Mishlei: Chapter IV: Text & Introduction
We begin the fourth Proverb with a translation based on “The Wisdom Books” by Robert Alter Norton), divided into sections as we will study them. I placed spaces between complete thoughts. It is important to read Shlomo HaMelech’s words as he wrote them before we turn to commentaries:
Hear, children, a father’s reproof,
and listen to discerning knowledge.
For I have given you good learning,
do not forsake my teaching.
Section One: My Father’s Instructions To Me
For I was a son to my father,
a tender only child for my mother.
And he taught me and said to me:
“Let your heart hold on to my words,
Keep my commands and live.
Get wisdom, get discernment.
Do not forget nor swerve from my mouth’s sayings.
Do not forsake her and she will guard you.
Love her and she will keep you.
The beginning of wisdom is – get wisdom,
and in all that you get, get discernment.
Dandle her and she will exalt you,
will honor you when you embrace her.
She will put a garland of grace on your head,
she will hand you a crown of splendor.”
Section Two: As A Father To A Child
Hear, my child, and take my sayings,
that the years of your life be many.
I teach you in the ways of wisdom,
I guide you on pathways of rightness.
When you walk, your step is not straitened.
If you run, you will not stumble.
Section Three: The Darkness of Evil & The Light of Righteousness
Hold fast to reproof, don’t let go.
Keep it, for it is your life.
Do not enter on the wicked’s path,
and do not stride on the way of evil.
Shun it, don’t pass upon it,
turn away from it and pass on.
For the who have done no evil do not sleep,
They’re robbed of sleep if they trip no one up.
For they break the bread of wickedness,
and they drink the wine of outrage.
But the path of the righteous is like light’s radiance,
ever brighter till day has come.
The way of the wicked is like darkness.
They know not on what they stumble.
Section Four: Focus
My son, listen to my words,
bend your ear to my sayings.
Let them not slip from your eyes,
guard them within your heart.
For they are life to those who find them,
and healing to all their flesh.
More than anything watched guard your heart,
for from it are the ways out to life.
Put twisted speech away from you
and keep lips’ contortion far from you.
Let your eyes look in front,
and your gaze straight before you.
Level the pathway of your foot,
and all your ways will be sound.
Do not veer to the right or the left.
Keep your foot away from evil.