[ 1 minutes to read ]The first seven verses of chapter 1 give an introduction to the Proverbs and to wisdom. This opening section uses a dozen different synonyms or related words for wisdom. Each one conveys a special aspect that colors the meaning of the general term of wisdom in the Bible. The book as a whole uses several different terms for wisdom and each one emphasizes some aspect of wisdom in general.
The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel.
– Proverbs 1:1
The word for proverb means to be like and has the basic meaning of comparison. Through usage over time, the word came to refer to any wise saying or statement. It referred more specifically to the form of the saying than necessarily the substance. Proverbs are usually metaphorical, short sayings layered with rich meaning. They typically have a metrical form consisting of two beats. For example: “As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly” (Proverbs 26:11). That is a proverb in every sense of the word—both form and substance.
The first nine chapters of Proverbs are mostly not written in this form that is so common from the tenth chapter onward. The first nine chapters are like an introduction that prepares us for the proverbs in the rest of the book.
Solomon was the son of David and Bathsheba. As pointed out in the introduction to this book, the majority of the proverbs in this book were spoken or written by Solomon. Solomon was one of the holy men of old who spoke as moved along by God’s Spirit, so he has given us Divine wisdom (2 Peter 1:21).