Proverbs • “Proverbs is the most intensely practical book in the Old Testament because it teaches skillful living in the multiple aspects of everyday life.” • Bruce Wilkinson and Kenneth Boa
Canonicity of Proverbs • All Jewish lists have it. • At least 21 New Testament quotations are taken from Proverbs.
Proverbs • What is a proverb? • A wise comparison • What is the intention of a proverb? • An effort to integrate the theology of God with Godly living • Who wrote The Proverbs? • Solomon though some were later collected by King Hezekiah’s men between twenty-seven hundred and three thousand years ago
Walter C. Kaiser Described proverbs as sayings that are: “terse, brief, with a little kick to them, and a bit of salt as well.” They have proved themselves to be ageless.
One More Definition From Arthur T. Pierson • A proverb is a wise saying in which a few words are chosen instead of many, with a design to condense wisdom into a brief form both to aid memory and stimulate study.
To understand the Book of Proverbs: the reader needs to take special note of Proverbs 1:8. • A son is being instructed by his father and mother with “wisdom” • Or the how and why of integrating the theology of God with Godly and truly good living. • See Proverbs 6:20 / commandment - teaching. • Also see the exhortation in Proverbs 22:6.
DAUGHTER and DAUGHTERS in Proverbs (2 occs.) Prov. 30:15 Prov. 31:29
Introducing AgurProverbs 30:1 • Agur Assembler • Solomon, according to Midrash Mishle • Son of Jakeh Obedient • Ithiel and Ucal • Students or offspring
Literary Form • Proverbs are … • Memorable • Tend of be remembered • Insightful • Simple and profound • Paradoxical • General and specific • Particular and universal • Expressed in poetic form The result – a tremendous compression of meaning as vast areas of human experience are brought into single focus
The book of Proverbs consists of: • 15 proverbial didactic poems • (Prov. 1:1-9:18). • 375 single verse proverbs • (Prov. 10:1-22:16). • 35 proverbs and short poems • (Prov. 22:17-24:34). • 127 more Solomonic proverbs • (Prov. 25-29). • 9 quartets of proverbs or numerical epigrams • (Prov. 30). • Many of Mother’s proverbial observations • (Prov. 31).
Observations • There are three major sections of Proverbs that could be compared to the three main parts of a house. • Proverbs 1-9 porch • Proverbs 10:1-22:16 main chamber • Proverbs 22:17-31:31 rear private room • There are: • 930 lines in each major section of Proverbs. • There is a letter value of the proper names in Proverbs 1:1 of 930. • Solomon (375) • David (14) • Israel (541) • These major sections proportionally resemble the three main parts of: • Solomon’s temple (the house built by wisdom (Prov. 9:1).
One More Outline of Proverbs from Henrietta C. Mears • Counsel for young men (1-10) • Counsel for all men (11-20) • Counsel for [rulers] (21-31)
“Diligent Ant Leaders Show Others the Way from Nest to Food” More proof has been uncovered that there is teaching by nonhuman animals – ants showing each other the way to food. It is a technique known as tandem running – one ant leads another ant from a nest to a food source. If a follower ant gets too far behind then the leader will reduce the gap by slowing down. Tandem leaders paid a penalty for slowing down since they would have reached the food four times faster if they had gone ahead alone. Teaching has this advantages in that the follower ant learns much more quickly where a food source is.
Diligence “Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds of the heavens?” Job 35:11 • Both categories do teach us!! • The Bible uses the creatures of the earth as teachers. Oxen, roosters, fish, birds, eagles, and a host of other creatures serve as teaching aids whereby the lessons that human beings need to learn are enhanced.
Some of What We Know About The Ant • There are 11,000 varieties of ants according to entomologists. • They have a total population of one quadrillion. • 10 followed by fifteen zeroes • Every ant is “a sermon on four legs.” • Solomon used the creatures of the earth, including the ant, to communicate their wisdom to human beings (1 Ki. 4:29-34).
Solomon says: • We should observe the ant and follow their example. • Proverbs 6:6-11 • One should reflect on them and learn the obvious. • Proverbs 24:27-34 • Solomon uses repetition again for emphasis. • Proverbs 30:24-25
Lessons from The Ant • Ants are an exceptional partnership at work. • They do not fight among themselves. • Look what happens when you disturb one fire ant! • When the ant is on the move as a unit … • The lion, the elephant, and even poisonous snakes flee before them. • Entire villages of people move out of their way.
