Today, we begin a month-long journey through the book of Proverbs – one chapter each day. Please follow the link above (or read in your own Bible) the chapter for the day. I will simply highlight a few points from each day. I will not provide commentary on each verse or thought in each chapter.
The book of Proverbs is a compilation of four authors:
- Solomon (king of Israel, son of King David)
- Unnamed wise men (likely compiled by Solomon)
- Agur (chapter 30)
- King Lemuel (chapter 31)
- Also, some of Solomon’s sayings were compiled by King Hezekiah
Solomon lays out the purpose and value of Proverbs:
1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
2 for gaining wisdom and instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
3 for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
doing what is right and just and fair;
4 for giving prudence to those who are simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young—
5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance—
6 for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Verses 1-6 above are Solomon’s insight into the “what”, “how”, and “why” of Proverbs.
Verse 7 is the “where” – where it all begins, with the fear of the Lord.
Solomon wrote the Proverbs to give insight and understanding to the young, beginning with his own children. However, the Proverbs are applicable and relevant to young and old alike.
Solomon recorded these wise sayings during his “sage” years, before he turned his heart away from the Lord. Other than Jesus, Solomon is often referred to as the wisest man in history (1 Kings 4:29-31). Sadly, Solomon did not follow his own advice, and his departure from following the Lord caused his son Rehoboam, as Solomon’s successor as king of Israel, to walk away from the Lord as well.
The word “Proverb” means “to be like”, or to compare. Like a lot of wisdom literature, Proverbs is sometimes hard to understand. In some cases, Solomon uses a positive comparison to help his readers understand. In other cases, Solomon employs a negative comparison (a contrast) to make his point.
Proverbs are meant to be pondered, to be considered and though about. These are not trite sayings, but deep words of wisdom, to be considered, thought about, and reviewed over time. Like a cow chewing its cud, we must ruminate on these truths for them to sink in and change us from the inside out.
Let the reading and contemplation begin…