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Proverbs Four

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Proverbs 4:1 Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.

ye children. This beginning of the eighth “sermon” is the first one addressed to “ye children” instead of just “my son.” Thus we can assume that the two daughters, Taphath and Basmath, were in Solomon's mind here, as well as Rehoboam (note 1 Kings 4:11, 15).

Proverbs 4:2 For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.

Proverbs 4:3 For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother.

my father's son. If, as suggested in the footnote to Proverbs 1:1, the first nine chapters of Proverbs were actually written by David for his son Solomon, then Proverbs 4:3-9 may give an insight into the character and teachings of David's father Jesse, possibly illuminating God's reason for calling one of Jesse's sons to play such a vital role in human history.

my mother. Solomon's mother was Bathsheba. Her earlier sin of adultery with King David had been forgiven and she had been a good mother to Solomon. Note also Proverbs 1:8; 6:20. It is even possible that Bathsheba wrote the last few verses of Proverbs (see note on Proverbs 31:2).

Proverbs 4:4 He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.

Proverbs 4:5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.

Proverbs 4:6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.

Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

principal. “Principal” is the same word as “beginning.” Wisdom is the foundation of a fruitful life, and the foundation of true wisdom is fear of the Lord.

Proverbs 4:8 Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.

Proverbs 4:9 She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.

Proverbs 4:10 Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many.

Proverbs 4:11 I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths.

Proverbs 4:12 When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble.

Proverbs 4:13 Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.

Proverbs 4:14 Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.

Proverbs 4:15 Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.

Avoid it. God's Word emphasizes again and again that God's true children should never compromise with evil, whether false teachings or immoral behavior. “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Ephesians 5:11).

Proverbs 4:16 For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.

Proverbs 4:17 For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.

Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

path of the just. In contrast to “the path of the wicked,” whose way “is as darkness” (Proverbs 4:14, 19), the believer's path is illuminated by the “shining light” of God's Word (Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 6:23), and “the light of the world,” Jesus Christ (John 8:12).

the shining light. The “light” that shines on the path to guide the “just” is, of course, the Lord Himself (Psalm 27:1, 11; 2 Corinthians 4:6), through His inspired written Word (2 Peter 1:19). This light eventually leads us to the land of “perfect day” where there is no more night (Revelation 22:5).

Proverbs 4:19 The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.

Proverbs 4:20 My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.

Proverbs 4:21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.

Proverbs 4:22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.

Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

heart. In Scripture, the heart is both the physical organ energizing the circulatory system and also the seat of the intellect and emotions. This truth is valid in both cases. A well-maintained, healthy heart and circulation are essential to optimum effectiveness in every area of one's natural life, and a heart right before God spiritually is essential to a truly fruitful Christian life.

Proverbs 4:24 Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.

Proverbs 4:25 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.

Proverbs 4:26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.

Proverbs 4:27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.