What does Proverbs 5:13 mean?
ESV: I did not listen to the voice of my teachers or incline my ear to my instructors.
NIV: I would not obey my teachers or turn my ear to my instructors.
NASB: I did not listen to the voice of my teachers, Nor incline my ear to my instructors!
CSB: I didn’t obey my teachers or listen closely to my instructors.
NLT: Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers? Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructors?
KJV: And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!
NKJV: I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, Nor inclined my ear to those who instructed me!
Verse Commentary:
Few experiences are as typical for mankind as looking back, with regret, on good advice we failed to take. Especially when judgment falls, sinners wish they had listened to godly wisdom. It is not the instructors' fault that students go astray, it is the fault of those who fail to accept the instruction. Few people who fall into deep sin can say, with any truth, that they were never warned about the consequences they would face. This verse continues the mourning of someone shattered by sin, who realizes exactly how they came to their fate (Proverbs 5:11–12).

Without a doubt Jesus was the best teacher in history. He spoke the truth, and His words were authoritative and life giving. However, not everyone who heard Jesus' instruction accepted it (John 5:39–40). The scribes and Pharisees rejected it, and at one point masses of people turned away and no longer followed Him (John 6:66). Jesus taught that God's Word, like scattered seed, doesn't fall only on good ground. Sometimes it falls on stony ground or among weeds and is unproductive (Matthew 13:18–23). Paul told Timothy the time would come when children would flagrantly ignore their parents (2 Timothy 3:1–2) and "people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions" (2 Timothy 4:3). The results of that ignorance will be painful.
Verse Context:
Proverbs 5:7–14 comes after Solomon has warned his son about the allurement of a seductress. Here, Solomon lists a number of catastrophes that result from committing adultery. This list precedes his advice to stay faithful to one's spouse and enjoy the blessings of marriage—this is advice suitable for people of either sex.
Chapter Summary:
Solomon approaches the subject of adultery by describing a prototype seducer: a smooth talker who leads the victim down a dangerous road. Sin promises pleasure, but it is ultimately brief and destructive consequences are long lasting. The destructive consequences include a loss of strength, respect, money, and longevity. The person who disregards godly counsel about adultery experiences ruin and disgrace. Faithfulness in marriage brings a person exuberance and joy. No sin, including adultery, is hidden from God. Sin ensnares the adulterer and shows that he is foolish, undisciplined, and far from the Lord.
Chapter Context:
This chapter continues the wise sayings Solomon addresses to his children and / or students. Solomon warns about the temptation to succumb to adultery. He points out the calamities of yielding to sexual sin, and of violating one's marriage. This warning is similar the one given in Proverbs 1:8–10. After cautioning about the risks of adultery, he cites the joys and advantages of monogamous marriage.
Book Summary:
Proverbs is best understood in context with the books of Ecclesiastes and Job. In Proverbs, “wisdom” is given in short, simple, general terms. Ecclesiastes represents wisdom based on observation and experience. This often shows how the general principles of the book of Proverbs don’t apply in absolutely every circumstance. Job represents wisdom based on the experience of suffering and injustice. All three come to the conclusion that God does indeed know best, and the most sensible course of action is to follow His will.
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