See the Example of the Church in the Book of Acts • Notice “unity.” • Meyer suggests “with one mind” in Acts 2:46-47. • The early church was characterized by prayer, evangelism, and unity. • The results were growth that was both quantitative and qualitative. • NOTE: There are an additional eleven progress reports in the Book of Acts. • 4:4 • 5:14 • 6:7 • 9:31 • 11:21 • 11:24 • 12:24 • 13:48-49 • 16:5 • 19:20 • 28:30-31
A Real Key: “Unity • Aristides, a second-century apologist for the Christian faith, wrote this to the Roman Emperor Hadrian about believers in his day: “They love one another. They never fail to help widows; they save orphans from those who would hurt them. It they have something, they give freely to the man who has nothing; if they see a stranger they take him home, and are happy, as though he were a real brother.” • What a wonderful means for us to show our unity in Christ.
Lessons from The Ant (cont.) • Ants are very helpful to each other. • They carry one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2) • They carry their injured neighbors (Luke 10:33-35). • They rescue those who become buried or who fall into a pit. • They work harmoniously. Each ant has a job to do and they do it without a sense of competition or inferiority. • They permit 3,000 different kinds of insects to live in their nests. • They are encouragers
Lessons from The Ant (cont.) • Ants are quite productive. • Soldier ants kill all ants that refuse to work. • (Heb. in Prov. 6:11 and 24:34 is halak “walker” in the piel intensive for vigorously = a vagabond or someone who moves from place to place without a fixed home leading an unsettled, irresponsible, or disreputable life). • Ants are permitted to labor according to their own ability as storekeepers, engineers, nurses, farmers, laborers, feeders, soldiers, care-takers of the young, food collectors, ground clearers, all working toward a common goal-the well-being of the colony and its queen, and all the time with an eye to the future. • Summer means Fall is coming!
The Productivity Model of Ants • They may not be able to build a cathedral but ants can build an ant hill, and plenty of them. • Maybe the ant’s greatest ability is their availability. • By the way, the majority of the workers in an ant hill are female. • The ant works continuously. • All day, no pay, no promotions, no thanks, no pat on the back, no reward; they just work. They never quit or go on strike. They just work! • They are a paragon or model of perfection when it comes to hard work.
Story of the Tourist and the Farmer A tourist said to a farmer sitting on a stump, “How are things going?” The farmer replied to the tourist’s query, “fine. I needed some trees cut down and a tornado came through and knocked down a big bunch of them. Then lightning struck one of the trees in the pile and they all burned up, so I don’t have to clear them out of my field.” With that the tourist said to the farmer, “now what are you going to do?” To this the farmer replied, “I am going to wait for an earthquake to come along and shake the ground over there so I don’t have to dig up those potatoes.”
Lessons from The Ant (cont.) • Ants are fanatically persistent. • If an ant or colony of ants wants to cross a stream they either: • tunnel under it, • find something to climb on and cross over it, or • form a ball and float on the surface of the water to the other side.
I Corinthians 15:58 “Go, my dear brothers, continue to be firm, incapable of being moved, always letting the cup run over in the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the service of the Lord is never thrown away.” Williams Translation
Conclusion We must not hope to be mowers And to gather the ripe golden ears, Unless we have first been sowers And watered the furrows with tears. It is not just as we take it This mystical world of ours, Life’s field will yield as we make it A harvest of thorns or of flowers. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Applications • The ant tells me that I better look and see what time it is. Am I saved and prepared for eternity? A little more sleep a little more slumber and you shall wake up in Hell to sleep no more forever. Judson Life at best is very brief, Like the falling of a leaf, Like the binding of a sheaf, Be in time. Author Unknown 19th Century
Applications (cont.) • The ant causes me to reflect on whether I have been a team player or not. • The ant makes me look and see if I have been using what God has equipped me for to His glory and the good of the men and women around me.
FINALLY/Conclusion • Prov. 6:11 in the LXX (Septuagint) has an extra line of text that reads: • “If you are diligent, your harvest shall arrive as a fountain and poverty shall flee away. . .” • Proverbs 10:4, “Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.”
WORDSProverbs 6:16-19 • Words are powerful (Prov. 18:21). • They penetrate. • Proverbs 12:18, 25; 16:24; 15:30; 18:8; 26:22 / repetition for emphasis • They spread. • Proverbs 16:27 • See Samson’s incendiaries recorded in Judges 15:5 • Story of the pillow and the bell tower • Words can be at their worst when they: • Become a substitute for work. • Proverbs 14:23 • Become a substitute for facts. • Proverbs 26:23-28; 24:12 • Cannot compel a response. • Proverbs 29:19; 17:10
WORDS(cont.)Proverbs 6:16-19 • Words can be at their best when they … • Possess all of the following: • Honesty. • Proverbs 16:13; 24:24-26; 25:12; 27:5,6; 28:23 • Limitation. • Proverbs 17:27-28; 10:14; 13:3; 11:12-13; 10:19 • Calmness. • Proverbs 17:27; 18:13; 15:1; 25:15 • Aptness (aptitude). • Proverbs 15:22-23; 25:11
WORDS(cont.)Proverbs 6:16-19 • Become your possession with: • Study. • Proverbs 15:28 • See the sidebar at Isaiah 50:4 • Make friends of the dictionary and thesaurus. • Are accompanied by good character. • Proverbs 12:17; 14:5; 10:20 • See the sidebar at Matthew 12:31-37.
