(The Book of Proverbs was the third of the five books that made up the poetic section of the Old Testament. The majority of this book was written by Solomon, David's son. This book, along with the Book of Psalms, was memorized by every girl in Israel. The key principle necessary in order to understand this book is causality. Every cause has an effect. We have direct control over causes. We do not have direct control over the effects. This book was written according to causality. The overwhelming majority of the information in this book was presented according to causality. If a person interpreted this book from effect to cause (tried to directly control the effects), they would be unprofitable. The writer encouraged the reader to focus on causes by showing the effects that naturally resulted from these causes. The effects were the what. The causes were the how/why.)
1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:
2 To know wisdom and instruction; To discern the words of understanding;
3 To receive instruction in wise dealing, In righteousness and justice and equity;
4 To give prudence to the simple, To the young man knowledge and discretion:
(These verses contained the purpose of the Book of Proverbs. In fact, it will be very beneficial to have definitions for the following words:
Knowledge - The ability to retain facts.
Understanding - The ability to take knowledge from more than one area and create new knowledge.
Wisdom - Profitable, long term decisions.
Said another way:
-Knowledge was a right what,
-Understanding was a right why, and
-Wisdom was a right how.
The purpose of this book was to help people make the right decision by giving the reader the right information and the right causal relationship: knowledge and understanding.)
5 That the wise man may hear, and increase in learning; And that the man of understanding may attain unto sound counsels:
(The Book of Proverbs was written so that the wise man may understand and grow in his learning.)
6 To understand a proverb, and a figure, The words of the wise, and their dark sayings.
7 The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of knowledge; But the foolish despise wisdom and instruction.
(Fearing (revering) God was the beginning of knowledge. If we think we are the source of our knowledge, then we are revering ourselves, which is idolatry.)
8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, And forsake not the law of thy mother:
9 For they shall be a chaplet of grace unto thy head, And chains about thy neck.
(We should understand and accept the guidance of our parents because they will be as ornaments on our head and neck: the place where our thinking takes place.)
10 My son, if sinners entice thee, Consent thou not.
(Do not consent unto sinners. Next were some examples of what sinners would do to entice you…)
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 Sheol, And whole, as those that go down into the pit;
13 We shall find all precious substance; We shall fill our houses with spoil;
14 Thou shalt cast thy lot among us; We will all have one purse:
(The focus of the sinners was to gain at the expense of others. The "gain" here was physical and short term. It was a treating an effect as a cause.)
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 they make haste to shed blood.
(Again, do not walk in the purpose of those who do evil: do not make progress in the why of those doing the wrong how.)
17 For in vain is the net spread In the sight of any bird:
18 And these lay wait for their own blood; They lurk privily for their own lives.
19 So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; It taketh away the life of the owners thereof.
(Focusing on effects. Those who made gaining at the expense of others were taking. This was not love which was giving without expecting anything in return from the person to whom you gave.)
20 Wisdom crieth aloud in the street; She uttereth her voice in the broad places;
21 She crieth in the chief place of concourse; At the entrance of the gates, In the city, she uttereth her words:
(Wisdom was available to all.)
22 How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? And scoffers delight them in scoffing, And fools hate knowledge?
23 Turn you at my reproof: Behold, I will pour out my spirit upon you; I will make known my words unto you.
(Listen and understand correction. Be contrastive on yourself: consider you could be wrong. These were causes in our direct control.)
24 Because I have called, and ye have refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man hath regarded;
25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, And would none of my reproof:
(Ignoring good causes: Those who refused all counsel and did not hear reproof were in pride, they believed they were in need of nothing.)
26 I also will laugh in the day of your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;
27 When your fear cometh as a storm, And your calamity cometh on as a whirlwind; When distress and anguish come upon you.
28 Then will they call upon me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they shall not find me:
29 For that they hated knowledge, And did not choose the fear of Jehovah:
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.
(Those who did not listen to wise counsel were referred to as people who hated knowledge and chose not to fear God. These people would "eat of the fruit of their own way." Fruit was an effect. Notice, we chose to fear God: a cause. He did not make us fear Him.)
32 For the backsliding of the simple shall slay them, And the careless ease of fools shall destroy them.
33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell securely, And shall be quiet without fear of evil.
(Cause: listening to God. Effect: dwell securely without fear of evil.)
1 My son, if thou wilt receive my words, And lay up my commandments with thee;
2 So as to incline thine ear unto wisdom, And apply thy heart to understanding;
3 Yea, if thou cry after discernment, And lift up thy voice for understanding;
4 If thou seek her as silver, And search for her as for hid treasures:
(If you did these causes...)
5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of Jehovah, And find the knowledge of God.
(...then you would understand the fear of God and you would find knowledge of God: effects.)
6 For Jehovah giveth wisdom; Out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding:
(God gave wisdom (right how) and spoke knowledge (right what) and understanding (right why).)
7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to them that walk in integrity;
8 That he may guard the paths of justice, And preserve the way of his saints.
(God protected those who walked in integrity. Integrity was doing things for the right reason (why) and the right way (how). God protected these people because He was guarding the paths of Justice. Those who walked in integrity were walking justly, they held themselves to the same standard that they held others to.)
9 Then shalt thou understand righteousness and justice, And equity, yea, every good path.
10 For wisdom shall enter into thy heart, And knowledge shall be pleasant unto thy soul;
(Our actions were an effect of what was in our heart. Do you allow God’s wisdom to enter your heart?)
