Proverbs 5:1,2,  My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.

In the book of Proverbs, Solomon uses the phrase "My son" 22 times and Agur, the son of Jekek uses it once.

The instruction in Proverbs is from an elder, the father, to a younger, the son.

It is from one who has experienced life to one who has yet to experience life.

Wisdom in the younger is displayed by accepting the instruction or experience of the elder rather than requiring his own experience to arrive at wisdom.

The simple (and I include in that the youth) require experience.

The wise hear and learn!

Solomon uses words of instruction that require action on his son's part.

If you want wisdom you have a responsibility.

The Word of God is like that.

It does not expect a passive acceptance, it expects an acceptance that will result in action and movement.

Note how Solomon uses the address "My Son" as he gives instruction throughout the book of Proverbs:

My son, hear instruction,

My son, walk not in the way of sinners

My son, receive my words,

My son, forget not my law,

My son, despise not chastening,

My son, receive my sayings,

My son, attend to my words,

My son, incline thine ear,

My son, keep thy father's commandment,

My son, keep my words,

My son, cease to hear the instruction that causeth to err,

My son, be wise,

My son, give me thine heart,

My son, observe my ways,

My son, fear thou the LORD,

The book of Proverbs is a personal letter to sons from fathers.

This is as it should be. A father is to be the primary instructor of wisdom to his sons.

That is his responsibility. He is to see to it.

The word daughter is not used in the book.

It is expected that if sons are reared correctly daughters will fare well.

For everything rises or falls on leadership and sons as they become fathers and husbands are expected to be the leaders in the home.

And if they are wise leaders the daughters, wives and mothers will also be the benefactors.

We are given instruction in this proverb to attend and to bow and if we do, good things will happen.

That is the consistent message of the book of Proverbs; do this and do that and good results will come.

This is what faith is all about. This is what trust in God is all about.

Believe God's word and good results will follow.

Good things will come eventually. For we know that:

Romans 8:28 says,  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

God knows the end from the beginning and we too can know if we follow his word.

My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.

The subject of this chapter of Proverbs is a must for sons for that which lies within sons greatly desires to exit as youthful lusts, or longing desires.

Youth are especially subject to lusts for God has so equipped his creation to be fruitful and to multiply.

But that equipage combined with a sinful nature desires to express itself outside of the bounds that God has established.

Therefore instruction to sons must take place so that each son is equipped with that which will enable him to conquer and have victory over the temptations that will surely come.

And be sure that temptations will surely come for to think otherwise is to deny the nature of sons, that nature to sin.

If any summary can be made as to why this father instructs his son it is to arm him against his own flesh, the world and the devil.

So son, prick up your ears, hearken, hear, give heed, incline, mark well, regard my wisdom.

That is the mark of a father, he is to be a leader, and his son is to willingly follow.

The father knows the way to go and he goes the way and now that God has given him a son it is his responsibility to show him the way.

This is to be the pattern from generation to generation.

For God relieves no father of this duty.

And it is a fatherís responsibility to see to it that his son bow his ear to his understanding.

As far as his son is concerned he is not to lean to his own understanding but he is to bow his ear to his fatherís understanding.

Proverbs 3:5,  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding,  applies to the son with regard to his father as well as applying to the son with regard to God the father.

First things first and first things take place in the home.

The home is Godís incubator for things first take place in the home.

Bow thine ear to my understanding means yield yourself to my understanding.

I will be your understanding until you are equipped to understand on your own.

Is not this a reasonable conclusion?

Should not the one who brought another into this world lead the way?

And is not the leaderís understanding to prevail?

Any good soldier knows that is the way it is to be.

But a good leader also knows that weaning or standing on ones own feet must take place.

A good leader leads to a place where the one led can go forward on his own.

So therefore this father says that the attending, the bowing of the ear is to result in discretion, and lips that speak that which is proper and right.

There is to be a result of his instruction, his instruction has an ultimate purpose.

That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.

Proverbs 5:1,2,  My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.

Bowing his ear to his fatherís understanding instead of his own understanding leads this son to discretion and a keeping of his lips.

What does this mean?

What is the fatherís purpose in instructing his son to bow his ear to his understanding?

God has told us to not lean to our own understanding and in all our ways we are to acknowledge him.

We are to ask "What does God say about this? What does God say about that?"

Likewise this is true for a son to his own father.

A son is not to lean to his own understanding but he is to bow his ear to the understanding of his father.


That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.

The word "discretion" of this fatherís instruction means a plan.

The word "keep" of this instruction means to guard.

In other words this fatherís purpose is to equip his son with that which will provide him a mouth that is under control, a mouth that is guarded.

He intends that his son speak planned words, words that are designed to accomplish a purpose, words that are guarded and not let out unless they comply with the standards of the father.

Discretion means the ability to separate words into words that will come out of the lips, and words that will not come out of the lips.

It means the ability to know when and what to speak and when and what not to speak.

This father is the one who watches the sonís mouth as the father in heaven was sought by David to watch his mouth.

David desired that his lips be given a door. And what does a door do but open and close.

Remember Psalm 143:3,  Set a watch (set a sentry, set a guard) , O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.

