Proverbs 23:19

Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.
– Proverbs 23:19

Verses 19-21 warn against excess. The saying begins with the exhortation to hear, which the word means to listen with intelligence. This common exhortation in Proverbs emphasizes the necessity of deliberate listening and paying attention to the instructions of wisdom in order to be wise (Proverbs 4:10-23). Proverbs teaches true wisdom is alien to us and must be acquired. Wisdom requires keeping our heart, or mind, straight in the way of wisdom.

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Proverbs 22:17

Introduction
The next section in Proverbs begins in Proverbs 22:17 and goes through Proverbs 24:34. This section is titled, “The Words of the Wise,” per 22:17. Solomon did not write these proverbs but rather collected them as wise sayings from his predecessors. The collection has over 70 proverbs that are typically two to three verses in length, and do not follow the two-line structure of the Proverbs of Solomon. The collection features three sections—22:17-21; 22:22-24:22; 24:23-34—touching on various wisdom themes common to Proverbs. The first section is a short introductory section, calling for attention to wisdom and enumerating blessings of wisdom that treasures up wisdom, deepens trust in the Lord, creates stability in the life, and fits the lips to speak sound wisdom to others.

Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.
– Proverbs 22:17

The word for bow down means to stretch, or bend. The word for hear means to listen with attention. You must think about what you hear and strive for understanding. The word for apply means to set and the word for heart indicates the mind. The word for knowledge means perception, or understanding. Wisdom continually calls us to listen and exercise all our faculties to understand and retain the words of wisdom (Proverbs 2:1-5; 3:1; 5:1-2; 8:33-34; 23:12). Wisdom teaches effort must be expended and wisdom sought for diligently (Proverbs 2:2-6). The reminiscent exhortation to hear gives three imperatives to the prospective learner—bend your ear and listen to “the words of the wise,” and commit your faculties to “my knowledge.” We might also add, expect repetition.

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Proverbs 19:27

Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.
– Proverbs 19:27

The wording presents difficulties in this proverb and commentators take it variously. The word for understanding means discipline, or correction. Without any modifiers, the word is positive in Proverbs. It is the good discipline and correction of wisdom. So it is not the instruction that causes to go astray, but rather the refusal to hear and heed instruction that causes to go astray. It is akin to the admonition in Proverbs 14:7. The words of knowledge lay down a good way to go. One must hear the words of knowledge and walk in them (Proverbs 3:18; 4:4, 13; 15:24).

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Proverbs 19:20

Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.
– Proverbs 19:20

The fatherly addresses in the early part of Proverbs give repeated admonition to hear and receive wisdom (Proverbs 1:8; 2:1-9; 8:34-35). This proverb fits with general tenor of Proverbs that wisdom is accessible and offered to all (Proverbs 9:4-6). Though freely offered, wisdom is costly to acquire (Proverbs 2:3-5). Acquiring wisdom requires humbling oneself to hear counsel and receive instruction (Proverbs 2:1-2). The word for counsel means advice and the word for instruction means discipline. Both come to us from others and we must be willing to receive them. Ultimately, wisdom comes from God and he stores it up for the righteous (Proverbs 2:6-7). Being willing to receive counsel and instruction from others does not mean we merely take in all men’s opinions (Proverbs 14:15; 15:14). Acquiring wisdom is a lifelong pursuit and not a one-time event, but it does lead to blessedness (Proverbs 8:32-35).

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Proverbs 8:34

Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.
– Proverbs 8:34

The blessed state or happy condition is enjoyed by those who hear, watch, and wait for wisdom. Hearing is giving careful attention and obedient attention. Watching is being sleepless as in those who keep watch or guard. Waiting has the idea of hedging about or keeping guard as in protecting. We are commanded to diligently seek wisdom, but as here, we must also patiently wait wisdom’s instruction. We cannot expect to gain all in a moment. It is a lifelong pursuit and that is why we must also judiciously guard what we already have lest we lose it.

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Proverbs 8:33

Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.
– Proverbs 8:33

Instruction is discipline or correction. It carries the idea of a warning. The instruction of wisdom teaches us the way of wisdom. If we hear it intelligently so that we learn from it, we avoid the rod and correction from failure (Proverbs 24:32). Therefore, we are to pay attention and be wise. However, those who ignore, or refuse it, head to poverty and shame (Proverbs 13:18) without any consideration for their own soul (Proverbs 15:32) and their end reward is death (Proverbs 5:32).

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Proverbs 8:32

Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways.
– Proverbs 8:32

Verses 32-36 make the application of the description of wisdom in this chapter. Hearken is the call again to hear intelligently. It is pressed upon children, or sons, and is the address of wisdom to all who will hear. Keeping wisdom’s ways results in blessing. Many blessings, both material and immaterial, have been mentioned to this point in the book and the whole of blessing is comprehended here.

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Proverbs 8:6

Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.
– Proverbs 8:6

Hear is the command to hear intelligently, which is common to the opening of the Proverbs. It was used often by the father in his addresses to his son and here in the mouth of lady wisdom. There is continuity because the words are the words of divine wisdom. Wisdom commands attention because of what she has to say. Excellent things are noble things or princely things. The word is used almost exclusively of persons, i.e. captain, commander, prince, etc. Right things refers to straight and level. Here it points to moral straightness, or uprightness. The words of wisdom are noble words of straight righteousness.

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Proverbs 5:13

And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!
– Proverbs 5:13

The regret at the end of life shows a man being condemned by his own conscience as well as others. He recognizes that his teachers have been many and a host of instructors have stood to warn him off the way of the strange woman. He has ignored them all. The word for obeyed is the word for hearing intelligently. He did not listen attentively nor consider what he heard. He let it pass on. He did not incline his ear so he did not take time to search out wisdom and consider his way. He comes in the end to ruin, misery, and bitter regret.

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