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Proverbs 1-2: Getting Wisdom and Understanding

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The Book of Proverbs is one of the most condensed and concise books of wisdom and understanding found in the bible. A good word study for any serious bible student. In this bible study article, we will be exploring Proverbs chapters 1, 2 and a few verses into chapter 3 for gaining a deeper and more rounded understanding of these chapters in the bible.

Proverbs 1: Wisdom and Understanding

Commentary notes by the author within the verses are in red letter. Explanations, notes and other thoughts outside of verses are in bold black

A Strong's Hebrew concordance was used for the word study. A translation of the Hebrew words are shown in red, not the Hebrew words themselves.The author felt this enhanced the readability and comprehension of this bible study.

Verses 2-7 tell us what the Book of Proverbs is about and what these collection of proverbs (sayings) are for.

PROVERBS 1 (KJV)        
1) The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;
2) To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive (discern, truly understand) the words of understanding; - Meaning, to know that you know.

3) To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity (equality, fairness, that which is right);

4) To give subtilty (prudence, discretion, good judgment), to the simple (those with an open mind who are easily swayed by others), to the young man knowledge and discretion (exercising discretion is the act of making decisions based on good judgment from proven facts or personal experiences).

5) A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain (acquire, to procure, especially by purchase; by implication to own) unto wise counsels: (accept advice from other wise people – “Attain” implies a value to wisdom; either purchased directly from a wise person, or paid for through failed personal experiences.)

There is a price on wisdom, it is to be valued, it is not free. Examples would be paying an attorney for legal advice or buying a book for $20 then “spending” the time to read it.

6) To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings (perplexing or thought provoking words).

7) The fear (reverence, deep respect) of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

8) My son, hear the instruction (discipline, chastening, correction) of thy father, and forsake (leave or abandon) not the law (Torah: laws, instruction, teachings) of thy mother:

9) For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.

A figurative illustration. Kings, noblemen and the wealthy often wore garlands of leaves, fine linens, precious metals or gems wrapped around their head. The head signifies high honor.

They also wore gold chains and other precious metals to adorn themselves and tout their wealth or political position. The neck is what holds your head up and signifies the foundation of your strength.

10) My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.

A big problem of the simple and the young is that of evil companionship, or choosing the wrong friends, people of bad influence. It's best to say "No," to all such invitations. An example follows:

11) If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause:
12) Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit:

Meaning: Let’s hide and wait for innocent victims to happen by and then quickly kill them.

13) We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil:
14) Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse:

Meaning: We’ll rob them and get lots of good valuable stuff. Join us as a team and we’ll all share in the take together.

15) My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path:
16) For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.

Wicked people are quick to find others to talk into doing evil with them. Don’t follow after them. And don’t look up to them or copy what they do.

17) Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.

Birds were considered pure and innocent, used for sacrifice at the temple. The bird is used as an analogy for an innocent victim being murdered and robbed. No bird will fly into a net that it saw someone set.

This proverb (verse 17) shows that the only way the wicked can trap the innocent is my “lurking privily”, setting traps, being sneaky or laying in wait.

18) And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives.
19) So are the ways of very one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.

Through their own wicked acts, they bring destruction upon themselves; either by the law convicting them or by final judgment from God in the resurrection.

Either way, they will have to answer for their crimes, in this physical life or in their spiritual risen form.

20) Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets:

Here wisdom is personified figuratively as a woman, one who gives laws, instruction and teachings like our Mother in verse 8. Wisdom calls out to people openly in the streets. Not lurking in dark shadows like the wicked.

21) She crieth in the chief place of concourse (main place people gather), in the openings of the gates: (where people come and go from the city, lots of foot traffic at the main gates) in the city she utter her words, saying,
22) How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners (mockers) delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?
23) Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.

Wisdom invites everyone, especially simpletons, mockers and fools to come and listen to her good advice. She yearns to share her heart with them and make them wise.

24) Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;
25) But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:

Wisdom has reached out to them but they refused her. They “set at naught” rejected her as of no value. They “would none of” were not willing or inclined to her correction. And because of this rejection...

26) I will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;
27) When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.
28) Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:

Why so cold? Because when they finally called out for wisdom, it was not because they love and trust God, but because they are only concerned with their own selfish desires and easing of their own grief.

29) For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:
30) They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.
31) Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.

Basically, they will get what they deserve.

32) For the turning away of the simple shall slay them (the simple are killed by their turning away from God toward the ways of the world that lead to death), and the prosperity (complacency or false security) of fools shall destroy them.

33) But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

The NIV version of verse 33 reads, “But whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm."

