Handbook of Proverbs





Wise Sayings
Mostly by Solomon
About the Practical Affairs of Life
Specially Emphasizing Righteousness and Fear of God

This Book
    Like Psalms and Pentateuch, this Book is divided, according to its Titles, into Five Parts: Proverbs of Solomon (1-9); Proverbs of Solomon (10-24); Proverbs of Solomon, which men of Hezekiah copied (25-29); Words of Agur (30); Words of Lemuel (31).            
    Thus,, most of the Proverbs are ascribed to Solomon. Solomon seems to have borne about the same relation to Proverbs that David did to Psalms. Each was the Principal
Writer. Psalms a Book of Devotion. Proverbs a Book of Practical Ethics.

Solomon
    As a young man, he had a consuming passion for Knowledge and Wisdom (I Kings 3:9-12). He became the literary prodigy of the world of his day. His intellectual attainments were the wonder of the age. Kings came from the ends of the earth to hear him. He lectured on Botany and Zoology. He was a Scientist, a Political Ruler, a Business Man with Vast Enterprises, a Poet, Moralist and Preacher. (See on I Kings 4 and 9.)

A Proverb
    Is a Short, Pithy, Axiomatic Saying, the life of which is Antithesis or Comparison. They are wholly Unconnected. Designed primarily for the Young: a form of Teaching: repetition of Practical Thoughts in form that would stick in mind.

Subjects
    Wisdom. Righteousness. Fear of God. Knowledge. Morality. Chastity, Diligence. Self-Control. Trust in God. Tithes. Proper Use of Riches. Considerateness of the Poor. Control of the Tongue. Kindness to Enemies. Choice of Companions. Training of Children. Industry. Honesty. Idleness. Laziness. Justice. Helpfulness. Cheerfulness.
Common Sense

Technique of Treatment
    This Book aims to inculcate Virtues that are insisted upon throughout the Bible. Over and over and over, in all the Bible, in multiform ways, and by diverse methods, God has supplied to man a great abundance of Instruction, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, as to How He Wants Men to Live, so that there be no excuse for our missing the mark. The Teachings of this Book of Proverbs are not expressed in a "Thus Saith the Lord," as in the Law of Moses, where the Same Things are taught as a direct Command of God; but rather are given as coming out of the Experience of a man who tried out and tested just about everything that men can engage in. Moses had said, These things are the Commandments of God. Solomon here says, The things which God has Commanded are proved by Experience to be Best for men, and the Essence of Human Wisdom is in the Keeping of God's Commandments.
    God, in the long record of His Revelation of Himself and His Will to Man, it seems, resorted to every possible method, not only by Commandment, and by Precept, but by Example also, to convince men that God's Commandments are worth living by.
    Solomon's fame was a sounding board that carried his voice to the ends of the earth, and made him an Example to All the World of the Wisdom of God's Ideas.
    This Book of Proverbs has been called one of the "Best Guide Books to Success that a young man can follow."

Chapter 1. Object of the Book

    To Promote Wisdom, Instruction, Understanding, Righteousness, Justice, Equity, Prudence, Knowledge, Discretion, Learning, Sound Counsels (2-7). What splendid words!
    The starting point is the Fear of God (7). Next, giving heed to Parental Instruction (8-9). Then, Avoidance of Bad Companions (10-19). Wisdom cries aloud her Warnings (20-33).


Chapters 2 to 6

    Chapter 2. Wisdom, to be had, must be sought Whole-Heartedly. The place to find it is God's Word (6). Then follows a warning against the Strange Woman, a warning often repeated. 
    Chapter 3. A superb and beautiful chapter. Kindness. Truth. Long Life. Peace. Trust in God. Honoring God with our Substance. Prosperity. Security. Happiness. Blessedness.
    Chapter 4. Wisdom is the Principal Thing. Therefore Get Wisdom. The path of the Righteous grows Brighter and Brighter. The path of the Wicked grows Darker and Darker.
    Chapter 5. Marital Joy and Loyalty. A warning against Unchaste Love. Solomon had
Many Women, but advised against it. He seemed to think the One-Wife arrangement better (18-19).
    Chapter 6. Warnings against: Questionable Business Obligations: Laziness: Cunning Hypocrisy: Haughtiness: Lying: Trouble-Making: Disregard of Parents: Illegitimate Love.


