Proverbs 4
International Standard Version Par ▾ 

Diligently Pursue Wisdom

1Listen, children,a to your father’s instruction,

and pay attention in order to gain understanding.

2I give you sound teaching,

so do not abandon my instruction.b

3When I was a son to my father,

not yet strongc and an only son to my mother,

4he taught me and told me,

“Let your heart fully embrace what I have to say;d

keep my commandments and live!

5Get wisdom! Get understanding!

Do not forget or turn aside from the words of my mouth!

6Do not abandon her, and she will protect you.

Love her, and she will watch over you.

7Wisdom is of utmost importance, therefore get wisdom,

and with all your effort work to acquire understanding.

8Prize her and she will exalt you.

Indeed, if you embrace her, she will honor you.

9She will place on your head a graceful garland;

she will present to you a crown of beauty.”

10Listen, my son: accept my words,

and you’ll live a long, long time.e

11I have directed you in the way of wisdom,

and I have led you along straightf paths.

12When you walk, your step will not be hindered,

and when you run, you will not stumble.

13Hold on to instruction, do not let it go!

Guard wisdom,g because she is your life!

Avoiding the Ways of the Wicked

14Do not enter the path of the wicked,

or go along the way of evil men.

15Avoid it! Don’t travel on it!

Turn away from it, and pass on by.

16For they cannot sleep unless they are doing evil,

and they are robbed of their sleep unless they cause someone to stumble.

17For they eat the bread of wickedness,

and they drink the wine of violence.

18The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn

that grows brighter until the full light of day.

19But 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

20My son, pay attention to my words,

and listen closelyh to what I say.

21Do not let them out of your sight;

keep them within your heart.

22For they are life to those who find them,

and healing to their whole body.i

23Above everything elsej guard your heart,

because from it flow the springs of life.

24Never talk deceptively

and don’t keep company with people whose speech is corrupt.k

25Let your eyes look directly ahead;

fix your gaze straight in front of you.

26Carefully measurel the paths for your feet,

and all your ways will be established.

27Do not turn to the right or to the left;

turn your foot away from evil.

a 4:1 Lit. sons
b 4:2 Or law
c 4:3 Lit. delicate
d 4:4 Lit. embrace my words
e 4:10 Lit. and the years of your life will be many
f 4:11 Or upright
g 4:13 Lit. her
h 4:20 Lit. turn your ear
i 4:22 Lit. flesh
j 4:23 Lit. Above all watching
k 4:24 Lit. keep corrupt lips far from you
l 4:26 Lit. Weigh

The Holy Bible: International Standard Version® Release 2.1
Copyright © 1996-2012 The ISV Foundation

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