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Solomon’s proverbs: Proverbs 1−4

Solomon wrote 3000 proverbs (1 Kings 4:32) and collected other wise sayings (Ecc. 12:9-10); some of these sayings made it into the book of Proverbs. They were arranged into seven groups:

  1. Introduction: Proverbs 1:7 to 9:18
  2. The Proverbs of Solomon: Proverbs 10:1 to 22:16
  3. The words of the wise: Proverbs 22:22 to 24:22
  4. More words of the wise: Proverbs 24:23 to 24:34
  5. Hezekiah’s copy of Solomon’s proverbs: Proverbs 25:1 to 29:27
  6. The words of Agar the son of Jakeh: Proverbs 30
  7. The words of king Lemuel: Proverbs 31.

The ‘wise’ are believed to include Joseph, Job, and people that Solomon was even wiser than: the wise men of the east and of Egypt, Ethan the Ezrahite and Heman, and Chalcol/Calcol and Darda (the sons of Mahol, whoever that is).

In the introduction, Solomon was kind enough to tell us why he went to all this effort:

Proverbs 1:2-6 For learning about wisdom and instruction,
for understanding words of insight,
for gaining instruction in wise dealing,
righteousness, justice, and equity;
to teach shrewdness to the simple,
knowledge and prudence to the young—
let the wise also hear and gain in learning,
and the discerning acquire skill,
to understand a proverb and a figure,
the words of the wise and their riddles.

where knowledge and wisdom ultimately come from:

1:7The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.

and where they start:

1:8-9 My child, listen when your father corrects you.
Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.
What you learn from them will crown you with grace
and be a chain of honor around your neck.