A Father’s Instruction
4 Hear, O children, the instruction of a father,
And pay attention [and be willing to learn] so that you may gain understanding and intelligent discernment.
For I give you good doctrine;
Do not [a]turn away from my instruction.
When I was a son with my father (David),
Tender and the only son in the sight of my mother (Bathsheba),
He taught me and said to me,
“Let your heart hold fast my words;
Keep my commandments and live.(A)
“Get [skillful and godly] wisdom! Acquire understanding [actively seek spiritual discernment, mature comprehension, and logical interpretation]!
Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
“Do not [b]turn away from her (Wisdom) and she will guard and protect you;
Love her, and she will watch over you.
“The beginning of wisdom is: Get [skillful and godly] wisdom [it is preeminent]!
And with all your acquiring, get understanding [actively seek spiritual discernment, mature comprehension, and logical interpretation].(B)
“Prize wisdom [and exalt her], and she will exalt you;
She will honor you if you embrace her.
“She will place on your head a garland of grace;
She will present you with a crown of beauty and glory.”
Hear, my son, and accept my sayings,
And the years of your life will be many.
I have instructed you in the way of [skillful and godly] wisdom;
I have led you in upright paths.
When you walk, your steps will not be impeded [for your path will be clear and open];
And when you run, you will not stumble.
Take hold of instruction; [actively seek it, grip it firmly and] do not let go.
Guard her, for she is your life.
Do not enter the path of the wicked,
And do not go the way of evil men.
Avoid it, do not travel on it;
Turn away from it and pass on.
For the wicked cannot sleep unless they do evil;
And they are deprived of sleep unless they make someone stumble and fall.
For they eat the bread of wickedness
And drink the wine of violence.
But the path of the just (righteous) is like the light of dawn,
That shines brighter and brighter until [it reaches its full strength and glory in] the perfect day.(C)
The way of the wicked is like [deep] darkness;
They do not know over what they stumble.(D)
My son, pay attention to my words and be willing to learn;
Open your ears to my sayings.
Do not let them escape from your sight;
Keep them in the center of your heart.
For they are life to those who find them,
And healing and health to all their flesh.
Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.
Put away from you a deceitful (lying, misleading) mouth,
And put devious lips far from you.
Let your eyes look directly ahead [toward the path of moral courage]
And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you [toward the path of integrity].
Consider well and watch carefully the path of your feet,
And all your ways will be steadfast and sure.
Do not turn away to the right nor to the left [where evil may lurk];
Turn your foot from [the path of] evil.