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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Proverbs 5:7

Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth.
– Proverbs 5:7

Verses 7-14 describe the consequences or costs of adultery. Solomon renews the admonition to the children to listen to the wise father. They are to listen attentively to the words of his mouth so as not to depart from them. To depart is to turn aside and to go in the way of the strange woman is certainly to turn aside from wisdom to follow great folly.

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Proverbs 4:10

Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many.
– Proverbs 4:10

Verses 10-19 juxtapose the way of wisdom and the way of folly. Verses 10-13 cover the way of wisdom. Verse 10 starts this section with the call to hear, or listen intelligently. It amounts to listening with understanding and doing. The father’s goal is to impart wisdom. He cannot foresee every turn in the future for his son. If his son can obtain wisdom, the father can have confidence. Wisdom will keep his son as well as him, and better than he could direct every step. Long life is a general truism that stands for the blessing of wisdom and particularly wisdom acquired from a young age.

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