The third poetical book of the Old Testament is that of the Proverbs of Solomon, not a collection of popular sayings or a product of human speculation and observation, but a book setting forth the principles of true wisdom and making the divine truths the object of believing contemplation. The scope of the wise sayings in this book is to direct all men, but especially the believers, so to order their life and conduct as to please God and promote their welfare here on earth. And there is one outstanding feature in this book, namely, the revelation of the true Source and Fountain of wisdom, the Son of God. He who knows and accepts the Son of God, Jesus Christ, by faith, will bring his entire conduct in life in agreement with the true reverence and fear of the Lord over against the foolishness and blindness of such as despise this true wisdom, the sum of all instruction in the Word of God.
The entire book is ascribed to Solomon, although the last chapters, which were added to the collection at a later time, have as their authors Agur, the son of Jakeh, and King Lemuel. Of Solomon it is stated that he spoke three thousand proverbs, 1 Kings 4, 32. Some of these Solomonic proverbs were gathered together in our book, as the superscriptions of the various sections show: “The proverbs of Solomon, the son of David,” chap. 1, 1; “The proverbs of Solomon,” chap. 10, 1; “These are the proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah, king of Judah, copied out,” chap.25, 1.
The three superscriptions also indicate the divisions of the book. The first section, chaps. 1 to 9, inclusive, contains a description and recommendation of true wisdom, directed especially to young people. The second section, chaps. 10 to 24, is more loosely constructed, the pearls of wisdom following one another in a most telling manner. The third section, chaps. 25 to 29, contains such proverbs as were selected by a committee of prophets at the time of Hezekiah. The book closes with three additions, chap. 30, 1-33; 31, 1-9; 31, 10-31.
The practical wisdom contained in the Book of Proverbs is intended by the Lord for the instruction of all men of all times and should be heeded in this sense also by the Christians of the New Testament. It is the Lord Himself who speaks to men in these sayings, and therefore they are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that a man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished ‘into every good work, 2 Tim. 3, 15-17. 1)