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Proverbs 4 King James Version (KJV)

Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.

For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.

For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother.

He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.

Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.

Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.

She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.

10 Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many.

11 I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths.

12 When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble.

13 Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.

14 Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.

15 Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.

16 For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.

17 For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.

18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

19 The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.

20 My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.

21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.

22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.

23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

24 Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.

25 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.

26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.

27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.

Proverbs 4 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

A Father’s Example

Listen, my sons, to a father’s discipline,
and pay attention so that you may gain understanding,
for I am giving you good instruction.
Don’t abandon my teaching.
When I was a son with my father,
tender and precious to my mother,
he taught me and said:
“Your heart must hold on to my words.
Keep my commands and live.
Get wisdom, get understanding;
don’t forget or turn away from the words of my mouth.
Don’t abandon wisdom, and she will watch over you;
love her, and she will guard you.
Wisdom is supreme—so get wisdom.
And whatever else you get, get understanding.
Cherish her, and she will exalt you;
if you embrace her, she will honor you.
She will place a garland of grace on your head;
she will give you a crown of beauty.”

Two Ways of Life

10 Listen, my son. Accept my words,
and you will live many years.
11 I am teaching you the way of wisdom;
I am guiding you on straight paths.
12 When you walk, your steps will not be hindered;
when you run, you will not stumble.
13 Hold on to instruction; don’t let go.
Guard it, for it is your life.
14 Don’t set foot on the path of the wicked;
don’t proceed in the way of evil ones.
15 Avoid it; don’t travel on it.
Turn away from it, and pass it by.
16 For they can’t sleep
unless they have done what is evil;
they are robbed of sleep
unless they make someone stumble.
17 They eat the bread of wickedness
and drink the wine of violence.
18 The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
shining brighter and brighter until midday.
19 But the way of the wicked is like the darkest gloom;
they don’t know what makes them stumble.

The Straight Path

20 My son, pay attention to my words;
listen closely to my sayings.
21 Don’t lose sight of them;
keep them within your heart.
22 For they are life to those who find them,
and health to one’s whole body.
23 Guard your heart above all else,[a]
for it is the source of life.
24 Don’t let your mouth speak dishonestly,
and don’t let your lips talk deviously.
25 Let your eyes look forward;
fix your gaze[b] straight ahead.
26 Carefully consider the path[c] for your feet,
and all your ways will be established.
27 Don’t turn to the right or to the left;
keep your feet away from evil.

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 4:23 Or heart with all diligence
  2. Proverbs 4:25 Lit eyelids
  3. Proverbs 4:26 Or Clear a path

Proverbs 4 American Standard Version (ASV)

Hear, my sons, the instruction of a father,
And attend to know understanding:
For I give you good doctrine;
Forsake ye not my [a]law.
For I was a son unto my father,
Tender and [b]only beloved in the sight of my mother.
And he taught me, and said unto me:
Let thy heart retain my words;
Keep my commandments, and live;
Get wisdom, get understanding;
Forget not, neither decline from the words of my mouth;
Forsake her not, and she will preserve thee;
Love her, and she will keep thee.
[c]Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom;
Yea, with all [d]thy getting get understanding.
Exalt her, and she will promote thee;
She will bring thee to honor, when thou dost embrace her.
She will give to thy head a chaplet of grace;
A crown of [e]beauty will she deliver to thee.

10 Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings;
And the years of thy life shall be many.
11 I have taught thee in the way of wisdom;
I have led thee in paths of uprightness.
12 When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened;
And if thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble.
13 Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go:
Keep her; for she is thy life.
14 Enter not into the path of the wicked,
And walk not in the way of evil men.
15 Avoid it, pass not by it;
Turn from it, and pass on.
16 For they sleep not, except they do evil;
And their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.
17 For they eat the bread of wickedness,
And drink the wine of violence.
18 But the path of the righteous is as the dawning light,
That shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
19 The way of the wicked is as darkness:
They know not at what they stumble.

20 My son, attend to my words;
Incline thine ear unto my sayings.
21 Let them not depart from thine eyes;
Keep them in the midst of thy heart.
22 For they are life unto those that find them,
And health to all their flesh.
23 Keep thy heart [f]with all diligence;
For out of it are the issues of life.
24 Put away from thee a wayward mouth,
And perverse lips put far from thee.
25 Let thine eyes look right on,
And let thine eyelids look straight before thee.
26 [g]Make level the path of thy feet,
And let all thy ways be [h]established.
27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left:
Remove thy foot from evil.

