This chapter reiterates the need to hear the father’s instruction and know understanding. Solomon recounts how his father, David, had taught him wisdom as a boy. He lifts up the power of wisdom to preserve one’s life, promote him or her, and bring honor. Wisdom can prolong life and open doors of opportunity. He then encourages his son to avoid the paths of the wicked, for evil awaits those who do. Finally, Solomon encourages the following:
20 My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Do not let them depart from your eyes;
Keep them in the midst of your heart;
22 For they are life to those who find them,
And health to all their flesh.
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.
Solomon writes his proverbs as an instruction manual for practical living, wise living. He longs to pass on the great wisdom with which God has blessed him. He longs for his children to benefit from this wisdom. While the poetic nature of this chapter lengthens the verbiage, the simple, distilled message is simple: pursue wisdom (which is from God) and avoid evil and evildoers. This path will bring long life and prosperity. While we cannot say that every day will be free from challenges, the wise are more prepared to handle the challenges of each day and overcome. Be wise!