“Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your mind to my knowledge; For it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, that they may be ready on your lips. So that your trust may be in the Lord, I have taught you today, even you. Have I not written to you excellent things of counsels and knowledge, To make you know the certainty of the words of truth that you may correctly answer him who sent you? ” – Proverbs 22:17-21 (NASB)
Our longer than usual passage today is reminiscent of 2:1-5; and 5:1-2. It cautions us to be alert to hear and speak the wisdom of God. It is within human nature, which is fallen and without hope apart from God, that we will tend to disregard the words of the wise and even the words we read in our Scripture. The term in verse 20; excellent things, is literally “chief proverbs.” These verses which make up our passage is an introductory section of exhortation. What follows are a collection of words for the wise worshiper of God. The instruction “Incline your ear” is better translated “Bow down your ear,” Just as we might lean in and bow down to hear an elder person offer good words of advice or instruction and so that we will catch all that they have to say. Such words from God that follow and continue through Proverbs 24 are words of value and words we should heed with all diligence. If we do, there are many promised delivered to us as well as many warnings and cautions.