2 For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.
3 For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother.
4 He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.
5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.
6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.
7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
8 Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.
9 She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.
10 Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many.
11 I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths.
12 When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble.
13 Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.
14 Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.
15 Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.
16 For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.
17 For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.
18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
19 The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.
20 My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.
21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.
22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
24 Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.
25 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.
26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.
27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.
In chapter 4, Solomon becomes even more forthright as he reflects on his childhood, and shares what his father passed on to him:
“Lay hold of my words with all your heart;
Keep my commands and you will live. (v. 4)
Get wisdom, get understanding; . . . . (v. 5)
Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; . . . (v. 6)
Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom” (v. 7).
Apart from counseling his son to embrace wisdom, there are many other themes Solomon brings out: wisdom brings protection, understanding, splendor, long life, and direction (vs. 6, 7, 9, 10, 11); do not eat the bread of wickedness (v. 17), guard your heart, the wellspring of life (v. 23), and keep corrupt talk far from your lips (v. 24).
His confidence in wisdom’s (or God’s) blessing is expressed in the following promise:
“When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;
When you run, you will not stumble.
“Hold on to instruction, do not let it go;
Guard it well, for it is your life” (vs. 12, 13.)
Had Solomon always heeded his own counsel, he would have never stumbled in his walk with God. (See 1 Kings 11:1-13).
Jackie Ordelheide Smith
Assistant Director, Sabbath School and Personal Ministries
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists