Read Proverbs: Apart
from the fact that it is part of the Biblical canon, Proverbs
is a fascinating collection of wisdom from Solomon and other writers
that can be an excellent source or basis for meditation or group
division of the book of Proverbs has to be by author or compiler
of the Wise
words of the wise
of Solomon copied
of the good wife
Chapters 1-9: are
all about Wisdom and some of the ways it should be worked out.
Various themes are repeated throughout and the following are a
few examples but the reader is encouraged to search more fully
for these and others:
for the readers – Solomon's son[s] – to heed his parents teaching:
1:8,9, 4:1-3, 6:20-23,
Benefits of Wisdom: 2:10-12,20,21,
3:1-4,13-24, 4:10-13, 9:11,12,
seen as a person calling out:
Outlook/Behaviour to follow:
3:1-12, 4:4-9,23-27, 5:15-19,
Behaviour to Avoid: 3:27-35,
of those who would lead you astray:
1:10-19, 2:12-15, 5:22,23,
Adultery or the Promiscuous Woman :
2:16-19, 5:3-14,20,21, 6:24-35, 7:5-27,
Proverbs of Solomon: Chapters 10-22: are
straight forward proverbs in no particular order and for this
reason we have not attempted any divisions or made any comments
about individual verses. However, to help the reader study or
meditate on the proverbs we suggest the following helps and examples
that we take from chapters 10-14 that can be applied to all the
– especially the use of the word ‘but', which is most frequently
used [yet not always used] e.g.
wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish
son brings grief to his mother.
the wicked dread will overtake them; [but]
what the righteous desire will be
the righteous prosper, the city rejoices; [but]
when the wicked perish, there are
shouts of joy.
person is praised according to their prudence, and [or
but ] one with a warped
mind is despised.
are trapped by their sinful talk, and [or
but] so the innocent escape
person pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; [but]
another pretends to be poor, yet
has great wealth.
– where, for example the word ‘and' is used
winks maliciously causes grief, and a chattering
fool comes to ruin.
Observe One-point verses
– where only one point is being made, although with perhaps more
than one aspect to it, e.g.
blessing of the Lord brings wealth without painful toil for
to be a nobody and yet have a servant than pretend to be
somebody and have no food.
Observe Comparison within one point verses
– one point made but a comparison given, e.g.
vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so are sluggards
to those who send them.
placed in mortals die with them; [i.e.
so] all the promise of their
power comes to nothing.
ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.
Observe Consequence Verses
– a behavioral consequence follows the main point, e.g.
brings ruin on their family will inherit only wind, and
[the consequence] the
fool will be servant to the wise.
the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is
immortality. [the consequence
or perhaps repeating the first point but differently]
teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, [the
consequence or outworking] turning
a person from the snares of death.
fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, [the
consequence] turning a person
from the snares of death.
Observe Double Point Verses –
two similar things said to make a point, e.g.
the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things, and
[the similarity] the
work of their hands brings them reward.
Similarity yet Comparison Verses
– both occur together, e.g.
faithless will be fully repaid for their ways, and [but]
the good rewarded for theirs. [yet
both get something!]
Subjects: An alternative
approach which many commentaries use, is to simply look for common
subjects in the proverbs. The following are just a few examples:
Parents: 10:1, 13:1, 15:20, 17:25, 19:13,26, 20:20
the Righteous – 10:3,6,7,11,16,20,21,24,28,30,31,32 etc.
the Idle [sluggard] – 10:26, 13:4, 15:19, 19:24, 20:4, 21:25,
22:13, 24:30 etc.
Speech [words, tongue] – 10:19, 12:6,18, 15:26, 16:21,24 etc.
Speech [tongue] – 10:19,20,31, 11:12, 12:18,19, 15:2,4 etc.
Speech [lips] –10:13,18,21,32, 12:14,19,22, 13:2,3, 14:3,7 etc.
Words of the Wise: Chapters 22 to 24: From
22:17 to 24:21 the nature of the writing changes from straight
forward proverbs to directional or purposeful teaching grouped
as ‘thirty sayings' which often maintain the same feeling as the
previous proverbs. For this reason we continue to NOT provide
additional structure or notes.
Words of the Wise: 24:23-34: Some
commentators lump the following parts together but we simply note
the wording at 24:23 where the tone and style changes yet again
and the linking word ‘but', seen in so many proverbs, is completely
of Solomon copied (or compiled): Chapters 25 to 29: that
are more proverbs of Solomon, compiled by the men of Hezekiah
king of Judah,” apparently from Solomon's
original store but copied by Hezekiah's men centuries later. Although
appearing as obvious proverbs the link word ‘but' is hardly used
until chapter 28. Similar helps can be applied as used in Part
6: Words or
sayings of Agur: 30:1-33: that
start with the assertion that they are “an inspired utterance”,
implying prophecy or revelation [30:1] which have more of a personal
feel about them than much of the latter parts of the book. Again
we leave comment to the reader. Agur's identity is unknown.
or Sayings of King Lemuel: 31:1-9: nine
verses of this unknown king that are said to be “ an
inspired utterance his mother taught him” [31:1], a call
to live wisely avoiding women [v.3], or drink [v.4-7] and to speak
up for the weak and needy, bringing them justice [v.8,9]
Poem of the Good Wife: 31:10-33: a
poem of an unknown writer that extols this woman of noble character.
A Beautiful writing to end a book that often appears to some as
dry and perhaps academic. [In reality, very practical!]
of the fascination of this book is observing the different styles
in each of the Parts we have suggested above. As a resource for
meditation and group reflection on moral, ethical, or behavioural
issues, it is excellent.
to Proverbs 1