Approaches to the Proverbs • Hidden Lessons • Climaxing Quartets • Memorization Acrostic • Topical Studies • Interpretive Problems • See the Bible Knowledge Commentary “Old Testament” Proverbs 8:22-31. • Wisdom (Heb. fem.) here is a personification of God’s attribute of wisdom. • “Wisdom is not God, but is God’s; …” J. Vernon McGee
“The Fear of the Lord” • The phrase occurs: • 27 times in the Bible. • 18 times in Proverbs. • Webster’s definition: • Feeling of anxiety and agitation produced by the presence or nearness of danger, evil, or pain • This is not what the writer of Proverbs is referring to. • Solomon’s definition: • A deep reverence and respect for the Lord God manifesting itself in a behavior pattern that reflects in an individual’s doing the will of God
“The Fear of the Lord” (cont.) • This fear of the Lord acknowledges God as our creator and that we are His creatures. • He is our master, and we are His servants. • He is our Father, and we are His children. • This deep seated reverence for God makes us want to please Him. • Therefore, when we fear the Lord, there is an element of dread at what His wrath can do when He is not pleased, but there is also an element of hope in that the possibility exists that we can please Him.
Interesting Quote “There is a virtuous fear which is the effect of faith and a vicious fear which is the product of doubt and distrust. The former leads to hope as relying on God, in Whom we believe…” Blaise Pascal French philosopher and Physicist
The Benefit of Godly Fear “The remarkable thing about fearing God is that when you fear God you fear nothing else; whereas if you do not fear God you fear everything else.” Oswald Chambers Scottish Army Chaplain
Teaching Outline • A Definition of the fear of the Lord (aforementioned) • The Dividends for fearing the Lord • Wisdom (Prov. 9:10) • “Skill for living” to the glory of God and for the good of our fellow man” • Knowledge (Prov. 1:7) • Motivation for holy living (Prov. 3:7) • Example: Job • Job 1:1, 8; 2:3 • Longer life span, generally speaking (Prov. 10:27; 14:27) • Unholy living accounts for 60% of human illness • anxiety, sorrow, envy, resentment, guilt, hatred, or other emotional stresses • voluntary violations of the well being of the physical body
Outline (cont.) • Sense of security (Prov. 14:26; 19:23) • Example: Paul • Romans 8:28, 31, 38-39 • Improved quality of life (Prov. 15:16; 22:4) • Though limited in temporal resources, there is contentment. III. A Decision related to the fear of the Lord • We have to decide as individuals how we are going to relate to the fear of the Lord. • The decision we make will eventually become obvious. • Our interest in Scripture, prayer, service, fellowship, giving, worship, or the lack thereof, will surface. • Priorities will determine outcome. The primary and the secondary will manifest themselves. God help us to make the wise choice of “fearing Him.”
Applied Wisdom Begins with Humiliation “And what is this valley called? We call it now simply Wisdom’s Valley: but the oldest maps mark it as the Valley of Humiliation.” C.S. Lewis Pilgrim’s Rest
Some Commentary on Various Proverbs • See the fulfillment of Proverbs 11:10 in 2 Kings 11:20 (Athaliah) and Esther 8:15 (Haman).
Proverbs 11:30b • “He who wins souls is wise.” • The Old Testament know the metaphor f capturing people with ideas or influences, or as Rashi suggests, “advice.” • The soul is captured for the service of wisdom and righteousness (F. Delitzsch).
“What Caused the Couch Potato?” • A seed is cast early and grown to maturity later in the book. • “Chase the rabbit” found in Proverbs 14:23. • Go to Proverbs 24:27-34 and discover the cause for being a couch potato.
Proverbs 15:11 • Sheol and Abaddon are a syllogism, that is, the combining of a minor and a major facts so as to draw a valid conclusion. • Sheol is the realm of the dead. • Abaddon is the state of the dead. • See also Proverbs 27:20; Job 26:6 where the pair are found again.
Proverbs 20:1; 23:1-9, 20-21, 29-35 • The chapter(s) encourages self-restraint or inner discipline. • I. Be careful for foolish dainties. • II. Avoid winebibbers. • III. There alcohol consequences.
Dr A.T. Pierson suggests that excess wine results in: • A tendency to angry quarrels. • Inaccurate utterances. • Physical injury. • Blurred vision. • Excess. • Unhealthy cravings. • Fascinations. • Impure lusts. • Perversity of feelings. • Irregularity of walk. • Unaccountable bruises. • Unnatural torpors. • Temporary motionlessness • Despotic appetite. • Unrestrained