Proverbs 4:5 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Proverbs 4:5, NIV: Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them.

Proverbs 4:5, ESV: Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.

Proverbs 4:5, KJV: Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.

Proverbs 4:5, NASB: Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding! Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth.

Proverbs 4:5, NLT: Get wisdom; develop good judgment. Don't forget my words or turn away from them.

Proverbs 4:5, CSB: Get wisdom, get understanding; don't forget or turn away from the words from my mouth.

What does Proverbs 4:5 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Proverbs touts the value of wisdom, placing far above any material possession (Proverbs 3:13–15). Wisdom, as used here, comes as the result of learning, which leads to knowledge. Knowledge leads to wisdom: the ability to act according to a truthful, godly perspective. The word in this verse translated as "insight" by the ESV shares the same Hebrew root as the term translated "understanding" in verses such as Proverbs 1:2, where both forms are used. That term implies absorbing wisdom to the point that one can pass along its meaning to others.

David told his son Solomon to get wisdom and insight, and he commanded him not to forget or reject his words. Later in life, it seems Solomon drifted from this advice (1 Kings 11:4), only to return to better understanding after extensive experience (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

At first, however, this fatherly advice seems to have served Solomon well. After he became king, God appeared to Solomon in a dream at Gibeon. The Lord said, "Ask what I shall give you" (1 Kings 3:5). Rather than asking for power, wealth, or something worldly, Solomon asked for something he'd been taught to consider far more valuable. He responded, "Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?" (1 Kings 3:9).