A Father’s Instruction

Listen, my sons, to the (A)instruction of a father,
And (B)pay attention so that you may [a]gain understanding,
For I give you good (C)teaching;
(D)Do not abandon my [b]instruction.
When I was a son to my father,
(E)Tender and (F)the only son in the sight of my mother,
He (G)taught me and said to me,
“Let your heart (H)take hold of my words;
(I)Keep my commandments and live;
(J)Acquire wisdom! (K)Acquire understanding!
Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
Do not abandon her, and she will guard you;
(L)Love her, and she will watch over you.
(M)The [c]beginning of wisdom is: (N)Acquire wisdom;
And with all your possessions, acquire understanding.
(O)Prize her, and she will exalt you;
She will honor you if you embrace her.
She will place (P)on your head a garland of grace;
She will present you with a crown of beauty.”

10 Listen, my son, and (Q)accept my sayings,
And the (R)years of your life will be many.
11 I have (S)instructed you in the way of wisdom;
I have led you in upright paths.
12 When you walk, your (T)steps will not be hampered;
And if you run, you (U)will not stumble.
13 (V)Take hold of instruction; do not let go.
Guard her, for she is your (W)life.
14 (X)Do not enter the path of the wicked
And do not proceed in the way of evil people.
15 Avoid it, do not pass by it;
Turn away from it and pass on.
16 For they (Y)cannot sleep unless they do evil;
And [d]they are robbed of sleep unless they make someone stumble.
17 For they (Z)eat the bread of wickedness,
And drink the wine of violence.
18 But the (AA)path of the righteous is like the (AB)light of dawn
That (AC)shines brighter and brighter until the (AD)full day.
19 The (AE)way of the wicked is like darkness;
They do not know over what they [e](AF)stumble.

20 My son, (AG)pay attention to my words;
(AH)Incline your ear to my sayings.
21 (AI)They are not to escape from your sight;
(AJ)Keep them in the midst of your heart.
22 For they are (AK)life to those who find them,
And (AL)healing to all [f]their body.
23 Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For (AM)from it flow the springs of life.
24 Rid yourself of a (AN)deceitful mouth
And (AO)keep devious [g]speech far from you.
25 Let your eyes look directly ahead
And let your [h]gaze be fixed straight in front of you.
26 (AP)[i]Watch the path of your feet,
And all your (AQ)ways will be established.
27 (AR)Do not turn to the right or to the left;
(AS)Turn your foot from evil.


  1. Proverbs 4:1 Lit know
  2. Proverbs 4:2 Or law
  3. Proverbs 4:7 Or primary thing is wisdom
  4. Proverbs 4:16 Lit their sleep is robbed
  5. Proverbs 4:19 Or may stumble
  6. Proverbs 4:22 Lit his
  7. Proverbs 4:24 Or lips
  8. Proverbs 4:25 Or eyelids
  9. Proverbs 4:26 I.e., prob. stay on the path

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