Proverbs 4:20-22

4:20 My child, pay attention to my words;

listen attentively to my sayings.

4:21 Do not let them depart from your sight,

guard them within your heart;

4:22 for they are life to those who find them

and healing to one’s entire body.

tn Heb “incline your ear.” The verb הַט (hat) is the Hiphil imperative from נָטָה (natah, Hiphil: “to turn to; to incline”). The idiom “to incline the ear” gives the picture of “lean over and listen closely.”

sn Commentators note the use of the body in this section: ear (v. 20), eyes (v. 21), flesh (v. 22), heart (v. 23), lips (v. 24), eyes (v. 25), feet (v. 26), and hands and feet (v. 27). Each is a synecdoche of part representing the whole; the total accumulation signifies the complete person in the process.

tn The Hiphil form יַלִּיזוּ (yallizu) follows the Aramaic with gemination. The verb means “to turn aside; to depart” (intransitive Hiphil or inner causative).

tn Or “keep” (so KJV, NIV, NRSV and many others).

sn The words “eyes” and “heart” are metonymies of subject representing the faculties of each. Cf. CEV “think about it all.”

tn Heb “to all of his flesh.”