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1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;
The Hebrew title of the Book of Proverbs is Mashal, meaning "a comparison." The great theme of the Proverbs is the comparison between wisdom and folly, more specifically and pictorially -- between the wise man and the fool. *
The Book of Proverbs contains Hebrew poetry which is based
upon a PARALLELISM OF IDEAS. There are 3 types:
A. synonymous parallelisms, as in ch.8v1:
i.e. the 2nd parallelism restates the first, but by variation.
B. constructive parallelisms, as in ch.3v11,12:
i.e. the 2nd parallelism builds upon the first, reinforcing it.
C. antithetic parallelisms, as in ch.10v1:
i.e. the 2nd parallelism contrasts starkly with the first.
...A 'proverb' is defined as "a pithy maxim, usually of a metaphorical nature; hence a simile, figurative language, an allegory, or an adage". It comes from a Hebrew root word
meaning "to rule". And as the diligent viewer will realise, it is by comprehending these proverbs that we may be enabled to rule over the flesh. **
2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;
"Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars".
Note the way in which Jesus Christ uses this proverb,by making it the basis for a parable in Matthew 7v24,25, commending
"whosoever heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them" as "like unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock..." which was then able to withstand all external troubles. **
6 To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.
None will attain to the Kingdom of God who have not done ALL they can to prepare and qualify themselves for it. This, and this alone, is the only reason we are given the great gift and privilege of Iife in the first place. We DARE not get sidetracked into anything passing and temporal.
"How can we escape (from sin and death) if we NEGLECT so great salvation?" *
7 The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
"The evidence of the truth of all revelation is so constructed as to be quite sufficient for the humble and sincere who are ready to believe; while it is such as may be cavilled at by any who wish to disbelieve."
All on one side of the line are fools -- on the way to death and eternal oblivion, regardless of what their natural fleshly accomplishments may be.
All on the other side of the line are wise -- on the way to life, regardless of the limitations of their education or their natural abilities...
...Until by meditation, and experience, and self-examination, we are impressed to the depths of our being with these two cardinal truths, we can make little progress in life.
The great revelation of the Bible is that man is naturally evil and foolish, that God is all wisdom, and that man's wisdom lies in seeking God with the whole being, and learning the teachings of His Word.
The more we see the wise of the world rejecting the eternal Word of God and building on the shifting sands of their own man-made, man-centered philosophies, and the more we observe the tragic results of this in corruption, immorality and violence, the more we are impressed with the infinite value of God's Word, and the infinite superiority of God's Way -- the Way of Beauty and Holiness and Truth and Life -- as compared with man's natural way of lust, pleasure, emptiness, greed and death.
The spirit of the Proverbs is awe and reverence, and the fullest recognition of man's littleness and weakness. Its lessons are many, but outstanding among them are these eternal truths --
In the long run, good and prosperity are the destiny of the righteous. Sin and self-pleasing, however temporarily successful, are manifested to be stupidity and self-destruction.
God's correction indicates His love. Education, discipline, self-restraint in harmony with spiritual law, constitute the way of wisdom and life.
All mental and physical powers, and all desires and strivings for holiness and spiritual beauty, are the gracious blessings and gifts of a loving Father, and to be joyfully used to His glory.
The Proverbs emphasize -- perhaps more than any other book of Scripture -- the vital truth that the Gospel of salvation is a WAY OF LIFE. It concerns and must control ALL activities of the mind and body, if it is to mean anything.
Being "in the Truth" is infinitely more than just believing a set of doctrines. If our whole life -- everything we are or think -- is not consciously striving toward ever-increasing harmony with God, we are on the way of death.
One thing is certain: If we truly get the glorious message of Proverbs, if we truly comprehend and appreciate the greatness of God's gracious love toward us, if we truly realize the magnitude and urgency of the joyful work that lays before us, to serve and glorify God and prepare ourselves for His eternal companionship -- then we shall never have either the time or inclination to cry or feel sorry for ourselves. We shall be too busy doing and rejoicing.
TO FEEL SORRY FOR OURSELVES IS A REPROACH AGAINST THE LOVE AND GOODNESS OF GOD. It is shallow, cowardly faithlessness. It cannot be anything but displeasing to Him.
Bro Growcott - She openenth her mouth with wisdom.
Comment: "TO FEEL SORRY FOR OURSELVES IS A REPROACH AGAINST THE LOVE AND GOODNESS OF GOD".