Chapters 7 to 14

    Chapter 7. Warning against the Adulteress while her husband is away from home. Chapters 5, 6, 7, are about loose women. Judging from the space Solomon devotes to them, there must have been a good many such women then (Ecclesiastes 7:28).        
    Chapters 8, 9. Wisdom, personified as e woman, inviting all to her banquet of Best Things: in contrast to lustful women, calling to the simple, "Stolen waters are sweet" (9:13-18).
    Chapter 10. Terse contrasts between Wise Men and Fools, Righteous and Wicked, Diligent and Lazy, Rich and Poor.
    Chapter 11. A False Balance an Abomination to God. A Beautiful woman without discretion like a jewel in a swine's snout. A Liberal soul shall be made fat, He that Wins Souls is Wise.
    Chapter 12. A Worthy Woman the Glory of her Husband. Lying Lips an Abomination to God. Precious Blessings to the Diligent. In the pathway of the Righteous there Is No Death.
    Chapter 13. He that guards his Mouth guards his Life. Hope deferred  makes the heart sick. The way of the Transgressor is Hard. Walk with Wise Men, and you shall be Wise.
    Chapter 14. He that is soon Angry will deal Foolishly' He that is Slow to Anger is of Great Understanding.-Fear of God.is a Fountain of Life. Tranquility of Heart is the Life of the Flesh. He that Oppresses the Poor Reproaches his Maker.


Chapters 15 to 20

    Chapter 15. A Soft Answer turns away Wrath.  A Gentle Tongue is a Tree of Life. Prayer of the Upright is God's Delight. He that is of Cheerful Heart his a Continual Feast. A Wise Son makes a Glad Father.
    Chapter 16. A Man's Heart Devises his way, but God Directs his Steps. Pride goes before Destruction. The Hoary Head is a Crown of Glory, if it be found in the way of Righteousness
    Chapter 17. He that begets a Fool does it to his Sorrow. A Cheerful Heart is a Good Medicine. Even a Fool, when he holds his Peace, is counted Wise.
    Chapter 18. A Fool's Mouth is his Destruction. Death and life are in the power of the Tongue. Before Honor goes Humility. Whoso finds a Wife finds a Good Thing.
    Chapter 19. A Prudent Wife is from God. He that has pity on the Poor lends to God; and his Good Deed will God Repay. Many devices in man's Heart: but Counsel of God Shall Stand.
    Chapter 20. Wine is a Mocker. It is an honor for a man to hold aloof from Strife, but every Fool will be Quarreling. Lips of Knowledge are like Precious Jewels. Diverse Weights and a False Balance are an Abomination to God.


Chapters 21 to 25

    Chapter 21. It is better to dwell in a desert than with a Contentious and Fretful woman in a wide house. Whoso stops his ear at the cry of the Poor, he also shall cry, and not be heard. Whoso keeps his Tongue keeps his soul from Trouble. The horse is prepared for battle, but Victory is of God.
    Chapter 22. A Good Name is rather to be chosen than Great Riches. Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. He that has a Bountiful eye shall be Blessed. See a man Diligent in business? He shall stand before kings.
    Chapter 23. Weary not yourself to be rich. Hearken to your Father and Mother: let them Rejoice in you when they are old. Who has Woe? They that tarry long at the wine. At last it bites like a Serpent, and stings like an Adder.
    Chapter 24. In a multitude of counselors there is safety. I went by the field of the Sluggard. It was overgrown with thorns. I saw, and received instruction; a little more folding the arms to Sleep: So shall come your Poverty.
    Chapter 25. A Word Fitly Spoken is like apples of gold in baskets of silver. If your enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him to drink; and God will reward you.
    This group of Solomon's Proverbs (chapters 25 to 29), are here said to have been copied by Men of Hezekiah (25:1). Hezekiah lived over 200 years after Solomon. Solomon's manuscript may have been worn out. A basic item in Hezekiah's Reform Movement was renewed interest in God's Word (II Kings 18).


Chapters 26 to 31

    Chapter 26. See a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a Fool than of him. A Lying Tongue hates those whom it has wounded.
    Chapter 27. Boast not yourself of Tomorrow, for you know not what a day may bring forth. More Proverbs about Fools.
    Chapters 28, 29. He that hides his eyes from the Poor shall have have a Curse. A Fool utters all his Anger, but a wise man keeps it back, and stills it. Further dissertations on Fools. Solomon did not like Fools: often paid his respects to them.
    Chapter 30. It is not known who Agur was. Probably a friend of Solomon's. Solomon liked his Proverbs so well that he thought worthwhile to include them in his own book.
    Chapter 31. A Mother's Counsel to a King. Lemuel is thought possibly to have been another name for Solomon. If so, then Bathsheba was the mother who taught him this beautiful poem.
    Few mothers have raised finer boys. As a young man, Solomon's character was almost as splendid as any in history. In his old age, however, he did depart from it, contrary to his own Proverb (22:6). The chapter is about Mothers rather than Kings.