“The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel.” ~Proverbs 1:1
Now, getting into the first section (chapters 1-9) of this book of instruction in a little more detail, I’d like to begin at the beginning in the first chapter with a brief look at the author. Who was Solomon? Clearly, he was the son of David, king of Israel, and he himself was also king of Israel. He was the first of the lineage of David to sit upon the throne in Zion. He was the builder of the first temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, for which he was both prepared and commissioned by his father. He was the wisest man who ever lived, for, when he asked of the Lord wisdom instead of long life, wealth, pleasure, or power and security, the Lord saw fit to bless him quite abundantly in every way for the sake of his covenant with David.
But there is another aspect that I particularly want to note in looking at the author of this book of instruction: that is, that there are a number of ways in which Solomon was a type and figure of our Lord Christ. He was the heir of David, inheritor of a united nation of the children of Israel – as would be the Christ, the promised everlasting heir of David’s throne. He was a great and powerful king whose reign was characterized by prosperous expansion, peace within its borders, and wealth – as would be the coming Seed of David whose kingdom would have no end. He was called the teacher of Israel – as would be the coming Servant of the Lord. He was the builder of the temple in the city of God – as would be David’s greater Son and Lord. He was an intercessor for the people of Israel – as would be Jesus, the one who would take away the sins of his people. He was king and judge of Israel – as would be the coming Seed of the woman. He was wisdom to the Gentiles – as would be later spoken of the coming Anointed One. He was also called the bridegroom in another work of his, the Song of Solomon, which is often attributed to our Lord Christ and his church. I suppose there may be more ways in which the shadows of the Messiah might be seen in the life of Solomon, the son of David, but these are the ones that I can think of at this time.
I happened to think of this when I was contemplating Solomon’s authority for writing such a book for instruction in wisdom. Clearly, he was writing under the inspiration of the Spirit in a prophetic act of speaking the word of the Lord. In this, he, as every other prophet, foreshadowed the Christ, who would come and reveal the Father in his person, being God himself. For it is truly only our Creator who is the fountain of wisdom, for it is in Christ that all the treasures of wisdom are hidden – and from him that they are brought to light. “But none says, ‘Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night, who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds of the heavens?’ ” ~Job 35:10-11 The book of Proverbs turns our eyes back to the ultimate Teacher of Israel.
That said, Solomon the king of Israel was writing this book to his son, but it was clearly intended for a further audience, for within the space of the first few verses he specifically mentioned not only the purpose of his book of instruction, but also for whom it was written and how they would benefit from it. Thus, we see in the first nine verses of Proverbs a number of specific things: 1) who the book is from; 2) who the book is written to; 3) what the book is for; 4) and a summary groundwork premise for all that follows (vs. 7).
Immediately following this brief introduction, Solomon begins into the illustrative stories for the instruction of the youth of verse four that fill the first nine chapters of the book. The sayings and riddles for the meditation for the wise of verse five begin in chapter ten and fill the remainder of the book. So we see that the instruction builds upon itself and is purposeful in both arrangement and method.