Proverbs 4:1-5
Prov 4:1 (KJB)
Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.
And attend - And be attentive
Here Solomon continues his exhortation to his children admonishing them, and us, that we are not only to hear the words of wisdom but we are to be attentive as to how we can incorporate these words of wisdom in our life. If there are areas in which we are lacking wisdom, then we need to know how to apply those words. If we have gotten into any trouble, we need to know and incorporate wisdom to help us out of trouble. He is not coming to these children as one who is a disciplinarian but as a father. He calls his hearers children and no doubt some of his children were listening but he gives these admonitions to all Christians and that is why Proverbs is so apropos for today. The word “understanding” carries with it the meaning of “insight.” God’s word gives us insights which the unsaved world is not privy to.
Prov 4:2 (KJB)
For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.
Good - Pleasant, useful, or proper
Forsake - Abandon
Law - Instruction
Solomon is not just giving some kind of religious opinion but is giving the words of God which constitutes good doctrine or teaching. One can never go wrong by following the teachings of Scripture. This is why Solomon is admonishing his readers to never forsake the law of God. The law given here is the instructions which come from the word of God in the form of doctrine. Doctrine is simply the teachings of Scripture which when we inculcate them into our lives, we will find that our lives will go much smoother, even if the world thinks we are wrong. The world worries but the Christian replaces worry with faith. Christians get into trouble when we abandon Biblical instruction and replace it with man’s ideas.
Prov 4:3 (KJB)
For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother.
Here Solomon gives the insight into his own life. He was the beloved son of David although David did have other sons such as Absalom, but David handed down the kingdom to Solomon because he found favor in David’s sight. Maybe while the other sons were causing mischief, Solomon was an upright son who spent much time in the Hebrew Scriptures which resulted in him gaining much wisdom early in life. While Absalom and Amnon were causing David heartache, Solomon was becoming the beloved of David and Bathsheba. The word “tender” may also be understood as “soft.” It seems that Solomon did not have the lifestyle of his half-brothers who were men of war and mischief but instead took to the academic life, which entailed learning the law and gaining wisdom. This is why it is so important to teach the Bible to our children, so they may garner the wisdom of God at an early age.
Prov 4:4 (KJB)
He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.
As David learned from his father Jesse, David is now teaching Solomon the commandments of God. It looks like from this verse that David had known that Solomon was going to be a wise man and therefore he chose to teach Solomon the teachings of God on a personal basis. If David would have done this with his other sons, he may have been spared heartache. It was obvious that David was preparing Solomon for the throne of Israel and was admonishing him that if he kept the words of David and abided by them, then he would live. As Solomon finally ascended the throne of Israel, he was ready to govern because he had obtained much doctrine and wisdom through his father David. Then Solomon prayed to God and asked for much wisdom to rule and judge the people of Israel. Solomon had already known that wisdom was the key to ruling and that is why he sought God to endow him with wisdom equal to the task. The reason I suggest that Solomon knew that wisdom was the key is because he grew up learning the words of David and the commandments of God and one cannot study the Bible for very long and not see that wisdom is an intricate part of the Scriptures. (2 Tim 3:15 KJV) And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Prov 4:5 (KJB)
Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.
Get - Acquire
Understanding - Insight
Forget - An intentional setting aside
Decline - Turn aside
Here Solomon is once again admonishing his children that they must acquire wisdom and through wisdom they will also acquire insights which come with the word of God and illuminated by the indwelling Holy Spirit. He is admonishing them to try and instill in them that they must never intentionally set aside the teachings of Scripture in favor of some other teachings, which is normally a man made system. He is also admonishing them to not only heed them but never turn aside or turn their back from the teachings which can cause a person to live a godly life. Heeding the teachings of Scripture is what Christians must do and we must never rationalize the Scriptures or try to smooth out their stinging nature through watering down of their meanings. If we neglect the teachings of Scripture, it may give evidence that we are unsaved. The truly saved will always desire to know the thoughts of God in Scripture and to learn from them to live a godly life in an evil world.