I’m beginning something new here on my blog. I’ve been planning an intensive study of the book of Proverbs for quite some time now…and I’m finally getting around to it. I plan on posting my notes here as I go along, even though at times they might seem rather incomplete. Nevertheless, I hope that this exercise of delving into the Word of God will prove to be of some little value for you – it already has been for me!
Without further ado, then, I shall begin at the beginning with some overview sort of observations regarding this book for instruction….
This book was written by Solomon, the son of David and the king of Israel, for the express purpose of teaching wisdom and instruction. He quickly introduces, by way of personification, what is wisdom and what is foolishness, and proceeds to weave stories of these two women throughout the first nine chapters. It is in this first part of Proverbs that the theological and epistemological foundation is laid for the sayings of the wise that follow in the remainder of the book.
In these first few chapters in particular, Solomon specifically addresses his son; but he does so with the express mention that this is the instruction of his mother as well as of his father, thus solidifying the unity of the parents in the rearing up of godly covenant offspring. Even though particularly written to his son, Solomon also establishes the use of his book of instruction even for those of more mature age and understanding, for the increasing of their wisdom. Throughout the entire book, he speaks to his son’s inner heart as well as for the guiding of his hand, giving him practical counsel for relationships and business dealings, so that he might live holy to God in all his life.
Solomon also speaks of the foundational, logical truths in which his godly counsel is rooted and grounded – he does not presume to speak wisdom, counsel, or instruction without the warrant of Scripture. Throughout the entire book, the antithesis is maintained between the righteous and the fool who does not fear God – yet, in this very bluntness, he fosters an attitude of humility in his son, rather than pride in his lineage as a king’s son. For the King of Israel does not teach his son that he is counted a worthy or a good man on account of his heritage or of his actions in and of themselves, but that a man may only be considered wise by the possession of the fear of the Lord – a holy, reverent fear leading to obedience and righteousness.