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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Proverbs 1

Verses 1-7

PREFACE TO THE BOOK OF PROVERBS

The Book of Proverbs was written by Solomon to show man how to live and deal with the varied situations of life. It is intended for all, regardless of age or level of wisdom. Parents should study it for their own benefit, and for guidance in instructing their children. The young also should be encouraged to seek its counsel. It offers a great prize to all who study and heed its teachings, the prize of the wisdom that comes only from God, 2 Chronicles 1:7-12 and James 1:5. It should be remembered, however, that the promise of God to give wisdom is effective only to the extent that one obeys the instructions to study and heed the Word of God, Matthew 4:4; 2 Timothy 2:15; Proverbs 28:9.

Author’s original manuscript reproduced the KJV Scripture text of Proverbs which identifies Jehovah or Yahweh by the word LORD, printed in capitals. He regrets the typesetter’s oversight in failing to show this distinction in reproducing the Scripture text. The distinction is emphasized, however, in the comments throughout the book. (See Comment 1 under Proverbs 1:7 a, page 3.)

ABOUT THE WRITER

J.C. Howes, son of the late Elder Ben F. Howes, has been an active ordained minister since January 19, 1934. His ministry has included pastorates in South Alabama and Northwest Florida, the labors of assisting in the research and publication work of the Blessed Hope Foundation, and more recently the writing of a commentary on the Wisdom Books of the Old Testament. He also served two years as Moderator of the Florida State Baptist Association, and worked two years in Central American Missions in Panama. His longest pastorate was with Calvary Baptist Church, Panama City, Florida, where he served 23 years, and recently supplied for another year.

Brother Howes attended public schools in his home town of Pensacola, Florida, after which he completed management courses at the Naval Air Training Center which led to high level instructor and supervisory positions with the Navy. His service with the Navy earned a number of commendations and the Meritorious Civilian Service award. More importantly, principles were established which would be helpful later in his ministry.

While In the service of the Navy Brother Howes surrendered to the call to the ministry. At about the same time E. E. Rice, well known pastor, teacher and writer, returned to his former pastorate in Pensacola and established a school with evening classes for young preachers and other interested persons. Brother Howes, his father, and a number of young preachers and others enrolled. These classes continued for several years, supplemented by all-day quarterly Bible Conferences on fifth Saturdays. The establishment and growth of churches in Northwest Florida bear witness to the effectiveness of these classes and conferences.

DEDICATED

To the memory of E. E. Rice who faithfully taught me the authority, unity and sufficiency of the Word of God; and instilled within me an awareness that study was an ongoing necessity to be continued with diligence and careful comparison of Scripture with Scripture.

FOREWORD

This writer regards himself as a student, not a scholar. In keeping with the principle of interpreting Scripture by Scripture, he has sought in this commentary to bring together Scriptures related to the subject matter. He recognizes, however, that there are limitless depths for the earnest seeker to probe, and prays that God will use this effort to stir those who read it to go further in the study of His wonderful Word.

J.C.H., Author

CHART I

Introduction and Key Verse: (1:1-7)

I. A Father Commends Wisdom: (1:8-7:27)

A. Parental Instructions, (1:8-19)

B. Call of Wisdom, (1:20-33)

C. Benefits of Wisdom, (2:1-3:35)

D. Pathways of Life, (4:1-27)

E. Wisdom of Marriage Fidelity, (5:1-23)

F. Warnings, 6:1-7:27

1. Danger of Surety, (6:1-5)

2. Warning to Sluggard, (6:6-11)

3. Warning against the Deceitful, (6:12-1)

4. Warning against the Evil Woman, (6:20-7:27)

II. Wisdom and Folly Personified: (8.1-9:18)

CHART II

III. Proverbs of Solomon:

A. Antithetic or Contrasting Proverbs,

10:1-15:33

B. Synonymous Proverbs 16:1 to Proverbs 22:16

IV. Sayings of the Wise: 22:17-24:34

V. Proverbs of Solomon copied by

Hezekiah’s men: 25:1-29:27

VI. Words of Agur: 30:1-33

VII. Words of King Lemuel, 31:1-9

VIII. The Virtuous Woman, 31:10-31

INTRODUCTION TO PROVERBS

(Proverbs 1:1-7)

WHO WRITES: With the possible exception of 22:17 through 24:34, which some regard as wise sayings of others, the affirmations of Proverbs 1:1; Proverbs 10:1 Proverbs 25:1 clearly establish Solomon, son of David, King of Israel, as the writer of chapters 1 through 29. Chapter 30 is introduced as the words of Agur, son of Jakeh. Chapter 31 is said to be the words of King Lemuel. Neither Agur nor Lemuel is further identified. Some scholars are of the opinion that these were poetic names of Solomon.

TO WHOM: Verses 4 and 5 of Chapter 1 address four categories of people:

1) The SIMPLE, the naive, easily led, whether young or old.

2) The YOUNG, the immature and inexperienced because young in years.

3) The WISE, those who have acquired a measure of wisdom.

4) The UNDERSTANDING, the untaught but intelligent and open-minded, who may also benefit from the wise counsels of Proverbs.

The wide range of these categories reveal that Proverbs has something for all people regardless of age or level of wisdom.

FOR WHAT PURPOSE: The purpose of Proverbs is to impart 1) true and factual KNOWLEDGE, 2) UNDERSTANDING of the significance of knowledge, and 3) the WISDOM of applying knowledge as God directs in the varied situations of life. The predominant word for WISDOM throughout the book refers to proper discernment between good and evil, or right or wrong. The intent set forth in verses 2 through 6 is summarized as follows: ,

Vs. 2a, That recipients know wisdom and instruction. Instruction includes the training of discipline or correction, or even chastening, Proverbs 3:11-12.

