Proverbs 4-7


One of the greatest things we can do as parents is to pass on the great wisdom we were taught by our parents and by others. Solomon points this out in Chapter 4.  


Proverbs 4:1 Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, And give attention to know understanding;  2 For I give you good doctrine: Do not forsake my law.  3 When I was my father's son, Tender and the only one in the sight of my mother,  4 He also taught me, and said to me: "Let your heart retain my words; Keep my commands, and live.  5 Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.  6 Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; Love her, and she will keep you.  7 Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.  


Solomon is not just giving his son some advice he dreamed up one day. No, he is giving him some of the same advice that his father David gave him. This great wisdom that has been passed down came from the law of God because the greatest wisdom is found within the Scriptures. For example, David said the following to Solomon:


1 Chronicles 22:11 "Now, my son, may the LORD be with you; and may you prosper, and build the house of the LORD your God, as He has said to you.  12 "Only may the LORD give you wisdom and understanding, and give you charge concerning Israel, that you may keep the law of the LORD your God.  13 "Then you will prosper, if you take care to fulfill the statutes and judgments with which the LORD charged Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and of good courage; do not fear nor be dismayed.


As David passed his wisdom on to Solomon, Solomon was passing his wisdom down to his son and this cycle was to continue. This is exactly how the wisdom of the New Testament Scriptures was passed on as well. As Paul told Timothy, “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).


In Chapter 4, Solomon shares how he was taught some of the same advice that he was teaching his son about pursuing wisdom and understanding in the previous chapters. However, let us examine the few verses of our chapter:


Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.  24 Put away from you a deceitful mouth, And put perverse lips far from you.  25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, And your eyelids look right before you.  26 Ponder the path of your feet, And let all your ways be established.  27 Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil. 


These verses speak of controlling your entire body, and the starting point of controlling it your heart. When the word heart is used in Scriptures like these, it is not talking about the blood pump in your chest, but it is referring to your mind. When we gain control over our heart, we gain control over actions:


Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.


This is why Paul tells us that we must bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5) and to “set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:2 also see Phil. 4:8-9). If we have our mind on worldly things, then that is the path we will take, but if we have our mind on righteous things, then that is the path we will follow. As Jesus said:


Matthew 12:35  "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.


Mark 7:21 "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,  22 "thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.  23 "All these evil things come from within and defile a man."


Once we have learned to transform our minds to way of God (Rom. 12:2), then it will be much easier to keep deceit out of our mouth and to refrain from speaking perverse things. It will also be easier for us to stay focused on our goal of getting to heaven and avoiding being distracted by worldly temptations. This kind of transformation of the mind cannot happen unless we are willing to do it and are willing to diligently seek out the wisdom of God daily. The more we put God’s wisdom in our heart and seek to understand it, the more we will become like Christ.


In the next three chapters, Solomon spend a lot of time teaching his son about the importance of staying committed and satisfied to his wife, and how dangerous adultery can be. While this advice is directed to his son, it is advice that should be followed by men and women alike.


Proverbs 5:1 My son, pay attention to my wisdom; Lend your ear to my understanding,  2 That you may preserve discretion, And your lips may keep knowledge.  3 For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, And her mouth is smoother than oil;  4 But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, Sharp as a two-edged sword.  5 Her feet go down to death, Her steps lay hold of hell.  6 Lest you ponder her path of life -- Her ways are unstable; You do not know them.


Solomon points out how the enticement of an immoral woman may seem as sweet as honey at the moment, but if we allow ourselves to indulge in this sinful behavior, we soon find out that the honey has turned out to be something bitter as wormwood. Many sins that ensnare us start out this same way. We know we should not do them, but the sin seems so tempting at the time, and we become overwhelmed with the pleasure we think it will bring. Once we give into our fleshly desires, we realize that the pleasure was only temporary and then we begin to realize what horrible thing we have done. While we can be forgiven of sinful actions, the consequences cannot be undone. Those who would continue in the sin of adultery with someone outside their marriage will find themselves in that horrible place called.


The idea of a two-edged sword is that no matter what one does if he indulges in adultery he will get cut. Since the sword is so sharp, he will not know how deep the cut is or how much damage has been done.  So, the best advice is to stay far away from that two-edged sword.


