4 Listen, children,[a] to your father’s instruction, and pay attention in order to gain understanding. 2 I give you sound teaching, so do not abandon my instruction.[b] 3 When I was a son to my father, not yet strong[c] and an only son to my mother, 4 he taught me and told me, “Let your heart fully embrace what I have to say;[d] keep my commandments and live! 5 Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget or turn aside from the words of my mouth! 6 Do not abandon her, and she will protect you. Love her, and she will watch over you. 7 Wisdom is of utmost importance, therefore get wisdom, and with all your effort work to acquire understanding. 8 Prize her and she will exalt you. Indeed, if you embrace her, she will honor you. 9 She will place on your head a graceful garland; she will present to you a crown of beauty.”
10 Listen, my son: accept my words, and you’ll live a long, long time.[e] 11 I have directed you in the way of wisdom, and I have led you along straight[f] paths. 12 When you walk, your step will not be hindered, and when you run, you will not stumble. 13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go! Guard wisdom,[g] because she is your life!
Avoiding the Ways of the Wicked
14 Do not enter the path of the wicked, or go along the way of evil men. 15 Avoid it! Don’t travel on it! Turn away from it, and pass on by. 16 For they cannot sleep unless they are doing evil, and they are robbed of their sleep unless they cause someone to stumble. 17 For they eat the bread of wickedness, and they drink the wine of violence.
18 The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn that grows brighter until the full light of day. 19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness, and they do not know what they are stumbling over.
Remembering the Counsel of a Wise Father
20 My son, pay attention to my words, and listen closely[h] to what I say. 21 Do not let them out of your sight; keep them within your heart. 22 For they are life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body.[i]
23 Above everything else[j] guard your heart, because from it flow the springs of life. 24 Never talk deceptively and don’t keep company with people whose speech is corrupt.[k]
25 Let your eyes look directly ahead; fix your gaze straight in front of you. 26 Carefully measure[l] the paths for your feet, and all your ways will be established. 27 Do not turn to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.
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