Proverbs 1

1:1 The proverbs [means “to be like” or “to represent” thus to explain one thing by comparing it to another] of Solomon [cf. 1 Kings 4:32; Prov. 10:1; 25:1] son of David, king of Israel:

1:2 for attaining [gaining] wisdom [refers to the application of facts to life; cf. Prov. 2:6; Jas. 1:5] and discipline [instruction in how to live]; for understanding words of insight;

1:3 for acquiring [receiving] a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right [adherence to God’s law] and just [equitable] and fair;

1:4 for giving prudence [shrewdness] to the simple [or “inexperienced”; one who has yet to learn how to apply God’s law to life; cf. Prov. 19:7b], knowledge and discretion to the young—

1:5 let the wise listen and [as a result of listening] add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance [the ability to navigate through life]

1:6 for understanding proverbs [wise sayings] and parables [a specific form of saying that imparts wisdom], the sayings and riddles of the wise.

1:7 The fear [piety, reverence, submission] of the LORD is the beginning [starting point; the necessary prerequisite] of knowledge, but fools [a moral/spiritual rather than intellectual classification] despise wisdom and discipline.

1:8 [cf. Prov. 17:25] Listen, my son, to [note the role of parents in sharing wisdom with their children…] your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.

1:9 They [a parents advise/instructions] will be [note two symbols of success in life…] [1] a garland to grace your head and [2] a chain to adorn your neck.

1:10 [this verse states theme of verses 10-19] My son, if sinners [cf. Ps. 1:1; 1 Cor. 15:33] entice you, do not give in to them.

1:11 If they say, “Come along with us [do not underestimate the power of acceptance by a group of peers]; [a description of murdering for entertainment…] let’s lie in wait [indicates intent to commit premeditated murder] for someone’s blood, let’s [for no reason (other than entertainment)] waylay some harmless [innocent] soul;

1:12 let’s swallow them alive, like the grave [Sheol: the realm of the dead], and whole, like those who go down to the pit [the abode of the dead];

1:13 [thievery in addition to murder…] we will get all sorts of valuable things and fill our houses with plunder;

1:14 throw in your lot with us, and we will share a common purse [spoils]”—

1:15 my son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths [the life of crime described in verses 10-14];

1:16 for their feet rush into sin, they are swift to shed blood [note Prov. 6:17b-18 re: what God hates].

1:17 How useless to spread a net in full view of all the birds!

1:18 These men lie in wait for their own blood; they waylay only themselves [those who seek to destroy others will themselves be destroyed]!

1:19 Such is the end of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the lives of those who get it [cf. Obadiah 15].

1:20 Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she [wisdom personified as a woman; cf. Prov. 8:22-31] raises her voice [to get the attention of others; calling to offer insight to those who need it] in the public squares [a busy place teeming with people];

1:21 at the head of the noisy [commotion often drowns out the voice of wisdom] streets she cries out, in the gateways of the city [re: city gates cf. Deut. 22:15; Ruth 4:1; 1 Sam. 9:18; gathering place for leaders and common people] she makes her speech:

1:22 “How long will you simple ones [ignorant or foolish ones: those who are naïve and uninformed about the realities of life] love your simple ways [or ignorance]? How long will mockers [those who speak scornfully] delight in mockery and fools [refers to someone who is morally deficient] hate knowledge?

1:23 If you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out my heart to you
and made my thoughts known to you.

1:24 But since you rejected me when I called and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand,

1:25 since you ignored all my advice and would not accept my rebuke,

1:26 I in turn will laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes you—

1:27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you.

1:28 “Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me.

1:29 Since they hated knowledge [not the accumulation of information; knowledge that comes from a vital relationship with God] and [note parallel expression…] did not choose to fear [reverence] the LORD,

1:30 since they would not accept my advice [counsel] and spurned my rebuke [correction; reproof],

1:31 [a reminder that all of our choices have consequences; cf. Gal. 6:7; Col. 3:25] they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.

1:32 For the waywardness [literally “turning,” in this case a turning away from wisdom] of the simple [the inexperienced] will kill them [a reminder that the consequences of unwise actions can be deadly], and the complacency [from a root meaning “to be quiet, at ease”; sinful idleness or carefree attitude toward spiritual matters] of fools will destroy them;

1:33 but whoever listens to me [wisdom] will [note the benefits of following wisdom’s teaching…] live in safety [literally will “lie down in trust”; sleep with no worries] and be at ease, without fear of harm [danger; evil; calamity].”

