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LETTERS TO MY SONS  -  MM #111  - Feb 09



Letters to My Sons

SELECTIONS of various subjects

from the Book of PROVERBS





Arranged by Don Stanton







The Book of Proverbs,

written mostly by King Solomon,

is an inspired collection of wise sayings  

which form a “library of instruction”

for moral and spiritual behaviour –

on how to live a righteous life here on earth.


Most of the proverbs present a comparison or contrast – between wisdom and foolishness, between good and evil, honesty and deceit, the righteous and the wicked, the hard worker and the lazy; the desirable wife and the detestable woman; the drinker without a future and the wise with security and a blessed future; and between the reward and retribution (punishment).

Wisdom is the theme running throughout the book, and the proverbs bring instruction on every type of human relationship and activity – on foolishness, goodness, wealth, poverty, the tongue, pride, humility, justice, vengeance, strife, gluttony, love, lust, laziness, friends, the family, life, and death.

Wisdom is presented as a “woman who cannot be compared with jewels” or anything else. She is a “tree of life” who will protect us from mistakes, falls, foolishness and evils. She is precious; and blessed are all who find her and embrace her.

Solomon also contrasts the detestable, loose, immoral woman who leads men to ruin and to hell, with the wife of one’s youth who is sensible, careful and faithful.

The immoral woman should be totally avoided and rejected. The faithful wife is to be greatly desired for she is a crown to her husband.

The husband who rejoices in his wife obtains blessing from the LORD.




Although the proverbs are addressed to sons, the principles apply to daughters also. A daughter should aspire to be the excellent wife of a God-fearing man – a man of honesty and principles.  And daughters should be very wary of unprincipled men – senseless, immoral, drinking men who can bring them misery.

Daughters should also be very wary of temptations placed in front of them by people who do not reverence YAHWEH.  A wise daughter will bring joy to her father and mother, and to her husband.




we cannot become wise, as the Scriptures encourages to us to be, simply by our own effort and determination.  The New Testament teaches us that God’s Son, Y’shua, Jesus the Messiah, is the  wisdom of God. Paul wrote:


“We preach Messiah (Christ) crucified ... Christ  the power of God and the wisdom of God.”  (1 Corinthians 1:23-24)

James says: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives generously, without finding fault, to everyone; and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without any doubting.” (James 1:5-6)

Y’shua said: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)

Paul writes: “But by God’s doing, you are implanted in the Messiah, Y’shua, who has become to us wisdom from God, and righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.”  (1 Corinthians 1:30)

So the believer can say … “I can do all things through the Messiah who empowers me.” (Philippians 4:13)





To my sons ...

PROVERBS 1:2-4, 7-8


These proverbs are written so that you may …

* know wisdom and instruction,

* discern the words of understanding, and

* receive the instruction of wise behaviour,

      and in doing what is right, just and honest. 

* They are to give insight to the simple, and  knowledge and discretion to the young man.

My son, hear your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.

Fools despise wisdom and instruction.

But reverence and to stand in awe of YAHWEH is the beginning of knowledge.




My son, if you receive my words,

and treasure my commands within you,

and give your attention to wisdom,

and apply your heart to understanding;

and if you call out for discernment,

and cry out for understanding;

and seek wisdom as silver,

and search for her as for hidden treasures;

then you will understand how awesome YAHWEH is, and you will discover the knowledge of God.

For YAHWEH gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.

He stores up solid, reliable wisdom for the upright,

for YAHWEH is a shield to those who walk uprightly and honestly.

He guards the paths of justice, and protects the way of His devout, godly people.

So then you will understand righteousness, justice, honesty and every good path.

For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.



3:13, 15, 18, 21-24


How blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding.

She (wisdom) is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her.

She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who embrace her.

My son, maintain wisdom, discretion and discernment; do not let them out of your sight.

They will be life to your soul and an adornment for your neck; and you will walk safely in your way, and your foot will not stumble.

When you lie down, you will not be afraid.

When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.




Sons! Listen to the instruction of a father, and concentrate on gaining understanding; for I have given you sound teaching.

