do evil.
15 Avoid it; do not transgress it;
    turn away from it and pass by.
16 For they will not sleep if they have not done wrong,
    and they are robbed of their sleep if they do not cause stumbling.
17 For they ate the bread of wickedness,
    and they drank the wine of violence.
18 But the path of the righteous ones is like the light of dawn,
    leading and shining until the day is full.[b]
19 The way of the wicked ones is like deep darkness;
    they do not know what they stumble over.

Staying the Course

20 My child, be attentive to my words;
    to my sayings incline your ear.
21 May they not escape from your sight;[c]
    keep them in the midst of your heart.
22 For they are life to those who find them
    and healing to the entire body.[d]
23 With all vigilance, keep your heart,
    for from it comes the source[e] of life.
24 Remove from yourself deceitful speech,[f]
    and abolish devious talk[g] from yourself.
25 May your eyes look forward[h]
    and your gaze be straight before you.
26 May the path of your foot be balanced
    and all your ways be sure.
27 Do not swerve right or left;
    remove your foot from evil.


  1. Proverbs 4:12 Literally “In your walking”
  2. Proverbs 4:18 Literally “is correct”
  3. Proverbs 4:21 Literally “eyes”
  4. Proverbs 4:22 Literally “for all his flesh”
  5. Proverbs 4:23 Or “extremity”
  6. Proverbs 4:24 Literally “crookedness of mouth”
  7. Proverbs 4:24 Literally “deviousness of lips”
  8. Proverbs 4:25 Or “opposite”