Proverbs 4

A Father's Wise Instruction

1 f Hear, O sons, a father's instruction,
and be attentive, that you may g gain 1 insight,
2 for I give you good h precepts;
do not forsake my teaching.
3 When I was a son with my father,
i tender, j the only one in the sight of my mother,
4 he k taught me and said to me,
l "Let your heart hold fast my words;
m keep my commandments, and live.
5 n Get wisdom; get g insight;
do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.
6 Do not forsake her, and she will keep you;
o love her, and she will guard you.
7 p The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,
and whatever you get, get g insight.
8 Prize her highly, and she will exalt you;
she will q honor you r if you embrace her.
9 She will place on your head s a graceful garland;
she will bestow on you a beautiful crown."

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

20 k My son, be attentive to my words;
incline your ear to my sayings.
21 l Let them not escape from your sight;
m keep them within your heart.
22 For they are n life to those who find them,
and healing to all their 2 flesh.
23 Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for o from it flow p the springs of life.
24 Put away from you q crooked speech,
and put r devious talk far from you.
25 s Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.
26 t Ponder 3 the path of your feet;
u then all your ways will be sure.
27 v Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil.

  1. Cross References
    Proverbs 1:8
    Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and forsake not your mother's teaching.
    Proverbs 5:7
    And now, O sons, listen to me, and do not depart from the words of my mouth.
    Proverbs 7:24
    And now, O sons, listen to me, and be attentive to the words of my mouth.
    Proverbs 8:33
    Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it.
    Psalms 34:11
    Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
  2. Cross References
    Proverbs 2:2
    Making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding.
  3. Cross References
    Job 11:4
    For you say, 'My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in God's eyes.
  4. Cross References
    1 Chronicles 22:5
    For David said, "Solomon my son is young and inexperienced, and the house that is to be built for the Lord must be exceedingly magnificent, of fame and glory throughout all lands. I will therefore make preparation for it." So David provided materials in great quantity before his death.
  5. Cross References
    Zechariah 12:10
    And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.
  6. Cross References
    1 Chronicles 28:9
    And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.
    Ephesians 6:4
    Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
  7. Cross References
    Proverbs 3:1
    My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments.
  8. Cross References
    Proverbs 7:2
    Keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye.
    Leviticus 18:5
    You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the Lord.
    Isaiah 55:3
    Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.
  9. Cross References
    Proverbs 2:2
    Making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding.
  10. Cross References
    Proverbs 4:1
    Hear, O sons, a father's instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight.
  11. Cross References
    2 Thessalonians 2:10
    And with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
  12. Cross References
    Proverbs 1:7
    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
  13. Cross References
    Proverbs 4:1
    Hear, O sons, a father's instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight.
  14. Cross References
    1 Samuel 2:30
    Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, declares: 'I promised that your house and the house of your father should go in and out before me forever,' but now the Lord declares: 'Far be it from me, for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed.
  15. Cross References
    Song of Solomon 2:6
    His left hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces me!
  16. Cross References
    Proverbs 1:9
    For they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.
  17. Cross References
    Proverbs 4:1
    Hear, O sons, a father's instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight.
  18. Cross References
    Proverbs 2:1
    My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you.
  19. Cross References
    Proverbs 3:2
    For length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.
  20. Cross References
    1 Samuel 12:23
    Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way.
  21. Cross References
    Job 18:7
    His strong steps are shortened, and his own schemes throw him down.
    Psalms 18:36
    You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip.
    Psalms 119:45
    And I shall walk in a wide place, for I have sought your precepts.
  22. Cross References
    Proverbs 3:23
    Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble.
  23. Cross References
    Proverbs 3:18
    She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed.
  24. Cross References
    Proverbs 4:22
    For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.
    John 1:4
    In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
    1 John 5:12
    Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
  25. Cross References
    Proverbs 1:15
    My son, do not walk in the way with them; hold back your foot from their paths.
    Psalms 1:1
    Book One Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers.
  26. Cross References
    Psalms 36:4
    He plots trouble while on his bed; he sets himself in a way that is not good; he does not reject evil.
  27. Cross References
    Amos 2:8
    They lay themselves down beside every altar on garments taken in pledge, and in the house of their God they drink the wine of those who have been fined.
  28. Cross References
    Job 11:17
    And your life will be brighter than the noonday; its darkness will be like the morning.
    Job 22:28
    You will decide on a matter, and it will be established for you, and light will shine on your ways.
    Isaiah 60:3
    And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.
    Isaiah 62:1 - 2
    For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch.
    Daniel 12:3
    And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
  29. Cross References
    2 Samuel 23:4
    He dawns on them like the morning light, like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning, like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth.
    Psalms 97:11
    Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart.
  30. Cross References
    Psalms 84:7
    They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion.
  31. Cross References
    1 John 3:2
    Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
  32. Cross References
    1 Samuel 2:9
    He will guard the feet of his faithful ones, but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness, for not by might shall a man prevail.
    Isaiah 59:9 - 10
    Therefore justice is far from us, and righteousness does not overtake us; we hope for light, and behold, darkness, and for brightness, but we walk in gloom.
    Jeremiah 23:12
    Therefore their way shall be to them like slippery paths in the darkness, into which they shall be driven and fall, for I will bring disaster upon them in the year of their punishment, declares the Lord.
    John 12:35
    So Jesus said to them, "The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going.
    Job 18:5
    Indeed, the light of the wicked is put out, and the flame of his fire does not shine.
  33. Cross References
    Matthew 6:23
    But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
  34. Cross References
    John 11:10
    But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.
    1 John 2:10
    Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.
  35. Cross References
    Proverbs 4:10
    Hear, my son, and accept my words, that the years of your life may be many.
  36. Cross References
    Proverbs 3:21
    My son, do not lose sight of these - keep sound wisdom and discretion.
  37. Cross References
    Proverbs 2:1
    My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you.
  38. Cross References
    Proverbs 4:13
    Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.
    Proverbs 8:35
    For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord.
    Proverbs 21:21
    Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.
    Deuteronomy 32:47
    For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.
    1 Timothy 4:8
    For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
  39. Cross References
    Matthew 12:35
    The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.
  40. Cross References
    Psalms 16:11
    You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
  41. Cross References
    Proverbs 6:12
    A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech.
  42. Cross References
    Proverbs 2:15
    Men whose paths are crooked, and who are devious in their ways.
  43. Cross References
    Hebrews 12:2
    Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
  44. Cross References
    Proverbs 5:6
    She does not ponder the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it.
    Proverbs 5:21
    For a man's ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all his paths.
    Hebrews 12:13
    And make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.
  45. Cross References
    Psalms 119:5
    Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!
  46. Cross References
    Deuteronomy 5:32
    You shall be careful therefore to do as the Lord your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.
    Deuteronomy 28:14
    And if you do not turn aside from any of the words that I command you today, to the right hand or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.
    Joshua 1:7
    Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.
    1 Kings 15:5
    Because David did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and did not turn aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
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