Do not forsake my instruction.

When I was a son in my father’s house, still tender and the only one in the sight of my mother, he taught me and said to me:

“Take hold of my words with all your heart.

Keep my commands and live!

Get wisdom! Get understanding!

Do not forget the words of my mouth or turn away from them!

Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you.

Love her, and she will watch over you.”




My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will add length of days, years of life, and peace to you.

Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck.

Write them on ‘the memory board’ of your heart, and you will find favour and good repute in the sight of God and man.

Trust in YAHWEH with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear YAHWEH and turn away from evil.

It will be healing to your body, and nourishment to your bones.

Honour YAHWEH with your possessions, and from the first of all your produce or income; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your storage containers will overflow with new wine.

My son, do not despise the discipline of YAHWEH, and do not loathe or resent His reproof, for whoever YAHWEH loves, He corrects, just as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.



1:10-11, 13-16; 29:24-25; 18:24


My son, if sinners entice or tempt you, do not consent or give in.

If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait to shed blood; let us ambush the innocent without cause.

“We will find all kinds of precious wealth, we will fill our houses with spoil. Throw in your lot with us; we will all share one purse.”

My son, do not walk in the way with them; and do not set foot on their paths; for their feet run to evil, and they are swift to shed blood.

He who is a partner with a thief hates his own life.

The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in YAHWEH will be set on high - protected.

A man of many friends may come to ruin, but there is a true friend who stays closer than a brother.



20:1; 23:29-35; 21:17; 23:15-21


Wine is a mocker; strong drink is a riotous braw-ler; whoever is intoxicated by them is not wise.

Who has woe? Who has sorrows? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? —  those who linger long over wine; those who go in search of strong drink - alcohol.

Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, and when it goes down smoothly.

At the end it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper.

Under its influence your eyes will see weird things, and your mind will say crazy things.

You will be like one lying down in the midst of the sea, and like one lying at the top of a mast, crying, ‘They struck me, but I was not hurt. They beat me, but I did not feel it. When shall I wake up so I can get another drink?’

He who loves pleasure will become a poor man. He who loves wine and oil will not become rich.

My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart also will be glad; and my soul will rejoice when your lips speak what is right.

Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always live in reverence and awe of YAHWEH.

Surely there is a future – an end result. And your hope will not be cut off.

Listen, my son, and be wise, and keep your heart in the right way.

Do not join with boozers and alcoholics, or with gluttonous eaters of meat; for the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty; and drowsiness will clothe them with rags.



 4:10-11, 14-19, 23-27; 22:24-25; 27:20


My son, listen and accept my sayings, and the years of your life will be many.

I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you along right and straight paths.

Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil men.

Keep away from it! Do not travel on it!

Turn from it and pass on to the righteous way!

For they (the wicked) cannot sleep unless they do evil; they are robbed of their sleep unless they make someone stumble or fall.

For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.

The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble, but the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines ever brighter until the full light of day.

Diligently guard your heart, for out of it flow the springs of life.

Let your eyes look directly ahead, and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you.

Watch carefully the path your feet tread, and let all your ways be firm and ordered aright.

Do not turn to the right or to the left. Turn your foot away from evil.

Do not make friendship with an angry man; and do not go with a hot-tempered man, lest you learn his ways and find yourself ensnared.

Death and destruction are never satisfied; neither are the eyes of man ever satisfied.




There are six things that YAHWEH hates; yes, seven which are an abomination – they are detestable to Him:

1    proud haughty eyes

2    a lying tongue

3    hands that shed innocent blood

4    a heart that devises wicked plans

5    feet that are quick to rush into evil

6    a false witness who speaks lies

7    and a person who causes strife among brothers.



19:13;-14;  21:9, 19; 27:15


A wife’s quarrelling is like a constant dripping – an irritation;  but a wise, sensible and careful wife is from YAHWEH.

It is better to live in a corner of a roof, than in a house shared with a contentious, quarrelsome woman.

It is better to live in a desert land, than with a contentious and angry woman.

