Proverbs One

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Proverbs 1:1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;

proverbs. The word “proverb” (Hebrew mashal) is also frequently translated “parable.” Its basic meaning is “pithy maxim,” also suggesting special insight and authority.

of Solomon. The sense here may be “proverbs for Solomon”&$151;that is, prepared specifically for him, perhaps by his father David. This contrasts with Proverbs 10:1&$151;“proverbs of Solomon”&$151;that is, proverbs either written or collected by him.

Proverbs 1:2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;

wisdom. The great theme of Proverbs is to know the true “wisdom.” The word itself occurs more in Proverbs than in any other book of the Bible. The same is true of the words “instruction” and “understanding” (Proverbs 1:2), “knowledge” and “discretion” (Proverbs 1:4), “learning” and “wise counsels” (Proverbs 1:5).

Proverbs 1:3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;

the instruction of wisdom. Seven mental attributes are mentioned in Proverbs 1:3-5. The Biblical meaning of these can be summarized roughly as follows:
(1) “Knowledge” (synonymous with “science”): awareness of facts.
(2) “Understanding:” comprehension of meaning and inter-relationships of facts.
(3) “Instruction” (same as “correction”): reception of knowledge and understanding.
(4) “Discretion” (i.e., “thought”): ingenuity in planning use of facts.
(5) “Learning:” absorption and retention of facts and their use.
(6) “Wisdom:” character; ability to use one's knowledge and understanding effectively in one's own life and in dealing with others.
(7) “Wise counsels:” ability to convey wisdom to others; good advice.

Proverbs 1:4 To give subtlety to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.

Proverbs 1:5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:

Proverbs 1:6 To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.

interpretation. This is not the usual word for “interpretation.” It is used elsewhere only in Habakkuk 2:6, where it is translated “taunting,” or “satirical.” This suggests that Proverbs may have sharp, sometimes sarcastic, implications in order to make a point more effectively. Proverbs may even take the form of “dark sayings”&$151;that is, “conundrums.”

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

beginning of knowledge. Not the end, or totality, of knowledge, but the beginning, without which other data are meaningless or even perverse. The fear of the Lord is also the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). Note also Job 28:28; Psalm 111:10.

Proverbs 1:8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:

My son. In the first nine chapters of Proverbs there are seventeen specific “lessons” (Proverbs 1:8; 1:10; 1:15; 2:1; 3:1; 3:11; 3:21; 4:1; 4:10; 4:20; 5:1; 5:7; 6:1; 6:20; 7:1; 7:24; 8:32) each beginning with either “my son,” or “hear ye children,” always emphasizing the importance of heeding the words of the teachings.

thy father. Although there is a possibility that this first section of Proverbs (Proverbs 1-9) was written by David for Solomon, the general consensus of conservative scholars is that these instructions were written by Solomon mainly for his son Rehoboam. Even if they were written by David originally, Solomon would undoubtedly want to pass them on to his son. It is interesting and significant that, although Solomon had a multitude of wives and concubines, he had only one son and two daughters, so far as recorded at least. See Introduction to Song of Solomon. Although he frequently addresses a section to “my son” and occasionally to “ye children,” he never addresses a section to “my sons.” It does seem that he had only one son, Rehoboam, that he was writing to.

Proverbs 1:9 For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.

Proverbs 1:10 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.

Proverbs 1:11 If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause:

Proverbs 1:12 Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit:

down into the pit. The “pit” is actually sheol, often translated “hell.”

Proverbs 1:13 We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil:

Proverbs 1:14 Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse:

Proverbs 1:15 My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path:

Proverbs 1:16 For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.

Proverbs 1:17 Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.

Proverbs 1:18 And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives.

Proverbs 1:19 So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.

Proverbs 1:20 Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets:

she. “Wisdom” is frequently personified in the Proverbs as a wise and virtuous kinswoman, in contrast to the foolish and ungodly strange woman, or foreign woman (e.g., Proverbs 2:16).

Proverbs 1:21 She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying,

Proverbs 1:22 How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?

Proverbs 1:23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.

my Spirit. Compare Joel 2:28, cited in Acts 2:17 as referring to God the Holy Spirit. Thus, “Wisdom” in Proverbs, though personified initially as a wise mother in Israel, is also clearly speaking of, and as, God Himself (Proverbs 8).

Proverbs 1:24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;

Proverbs 1:25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:

Proverbs 1:26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;

laugh at your calamity. Whether “kings of the earth” (Psalm 2:2, 4) or “simple ones” (Proverbs 1:22), those who rebel against Him or just scoff at Him and His words, will eventually encounter God's own derisive laughter as He faces them in judgment. Note also Psalm 37:12-13.

Proverbs 1:27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.

Proverbs 1:28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:

Proverbs 1:29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:

Proverbs 1:30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.

Proverbs 1:31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.

Proverbs 1:32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.

Proverbs 1:33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.