AUTHORS: Solomon and Others
DATE: 950-700 B.C.
First Kings 4:32 tells that Solomon spoke 3,000 proverbs and 1,005 songs. Proverbs 1:1-9:18, 10:1-22:16, and 25:1-29:27 are ascribed to Solomon, although the proverbs in 25:1-29:27 were selected from Solomon’s collection by King Hezekiah’s committee (25:1). We know nothing of Agur, author of Proverbs 30, or of Lemuel, author of Proverbs 31.
The Hebrew term for proverb means “a comparison,” and it came to be used for any sage or moralistic pronouncement (cf. Ezek 18:2; Ps 49:4). Many proverbs are condensed parables. The Book of Proverbs is a book of instructions on how to live a godly life here on earth and how to be assured of reward in the life to come. They impart God’s wisdom. They should not be read as promises, but rather and precepts and principles for everyday life. This type of literature goes back in written form to about 2700 B.C. in Egypt.
Some of the specific teachings in this book are instructions on folly, sin, goodness, wealth, poverty, the tongue, pride, humility, justice, vengeance, strife, gluttony, love, lust, laziness, friends, the family, life, and death. Almost every facet of human relationships is addressed, and the teaching of the book is applicable to all people everywhere.
Those most written of include wisdom – 23 chapters, the tongue and godliness – 20 chapters, riches, wealth and being correctable – 18 chapters, humility and living peaceably – 17 chapters, food – 16 chapters, children and parents, listening to advice – 15 chapters.
OUTLINE OF PROVERBS
I. Introduction, 1:1-7
A. The Author, 1:1
B. The Purpose, 1:2-6
C. The Theme, 1:7
II. The Precepts of Wisdom, 1:8-9:18
A. Avoid Bad Company, 1:8-19
B. Heed Wisdom’s Advice, 1:20-33
C. Avoid the Adulteress, 2:1-22
D. Trust and Honor God, 3:1-12
E. Consider the Value of Wisdom, 3:13-20
F. Be Kind and Generous to Others, 3:21-35
G. Acquire Wisdom, 4:1-9
H. Avoid Bad Company, 4:10-19
I. Watch Yourself, 4:20-27
J. Forsake Lust, 5:1-23
K. Avoid Surety, 6:1-5
L. Shun Laziness, 6:6-19
M. Avoid Adultery, 6:20-35
N. Avoid the Adulteress, 7:1-27
O. Wisdom and Folly Contrasted, 8:1-9:18
1. The qualities of wisdom, 8:1-21
2. The origin of wisdom, 8:22-31
3. The man of wisdom, 8:32-36
4. The woman of foolishness, 9:1-18
III. The Proverbs of Solomon, 10:1-24:34
A. Proverbs Contrasting Righteous and Wicked Lives, 10:1-15:33
B. Proverbs Encouraging Godly Lives, 16:1-22:16
C. Proverbs Concerning Various Practices, 22:17-23:35
D. Proverbs Concerning Various People, 24:1-3
IV. The Proverbs of Solomon Copied by Hezekiah’s Men, 25:1-29:27
A. Proverbs Concerning Relationships with Others, 25:1-26:28
1. With kings, 25:1-7
2. With neighbors, 25:8-20
3. With enemies, 25:21-24
4. With yourself, 25:25-26:2
5. With fools, 26:3-12
6. With sluggards, 26:13-16
7. With gossips, 26:17-2
B. Proverbs Concerning Actions, 27:1-29:27
1. In relation to life, 27:1-27
2. In relation to law, 28:1-10
3. In relation to wealth, 28:11-28
4. In relation to stubbornness, 29:1-27
V. The Words of Agur, 30:1-33
A. Personal Words, 30:1-14
B. Numerical Proverbs, 30:15-33
VI. The Words of Lemuel, 31:1-9
VII. The Capable Wife, 31:10-31
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