A quarrelsome, contentious woman is alike a constant dripping on a rainy day.




My son, be attentive to my wisdom. Listen well to my insight, my understanding, so that you may maintain discretion – discernment and wise carefulness, and that your lips preserve knowledge.

For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is as bitter as wormwood - a very bitter plant, and as sharp as a two-edged sword.

Her feet go down to death. Her steps lead straight to Sheol – the grave.

She gives no thought to the way of life; her ways are unstable, but she does not know it.

Now then, my sons, listen to me and do not turn away from the words I speak.

Keep to a path far from her and do not go near the door of her house, lest you give your honour and vigour to others and your years to one who is cruel; and then strangers feast on your wealth, and your hard-earned goods enrich the house of a stranger.

Then, at the end of your life you groan, when your flesh and your body are consumed, you say:

“How I have hated instruction! Oh how my heart despised correction!

“I did not listen to the voice of my teachers, or pay attention to my instructors!

“I was on the verge of total ruin in the midst of the congregation and assembly.”



7:24-27; 2:16, 20 


Now, therefore, my sons, listen to me, and pay attention to the words I speak.

Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways; do not stray into her paths.

For many are the victims she has cast down, and numerous and strong were those she has slain.

Her house is the way to Sheol – the grave - going down to the dungeons of death.

Wisdom and discretion will deliver you from the loose woman; and from the adulteress who flatters with her words.

And you will walk in the ways of good men and keep to the paths of the righteous.


DON’T GET BURNED!   6:20-28; 2:16, 20


My son, keep your father’s commands, and do not forsake the wise teaching of your mother.

For these commands are a lamp; the teaching is a light; and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life, keeping you from the evil woman, and from the smooth tongue of a loose woman.

Do not lust after her ‘beauty’ in your heart, and do not let her captivate you with her eyelids; for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and an adulteress preys on your very life.

Can a man take fire into his arms without his clothes being burned?

Or can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?




Discretion (wise carefulness) will protect you.

Understanding will watch over you, to deliver you from the way of evil;

from the man who speaks perverse and  improper things;

from those who leave the paths of uprightness and walk in the ways of darkness;

from those who delight in doing wrong and who rejoice in the perverseness of evil;

and from those whose paths are crooked and who are devious and tricky in their ways.

My son, keep my words, and treasure my commands within you.

Keep my commands and live, and regard my teaching as the apple of your eye - that which you desire the most.

Bind them on your fingers; write them on the ‘memory board’ of your heart.

Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call understanding your  closest relation and  friend.




18:22; 12:4; 5:18-21


He who finds a wife finds what is good; and he obtains favour from YAHWEH.

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but a disgraceful wife is like rottenness in his bones.

Let your fountain of life be blessed.

Rejoice in the wife of your youth - like a loving deer and a graceful doe.

Let her breasts satisfy you always. Be enraptured always with her love, for why should you, my son, be exhilarated with another woman, and be embraced by the arms of an immoral woman?

The ways of a man are before the eyes of YAHWEH, and He examines all his paths.




FAITHFUL WIFE   31:10-31


Who can find an excellent, capable, intelligent, virtuous wife?  She is worth far more than rubies.

The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will not lack anything necessary.

She brings him good, and not evil, all the days of her life.

She looks for wool and flax, and with delight she works with her hands.

She is like a merchant ship; she brings her food from afar.

Yes, she gets up while it is still night, and provides food to her household, and a portion to her maidservants.

She considers a field and buys it; from her earnings she plants a vineyard.

She puts on strength, and makes her arms strong.

She sees that her merchandise is good and profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.

She stretches out her hands to the distaff (the wool-holder), and her hands grasp the spindle.

She extends her hand to the poor; yes, she stretches out her hands to the needy.

She is not afraid for her household because of snow, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.

She makes tapestries and coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.

Her husband is known in the gates of the city, when he sits among the elders of the land.

She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies belts to the tradesmen.

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future, and will rejoice in time to come.

