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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Proverbs 4:1

Chapter 4 teaches the pursuit of wisdom is a lifelong pursuit. There is no time that we can think we are all stocked up on wisdom and we can leave off the pursuit of it. Such thought is the thought of folly and not wisdom. This chapter continues the fatherly exhortations, which method communicates that wisdom is best taught and learned in close relation and handed down from one to another. We can learn from teachers from afar, but wisdom designs we are most benefited from those we know, can observe, and talk with (Proverbs 13:20; 1 Thessalonians 1:5; 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:17).

The chapter divides into three sections. Verses 1-9 teach the beauty and value of wisdom. Teaching involves both positive and negative. The negative perspective involves warnings and showing negative results or consequences. The positive perspective involves showing the benefits and good results. This first section is primarily from the positive perspective—truth, goodness, and beauty. Verses 10-19 contrast the ways of folly and wisdom. Verses 20-27 reinforce the lessons and repetitively urges hearing, listening, and attending to the words of wisdom taught.

Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.
– Proverbs 4:1

Hear means to hear intelligently and attend means to pay attention. It is a double call to the learner’s responsibility to actively listen and think on what he’s being taught. It puts us in mind of a parent instructing a child to do several things and laboring to be sure they have heard and understood what they are supposed to do. Instruction involves teaching and correction or warning. It is the instruction of a father, which speaks to the teacher’s motive of love for the “children” and earnest desire that understanding, or wisdom, be known.

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