PROVERBS 2
1) My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee (listen and take them to heart);
2) So that thou incline thine ear (listen intently) unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;
3) Yea, if thou criest after knowledge (call out for, as in diligently searching for), and liftest up thy voice for understanding;
4) If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;

5) Then shalt thou understand the fear (reverence, respect) of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.

6) For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
7) He layeth up (sets aside, reserves) sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler (shield, protector) to them that walk uprightly.
8) He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints (holy ones, followers).

The NIV version of verse 8 reads, “for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.”

9) Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity (things that are fair and right); yea, every good path.

10) When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;

When you’ve made wisdom a deep part of you and you’re comfortable with that.

11) Discretion (good choices) shall preserve thee (guard you, keep you safe), understanding shall keep thee: (observe, watch over you)

12) To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things; (perverse, wicked, corrupt)

Describing the evil man:

13) Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;
14) Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked;
15) Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths:

(skipping down to verse 20 – outlining the benefits of verse 10, wisdom in your heart being pleasant to your soul)

20) That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous.
21) For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it.

22) But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors (those who are untrustworthy, unreliable, treacherous, unstable and dangerous,) shall be rooted out of it. (Like pulling a weed out of the ground by the root.)

PROVERBS 3
1) My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:
2) For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.

The reward for remembering the law and keeping God’s wishes deep in your heart to do them is that you’ll get more out of your days, live longer and have peace.

3) Let not mercy (kindness, compassion) and truth (stability, trustworthiness) forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:

Make sure mercy (kindness, compassion) and truth (stability, trustworthiness) stay with you: bind them together them around your neck like a chain so you don’t lose them.

This is again linked to the primary function of the neck. It holds the head as a foundation and turns it. The head is the top most part of a person and houses the brain, supposedly used for thinking.

Write them upon the table (tablet, the book) of thine heart: The book of your heart refers to the true story of the inner most you.

4) So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.

So (the reason) you will find favor (graciousness, kindness) and good understanding (intelligence; by implication, success, discretion, knowledge, prudence, sense and wisdom) in the sight of God and man.

5) Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

All your heart means all your deepest feelings, the real you. Don’t support yourself with your own 5 senses knowledge and experiences alone; depend on God’s knowledge and wisdom for strength.

6) In all thy ways (your course of life, everything you do) acknowledge him, (keep God involved, credit Him for your abundance) and he shall direct thy paths (meaning where you go in life, what you do).

Ever heard of business consultants, attorneys, doctors, life coaches, sports coaches, and all other types of consultants. Lots of people pay these professionals LOTS of money for them to direct their path.

Do you realize how easy, inexpensive and profitable it is to have GOD direct YOUR paths? God will never give you bad advice, either by accident or on purpose. He will always lead you toward righteousness and prosperity of whatever kind you need most.

God will never lead you down a path of unrighteousness toward destruction. God will only lead you on the paths of righteousness and prosperity!

If you have been going by your own five senses or following someone else’s worldly advice, where have these choices taken you lately? Think about it.

7) Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

Be not wise in thine own eyes… Of all 5 of the senses mentioned before, God singles this one out because the eyes are the primary sensory input for most people and are also figuratively known as “the window to your soul”

The eye represents wisdom, understanding, comprehension. To not be wise in our own eyes, but rather to keep our eyes on God, can only bless our lives. Respect the Lord, and move away from evil.

8) It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

Health to your navel is a figure of speech meaning it would bring health and nourishment to all of your physical body, 100%, nothing left out just like a fetus still connected to its mother’s cord.

Marrow to your bones is another figure of speech meaning moist, healthy and refreshed bones that are strong giving you support for survival and prosperity. Not dry, brittle or weak bones that break easily under pressure and fail to support you.

Conclusion:

Wisdom is to be sought after. Wisdom has great value and comes with a price. Wisdom keeps us safe from evil. Wisdom teaches us things bringing knowledge. Knowledge is strength and power.

To gain wisdom we must seek it with respect from God with a meek and submissive heart to learn. Wisdom along with knowledge brings understanding and then prosperity; all kinds of prosperity, not just financial. You also gain peace, safety, mercy and truth.

When you make all of that the primary core of who you are deep down inside, THEN you will gain favor and good understanding from God AND from other people. God will direct your path toward all good things and make you strong.

Listen to wisdom. When she reaches out to you, take her in. Don’t be a fool and mock or ignore her. Wisdom can reward you greatly or she can ignore you in your time of need and laugh at your troubles.

It’s your choice, with a meek heart toward God accept wisdom now, or else she might not be there for you when you need her the most!

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