The Holy See
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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 4


1 Hear, O children, a father's instruction, be attentive, that you may gain understanding!


Yes, excellent advice I give you; my teaching do not forsake.


When I was my father's child, frail, yet the darling of my mother,


He taught me, and said to me: "Let your heart hold fast my words: keep my commands, that you may live!


"Get wisdom, get understanding! Do not forget or turn aside from the words I utter.


Forsake her not, and she will preserve you; love her, and she will safeguard you;


The beginning of wisdom is: get wisdom; at the cost of all you have, get understanding.


Extol her, and she will exalt you; she will bring you honors if you embrace her;


She will put on your head a graceful diadem; a glorious crown will she bestow on you."


2 Hear, my son, and receive my words, and the years of your life shall be many.


On the way of wisdom I direct you, I lead you on straightforward paths.


When you walk, your step will not be impeded, and should you run, you will not stumble.


Hold fast to instruction, never let her go; keep her, for she is your life.


The path of the wicked enter not, walk not on the way of evil men;


Shun it, cross it not, turn aside from it, and pass on.


For they cannot rest unless they have done evil; to have made no one stumble steals away their sleep.


For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.


The way of the wicked is like darkness; they know not on what they stumble.


3 But the path of the just is like shining light, that grows in brilliance till perfect day.


My son, to my words be attentive, to my sayings incline your ear;


Let them not slip out of your sight, keep them within your heart;


For they are life to those who find them, to man's whole being they are health.


With closest custody, guard your heart, for in it are the sources of life.


Put away from you dishonest talk, deceitful speech put far from you.


Let your eyes look straight ahead and your glance be directly forward.


Survey the path for your feet, and let all your ways be sure.


Turn neither to right nor to left, keep your foot far from evil.



1 [1-9] The sage speaks as a father admonishing his children to secure wisdom at any cost.

2 [10-27] The way of wisdom leads directly to life ( Proverb 4:10-13); it is a light that grows brighter ( Proverb 4:19[18]). The wise man is bound to shun ( Proverb 4:14-17) the dark and violent path of the wicked ( Proverb 4:18[19]). Singleness of purpose and right conduct proceed from the heart of a wise man as from the source of life Prov ( 4:23-26); they save him from destruction on evil paths ( Proverb 4:27; 5:21-23).

3 [18] (18)Till perfect day: literally, "till the day is established"; this may refer to full daylight or to noonday.

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