Proverbs 2:4

ESV if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures,
NIV and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,
NASB If you seek her as silver And search for her as for hidden treasures;
CSB if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure,
NLT Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures.
KJV If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
NKJV If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures;

What does Proverbs 2:4 mean?

Human beings are innately drawn to stories about treasure-seeking. We especially love stories where the quest for treasure has some inherent nobility, beyond selfish ambition. Movies, in particular, rely on this kind of story in order to grab our attention. The most meaningful tales feature characters who aren't hunting for personal wealth—they are seeking out a form of "salvation" for their community. Characters who seek wealth or power are far more sympathetic when their quest is ultimately meant to help others, not merely to help themselves. This sense of honor, for those who seek valuables on behalf of others, is meant to underline this part of Proverbs chapter 2. Seeking wisdom is honorable, just as seeking treasure on behalf of other is honorable.

This verse presents the third "if" statement of this section. In context, virtuous living requires actively seeking understanding, as if it were a valuable hidden treasure. In the book of Proverbs, understanding is wisdom which a person has mastered well enough to pass along to others. Solomon's plea to seek understanding places it in the same category as our beloved noble treasure-seekers. The quest doesn't exist merely for personal gain, rather it extends to the growth and development of those we care for. There is personal, immediate value in this education, to be sure. However, the greater worth is in what such understanding can do for those we love, defend, and teach.
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