posted on Feb, 22 2019 @ 05:04 PM
The collector of the Old Testament Proverbs makes his purpose clear from the beginning.
“That men may know wisdom and instruction, understand words of insight” (ch1 v2).
Then he further defines this wisdom as “fear of the Lord” (v7). This phrase, when used in the Bible, means respect and willingness to obey.
I’m studying the different characters of Proverbs, as one way of organising and understanding the teaching.
The first and most important character is Wisdom herself.
She is portrayed as a market trader. She “cries aloud in the streets, in the markets she raises her voice; on the top of the walls she cries out; at
the entrance of the city gates she speaks” (vv20-21).
But the people are not listening. There are “scoffers who delight in their scoffing”, fools who hate knowledge.
Therefore she reproves them, and warns them that the time will come when they cannot find the knowledge they need.
That is, the knowledge about the ways of God.
“But he who listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of evil” (vv22-33).
Or again, she is the generous hostess who invites everyone to a grand feast (ch9 vv1-6).
She has even built a new house for the occasion.
With seven pillars (the number which represents God).
All the other preparations have been made; the animals have been slaughtered for the feast, the wine has been mixed, the table has been laid.
She has sent out her maids to call in the guests, paying special attention to those who are “simple” (lacking in wisdom).
She urges them to leave their simpleness, and “walk in the way of insight”.
We may learn from this image that wisdom is being offered freely, without charge.
This wisdom has great value;
“All the words of my mouth are righteousness; there is nothing twisted or crooked in them” (ch8 v8).
The knowledge of righteousness is better than silver or gold.
It stands against “pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech”.
It provides the kind of sound counsel which enables rulers to “decree what is just”.
In fact the Lord himself rules in justice by that same wisdom.
He “created me at the beginning of his work”.
At that time, and since that time “I was beside him like a master workman;
And I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world, and delighting in the sons of men” (ch8 vv22-31).
Wisdom offers a choice, a choice which really defines all the other characters in this book.
On the one hand, “Happy is the man who listens to me…
For he who finds me finds life and obtains favour from the Lord”.
The alternative is “he who misses me injures himself; all who hate me love death” (ch8 vv32-36).
That is the difference between accepting or rejecting the Lord’s righteousness, known to this book as Wisdom.