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1-2 Young men, listen to me as you would to your father. Listen, and grow wise, for I speak the truth—don’t turn away. For I, too, was once a son, tenderly loved by my mother as an only child, and the companion of my father. He told me never to forget his words. “If you follow them,” he said, “you will have a long and happy life. Learn to be wise,” he said, “and develop good judgment and common sense! I cannot overemphasize this point.”[a] Cling to wisdom—she will protect you. Love her—she will guard you.

Getting wisdom is the most important thing you can do! And with your wisdom, develop common sense and good judgment. 8-9 If you exalt wisdom, she will exalt you. Hold her fast, and she will lead you to great honor; she will place a beautiful crown upon your head. 10 My son, listen to me and do as I say, and you will have a long, good life.

11 I would have you learn this great fact: that a life of doing right is the wisest life there is. 12 If you live that kind of life, you’ll not limp or stumble as you run. 13 Carry out my instructions; don’t forget them, for they will lead you to real living.

14 Don’t do as the wicked do. 15 Avoid their haunts—turn away, go somewhere else, 16 for evil men can’t sleep until they’ve done their evil deed for the day. They can’t rest unless they cause someone to stumble and fall. 17 They eat and drink wickedness and violence!

18 But the good man walks along in the ever-brightening light of God’s favor; the dawn gives way to morning splendor, 19 while the evil man gropes and stumbles in the dark.

20 Listen, son of mine, to what I say. Listen carefully. 21 Keep these thoughts ever in mind; let them penetrate deep within your heart, 22 for they will mean real life for you and radiant health.

23 Above all else, guard your affections. For they influence everything else in your life. 24 Spurn the careless kiss of a prostitute.[b] Stay far from her. 25 Look straight ahead; don’t even turn your head to look. 26 Watch your step. Stick to the path and be safe. 27 Don’t sidetrack; pull back your foot from danger.


  1. Proverbs 4:5 I cannot overemphasize this point, literally, “Forget not nor turn from the words of my mouth.”
  2. Proverbs 4:24 Spurn the careless kiss of a prostitute, implied; literally, “Put away from you a wayward mouth.”

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