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 4:2 Or, teaching
  2. Proverbs 4:3 Hebrew an only one.
  3. Proverbs 4:7 Or, The beginning of wisdom is, Get wisdom
  4. Proverbs 4:7 Or, thou hast gotten
  5. Proverbs 4:9 Or, glory
  6. Proverbs 4:23 Or, above all that thou guardest
  7. Proverbs 4:26 Or, Weigh carefully
  8. Proverbs 4:26 Or, ordered aright

Proverbs 4 Young's Literal Translation (YLT)

Hear, ye sons, the instruction of a father, And give attention to know understanding.

For good learning I have given to you, My law forsake not.

For, a son I have been to my father -- tender, And an only one before my mother.

And he directeth me, and he saith to me: `Let thy heart retain my words, Keep my commands, and live.

Get wisdom, get understanding, Do not forget, nor turn away From the sayings of my mouth.

Forsake her not, and she doth preserve thee, Love her, and she doth keep thee.

The first thing [is] wisdom -- get wisdom, And with all thy getting get understanding.

Exalt her, and she doth lift thee up, She honoureth thee, when thou dost embrace her.

She giveth to thy head a wreath of grace, A crown of beauty she doth give thee freely.

10 Hear, my son, and receive my sayings, And years of life [are] multiplied to thee.

11 In a way of wisdom I have directed thee, I have caused thee to tread in paths of uprightness.

12 In thy walking thy step is not straitened, And if thou runnest, thou stumblest not.

13 Lay hold on instruction, do not desist, Keep her, for she [is] thy life.

14 Into the path of the wicked enter not, And be not happy in a way of evil doers.

15 Avoid it, pass not over into it, Turn aside from it, and pass on.

16 For they sleep not if they do not evil, And their sleep hath been taken violently away, If they cause not [some] to stumble.

17 For they have eaten bread of wickedness, And wine of violence they drink.

18 And the path of the righteous [is] as a shining light, Going and brightening till the day is established,

19 The way of the wicked [is] as darkness, They have not known at what they stumble.

20 My son, to my words give attention, To my sayings incline thine ear,

21 Let them not turn aside from thine eyes, Preserve them in the midst of thy heart.

22 For life they [are] to those finding them, And to all their flesh healing.

23 Above every charge keep thy heart, For out of it [are] the outgoings of life.

24 Turn aside from thee a froward mouth, And perverse lips put far from thee,

25 Thine eyes do look straightforward, And thine eyelids look straight before thee.

26 Ponder thou the path of thy feet, And all thy ways [are] established.

27 Incline not [to] the right or to the left, Turn aside thy foot from evil!

Proverbs 4 Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Fatherly Advice

Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction,
and be attentive, that you may gain[a] insight;
for I give you good precepts:
    do not forsake my teaching.
When I was a son with my father,
    tender, the only one in the sight of my mother,
he taught me, and said to me,
“Let your heart hold fast my words;
    keep my commandments, and live;
do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.
    Get wisdom; get insight.[b]
Do not forsake her, and she will keep you;
    love her, and she will guard you.
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,
    and whatever you get, get insight.
Prize her highly,[c] and she will exalt you;
    she will honor you if you embrace her.
She will place on your head a fair garland;
    she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.”

Admonition to Keep to the Right Path

10 Hear, my son, and accept my words,
    that the years of your life may be many.
11 I have taught you the way of wisdom;
    I have led you in the paths of uprightness.
12 When you walk, your step will not be hampered;
    and if you run, you will not stumble.
13 Keep hold of instruction, do not let go;
    guard her, for she is your life.
14 Do not enter the path of the wicked,
    and do not walk in the way of evil men.
15 Avoid it; do not go on it;
    turn away from it and pass on.
16 For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong;
    they are robbed of sleep unless they have made some one stumble.
17 For they eat the bread of wickedness
    and drink the wine of violence.
18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
    which shines brighter and brighter until full day.
19 The way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
    they do not know over what they stumble.

20 My son, be attentive to my words;
    incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Let them not escape from your sight;
    keep them within your heart.
22 For they are life to him who finds them,
    and healing to all his flesh.
23 Keep your heart with all vigilance;
    for from it flow the springs of life.
24 Put away from you crooked speech,
    and put devious talk far from you.
25 Let your eyes look directly forward,
    and your gaze be straight before you.
26 Take heed to[d] the path of your feet,
    then all your ways will be sure.
27 Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
    turn your foot away from evil.

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 4:1 Heb know
  2. Proverbs 4:5 Reversing the order of the lines
  3. Proverbs 4:8 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain
  4. Proverbs 4:26 The meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain
Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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