Pro 22:17 Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.
Pro 22:18 For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips.
Pro 22:19 That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee.
Pro 22:20 Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge,
Pro 22:21 That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?
Every parent knows it: the peculiar look of a child (young or grown) whose attention has strayed from what the parent is saying. A blank stare, or eyes that have glazed over, instead of an attentive gaze and listening ears. Sigh. It happens to all of us.
We think we are doing such a super job of dispensing some guidance -- some words of wisdom -- some life experience. And then we realize they are not listening.
When I read these verses, I wondered if that had happened to Solomon! Verse 17 is almost the equivalent of his reaching out and giving a nudge to his son, his hearer, or even to us. "Pay attention!" he says. "Don't just hear my words of wisdom, but apply them in your heart. They will be of benefit to you if you remember them...."
But Solomon isn't conceited: he doesn't say to keep these words because he, the earthly king, is so smart and wonderful. He notes in verse 19 that the result of these words of wisdom should be a deepening of the trust we have in the Lord; we will achieve a closer communion, and we will acquire greater confidence in Him.
Matthew Henry's commentary says that these words are not like the commands of a master to his servant (those benefit the master) but they are like the commands of a master teacher to his student (intended to benefit the student).
I imagine that before he wrote or spoke verse 20, Solomon may have been thinking about how worthy, weighty, even princely, were the things discussed in the previous writings and proverbs. They were not trivial --- not meant for amusement. They were important, just as we consider our words to our children as being important.
Why? Because we want our children to know of a certainty, that the words we speak to them so earnestly, are the truth (verse 21). We wish so hard for better things for our children; we wish that we could share the truths that we know, and they might avoid some pitfalls and heartaches....
Just like Solomon wished....
Just like our heavenly Father wishes......