Proverbs is the only book of the Bible that was written directly for young people to help them avoid the pitfalls of the sinful nature and the sinful world. This does not mean it applies only to young people for the wisdom it teaches is beneficial to all who struggle with temptation. The central theme is found throughout the book: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (9.10). The Hebrew word for “proverb” is “mashal.” This is also the Hebrew word for “parable.” Like the parables of Jesus, the proverbs are very vivid and memorable. They capture common sense truths and impress them on our hearts and minds.
Wisdom is living by faith according to God’s word. Fools ignore God and His word and suffer the consequences. Proverbs focuses mostly on the blessings and curses of God’s law. If we disrespect our parents, hurt others, commit adultery, steal, lie, and run with bad desires, we will ultimately encounter many problems. On the other hand, if we faithfully and wisely follow God’s commands, we will ultimately prosper.
However it is important to remember that the blessings of keeping God’s laws are sometimes held back in this life when God tests us as in the Book of Job. So a proverb such as, “The hand of the diligent makes rich” (10.4) or “No grave trouble will overtake the righteous” (12.21), must be understood as promises that are often but not always fulfilled in this life. They will ultimately be fulfilled in our eternal life. Jesus is the greatest example of this. He was perfectly righteous, and yet He suffered poverty, persecution, and death in His earthly life. But ultimately He received eternal glory.
Most of the proverbs were written by Solomon, but some of them (chapters 25-29) were collected by King Hezekiah’s men. Chapter 30 was written by Agur and 31 by Lemuel. There is no Biblical information about either of these men.
1-9 Poems Urging Us to Pursue Wisdom
Solomon Settling the Dispute Between the Two Prostitutes in 1 Kings 3.16-28
Types of Proverbs
Wisdom and Folly
Righteousness and Wickedness
Use of the Tongue
Pride vs. Humility
Justice vs. Vengeance
Lazines vs. Work
Friends and Neighbors
Love vs. Lust
Ander and Strife
Masters and Servants