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Proverbs 4-6 Listen
Embrace righteousness; shun evil (Proverbs 4)
1 Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.
2 For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.
3 For I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother.
4 He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.
5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.
6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.
7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
8 Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.
9 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.
Here's a father giving advice to his son. Solomon says in verse 3 that this wisdom is the same that was imparted to him by his father (David) as he was Bathsheba's only son. As Solomon is writing to his son, he even indicates a lengthening of life in verse 10 for those who embrace righteousness. Notice verse 7, "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding." Solomon proposes that wisdom will deliver one from the snares and pitfalls of life and keep one's affections toward God.
Stay away from loose women (Proverbs 5)
1 My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding:
2 That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.
3 For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:
4 But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.
6 Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.
7 Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth.
8 Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house:
9 Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel:
10 Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labours be in the house of a stranger;
11 And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed,
12 And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;
13 And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!
14 I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.
15 Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.
16 Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets.
17 Let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee.
18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.
19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.
20 And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?
21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.
22 His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.
23 He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.
Solomon gives a warning to his son about consorting with prostitutes. He identifies her intentions as evil. I like the poetic way in which Solomon makes the point to be faithful to one's wife when he says in verse 15, "Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well." Well said! As a matter of fact, some pretty descriptive language regarding a man's faithfulness to the "wife of thy youth" (verse 18) follows. And...God is watching over us as seen in verse 21, "For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all his goings."
Some tips on wise living (Proverbs 6)
1 My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger,
2 Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.
3 Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend.
4 Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids.
5 Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.
6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?
10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
11 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.
12 A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth.
13 He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers;
14 Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord.
15 Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy.
16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
20 My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother:
21 Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.
22 When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee.
23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:
24 To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.
25 Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids.
26 For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.
27 Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?
28 Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?
29 So he that goeth in to his neighbour’s wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent.
30 Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry;
31 But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house.
32 But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.
33 A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away.
34 For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.
35 He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts.
Solomon warns against cosigning on a debt for a friend (verses 1-5). He warns that this can cost a friendship. Having done so already, he encourages seeking a release. He then goes on to encourage one to focus on his livelihood in verses 6-11. He calls our attention to the deliberate activities of the ant (yeah, that's right, an ant). Let's face it, you never saw a lazy ant!
In verses 12-19 he warns against scam artists...well, actually anyone who practices deception. As a matter of fact, some very descriptive and stern words are issued regarding these people in verse 16-19. Notice in these four verses a list of seven things that God hates:
And finally, this chapter finishes with more warnings against adultery. Here he deals both with consorting with prostitutes and another man's wife. Perhaps the old saying, "Play with fire, and you'll get burned!" comes from verses 27 and 28 when it says, "Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?" An interesting contrast is made here between a thief and an adulterer in verses 30-33. A thief can make reparations for his actions, but he points out the irreparable damage left behind when adultery is committed as he says in verse 33, "A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away."