She opens her mouth and speaks with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also; and he praises her, saying:

“Many daughters have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain and fleeting, but a woman who fears YAHWEH is to be praised.

Give her the reward of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.



CHILDREN  17:6; 23:13-14;  22:6,15;  29:17, 15


Grandchildren are the crown of old men; and fathers are the pride of their sons.

Do not hold back discipline from a child; although you beat him with the rod, he will not die.

Beat him with the rod, and deliver his soul from Sheol.

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn away from it.

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.

Correct your son, and he will give you rest. And he will bring delight to your soul.

The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.



8: 1, 4-7, 10-11, 17, 22-23, 27-36; 9:10


Doesn’t wisdom call out, and understanding raise her voice?

“To you, O people, I call out, and my voice is to the sons of men – to all mankind.

“O you simple ones, learn to be sensible and careful; and you foolish ones, have an understanding heart.

“Listen, for I will speak trust-worthy things; and I will open my lips to reveal what is right.

“My mouth will speak truth; for wickedness is detestable to my lips.

“Choose my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold.

“For wisdom is better than jewels; and no desirable thing can compare with her.

“I (wisdom) love those who love Me; and those who seek Me diligently will find Me.

“YAHWEH possessed me (wisdom) at the beginning of His way, before His works of old.

I was established from eternity, from the beginning, before there was ever an earth.

“When He prepared the heavens, I was there.

“When He ordained a circle on the face of the deep; when He established the clouds above; when He fixed securely the fountains of the deep; when He set boundaries for the sea so that the water would not overstep His command; and when He marked out the foundations of the earth, I was the master craftsman at His side. I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him, rejoicing in His inhabited world, and My delight was in the sons of men – mankind.

“Now therefore, O sons, listen to me, for blessed are those who keep my ways. Listen to instruction and be wise, and do not ignore it.

“Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, and waiting at my doors.

“For he who finds me (wisdom), finds life, and obtains favour from YAHWEH.

“But he who misses me or sins against me, injures himself.  All those who hate me, love death.”

To reverence and stand in awe of YAHWEH is the beginning of wisdom; and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.



10:1-3, 5; 12:15;  13:20;  13:14;  14:16, 26; 19:13;  15:20;  23:24


A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son gives grief to his mother.

He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son; but he who sleeps during harvest is a son who causes shame.

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to advice.

He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.

The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning one away from the snares of death.

A wise man stands in awe of YAHWEH and turns away from evil; but a fool is brash and careless.

A foolish man despises his mother, and is the ruin of his father, but a wise son brings joy to his father.

The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who produces a wise son delights in him.

Let your father and mother be glad, and let her who gave you birth, rejoice.



6:6-11;  20:4, 13;  21:25;  28:19


Lazy one, go to the ant; observe its ways and be wise. It has no commander, overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in the summer and gathers its food at the harvest.

How long will you slumber, lazy one?  When will you get up from your sleep?

A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest” - and then your poverty will come on you like a robber, and your scarcity will attack you like an armed man.

The lazy person does not plough after the autumn, therefore he begs during the harvest and has nothing.

Do not love sleep, or you will become poor.

Open your eyes – stay awake, and you will be satisfied with food.

The desire of the lazy man will be the death of him, for his hands refuse to work.

He who works his land will have plenty of food, but he who pursues empty dreams will have a lot of poverty.



22:1; 10:2, 19, 12:22; 11:1, 4; 20:10, 15, 17; 11:16, 18, 25;

15:16, 27; 16:8, 16; 21:4, 6-7; 30: 8; 23:4-5


A good name is to be chosen, and is more desirable than great riches; to be respected, is better than possessing silver and gold.

Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit; but righteousness delivers from death.

Where there are many words, sin and transgression will not be lacking; but he who restrains his lips is wise.

Lying lips are detestable to YAHWEH, but those who act faithfully are His delight.

Dishonest scales are an abomination to YAHWEH, but an accurate weight is His delight.

Differing weights and differing measures, YAHWEH detests both of them – they are an abomination.

There is gold and an abundance of jewels, but the lips of knowledge are a more precious thing.

