Friday, January 1, 2016

103. Wisdom is the Main Thing

We have now come to the third book on the third shelf of our imaginary library; the Book of Proverbs. For a review of the setup of the Old Testament see:                 

Proverbs 1

Are we willing to accept the words of Proverbs 1:1 as to its authorship: The proverbs of Solomon.  Not likely, considering Solomon's penchant for having many women, (He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, 1 Kings 11:3.  The contents of the first nine chapters of Proverbs do not fit his lifestyle.

Also, in 10:1 we find these words repeated: The proverbs of Solomon.  It is there that the proverbs actually start.  Many Bible students believe that the first nine chapters were written by someone else and that later they were attached to Solomon's list of proverbs.

Right at the start, the book tells us why it was composed:
1. to know wisdom and instruction; to recognize the words of understanding;
2. to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and uprightness;
3. to give sense to the simple, knowledge and judgment to the young man; the wise                   hears and increases learning; and understanding ones get wisdom;
4. to understand a proverb and its meaning; the words of the wise, and their acute sayings. 1:2-6

The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction. 1:7.  The word, fear, is better translated as, respect, or reverence.  This certainly excludes blasphemy and deliberately living a life contrary to Jehovah's ideals.

1:10-19 tell the story of a young man who refuses to pay attention to his parent's advice, joins the wrong crowd and ends up dying young because of it. 

1:20-33 shows that a better course of life was available but it was ignored. The consequences were fatal, but repentance came too late.

Those who like to lurk in dark alleys and carouse in the streets to steal and kill still have no excuse for not knowing better, because Wisdom cries outside; she utters her voice in the streets; (Wisdom says) I called, and you refused; ... you have despised all my advice, and would have none of my warning. Instead they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of Jehovah. Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own desires. For the turning away of the simple kills them, and the ease of fools destroys them. 1:20-32.

Jehovah is known. Psalm 9:16. Saint Paul repeats this thought: For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, ... because the thing which may be known of God is clearly revealed within them, for God revealed it to them. ... for them to be without excuse. Rom 1:18-20.  No one who is mentally balanced can murder, rape or otherwise wilfully harm another person, and in honesty claim, I did not know that I shouldn't do that. 

Proverbs 2

Perhaps a good way to sum up this chapter is like this: Diligence in hearing and praying for instruction must be used to secure the great principle of godliness, the fear of God. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Com. If you cry after knowledge and lift up your voice for understanding; then you shall understand the fear of Jehovah and find the knowledge of God. 2:3+5.

Proverbs 3

My son, forget not my law; but let your heart keep my commandments; for they shall add length of days, and long life, and peace to you. 3:1  At this point it is good to remember that we are now studying Proverbs.  Someone has said that the Book of Proverbs should be called the Book of Probablys.  It is the nature of a proverb to generally be right, but if it isn't, no one should be very surprised; 3:1 proves that point.   There are many who have lived an upright life and still have died young.  This does not invalidate the Scriptures; it merely shows that proverbs must not be taken as absolute proofs.

Proverbs 4

Wisdom is the main thing; get wisdom; and with all your getting get understanding. 4:7.  Don't settle for material riches when so much more is available.

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