New King James Version (NKJV)
The Beginning of Knowledge
1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:
2 To know wisdom and instruction,
To perceive the words of understanding,
3 To receive the instruction of wisdom,
Justice, judgment, and equity;
4 To give prudence to the simple,
To the young man knowledge and discretion
5 A wise man will hear and increase learning,
And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,
6 To understand a proverb and an enigma,
The words of the wise and their riddles.
7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
- So let’s start with (v. 2) we read “To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding,”
- The word “wisdom” Hebrew “chokmah” occurs 141 times in the Bible, and all but a few times it is translated as wisdom. “Wisdom” is distinguished from “Knowledge” wisdom has to do with character and conduct whereas knowledge is primarily intellectual.
- It seems clear that the first few verses are to tell us that this book is to teach us of wisdom.
- In (v. 4) we read “To give prudence to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion”
- The word for “prudence” is the Hebrew word “Sekel” which means insight or even good since, which we all could use. In (Gen. 3:1) this word is used to describe the serpent, but here it is meant is a positive way.
- Let’s finish with (v. 7) “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction”
- The OT has two words that are used for fool; “ewil” and “kesil” both designate a stupid person. Both are used in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes and seldom in any other book in the OT.
- So Solomon presents the contrast between those who are continually learning more and more about God and His ways, and those who turn from righteousness.
Thought of the Day
Solomon learned a great deal by experience. He put all the resources of this world to the test to see just what they would do for man. His proverbs are not, therefore, mere bits of theory, like many wise words we see; they were all wrought out in the crucible of actual experience.
Some of his words mark dangers: “Don’t turn this way!” Some of them point to the safe path: “This is the way!” Whatever he found in life he set down here for the benefit of those who would come after.
It is wonderful, too, at how many points these proverbs touch life, and how intensely practical they are. To ponder them and to follow their instruction is to live well and grandly.
It is wonderful also that while Solomon himself wandered so far from God, there is not in all his writings a single word that excuses his sins. Everywhere he points away from the wrong path and to the right.
Personal Reflection and Discussion
- What do you think (v. 3) is saying?
- What other things do you see in the text?
- Call your Partner and discuss this devotional.
- Continue to have a prayer list and continue to praying for them.
- Pray with them and ask for the following;
- For God to help us understand the book of Proverbs and receive new insights for it.
- For God to give us the wisdom of Solomon.
- For the individuals on your pray list.
- Let’s use (Isa. 35:1-2) for today’s prayer verse.
I am Seventh-day Adventist pastor in the Texas Panhandle
I love Proverbs. When I am not studying something else and just want to read the bible, I open up to Proverbs. That doesn’t mean I understand it all, far from it, but each time God opens up something new to me. Proverbs are to help us in day to day experiences. It is to help us use our commen sense and help us to stay close to God. These first verses are telling us what we will be studying. Verse 3 talks about understanding justice judgement and equity. Equity in the dictionary says justness and impartiality. I had to look that up because I wasn’t sure what it meant. Solomon asked for wisdom and God uses him to reach out to us and give us some of His wisdom. Justice should be fair. Judgement is something we should not do. Judge not lest ye be judged.
Its ok Rosi, I read from a lot of different places when I study. and I like your comments
I think you got the meaning right. We shouldnt be quick to judge, and we should treat others the way we would like to be treated. Most peole like to use that verse to tell us not to call bad bad and to let each judge himself…but the key to jugding is in the fear of the Lord. This is not talking about civil or moral calls. On the other hand a person’s salvation for instance shouldn’t be judged, or better yet prejudged. We’re told that at the end we will judge the wicked. That’s why I think this verse must be talking about prejudging. We shouldn’t prejudge a person since while they live they are still changing and have opportunity to change. The Bible says we should know them by their fruit, but that’s easier done, once it’s all ripe. We are called to make judgements; personal and civil…and the Bible goes through great lenght to teach how to rightly do that. We live in a political world, they don’t want anyone rocking the boat, people love to quote this verse. I especially feel that quote is telling us we shouldn’t judge others dammed or saved, since at this state we don’t know their heart and motives or see their future or end. A sinner this moment, may be a saint the next; and a saint now, may become a rebellious sinner later.
I have seen so many of the worst sinners turn around and become some of the strongest leaders and with that I also have seen some of the best leaders fall and become some of the worst sinners.
There is a story of two rabbis one had lost His faith and said there was no God, the other said that God would save them. As they moved closer to the entrance to the gas chamber the one without faith keep mocking the one with faith. As they entered the chamber the one rabbi that keep saying that God would save us said “there is no God” the other Rabbi entered the gas chamber with a prayer on his lips. He became a believer. Free will works both ways.
I read that “God whispers to us in our pleasures and shouts to us in our pain”
I love Proverbs! Found it such a blessing to share and teach it to my kids. What hidden beauty we find here, especially about God’s loving character. This is true knowlegde and education, pratical and yet inspiring. Compare that to the junk of an education we get today. I’m taking classed at the local college and find very unsatisfing. The why’s don’t seemed addressed enough. We’re taught math without logic, sociology without the source of order and balance and without the encourgement to judge what we see. Solomon appeals to their logic and sences; watch, think, and choose…in essence judge. Not hastily or unfairly, but with understanding. The Holy Spirit calls out to teach us through every mean possible, through every sence, through our reasoning. Satan calls us to feel and respond, and not think. “The fool inherits fools”, but the wise seeks it out like hidden treasure. God intrigies us to wisdom and knowlegde. He wants us to be thinking reasoning (judging) people even zealous. That is all part of that life and a life worth living.
.I think the search is as important as the treasure but to many times we jump to the treasure and the fool that Solomon speaks of
Meant to say: the fool inherits folly.