Vs. 2b, That recipients comprehend the words of insight or discernment.

Vs. 3, That recipients receive the disciplinary instruction of wise dealing, honesty, justice and fairness, 2:1, 9.

Vs. 4a, That the SIMPLE (the naive, easily led) be taught prudence.

Vs. 4b, That the YOUNG (immature, inexperienced) be taught knowledge through discerning reflection upon the wise counsel of Proverbs.

Vs. 5a, That the wise hear (and heed) the wise teachings and thus increase learning, 9:9, Matthew 13:12.

Vs. 5b, That the understanding (intelligent and open-minded) also gain wise counsels to direct life, 11:14; 12:5.

Vs. 6, That all who gain insight through Proverbs better understand difficult sayings that need interpretation. Psalms 78:2; Matthew 13:35.

THE TWO WAYS:

WISDOM OR FOLLY,

Verse 7a Introduces The Way of Wisdom. Two very significant words appear in the first half of this verse:

1) LORD (printed in capitals (LORD) or indicated by the name Jehovah in some versions) and found 88 times in Proverbs, indicates Jehovah or Yahweh, the self existing, eternal God who revealed Himself to the Hebrews, Exodus 3:13-15.

2) FEAR is not the terror of Exodus 15:16; nor dread of 2 Chronicles 20:29; Isaiah 2:19; Isaiah 2:21; but a knowledge of the LORD as Jehovah that begets trust in and submissive reverence for Him. This concept of the LORD is the beginning -of knowledge and wisdom, Proverbs 9:10; Proverbs 15:33; Proverbs 14:26; Psalms 111:10; Job 28:28.

Verse 7b contrasts the way of Folly. This part of the verse uses the term "fool" to show the folly of the arrogant, self sufficient rejecter of wisdom. The extent of this foolish action is emphasized in Proverbs 12:15; Proverbs 14:3; Proverbs 14:9; Proverbs 15:5; Proverbs 27:22.

Verses 8-9

I. A FATHER COMMENDS WISDOM

(Proverbs 1:8 to Proverbs 7:27)

Heed Parental Instruction

Proverbs 19, 9

Verses 8 and 9 begin an example of faithful parental instruction of children often repeated in the first seven chapters of Proverbs. Some twenty times the father, often seconded by the mother, urges the son or children to remember and obey these oft repeated instructions. Thus did the great king comply with Deuteronomy 6:6-7.
Verse 9 declares that faithful obedience to these instructions would be an ornament of grace and chains about the neck. This suggests that obedience to proper parental instruction is a spiritual ornament much more important than the material gold chains and other ornaments highly prized in that day, 22:6; 1 Samuel 15:22; Jeremiah 7:23; Genesis 41:42; Daniel 5:7.

Verses 10-19

Beware of Enticement to sin

Proverbs 1:10-19

Verses 10-14 warn against evil companions and their enticements to sin, particularly the offer of a quick route to excitement, pleasure, and power by ignoring the laws of God and society which forbid such, Genesis 39:7; Genesis 39:10-12; Exodus 20:12-15; 2 Samuel 13:11; Psalms 62:10; Ecclesiastes 7:26.

Verses 15-19 warn of serious consequences of yielding to such excitements. They, are a trap as surely as that which ensnares a foolish bird, Vs. 7; a trap which may cost one’s life, or even the soul, Vs. 18-19; Mark 8:36-37. God will surely bring the sinner to judgment, 1 Samuel 16:7; Ecclesiastes 11:9; Ecclesiastes 12:13; Romans 6:23.

Verses 20-33

In these verses WISDOM (wisdoms in margin) is personified and speaks to sinners in a call to repentance and a warning of the consequence of refusing the call.

Vs. 20-21 declare that wisdom calls in the various places mankind may be found, with the intent that all may hear, Isaiah 45:19; Matthew 28:19-20.

Vs. 22 reveals that this call is addressed to all classes of sinners (compare 1 Timothy 2:4); (1) the SIMPLE, the unconcerned and thoughtless; (2) the SCORNERS, the self sufficient who treat the truth of God with contempt; Proverbs 9:7-8; Proverbs 13:10; Proverbs 15:12 and (3) the FOOLS, those who understand divine truth but hate it because ft forbids their evil practices, Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 17:12.

Vs. 23 explains that wisdom’s call reproves existing sin and calls for a turning from such; with the promise that this will bring Holy Spirit guidance and understanding.

Vs. 24-32 warn of three fearful consequences of rejecting wisdom’s call:

(1) That there is a limit beyond which the call to repentance will not be extended, Vs. 26, 28; Psalms 81:12; Genesis 6:3; Genesis 7:7; Genesis 7:10; Genesis 7:16; Proverbs 29:1.

(2) That a fearful awareness of this hopeless state will prompt belated appeals but such will receive no answer, Vs. 26, 27, 28.

(3) That fear will then overwhelm but the divine caller will only mock, Vs. 26, also Psalms 2:4.

These statements should not be construed to mean that the LORD rejoices in the doom of the rejecters. Many Scriptures affirm that He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, see Ezekiel 18:32; Ezekiel 33:11; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9. Proverbs 1:26 is expressed in the language of accommodation. Awareness by the rejecter of the eternal and unchangeable hopelessness of his doom will be as awesome and foreboding as if the LORD laughed and mocked.

Vs. 33 declares the security and assurance of those who hearken to the call of wisdom, Proverbs 3:24; Psalms 25:12-13; Psalms 112:7; Psalms 37:28; Psalms 89:28-36; Isaiah 53:3; John 5:24; John 10:27-29.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Proverbs 1". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/proverbs-1.html. 1985.