Bible Notes Online - Proverbs 1 - ESV

v1: Solomon the writer of the proverbs. His request, "Give to your servant an understanding heart" (1 Kings 3.9), answered, "See, I have given you a wise and understanding heart" (1 Kings 3.12; see also 1 Kings 4.29-34).

Jesus Christ is for us wisdom from God (1 Cor 1.30). Here we find wisdom personified (chapter 8), pointing us to Christ.

v2-6: The reasons for the book of Proverbs; to teach us wisdom, to help us to grow in understanding, not just as head knowledge, but in personal application in "doing what is right." “Justice, judgment, and equity,” imply an application of godly wisdom into a community. Wisdom is not just for personal promotion, but for unselfish blessing of others.

v7: See 9.10; true wisdom is a spiritual thing, beginning with the Lord, and our love and respect for Him. This is different from human wisdom, 1 Cor 2.13; James 3.13-18. The writer immediately and clearly declares that this fear is something spiritual and therefore important. It is primarily based on our relationship with God, not with man; but it necessarily affects our relationships with others. The reference to fools therefore refers to unspiritual, carnally-minded men, those who reject God and His standards. The barrier is so often of personal wisdom and understanding – we need to unlearn human wisdom as we gain true wisdom.

v8-19: The writer introduces each section with "listen, my son"; we find this throughout the first 4 chapters.

Words addressed to "my son"; one can imagine Solomon teaching his children the way of wisdom. We are wise to heed parental advice, from both father and mother, respecting their experiences of life.

There is a fear of God leading to worship; Judg 13.13-14; Den 5.6; Luke 24.37; Rev 1; here is a consciousness of His glory, awe at His unseen presence. In contrast, fear of physical things brings us into bondage; 29.25; for example; Mark 15.15; Luke 22.54-62.

v8-9: Godly wisdom from godly parents; to take heed is a sure route to blessing.

v10: Beware of evil men, and be prepared to stand alone. Resist the temptation to join with sinners.

v11-14: The temptation to join with the ungodly, to find all kinds of precious possessions; sin does make itself attractive and advantageous. It is such 'benefits' that can make us succumb to temptation. There is the extra attraction of companionship; it is hard to be alone, to be thought of as different. The scripture, however, is clear; we are not to be as one with such people.

v15: Keep away from them, resist temptation; see 4.14-15.

v16: Recognise the truth of their schemes, and recognise what sin is.

v17-19: The punishment of the ungodly is inevitable; judgment to suit the sins. Their sins will find them out, they will reap what they sow.

v20-33: The call of wisdom, see also 8.1-9.18. Here, wisdom is presented as a real person, someone to be loved and valued.

v20-21: The widespread testimony; outside, in the street, in the public squares, at the head of the noisy streets (or on the tops of the city walls), in the gateways. Everywhere the voice of wisdom is heard.

The responsibility of the Christian, one who knows God's wisdom, is to proclaim God's wisdom (1 Cor 1-2). ‘Wisdom is for the business of living, not for an elite for the pursuit of scholarship (Derek Kidner, Proverbs).

v22-23: The call to men, sinful men who prefer their sin. The call is to repent, and the promise is blessing, entering into a relationship with the God of wisdom. There were some who had resisted God's call, and therefore missed out on God's blessing.

v24-25: Men rejected the call. Wisdom spoke any number of times, but so many remained stubborn, and would not respond.

v26-27: The consequences of rejection; judgment falls, prayers go unanswered. The God who calls us into fellowship with Himself is the same God who answers our prayers, or, in this case, refuses to answer. There are consequences for rejecting the word of God.

v28: A time will come when repentance is too late.

v29-30: The Lord does not act without cause; they hated knowledge, they did not fear the Lord, and as a result they suffered loss in this life.

v31: The unbeliever receives his real desire.. ‘He who has done evil, expects evil,’ (Proverb from Guinea.)

v32: The unbeliever rejects God's word, and neglects spiritual truth. Ultimately he loses his life. There is no middle way here; either we accept the call of God, and enjoy inestimable blessings, of we reject, and suffer the consequences.

The "simple" is ignorant, the "fool" is unbelieving. Proverbs maintains this important distinction.

v33: The security of the believer; his security is found in the promises of God.