To anyone reading this, if you don’t have a study bible, get one! I recommend either the CEB study bible or the NRSV study bible. Both are very interesting.
Introduction to Proverbs: The CEB study bible has a nice introduction to Proverbs. I especially like part of it. Instead of rewriting the whole part, I’m just going to include a screenshot below (p. 1006 OT):
There are several interesting phrases in the above screenshot. Pretty much the overall message is about wisdom. Proverbs is part of the wisdom literature. The intro explains what this means and then defines wisdom in context. All I kept thinking about is it seems that many people don’t seem to pursue wisdom. It’s almost like having wisdom is looked down on by others. Wisdom is treated as “elitist.” I wonder if those who act like this are Christian? If they are, they needed to reread proverbs. Especially since according to the last sentence of the intro, “The book of Proverbs presents a common view of the way to wisdom, the path to a good life: Act wisely, live in harmony with others, obey God’s commandments, and be sensitive and caring to the less fortunate” (p. 1000 OT).
Proverbs 1: It’s kinda nice that the first part of this chapter explains the purpose of proverbs: “to teach wisdom and discipline” (1:2). Here’s the full preamble:
The proverbs of Solomon, King David’s son, from Israel:
2 Their purpose is to teach wisdom and discipline,
to help one understand wise sayings.
3 They provide insightful instruction,
which is righteous, just, and full of integrity.
4 They make the naive mature,
the young knowledgeable and discreet.
5 The wise hear them and grow in wisdom;
those with understanding gain guidance.
6 They help one understand proverbs and difficult sayings,
the words of the wise, and their puzzles.
7 Wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Helps to see this when I look back on these notes. A main point to emphasize is “wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord” (1:7). Good to know. Now on to my thoughts of the rest of the chapter.
The first instruction tells children to listen to their father and mother. The text specifically refers to a son, but I’m good with children. Our daughters need wisdom too. Yes, I know times were different when this was written. Alas, I digress. The point of this section is to warn children to stay away from those who will tempt them to commit sin. It talks about the idea of ambushing the innocent, taking money that’s not yours, etc. Just doing bad things. Aka…don’t do it!
The chapter ends with reference to “Woman Wisdom.” She is speaking directly to those who are trying to negatively influence children, making it clear that their lives won’t be amazing. Eventually those people will face disaster and she won’t be there to help. Instead she will laugh at them. Not very nice if you ask me, but oh well.
Proverbs 2: The focus of this chapter is on the benefits of wisdom. The text is still from a parent or parents to a child. In this case the text refers to son, but I think it could go either way in today’s world. The parent is encouraging the child to seek out wisdom, to “search for it like hidden treasure” (2:4). The text makes it clear that the way to wisdom is through God and through the fear of God. I especially like this part: “Wisdom will enter your mind, and knowledge will fill you with delight. Discretion will guard you; understanding will protect you.” (2:10-11) Well said and easy to understand. The rest of this chapter continues to argue the importance of wisdom and how it will help you to understand the difference between doing what’s right and doing what’s wrong. The text refers to the mysterious woman and how wisdom will help you stay away from women like this.
I want to end with this tidbit from the notes to the first part of this chapter:
Proverbs 2 continues the parent’s instructions to the child. Three words characterize the instructions: wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. In verse 4, the child is told to seek wisdom as one would hidden treasure (see Job 28). Getting wisdom isn’t just an intellectual exercise but an ability to use what one has learned about wisdom (see intro.). “Knowledge” and “understanding” reflect these two elements of wisdom. (p. 1009 OT)
Proverbs 3: The text continues with instructions from the parent to the child. The child is told to trust in God, to remain loyal and faithful to God. The parent then addresses the value of wisdom, explaining that with wisdom comes happiness and a good life. Finally, the parent addresses the importance of integrity. The child is told to not withhold good from people if they have the ability to provide it right away. The parent implores the child to remember that “wisdom is as much a matter of knowing what not to do as it is knowing what to do” (p. 1011 OT).
Psalm 89: According to a sidebar on page 886 OT in the CEB Study Bible, this psalm “tells about the rejection of the Davidic covenant, reflecting the exile that began with the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BCE.”