11 Discretion shall watch over thee; Understanding shall keep thee:
12 To deliver thee from the way of evil, From the men that speak perverse things;
(Discretion and understanding protected us and delivered us from the way of evil. The way of evil are people who did the following things…)
13 Who forsake the paths of uprightness, To walk in the ways of darkness;
14 Who rejoice to do evil, And delight in the perverseness of evil;
15 Who are crooked in their ways, And wayward in their paths:
16 To deliver thee from the strange woman, Even from the foreigner that flattereth with her words;
(Discretion and understanding delivered you from those who attempted to take you off course with their words.)
17 That forsaketh the friend of her youth, And forgetteth the covenant of her God:
18 For her house inclineth unto death, And her paths unto the dead;
19 None that go unto her return again, Neither do they attain unto the paths of life:
20 That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, And keep the paths of the righteous.
(Discretion and understanding facilitated your ability to walk in the way of good (right and just) men.)
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 land, And the treacherous shall be rooted out of it.
(Causality: The upright would be given to according to their righteousness. The wicked would be given to according to their wickedness.)
1 My son, forget not my law; But let thy heart keep my commandments:
2 For length of days, and years of life, And peace, will they add to thee.
3 Let not kindness and truth forsake thee: Bind them about thy neck; Write them upon the tablet of thy heart:
(We ought to remember God’s Law (guidance) and write in our hearts (believe) kindness and truth…that is, being kind to others for the right reason (why) and in the right way (how).)
4 So shalt thou find favor and good understanding In the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in Jehovah with all thy heart, And lean not upon thine own understanding:
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, And he will direct thy paths.
(Trust (faith) in God, not on your own (man’s) understanding. Acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path (wisdom).)
7 Be not wise in thine own eyes; Fear Jehovah, and depart from evil:
(We ought to be contrastive. Fearing God would result in seeing Him as greater than yourself. Can you consider you are wrong or do you think you are wise in your own eyes?
1 Corinthians 8:2 – "If any man thinketh that he knoweth anything, he knoweth not yet as he ought to know;")
8 It will be health to thy navel, And marrow to thy bones.
9 Honor Jehovah with thy substance, And with the first-fruits of all thine increase:
10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, And thy vats shall overflow with new wine.
(We should be honoring God with what we have. This meant giving God the credit and access to what we have and not making what we have the cause.)
11 My son, despise not the chastening of Jehovah; Neither be weary of his reproof:
12 For whom Jehovah loveth he reproveth; Even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
(God chastened those He loved. This was painful in the short term but caused long term growth. God loved David and consistently chastened him. David being a man after God's own Heart meant David always responded to chastening by growing. David loved to be chastened.)
13 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, And the man that getteth understanding.
14 For the gaining of it is better than the gaining of silver, And the profit thereof than fine gold.
(Wisdom and understanding caused happiness in their beholder. Gaining wisdom and understanding was better and more profitable than the most precious physical assets. Wisdom and understanding were long term. David understood this and lived it. Solomon apparently understood it, but he did not live it. 1 Kings 11 showed Solomon died without repenting.)
15 She is more precious than rubies: And none of the things thou canst desire are to be compared unto her.
16 Length of days is in her right hand; In her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, And all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: And happy is every one that retaineth her.
(Wisdom was a "tree of life" to them "that lay hold (grow strong)" upon her. Life was the ability to repair. Wisdom brought this ability.)
19 Jehovah by wisdom founded the earth; By understanding he established the heavens.
20 By his knowledge the depths were broken up, And the skies drop down the dew.
(God spoke Truth and created the heaven and earth with His Words. Truth was a right what (knowledge) with a right why (understanding) and right how (wisdom).)
21 My son, let them not depart from thine eyes; Keep sound wisdom and discretion:
22 So shall they be life unto thy soul, And grace to thy neck.
23 Then shalt thou walk in thy way securely, And thy foot shall not stumble.
(You would not stumble if you were walking in wisdom.)
24 When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: Yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.
25 Be not afraid of sudden fear, Neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh:
26 For Jehovah will be thy confidence, And will keep thy foot from being taken.
(When you walked in wisdom, you would not be afraid of evil because your faith would be in God and He would protect you.)
27 Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, When it is in the power of thy hand to do it.
(Give to those who were owed. Be Just.)
28 Say not unto thy neighbor, Go, and come again, And to-morrow I will give; When thou hast it by thee.
(If you can give, you ought to. Be conscious of every opportunity you can give to someone.)
29 Devise not evil against thy neighbor, Seeing he dwelleth securely by thee.
30 Strive not with a man without cause, If he have done thee no harm.
(If you had no reason (cause) or a bad reason, you should not strive with a man. Strive meant "to argue; quarrel.”)
31 Envy thou not the man of violence, And choose none of his ways.
32 For the perverse is an abomination to Jehovah; But his friendship is with the upright.
33 The curse of Jehovah is in the house of the wicked; But he blesseth the habitation of the righteous.
(Causality: God cursed the wicked and blessed the righteous, because He was Just.)
34 Surely he scoffeth at the scoffers; But he giveth grace unto the lowly.
(God gave grace to the humble. The word grace in the Old Testament meant "favor." However, the word grace in the New Testament did not mean favor, it meant "the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life." This verse was referenced in James 4:6.)
35 The wise shall inherit glory; But shame shall be the promotion of fools.
(We have seen the wise contrasted with the fools. The wise pursued causes and the result was profitability. The fools pursued effects and the result was unprofitability.)
(This post covered the first three chapters of the Book of Proverbs which focused on causality through emphasis of the why and how over the what.)