Reading the Bible Together – Proverbs

October 2018

– The book we are reading this month is the Book of Proverbs, which is the 20th book of the Old Testament.

This will be the 47th book of the Bible we will have read, since commencing this initiative over three years ago in October 2015. (We have actually read Matthew and Joshua twice!) . There are a total of 66 books in the Bible, 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament.

We will review this month’s book at  our Bible Study and Prayer Meeting on Thursday 1st November 2018.

Introduction to the Book of Proverbs

Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Proverbs 15:1-4 – A soft answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools pours out foolishness. The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.

Proverbs 17:12-13 – Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly. Whoso rewards evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house.

A Brief Overview

Hebrew Name – Mishley “proverbs”
Greek Name – Paroimiae (Greek form of the Hebrew )
Author – Solomon (According to Tradition)
Date – 1000 BC Approximately
Theme – It is wise to obey God
Types and Shadows – In Proverbs Jesus is true wisdom

Summary of The Book of Proverbs

Overview of Proverbs.

  • Chapter 1:1-6 – the introduction and purpose of the book
  • Chapters 1:7 to 9:18 – wisdom and folly are examined
  • Chapters 10:1 to 22:16 – wisdom does good
  • Chapters 22:17 to 24:34 – the words of the wise
  • Chapters 25:1 to 29:27 – the Proverbs of Solomon are collected by Hezekiah’s servants
  • Chapter 30:1-33 – the messages of Agur
  • Chapter 31:1-31 – the sayings of King Lemuel.

The Proverbs are a collection of wise sayings that, although they were written in ancient times, their principles are for all men in every age, and every walk of life. The ultimate message in the book of Proverbs is that fearing the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. There is no greater principle that was taught by both David and Solomon than acknowledging God’s presence in everything in life and taking heed to everything He says.

Proverbs 1:1 indicates that the whole collection was called “the Proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel.” Technically a proverb is a profound maxim or epigrammatic saying that, if pondered on for a length of time there is deep meaning associated with it. Proverbs was not uncommon in the ancient world, but the concept of fearing a single God who is the only God and the giver of life, was completely foreign in a world filled with polytheism.

Solomon was the son of David who was chosen to build the Temple. His name comes from the Hebrew word for peace (shalom), and he is recognized in the Bible as the ultimate peacemaker King in the history of the kingdom of Israel. The book of Proverbs not only names Solomon as the author in the very first verse, but there are other verses that indicate that Solomon was the person responsible for the Proverbs (Proverbs 10:1; Proverbs 25:1).

The book of Kings indicates that Solomon was blessed with wisdom from God (1 Kings 4:29), he was a man of humility (1 Kings 3:7), and a great diplomat (1 Kings 3:16-28; 1 Kings 5:12) to such an extent that people came from all over the world to hear his wisdom (1 Kings 4:30; 1 Kings 10:1-13). The book of Kings also indicates that Solomon wrote over 3000 proverbs (1 Kings 4:32), and this is many more than the book of Proverbs contains.

Solomon’s Wisdom. David had chosen Solomon to sit upon the throne of Israel and serve the Lord. After Solomon had removed his enemies, he allied with the Pharaoh of Egypt, and took Pharaoh’s daughter to be his wife. Solomon had thought intensely about his task to build a house for the Lord, the Temple in Jerusalem. He went to offer sacrifices to the Lord at Gibeon and that night the Lord appeared to him in a dream saying “ask what you will and I will give it to you” and Solomon said “you have shown great mercy to your servant David, my father, even as he walked before you in truth and justice and with an upright heart. You have continued your great mercy toward him and given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is today. And now, O Lord God, you have made your servant King succeeding David, my father. I am but a child and know not how to act. You have chosen me to be king over so many that they cannot be counted. Give me, therefore, an understanding heart, to judge your people and to discern between good and evil.” The Lord was pleased with Solomon’s request and said, “because you have not asked for long life or riches, nor for the death of your enemies, but have asked wisdom for yourself to discern what is right, I have done for you as you asked, and have given you a wise and understanding heart, so much so that you are unlike anyone before you, nor shall there be anyone like you after. Yes, and the things also which you did not ask, I have given you: that is, riches and glory, so that you are incomparable with all previous kings. And if you will walk in my ways, and keep my precepts and my commandments, as your father, I will lengthen your life.” (see 1 Kings 3 and 2 Chronicles 1).

Outline of the Book of Proverbs

The contents of the book of Proverbs may be summarized as follows:

  1. Proverbs 1-9, Solomon addresses the young. His words are arranged in a series of discourses in praise of wisdom. A personification of Wisdom speaks as an instructor, warning against all manner of folly. The proverbs in this section are arranged with more continuity than is seen in succeeding chapters.
  2. Proverbs 10-22:16 are the “proverbs of Solomon,” and this section is usually thought to be the original nucleus around which the remainder of the book was constructed.
  3. Proverbs 22:17 to 24:22 contains advice for those in responsible positions, calling it “the words of the wise.”
  4. Proverbs 24:23-29 are designated as “the proverbs of Solomon which the wise men of Hezekiah copied out.” These are in the form of detached statements, although there are occasional signs of continuity. There are also sayings on related subjects such as rulers, sluggards and fools.
  5. Proverbs 30 are the sayings of Agur.
  6. Proverbs 31 is the great chapter on womanhood which purports to come from the mother of King Lemuel which was constructed in acrostic form, the verses beginning with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. This last chapter completes this book of Hebrew wisdom.

 

More information can be found HERE

Short illustrated summary of the Book of Proverbs

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