A Father’s Instruction
4 Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father,
And give attention that you may [a]gain understanding,
3 When I was a son to my father,
Tender and the only son in the sight of my mother,
4 Then he taught me and said to me,
“Let your heart hold fast my words;
Keep my commandments and live;
5 Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding!
Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
6 “Do not forsake her, and she will guard you;
Love her, and she will watch over you.
7 “The [d]beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom;
And with all your acquiring, get understanding.
8 “Prize her, and she will exalt you;
She will honor you if you embrace her.
9 “She will place on your head a garland of grace;
She will present you with a crown of beauty.”
10 Hear, my son, and accept my sayings
And the years of your life will be many.
11 I have directed you in the way of wisdom;
I have led you in upright paths.
12 When you walk, your steps will not be impeded;
And if you run, you will not stumble.
13 Take hold of instruction; do not let go.
Guard her, for she is your life.
14 Do not enter the path of the wicked
And do not proceed in the way of evil men.
15 Avoid it, do not pass by it;
Turn away from it and pass on.
16 For they cannot sleep unless they do evil;
And [e]they are robbed of sleep unless they make someone stumble.
17 For they eat the bread of wickedness
And drink the wine of violence.
18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
That shines brighter and brighter until the full day.
19 The way of the wicked is like darkness;
They do not know over what they [f]stumble.
20 My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Do not let them depart from your sight;
Keep them in the midst of your heart.
22 For they are life to those who find them
And health to all [g]their body.
23 Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.
24 Put away from you a deceitful mouth
And put devious [h]speech far from you.
25 Let your eyes look directly ahead
And let your [i]gaze be fixed straight in front of you.
26 Watch the path of your feet
And all your ways will be established.
27 Do not turn to the right nor to the left;
Turn your foot from evil.