Proverbs 2

2:1 My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,

2:2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding,

2:3 and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,

2:4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,

2:5 then [if we are open to and acquire God’s wisdom] you will understand [mentally and experientially] the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God [involves awareness of His nature and attributes].

2:6 For the LORD [the ultimate source of wisdom] gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

2:7 He holds victory [success; literally “wisdom”] in store for the upright, he is a shield [protection] to those whose walk is blameless,

2:8 for he guards the course of the just and protects [guards] the way of his faithful ones.

2:9 Then you will understand what is right [that which conforms to God’s moral and ethical standards] and just [cf. Amos 5:24] and fair—every good path.

2:10 For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.

2:11 Discretion [the ability to plan or act that one gains through the development of wisdom] will protect you [from destructive behavior], and understanding will guard you [from destructive behavior].

2:12 Wisdom will save [rescue; by giving you the ability to perceive perverse counsel] you from the ways of wicked men [cf. Prov. 2:13-15], from men whose words are perverse,

2:13 who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways,

2:14 who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil,

2:15 whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways.

2:16 It will save you also from the adulteress [a forbidden woman], from the wayward wife [a stranger] with her seductive words [one of the tricks used by seductive women to lure others into their sinful snare],

2:17 [an adulteress is unfaithful to her own husband and marriage vows] who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant [marriage covenant] she made before God.

2:18 For her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead.

2:19 None who go to her return or attain the paths of life.

2:20 Thus you will walk in [the path we walk determines our destination; cf. Matt. 7:13] the ways of good men and keep to the paths of the righteous.

2:21 For the upright will live in the land, and the blameless will remain in it;

2:22 but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the unfaithful will be torn from it.

Proverbs 3

Proverbs 3:1-6
3:1 My son [this expression also used in Prov. 1:8,10,15; 2:1], do not forget my teaching [Heb. “torah” or law or instruction], but keep my commands in your heart [Hebrews viewed heart as center of personality],

3:2 for they will prolong your life [by avoiding harmful behavior and dangerous circumstances] many years and bring you prosperity [well-being or peace].

3:3 Let love [kindness] and faithfulness [truth] never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.

3:4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.

3:5 Trust [to put your complete confidence in] in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding [influenced by the world, the flesh, and the devil];

3:6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:9-10
3:9 Honor [give weight or consideration to] the LORD with your wealth [e.g., tithe (Lev. 27:30-33), give to the poor (2 Cor. 8:1-2,11), support missions (Matt. 28:19-20; Phil. 4:18)], with the firstfruits of all your crops;

3:10 then [note that God rewards those who honor him with their finances; caution: this verse states a general principle rather than a specific promise] your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.

Proverbs 5

Proverbs 5:3-14
5:3 For the lips of an adulteress [literally the Hebrew means “other woman” or “strange woman”] drip honey [honey is sweet to the taste; honey attracts; sweet and flattering talk], and her speech [uses speech (not just physical attractiveness) as a tool of seduction] is smoother than oil [oil reduces abrasion];

5:4 but in the end [note disastrous consequences of immorality…] she is bitter [not sweet like honey] as gall [or wormwood, a nonpoisonous but bitter plant common in the Middle East], sharp as a double-edged sword.

5:5 Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave [Sheol: the place of the dead].

5:6 She gives no thought to the way of life [behavior]; her paths are crooked, but she knows it not.

5:7 Now then, my sons, listen [necessary for learning; cf. Prov. 1:5] to me [father concerned about the welfare of his sons]; do not turn aside from what I say.

5:8 Keep to a path far [1 Cor. 6:18a] from her [the immoral woman], do not go near the door of her house [or, do not access her webpage!],

5:9 lest you give your best strength [could refer to sexual vitality] to others and your years to one [perhaps the illicit sexual partner] who is cruel,

5:10 lest strangers [same word translated “adulteress” in verse 3] feast on your wealth [immorality can be an expensive venture and have devastating financial consequences (as in the case of divorce)] and your toil enrich another man’s house.