Proverbs 5:7 Therefore hear me now, my children, And do not depart from the words of my mouth.  8 Remove your way far from her, And do not go near the door of her house,  9 Lest you give your honor to others, And your years to the cruel one;  10 Lest aliens be filled with your wealth, And your labors go to the house of a foreigner;  11 And you mourn at last, When your flesh and your body are consumed,  12 And say: "How I have hated instruction, And my heart despised correction!  13 I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, Nor inclined my ear to those who instructed me!  14 I was on the verge of total ruin, In the midst of the assembly and congregation."


Solomon let us know that his advice is for all his sons. Again, the idea is to stay away from such immoral women, so the temptation can be avoided. He points out how engaging is this sinful behavior can ruin our life and cause us to be consumed by wretched sin. Nothing good can come from adultery.


Proverbs 5:15 Drink water from your own cistern, And running water from your own well.  16 Should your fountains be dispersed abroad, Streams of water in the streets?  17 Let them be only your own, And not for strangers with you.  18 Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice with the wife of your youth.  19 As a loving deer and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; And always be enraptured with her love.  20 For why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman, And be embraced in the arms of a seductress?


Solomon is creating an image in our mind to help us see the importance of remain faithful to our mate. God created man and women to be joined and to remain in the union forever. We are to enjoy each others company and allow ourselves to satisfy each other. When we love each other as we should, there should never be a reason for us to look outside our marriage to fulfill to some unmet need. The love we have for each other should always be sufficient.


Proverbs 5:21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, And He ponders all his paths.  22 His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, And he is caught in the cords of his sin.  23 He shall die for lack of instruction, And in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.


No matter what we do or say, God knows about it. So, if we try to get away with adultery and we fool everyone around us, we can never hide our sin from God just like David could not hide his adultery with Bathsheba (2 Sam. 12:1-14). Those who continue to live for sin will remain trapped by their sin, which will cause them to miss heaven. This is why it is imperative for us to listen to the instructions of God’s Word and change our ways while there is still time.


In Chapter 6, Solomon gives some more great advice.


Proverbs 6:1 My son, if you become surety for your friend, If you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger,  2 You are snared by the words of your mouth; You are taken by the words of your mouth.  3 So do this, my son, and deliver yourself; For you have come into the hand of your friend: Go and humble yourself; Plead with your friend.  4 Give no sleep to your eyes, Nor slumber to your eyelids.  5 Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, And like a bird from the hand of the fowler.


Solomon is warning his son about become a cosigner for a friend or a stranger. This was especially dangerous to do during ancient times because it could cause the consigner to enter into poverty if he has to pay the debt. While not as risky as in the ancient days, one should be careful about cosigning with someone because if that person decides not to pay then the cosigner must pay the debt. Solomon did not want his son to get caught up in a situation like this and, if he did, he urged him to try and undo as fast as possible before he regretted it.


Next, Solomon teaches his son not be lazy (6-11), describes a wicked man (12-15), and tell him about seven things the Lord hates (16-19). We will be looking at these topics in more detail in future lessons. Starting in verse 20, Solomon continues on the topic of adultery.


Proverbs 6:20 My son, keep your father's command, And do not forsake the law of your mother.  21 Bind them continually upon your heart; Tie them around your neck.  22 When you roam, they will lead you; When you sleep, they will keep you; And when you awake, they will speak with you.  23 For the commandment is a lamp, And the law a light; Reproofs of instruction are the way of life,  24 To keep you from the evil woman, From the flattering tongue of a seductress.  25 Do not lust after her beauty in your heart, Nor let her allure you with her eyelids.  26 For by means of a harlot A man is reduced to a crust of bread; And an adulteress will prey upon his precious life.


Solomon is stressing the idea of obeying your parents and keeping the wisdom they give you close to your heart. To bind the law upon your heart or tie it around your neck is saying the same thing because when we tie something around our neck the object is going to rest close to our heart. The idea is for us to continually keep the law of God we learned from our parents in our hearts whether we are awake or asleep. When we keep God’s Word in our heart, it will always be like a shinning light the leads us to the path of righteousness and will keep us from falling prey to the evil way that resides in darkness.


