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Proverbs 4

Your Life Is at Stake

1-2Listen, friends, to some fatherly advice; sit up and take notice so you'll know how to live.

I'm giving you good counsel;

don't let it go in one ear and out the other.

3-9When I was a boy at my father's knee,

the pride and joy of my mother,

He would sit me down and drill me:

"Take this to heart. Do what I tell you—live!

Sell everything and buy Wisdom! Forage for Understanding!

Don't forget one word! Don't deviate an inch!

Never walk away from Wisdom—she guards your life;

love her—she keeps her eye on you.

Above all and before all, do this: Get Wisdom!

Write this at the top of your list: Get Understanding!

Throw your arms around her—believe me, you won't regret it;

never let her go—she'll make your life glorious.

She'll garland your life with grace,

she'll festoon your days with beauty."

10-15Dear friend, take my advice;

it will add years to your life.

I'm writing out clear directions to Wisdom Way,

I'm drawing a map to Righteous Road.

I don't want you ending up in blind alleys,

or wasting time making wrong turns.

Hold tight to good advice; don't relax your grip.

Guard it well—your life is at stake!

Don't take Wicked Bypass;

don't so much as set foot on that road.

Stay clear of it; give it a wide berth.

Make a detour and be on your way.

16-17Evil people are restless

unless they're making trouble;

They can't get a good night's sleep

unless they've made life miserable for somebody.

Perversity is their food and drink,

violence their drug of choice.

18-19The ways of right-living people glow with light;

the longer they live, the brighter they shine.

But the road of wrongdoing gets darker and darker—

travelers can't see a thing; they fall flat on their faces.

Learn It by Heart

20-22Dear friend, listen well to my words;

tune your ears to my voice.

Keep my message in plain view at all times.

Concentrate! Learn it by heart!

Those who discover these words live, really live;

body and soul, they're bursting with health.

23-27Keep vigilant watch over your heart;

that's where life starts.

Don't talk out of both sides of your mouth;

avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip.

Keep your eyes straight ahead;

ignore all sideshow distractions.

Watch your step,

and the road will stretch out smooth before you.

Look neither right nor left;

leave evil in the dust.