“A Preamble to the Book of Proverbs” (Song of Solomon 8; Proverbs 1)

Scripture reading – Song of Solomon 8; Proverbs 1

This is a bonus devotional for those who might value an introduction to our Scripture readings in the Book of Proverbs. My first effort at producing daily devotionals for my church family was in 2014, and the subject of that year-long study was The Proverbs. I invite you to refer to those early devotionals at www.HeartofAShepherd.com.

A Preamble (Proverbs 1:1-6)

A preamble is a concise, introductory statement to a book or document. We find Solomon’s preamble to his proverbs in the first six verses of Proverbs 1, and concludes with his purpose statement in the seventh verse. Solomon’s preamble expressed a five-fold goal for conveying his insight and understanding to his son, the future king of Israel. [Note – words and phrases in brackets are the author’s amplifications of word meanings.]

1) “To know wisdom…” (1:2– This wisdom carried a greater sense than mere knowledge. King Solomon’s desire was that his son would not only be knowledgeable, but also have wisdom. Wisdom implied the skillful use of knowledge. You see, a man or woman can be a genius, intellectually brilliant, but be foolish and lack wisdom.

2) “To know … instruction (1:2) – The implication of Biblical instruction is both reproof(correction) and chastisement (corrective action; discipline).  The Hebrew word translated “instruction” in Proverbs 1:2 is also translated “chasten” in Proverbs 13:24 where we read, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” By application, the primary purpose for a parent to chasten a child is instructive, not punitive.

3) “To perceive [discern] the words of understanding” (1:2) – An appropriate application of this goal is one of imparting what I describe as “common sense” (an uncommon attribute in our modern world).

4) “To receive [accept] the instruction of wisdom [disciplined instruction]justice [discerning between right and wrong], and judgment, and equity [integrity, justice; the insight to determine what is right and fair] (1:3)

To acquire wisdom, one must have a right heart attitude toward discipline and instruction (1:5-7).  Sociologists and pragmatists may question whom or what determines right or wrong; however, our Creator has weighed in on that debate with His Law and Commandments [“for by the law is the knowledge of sin” – Romans 3:20; Exodus 20].

The fifth goal cited by Solomon for imparting his proverbs was given in verse 4 where we read:

5) “To give subtilty [discernment] to the simple [silly; foolish], to the young man knowledge and discretion[able to discern between good and evil].” (1:4)

Remember, the primary object of Solomon’s proverbs was to prepare his son to be king. An oriental king was the supreme judge in all judicial matters, and there was no court of appeal after a king passed judgment. It was critical that Solomon’s son have an ability to discern between good and evil; to know what to say and what not to say; to know when to be silent and when to speak.

Closing thoughts – The time and space afforded by a daily devotional does not permit a thorough study of Proverbs 1; however, I leave you with a parting thought:

A wise man (or woman) will never stop listening or learning (1:5); however, “fools despise wisdom and instruction” (1:7).

Are you foolish or wise?

Copyright © 2021 – Travis D. Smith