This chapter begins with words from father to son – instructions about listening to what he says (:1-3). Most of us remember such speeches from father, mother, grandmother, uncle or someone who cared about us and wanted to be sure we made good life choices. I image we also remember our attitude toward such advice!
Yet, that’s the real issue here. What’s at stake is not really information, but the right heart attitude to be able to receive, appreciate and apply it. That’s when the Proverbs really work for us. In fact, the way we respond to someone giving us this kind of “listen to what I am telling you, it is for your own good” speech will tell us a lot about just how far we are progressing in wisdom and our spiritual walk.
So with the focus being on attitude, note all the verbs: “keep,” “store up,” “keep,” “guard,” “bind them,” “write them.” This is an attitude with focus, commitment and appropriate actions.
The phrase “apple of your eye” (:2) isn’t speaking of fruit, but comes from a term meaning “dark.” It apparently refers to the dark pupil at the center of our eyes, suggesting the son treat this instruction as sensitive, special and important.
“Bind them on your fingers” speaks of external things – actions. “Writing them on the tablet of your heart” (3:3; 6:21) speaks of internal things – attitudes. It’s a common idea in Proverbs – all this information is supposed to affect what I do and how I think!