Food obtained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel.

Wealth does not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.

A gracious woman gains respect and honour; but ruthless men gain only wealth.

The wicked earns deceptive wages, but he who sows righteousness gets a true reward.

The generous man will be prosperous, and he who gives water will himself receive water.

Better is a little with reverence of YAHWEH, than great wealth with turmoil.

One who is greedy and gains through deceit troubles his own house, but he who hates bribes will live.

Better is a little with righteousness than great income with injustice.

How much better it is to get wisdom than gold; and to choose understanding rather than silver.

Haughty eyes and a proud heart are the lamp of the wicked; and it’s sin!

The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapour, and the pursuit of death.

The violence of the wicked will drag them away because they refuse to do what is just.

Keep deception and lies far from me.

Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with only my daily portion of bread.

Do not wear yourself out to gain riches; cease from your own understanding!

Don’t set your eyes on that which disappears ?

For wealth certainly makes itself wings, like an eagle it flies toward the heavens.



18:10; 14:26; 10:3; 10:22, 25;  7, 27 


The Name of YAHWEH is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

In standing in awe and reverence of YAHWEH there is strong confidence; and His children will have a place of refuge.

YAHWEH will not allow the righteous to hunger, but He repels the craving of the wicked.

It is the blessing of YAHWEH that makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow to it.

When the tornado passes, the wicked are no more, but the righteous have an everlasting foundation.

A righteousness man who walks in his integrity – upright - his children are blessed after him.

The spirit of a man is the lamp of YAHWEH, searching all the depths of man’s innermost being.


Don’t get into debt!  22:7; 28:6


The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.

Better is the poor who walks in his integrity – in an upright way, than he who is crooked in his ways though he be rich.



14:12;  12:10;  15:1, 3;  15:29, 19:23;  22:1;  21:13, 16;  24:16;  29:7


There is a way that seems right to a man, but at the end it is the way of death.

A righteous man is concerned for the life of his beast, but even the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

The eyes of YAHWEH are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.

YAHWEH is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous.

To reverence and to stand in awe of YAHWEH will lead to life; then one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.

He who closes his ear to the cry of the poor, will cry out himself and not be answered.

A man who wanders away from the way of wisdom and understanding, will rest in the company of the dead.

Even though a righteous man falls seven times, he will rise again; but the wicked are overthrown by calamity.

The righteous are concerned for the rights of the poor; but the wicked have no such concern.



16:20; 15:33;  20:22;  21:31;  28:10, 13;  29:1;  29:23; 11:30


He who gives attention to the Word will find good. Blessed is he who trusts in YAHWEH.

To reverence and stand in awe of YAHWEH is the way to instruction in wisdom; and humility comes before honour.

Do not say, “I will repay evil”!  Wait for YAHWEH, and He will save you.

The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but deliverance and victory is of YAHWEH.

He who leads the upright into an evil way, will himself fall into his own pit; but the blameless will receive a good inheritance.

He who covers his sins does not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them finds compassion.

A man who remains still-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.

A man’s pride will bring him low; but the humble in spirit will gain honour.

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.




My son, eat honey, for it is good, yes, the honey from the comb is sweet to your taste.

Know also that wisdom is like honey for your soul. If you find it, then there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off.



We cannot become wise, as the Scriptures encourages to us to be, by our own effort and determination.  The New Testament says:

“We preach Messiah (Christ) crucified ... Christ  the power of God and the wisdom of God.”   (1 Corinthians 1:23-24)

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives generously, without finding fault, to everyone; and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without any doubting.” (James 1:5-6)

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)

“But by His doing, you are implanted in the Messiah, Y’shua, who has become to us wisdom from God, and righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.”(1 Corinthians 1:30)

Therefore … “I can do all things through the Messiah who empowers me.”       (Philippians 4:13)


      My Sons …

May YAHWEH bless you, and keep you.

May YAHWEH make His face to shine on you, and be gracious to you.

May YAHWEH lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace.

                                                                                                      (Numbers 6:24-26)



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