- Yes but somewhere in our consideration we need to allow for the 'black dog' of depression...
Psa 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Bro Paul Hart
20 Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets:
Wisdom is honest and open - '...the righteous are bold as a lion. (28: 1)
22 How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?
The simple lack understanding but may be teachable. Scorners mock at divine wisdom. They are on their way to becoming fools
Some will look earnestly for this hidden meaning, having the aspect of a child - i.e. a desire to learn from the parent. This is indispensable to the learning process - see Matthew 18v1-4.
Jesus explained why there are different reactions to His parables and indeed why they are given - Matthew 13. Only "the good ground" is able to receive and allow "the word
of the kingdom" to grow, and to ultimately bring forth fruit.
Robert Roberts made the following useful comments:
"That it is advantageous to "conceal a thing", while revealing it, is also manifest from experience. A riddle is proverbially more interesting than an aphorism. A parable stimulates discernment. A thing seen after the search provoked by obscurity is seen more clearly, than if exhibited in a plain and direct manner in the first instance..there is always an inkling of the meaning somewhere..a clue by which the secret can be unlocked,which those may find who are humbly anxious to find".
'More Seasons Of Comfort'-'Use of Similitudes by God'-p473/4.
An early example of 'proverb' and 'parable' is found in 2nd Samuel 12v1-14.The "poor man" represented Uriah, the "ewe lamb" represented Bathsheba, the "rich man" was David.
When Nathan the prophet told this parable to David, the king could see that what the "rich man" of the story had done was unjust, and deserved punishment. Nathan then said to him-
"thou art the man", thus driving home the purpose of this parable - that David should apply the lesson to himself. And this is the purpose of all parables, that we should apply the lessons to ourselves. There is no benefit in reading these things and not learning the lessons which we read.
Should we fail to do so, we would be like the hard-hearted listeners to Ezekiel -
"And lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not"- Ezekiel 33v32.
Also consider the words of James 1v22-25.
Let us instead apply the lessons to ourselves, so that we might mend our waywardness before the Divine assessment shortly to be rendered - for then it will be too late to do anything.
Let us realise that we individually, like David, are the "men" and "women" of the parables.
We shall find various characters brought to our notice as we traverse the Book of Proverbs, and as we clearly see the characteristics which they display, let us search inwardly to see
whether some of these things might well be applicable to ourselves. In this way, we shall fulfil the essential purpose of the narratives, and obtain victory over the nature which we bear. And we know that we are saved by the grace of God -
Ephesians 2v5 through reconciliation in Christ-Romans 5v11. **
28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:
The disciples ask Jesus in Matthew 13v10 -
"Why speakest thou unto them in parables?"
And the Lord proceeds to explain that this does two things: Those numbered amongst the disciples of Christ will learn, but those who oppose Him will not understand. This latter class "are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed" because "this people's heart is waxed gross". See v11-17.
This does not mean that they outwardly oppose the Truth - far from it - as in the days of Jesus, the greatest enemy, termed 'the satan', is found amongst those claiming to represent the Truth
The twin...evils of laxity and extremity... continue unabated to this day...
However, as Jesus also tells us -
"But wisdom is justified of her children" - Matthew 11v19. **
These children of wisdom are able to add to what they have - others will lose what they seem to have, Matthew 13v12.
We can build each pillar, being supported as we do so upon the "rock" of wisdom.
"For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again.."- ch.24v16.
We may stumble as we try to build each pillar, but "by grace are (we) saved". However
"..the wicked shall fall (utterly) into mischief". Cp Psalm 37v23,24 -
"a good man...though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down:
for Yahweh upholdeth him...". **
** Pioneer Christadelphian Fellowship
33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.
The issues are vital - life and death. We must pursue wisdom for ourselves, within the heart, for that is where the ultimate battle with the flesh must be fought and won.
"Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life" - ch.4v23.
Also let us judge ourselves by the Divine standard cp.ch.16v2 -
"All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits"*.
And v3 -
"Commit thy works unto Yahweh, and thy thoughts shall be established"
*note the following allusion from the Apostle Paul:
"For I know nothing by (RV "against") myself; yet am I not hereby justified:
but he that judgeth me is the Lord".
1st Corinthians 4v4.
David asked "who can understand his errors?" & prayed
"cleanse thou me from secret faults" - Psalm 19v12.
** Pioneer Christadelphian Fellowship
https://pioneerchristadelphians.org/Proverbs.htm (For original context with links to additional and related study of the Proverbs)