Book of Proverbs
The Book (or collection) of Proverbs was written by Solomon (and some credit given to others) around 970-700 BC. As we read in previous books of the Old Testament, we’d see that Solomon was offered something by God, and Solomon chose wisdom. He was talking about wisdom in the experiences that life brings. Therefore, God gave it to him, and he became renowned for his wisdom. Solomon didn’t do a lot of writing though, but others who had spoken or had experience with Solomon wrote a lot about it. This Book is written in a poetic form, which was in a way that readers can easily memorize it. Much of the Book talks about the value of wisdom, the proverbs of Solomon, and different sayings of wise people.
Like Psalms, this Book is divided into easily understood sections, but that is only based upon one’s own interpretation. In the first nine Proverbs chapters, the value of wisdom is taught. It starts out with introducing the Book of Proverbs, and that it aims at producing wisdom in people’s lives. Whether you are young or old, rich or poor, experienced or unexperienced, etc. you have need of the proverbs in this Book – as the writer expresses. We should search for true wisdom, which is of God! It’s difficult to concisely break down each proverb, as they are all worthy of a paper or thesis even, but many of them have very similar topics. In chapter one toward the end, we’re instructed to avoid bad company and not to be caught in temptations. We move on to chapter two, where we read about the rewards of seeking wisdom, before we get to chapter four later and see that wisdom should be our inner guide, which should keep in our heart and mind. Once chapter five comes, we start reading about various warnings given, which include warnings against sexual immorality, slothfulness, foolishness, troublemaking, etc. As we reach chapter eight, it talks about eternal wisdom being available to all people. The eternal God is the source of all wisdom, and that it existed before we did. If people want to find real life, they must seek wisdom daily, for to hate wisdom is foolishness and could prove fatal.
After that, we see the collection of the proverbs of Solomon, which are in chapters 10-22:16. It outlines how wisdom is put into practice among righteous and wicked people, and then encourages people to a righteous lifestyle. Many of the core topics of this wisdom involve prosperity, generosity, being upright, having honest speech and work, having satisfaction among the hardships of life, that some people have hidden motives, bringing joy to other people, making decisions and laying out plans, friendships, foolishness, real strength, honesty, God’s work in our lives, and children and adults. This covers much ground in a person’s life and Solomon seemed to have a good handle on teaching over a vast amount of topics. Most of all, he was serious about living uprightly and having good virtues. Solomon’s heart was for people that needed helped in protecting and preserving their life according to godly standards.
Then, from 22:17 to 24, we see outlined many sayings of the wise. This is different from the rest of the proverbs, because it comprises many verses in a row for much of the sayings. There are several warnings, which are just repeats; it seems, of proverbs before. The warnings include about exploiting the poor, bad company, acting foolishly, and stealing land. It applauds diligence in work. People are also warned that if the wicked prosper, that the righteous people shouldn’t be jealous, because God will punish evil and reward good – in time. Those that are in gluttony only create trouble for themselves, and children should respect their parents – for if at an early age are taught wisdom, they will bring joy to their parents in later life. Other warnings include against prostitution, drunkenness, and ungodliness. They lastly teach the righteous how to treat the wicked and conclude their bit by a couple more warnings.
Next, we see more proverbs of Solomon, which were recorded by Hezekiah’s men. This is in chapters 25 to 29. First, this section talks about relations with other people. A warning is given against being too hasty in accusing another person, and that reproof that benefits the hearers should be quietly spoken, for it is more effective than brute force. Idle boasting is of no help to anyone. In addition, things such as self-control in eating, and people that are bitter, argumentative and critical, and otherwise negative are spoken about in this section. People that bring good news are refreshing. Fools and troublemakers are talked about in chapter 26. Fools honor fools and curse each other without any cause. Those with wisdom should know how to treat fools, and that fools cannot be trusted. Fools create trouble for their workmates, and they make excuses along with laziness. Then again, troublemakers are everywhere.
After that, we see wisdom written about the valuable things of life, which include true friends that have inner love for each other, common sense, and a good mind. Other warnings are given, especially for troublemakers, and people who act foolishly (like value possessions or wealth too much). We move along in chapter 28, where we see selfish ambitions can be problematic, because an individual may suffer because of foolishness. There are many warnings here, and much of it has to do with corrupt societies, exploitation of citizens, lawlessness, greed, injustice, immoral standards, and lack of faithfulness to God. This section ends in chapter 29 with talk about authority figures and how justice should be conducted. There are warnings against troublemaking and foolishness, and that the pursuit of righteousness leads to stability. Stubbornness, bad government, prostitution, foul justice, flattery, and scoffers are also topics of warning. Righteousness should be highly valued.
The Book’s final chapters, the final section, which is from chapters 30 to 32, conclude with more great wisdom. In chapter 30, Agur gives wisdom about his challenges, what God is like, the comforts of life, his aim at contentment and moderation, and about his moral values among other wise sayings and warnings. In chapter 31, we see Lemuel’s writing, which includes wisdom about Lemuel being warned about foul interests distracting a king from his proper duties. Trouble like that causes lawlessness and injustice. Lastly, the Book of Proverbs concludes with wisdom for and about the ideal wife, that is a wife of noble character. A good wife makes a good partner. Her husband should trust in her and depend on her. For a good wife is kind, clever at buying and selling, diligent, conscientious, and a good household manager overall. Wives should be energetic and helpful for the family. She shouldn’t be hard-hearted, but be careful in handling money and give generously to the poor. Through everything a good wife does, it should bring God glory. She should do things out of reverence for Him! Her children and husband should delight in her, and that she is honored by the community around her. This concludes the overall proverbs, which are very beneficial for people. Glory to God for all this great wisdom for many generations.