Get Wisdom at Any Cost
4 Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction;
pay attention and gain understanding.
2 I give you sound learning,
so do not forsake my teaching.
3 For I too was a son to my father,
still tender, and cherished by my mother.
4 Then he taught me, and he said to me,
“Take hold of my words with all your heart;
keep my commands, and you will live.
5 Get wisdom, get understanding;
do not forget my words or turn away from them.
6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
love her, and she will watch over you.
7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
8 Cherish her, and she will exalt you;
embrace her, and she will honour you.
9 She will give you a garland to grace your head
and present you with a glorious crown.”
10 Listen, my son, accept what I say,
and the years of your life will be many.
11 I instruct you in the way of wisdom
and lead you along straight paths.
12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;
when you run, you will not stumble.
13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go;
guard it well, for it is your life.
14 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked
or walk in the way of evildoers.
15 Avoid it, do not travel on it;
turn from it and go on your way.
16 For they cannot rest until they do evil;
they are robbed of sleep till they make someone stumble.
17 They eat the bread of wickedness
and drink the wine of violence.
18 The path of the righteous is like the morning sun,
shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
they do not know what makes them stumble.
20 My son, pay attention to what I say;
turn your ear to my words.
21 Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them
and health to one’s whole body.
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
24 Keep your mouth free of perversity;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
and be steadfast in all your ways.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.
If this is Solomon teaching his son. There are plenty of things he could have talked about as priority such as what is means to lead a nation, how important the role of King is but he chose the most important topic of all. The importance of wisdom and the pursuit of wisdom.
It begins with an instruction to listen and works through a generational passing down of wisdom and ends with the idea that this is a greater crown than the crown of the royalty.
Verse 10 returns to the idea that life is like a journey. If we plan our journeys wisely, then we are safer. We can avoid many dangers. In the same way, the application of wisdom will bring us safety. Wisdom is our provider and our strength.
Solomon writes about the dangers of flirting with evil. It may look attractive but it is fraught with danger and we can easily become enslaved to evil ways. That waywardness presents us with it’s own unquenchable thirst and lust for more.
Verses 18-19 are a short poem contrasting the good man and the evil man.
The last section of chapter 4, verses 20-27 tell us that wise words are like medicine. They benefit every part of our bodies. That we should give careful thoughts to our ways which is a common Biblical theme.
There is a recklessness in me that is like the evil man in these poems. A selfish and very destructive spirit but there is also a very reflective and meditative person who considers life deeply and carefully and wants to grasp and live in the right way. It is a constant wrestling and I have discovered that without this pursuit of wisdom, this embracing of God’s word and intentional right living it is not possible to survive and will only end in darkness and despair.
Today I choose wisdom. I don’t know about tomorrow but in this day I will pursue what’s good and what’s right.