When a young man makes God’s Word part of his daily life, he will have the ability to ignore the flattering tongue of an immoral woman, and he will be able to resist her outer beauty.


Proverbs 6:26 For by means of a harlot A man is reduced to a crust of bread; And an adulteress will prey upon his precious life. NKJV


Proverbs 6:26 for the price of a prostitute is only a loaf of bread, but a married woman hunts down a precious life. ESV


There are couple different renderings of verse 26, but main idea is that a prostitute will cost one the price of loaf of bread or make a man as worthless a loaf of bread, but to commit adultery with your neighbor’s wife is more dangerous because she can use the threat of her husband to control the man. Of course, both situations should be avoided.


Proverbs 6:27 Can a man take fire to his bosom, And his clothes not be burned?  28 Can one walk on hot coals, And his feet not be seared?  29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor's wife; Whoever touches her shall not be innocent.


Simply put, if a person commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, he is going get burned.


Proverbs 6:30 People do not despise a thief If he steals to satisfy himself when he is starving.  31 Yet when he is found, he must restore sevenfold; He may have to give up all the substance of his house.  32 Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; He who does so destroys his own soul.  33 Wounds and dishonor he will get, And his reproach will not be wiped away.  34 For jealousy is a husband's fury; Therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.  35 He will accept no recompense, Nor will he be appeased though you give many gifts.


It is one thing to steal something from someone, but to violate your mate not only broke the law of God, it would break sacred bond between that husband and wife. Those guilty of adultery under the Old Testament would be stoned to death (Lev. 20:10). A thief can repay what he has taken, but the adultery cannot repay what he has done. No gift will appease the husband that was cheated on and same would be true if it was the woman that was cheated on.


Under the New Testament, we no longer have the law to put adultery to death by stoning. However, there have been many jealous husbands and wives who could not handle their mate’s adulterous acts who have taken the law into their own hands and have murdered their mates and all parties involved. So, the immediate dangers of adultery are real, and the eternal consequences are not worth living a life of adultery.


Solomon is still not finished driving his point home because one more time he teaches his son keep his commandants, so that he stay away from the immoral woman (Prov. 7:1-5). Then Solomon gives his son an example of what can happen if does not stay away from immoral women.


Proverbs 7:6 For at the window of my house I looked through my lattice,  7 And saw among the simple, I perceived among the youths, A young man devoid of understanding,  8 Passing along the street near her corner; And he took the path to her house  9 In the twilight, in the evening, In the black and dark night.  10 And there a woman met him, With the attire of a harlot, and a crafty heart.  11 She was loud and rebellious, Her feet would not stay at home.  12 At times she was outside, at times in the open square, Lurking at every corner.  13 So she caught him and kissed him; With an impudent face she said to him:  14 "I have peace offerings with me; Today I have paid my vows.  15 So I came out to meet you, Diligently to seek your face, And I have found you.  16 I have spread my bed with tapestry, Colored coverings of Egyptian linen.  17 I have perfumed my bed With myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.  18 Come, let us take our fill of love until morning; Let us delight ourselves with love.  19 For my husband is not at home; He has gone on a long journey;  20 He has taken a bag of money with him, And will come home on the appointed day."  21 With her enticing speech she caused him to yield, With her flattering lips she seduced him.  22 Immediately he went after her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, Or as a fool to the correction of the stocks,  23 Till an arrow struck his liver. As a bird hastens to the snare, He did not know it would cost his life.


Solomon tells his son this story to show him why he has been adamant about teaching him to stay away from immoral women. He wants him to learn from this young man’s mistake, so that he does not repeat it. Solomon concludes his thought by saying:


Proverbs 7:24 Now therefore, listen to me, my children; Pay attention to the words of my mouth:  25 Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, Do not stray into her paths;  26 For she has cast down many wounded, And all who were slain by her were strong men.  27 Her house is the way to hell, Descending to the chambers of death. 


It would be hard for anyone to read these chapters and not see the urgency to bind the law of God to our heart so we can stay away from sin in general. However, staying away from adultery was the main sin being stressed because of the immediate and everlasting dangers in can cause. While this advice is written with a young man in mind, it is great advice for all men and women alike.