THEME – The beginning & end of wisdom is to fear God and avoid evil.
What is a proverb?
- The Hebrew word is “mashal” – which means “comparison”
- Webster’s Dictionary – “A short, pithy saying in frequent use, expressing a well-known truth.”
- Bible Dictionary – “A self-contained unit that presents a capsule truth about life, the world, the way God works.”
- Other definitions – “A shrewd concentration of truth.” “Reliable counsel for right living.”
- Synonyms – Adage, aphorism, axiom, maxim, precept, saying
Purposes for the PROVERBS:
- Incentive to take God seriously – “to fear God”
- Create a desire for wisdom, understanding and discipline
- Help differentiate between good & evil, between wisdom & foolishness
- Give us truths that shape our thinking, attitudes, and behavior
- Perspective on God’s character and nature as revealed through His design for right relationships and personal integrity
Guidelines for studying the wisdom literature in the book of PROVERBS
- They are memorable & transferable – through the ages for all ages
- They are generalizations, not promises or predictions.
- They are not legally binding promises from God.
- They are the likely outcome of our choices, not a guarantee.
- Their final outcome maybe in eternity.
- They are a guideline of regularly repeated actions
- They use hyperbole – a deliberate exaggeration in order to make a point
- No individual proverb should be taken as whole truth on any subject.
- They provide insight on the consequences that certain choices will bring.
- They reveal God’s design for human relationships
- Be careful not to misuse a proverb!
Who wrote the book of PROVERBS?
- The Egyptians had proverbs as early as 2700 B.C.
- Solomon wrote almost the entire book – over 900 proverbs – about 950 B.C.
- King Hezekiah’s scribes wrote, complied, edited the proverbs in Chapters 25 – 29
- Agur and Lemuel wrote the last 2 chapters. The book was probably edited between 715 – 686 B.C.
Hebrew Poetry – Proverbs – Focused on the development of an idea – repetition, recapitulation, balance, reinforcement, contrast, comparison. (Nor sound, rhyme, or rhythm)
- Synonymous parallelism – repeats or restates 22: 1
- Antithetical parallelism – opposite or negative 22: 3
- Climatic parallelism – completion of thought 22: 2
- Comparison of thought– “better than” 16: 8
- Ch. 1: 1 – 1: 6 – Introduction
- Ch. 1: 7 – Ch. 9 Father to Son Discourses on Wisdom
- Ch. 10 – 24 – Solomon’s Proverbs
- Ch. 25 – 29 – Hezekiah’s scribes –
- Ch. 30 – 31 – Agur & Lemuel (Numerical Sayings and Acrostic Poem on Wife)
Proverbs, Learning to Live Wisely, Mouser, William, InterVarsity Press.
Proverbs, Life Change Series, NavPress.
Nelson Study Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers.
©2012 by Marilyn Miller