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Bible Commentaries
Proverbs 4

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-27

Chapter 4

Continuing to his son.

Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend that you might know understanding. For I give you good doctrine, don't forsake my law. For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother ( Proverbs 4:1-3 ).

So Solomon now is speaking of his father David and of his mother Bathsheba. "Tender and beloved in the sight of his mother."

Now he taught me ( Proverbs 4:4 )

Now this would be David, his father.

He taught me also, and said unto me, Let your heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live. Now 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 will keep you. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all of thy getting get understanding ( Proverbs 4:4-7 ).

Now you know, there are certain people who have a lot of knowledge but they're fools. They don't know how to use their knowledge. They don't have wisdom. If there is to be a choice made between wisdom and knowledge, it's better to choose wisdom. It's like the mother who told her child, "Honey, when you don't got an education, you got to use your brains." And wisdom is really preferable to knowledge. For unless you have wisdom, knowledge can be dangerous. Knowledge can destroy. Wisdom is the principal thing, which is actually the correct application of knowledge. It's knowing what to do with what you know. Understanding.

So here is David talking to Solomon. "Now look, son, wisdom is the principal thing. So get wisdom. And with all of your getting get understanding." Oh, to have an understanding heart. Oh, to have a heart that is filled with wisdom. Fear of the Lord, the beginning of wisdom, where it starts.

Concerning wisdom:

Exalt her, and she will promote you: she shall bring you to honor, when you do when you embrace her. She shall give to your head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory will she deliver to you. Hear, O my son ( Proverbs 4:8-10 ),

It seems like Solomon picks it up here again.

receive my sayings; and the years of your life will be many. For I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in the right paths. When you go, your steps shall not be straitened; and when you run, you will not stumble. Take hold of instruction; [grip her] don't let her go: keep her; for she is your life. Enter not into the path of the wicked, do not go in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, run from it. For they sleep not, unless they have done some mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they've caused someone to fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and they drink the wine of violence. But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shines more and more unto the perfect day ( Proverbs 4:10-18 ).

So here is the contrast. The wicked who go in darkness and who cannot sleep until they've done their mischief and so forth, in contrast to the path of the just, which is as a shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. Beautiful.

The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble. My son, attend to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life ( Proverbs 4:19-23 ).

Here, I think, is perhaps the key. Keeping our hearts with all diligence. Now the Bible speaks of the soul, the emotions of man, conscious level, but it speaks also of the heart of man, which is always considered one level deeper. "Out of the abundance of the heart," the scriptures said, "the mouth speaks" ( Matthew 12:34 ). "It is not which goes into a man's mouth that defiles a man but that which comes out" ( Matthew 15:11 ). Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. And out of the heart there issue you know all of these things. So the heart is considered as sort of the center of the volitional part of man, the will of man. There is a difference made in the scripture with the believing in your mind and the believing in your heart. "That if thou shall confess with thy mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, and believe in your heart" ( Romans 10:9 ). What you believe in your heart affects the way you live, what you believe in your mind can pass by and have no effect upon the way you live. But when it's down deep within your heart, then there is the effect upon your life. We must keep our hearts with all diligence, because it is out of the heart that the issues of life spring forth.

Put away from you a froward mouth [a perverse mouth], perverse lips put far from thee. Let your eyes look straight ahead. Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. Don't turn to the right or to the left: but remove your foot from evil ( Proverbs 4:24-27 ). "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Proverbs 4". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/proverbs-4.html. 2014.
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