Proverbs 1:1-5
Introduction & Proverbs 1:1-5


The word “proverbs” comes from the Hebrew word “må shål” which means a proverb or a wisdom saying. The purpose of the proverb was to caution against improper or harmful behavior at the same time ingesting wisdom into the individual. It is a book which displaces harmful living while replacing it with wise instruction for living. The first 29 chapters of proverbs were written by Solomon. Chapter 30 was written by “Agur the son of Jakeh.” Chapter 31 was written by “King Lemuel.” Nothing is known of Agur or Jakeh and some feel they may be a pseudonym for Solomon but that is conjecture. Nothing is known of Lemuel either but some feel it may be Solomon or Hezekiah. It does not really matter since we must realize that it is the Word of God. In 1 Kings 4:32 it is recorded that Solomon spoke 3000 proverbs and 1005 songs. Solomon reigned from about 970-930 B.C so the dating of the book of Proverbs would be within those dates.  There are a total of 915 proverbs in this book.
Prov 1:1 (KJB)
The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;
This verse attributes Proverbs to Solomon who was the wisest king of Israel. He was tested in two different instances. The first was when he made a decision concerning the two women who both claimed a living child was theirs while one fell asleep on their child and died. Solomon wanted to divide the child in half by sword but he knew the real mother would cry out and would rather give the child to the other woman than see it killed. (1 Kings 3:16-27) The second instance of testing came when the Queen of Sheba came to Solomon and tested him with difficult questions. (1 Kings 10:1-10) Solomon was the son of Bathsheba and David and last monarch of the united kingdom.
Prov 1:2 (KJB)
To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;
Verses 2-6 give the reasons that the book of Proverbs was written. The first is to know wisdom, wisdom is having knowledge and being skillful in the application of that knowledge. The second is to receive instruction which may be understood as “discipline.” Wisdom requires the application of a disciplined life, it is the undisciplined life which gets a person into serious trouble. Discipline creates borders and they are needed in the Christian life. Then thirdly the individual will be able to perceive words of understanding. The word “perceive” may also be translated “discern.” Proverbs gives wisdom to a person so they may tell the difference between good and bad counsel, since sometimes they sound good at the outset but wisdom gives a person the ability to see the long term effect.
Prov 1:3 (KJB)
To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;
Receive - Grasp or seize
Instruction - Discipline or warning
These Proverbs are like having a teacher present to convey the understandings. We are to grasp the discipline of the understandings. Only a saved person will truly understand these sayings and apply them. Wisdom may also be translated as “understanding.” Then we are to grasp judgment which may be understood as “to judge or govern.” The idea that Christians should never make judgments is very foreign to the book of Proverbs because the whole premise of Proverbs is concerning making judgments so you make the right decisions. We are also to take a hold on justice which may be translated as righteousness or that which is right. We can never grasp hold of something which is right unless we have the discernment to make judgments from wisdom or understanding.
Then we receive the instruction of equity which may be understood as a level path. The basic meaning is “straightness or evenness.” John the Baptist preached this same principle about the Lord Jesus Christ. (Luke 3:5 KJV) Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; If every valley is filled and every mountain is made low, then that creates a level path or even ground. The world goes through highs and lows but those who are in the Lord Jesus Christ remain on level ground and are not affected by what affects the world. When we grasp equity, our lives will tend to become more peaceful even in the face of mounting problems.
Prov 1:4 (KJB)
To give subtlety to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.
Subtlety - Craftiness or shrewdness
Simple - Young, naïve, or inexperienced
Proverbs was so written that those who are simple or very naïve, would be able to turn their naiveté into shrewdness. Remember what the Lord said that we are to be as wise as serpents but gentle as doves. It talks here about a young man which means it can help those who are young in years and young or novices in any situation. Proverbs can give much knowledge and discretion which may also be translated as “thought or plans.” Many times people start out to do something and do not have a specific plan. Proverbs helps to fill that void by giving a person much wisdom in their life’s applications. Proverbs teaches a simple person to think through things and apply wisdom to all of life.
Prov 1:5 (KJB)
A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
The book of Proverbs is not just for those who are simple but it is also for those who have already proven themselves to be wise. Those who are wise will strengthen their ability to understand and their learning will increase. The word “learning” can also be translated “teaching or insight.” So Proverbs will offer many insights and because Proverbs are divine wisdom, will be able to give you insights you did not possess before. With increase in understanding, a person who continually studies the Proverbs will unto wise counsels which may also be translated as guidance or steering. (Job 37:11-12 KJV) Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud: {12} And it is turned round about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth. Job 37:12 uses the word “counsel” for guidance and it shows the meaning of the word how the clouds are turned around by God’s guidance or steering. Those who are wise and understand proverbs will be able to steer their life unto wise paths and avoid the pitfalls and snares of the world. This verse teaches that the wise are always ready to learn more.