5:11 [the pursuit of impurity pays painful dividends] At the end [think beyond the immediate pleasures to consider the long-term consequences] of your life you will groan [anguish over a wasted life], when your flesh and body are spent [physical sin has physical results (such as sexually transmitted diseases)].

5:12 You will say [note regret over having rejected wise counsel…], “How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction!

5:13 I would not obey [heed and obey] my teachers or listen to my instructors.

5:14 I have come to the brink of utter ruin [literally “in all calamity”; financial, emotional, psychological, and legal ruin] in the midst of the whole assembly [may refer to a legal proceeding, public punishment, or to humiliation and loss of reputation].”

Proverbs 5:20-23
5:20 Why be captivated [infatuated (going astray, swerving, reeling as if intoxicated)], my son, by an adulteress? Why embrace the bosom [breast] of another man’s wife [compare advise in Prov. 5:15-19]?

5:21 For a man’s ways are in full view [we can never do anything behind God’s back] of the LORD, and he examines all his paths.

5:22 [a reminder that actions have consequences] The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast [cf. Heb. 12:1].

5:23 He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly [stupidity].

Proverbs 6

Proverbs 6:6-11
6:6 Go to the ant, you sluggard [or, slacker; someone indifferent to a task or project; cf. Prov. 24:30-34; 2 Thess. 3:10]; consider its ways and be wise!

6:7 It has no commander [or no apparent chain of command], no overseer or ruler [ants take initiative],

6:8 [ants demonstrate wisdom of planning ahead] yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest [thus preparing for winter].

6:9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard [lazy compared to the ant]? When will you get up from your sleep?

6:10 A little sleep [the mantra of the lazy: “just five more minutes”], a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—

6:11 [note two consequences of laziness] and [1] poverty will come on you like a bandit [robbing one of the benefits of work] and [2] scarcity like an armed man.

Proverbs 6:23-24
6:23 For these commands are a lamp [cf. Ps. 119:105], this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life [sexual activity outside of marriage may lead to premature death because of disease or even murder],

6:24 keeping you from the immoral woman, from the smooth tongue of the wayward wife [the Bible will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from the Bible].

Proverbs 6:27-29
6:27 [note two rhetorical questions] [1] Can a man scoop fire [associating with an immoral individual is like playing with fire] into his lap without his clothes being burned?

6:28 [2] Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?

6:29 So [just as fire endangers one physically, adultery endangers one morally and spiritually] is he who sleeps with another man’s wife; no one [those who participate in sexual sin] who touches her will go unpunished [consider some of the consequences of adultery: destruction of reputation, family life, and career; cf. Ex. 20:14 re: prohibition of adultery].

Proverbs 6:32-35
6:32 But a man who commits adultery lacks judgment [or, sense]; whoever does so destroys himself.

6:33 Blows and disgrace [possibly as a result of an altercation with an enraged husband (as in 6:34)] are his lot, and his shame [disgrace; shame lasts longer than a beating] will never be wiped away [although sexual sins can be forgiven, the consequences remain (as in the case of King David; cf. 2 Sam. 12:10-12)];

6:34 for jealousy arouses a husband’s fury, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge [on the one who committed adultery with his wife].

6:35 He will not accept any compensation; he will refuse the bribe, however great it is.

Proverbs 11

Proverbs 11:24-25
11:24 One man gives freely [literally “scatters”], yet gains even more [many rewards of giving are intangible]; another [the stingy] withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.

11:25 A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others [we should use our wealth to help others] will himself be refreshed.

Proverbs 11:28
11:28 Whoever trusts [cf. 1 Tim. 6:10] in his riches will fall [cf. Luke 16:19-31 re: the rich man and Lazarus], but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf [cf. Ps. 1:3].

Proverbs 12

Proverbs 12:4
12:4 A wife of noble character [a capable wife] is her husband’s crown [a symbol of honor], but a disgraceful wife [a wife who causes shame and lowers her husbands standing in the community] is like decay in his bones.

Proverbs 12:16
12:16 [contrast two responses to same situation…] A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent [sensible] man overlooks an insult.

Proverbs 12:18
12:18 Reckless [or rash; cf. Matt. 5:22] words pierce like a sword [we can destroy others with words], but the tongue of the wise brings healing [cf. Eph. 4:29].