Be a doorkeeper of my lips. Open and close the door according to your word.

And that door has on it the word Discretion.

This watch is a teachable watch to your children.

This prayer is aided by the father who teaches discretion

This is the father who in later proverbs will say to his son:

A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!

A word spoken in due season!

Discretion is knowing what season it is upon any occasion.

Discretion is the ability to separate the seasons.

Discretion is knowing when words will be most effective and least effective.

This father will also say in Proverbs 25:11,12,  A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.

Discretion is speaking words that fit the occasion.

Not unnecessary words, not vain words, but fit words.

Like a shoe that comfortably fits the foot.

Discretion is speaking of excellent things, right things, truthful things.

As the father instructs in Proverbs 8:6-9,  Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things. For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.

They are plain words, not complicated words with hidden or subtle messages, not gamesmanship words, but words that accomplish the purpose.

Discretion is a taught thing and it is to be taught in the home.

See the connection of the rod with discretion in the proverbs passage of Proverbs 23:12-16,  Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge. Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine. Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.

See how "When thy lips speak right things" and the application of the rod are connected.

Words are the most powerful thing in the universe.

Doesnít Hebrews 11:3 tell us,  Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

How important words are.

How we must emphasize that in our teaching.

How judicious must we be in our use of words.

That is why the old adage that children ought to be seen and not heard is a good adage to rear children by.

They are not yet equipped to use words carefully and judiciously and that is why parents ought to restrict them in speaking their every thought upon every occasion.

We do not let a child use every tool in the tool chest until they are ready and we also ought to be careful in allowing them unlimited speaking

Their words are not to be found important and the center of attention.

To do so is to put a higher importance upon their words then they deserve and thereby cheapen words.

Parents also so often cheapen words by their lavish and wasteful use of words.

God does not intend for the use of the word "No" to exceed one use per denial.

No is used so often and repetitively that its power is destroyed

Words are powerful and every human action has its roots in words.

Someone has said: Words. Do you fully understand their power? Can any of us really grasp the mighty force behind the things we say? Do we stop and think before we speak, considering the potency of the phrases we utter?

Words are instruments of music. An ignorant man uses them for jargon; but when a master touches them they have unexpected life and soul. Some words sound out like drums; some breathe memories sweet as flutes; some call like a clarinet; some show a charge like trumpets; some are sweet as childrenís talk; others rich as a motherís answering back.

Words are things, and a small drop of ink

Falling like dew upon a thought, produces

That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.

Wordsóso innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become, in the hands of one who knows how to combine them!

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804Ė1864)

And James has written in James 3:6-12,  Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.

Knowing this about the tongue this proverbs father intends for his son to attend unto his wisdom, and for his son to bow his ear to his understanding:

That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.

Thy lips may keep knowledge.

So training the lips of his son is this manís purpose.

When and what to speak and when and what not to speak.

That is discernment, that is planned speaking, that is keeping the door of your lips.

And for that to happen he must have a son who is obedient to his voice, a son whose ear continually bows to the understanding of his father.

That is the Bible way, that is the way of faith.

You say you have faith!

Show me your faith by your children.

Proverbs 5:1,2,  My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding:

That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.

This fatherís purpose in instructing his son is clear.

He knows that the desire to express youthful lusts is always present.

He knows this but his son does not understand this.

Bow thine ear to my understanding because you do not have this understanding.

He has previously instructed his son to put away from thee a froward mouth and to put far from thee perverse lips.

This father has much to say about the mouth and the lips and he continues that instruction in this passage.

He has purposed that his son have lips that are guarded lips and that speak with purpose and he now brings into the instruction the lips of another, lips that have a purpose of corrupting and destroying that which the father desires for his son.

So, not only are his sonís lips to be guarded from speaking of that which is not right but they are also to be guarded from the lips of a strange woman.

This father intends to arm his son against the wiles of the devil who has as his lackey, as his pawn or dupe, a strange woman.

He pictures sin in all its aspects, pleasurable for the moment but ultimately deadly.

As the books of Hebrews and Romans tell us, its pleasure is but for a season but its wages are death eternal.

In our teaching of our youth we are not to try to deny that sin has its pleasures but we are to look through the eyes of faith at its conclusion.

Youthful lusts are powerful in the young for the young have great difficulty seeing beyond the moment.

It is for those who have lived their own moments to instruct the young in the things that they will certainly face if sin is given free rein in their lives.

It is for those of faith who believe Godís word to instruct the young of the price of sin, for the wages of sin is death.

Sin demands wages and they are not minimum wages.

If you delight in sinís pleasures you are to pay the wages that sin demands.

So this father begins with the strange woman.

He begins with her lips for her lips are potent weapons in the battle for the soul of his son.

He desires that his son know his enemy and the list of his enemies begin with a strange woman whose lips drop as an honeycomb and whose mouth is smoother than oil.

Who is this strange woman?

The context of this passage and the word "strange" brings the conclusion that this woman is an adulteress woman.

She cares not for the holy vows of another but desires to consume those who have made such vows.

She has developed her techniques to a point whereby she is able to appeal to all who give any notice of her at all.