Jehovah’s Word Is Alive
Highlights From the Book of Proverbs
1 KING SOLOMON of ancient Israel “could speak three thousand proverbs.” (1 Kings 4:32) Do we have access to his wise sayings? Yes, we do. The Bible book of Proverbs, completed about 717 B.C.E., records many of Solomon’s proverbs. Only the last two chapters are attributed to other writers
2 The inspired sayings collected in the book of Proverbs have a twofold purpose
‘ACQUIRE WISDOM AND TAKE HOLD OF DISCIPLINE’
3 “True wisdom itself keeps crying aloud in the very street,” says Solomon. (Proverbs 1:20) Why should we listen to its loud and clear voice? Chapter 2 cites many benefits of acquiring wisdom. How to seek intimacy with Jehovah is discussed in chapter 3. Solomon then says: “Wisdom is the prime thing. Acquire wisdom; and with all that you acquire, acquire understanding. Take hold on discipline; do not let go.”
4 What will help us to resist the immoral ways of the world? The 5th chapter of Proverbs answers: Exercise thinking ability, and recognize the seductive ways of the world. Consider, too, the high price of committing immorality. The following chapter warns against practices and attitudes that jeopardize our relationship with Jehovah. The 7th chapter provides an invaluable exposé of how an immoral person operates. In chapter 8, the value and appeal of wisdom is presented in a fascinating way. The 9th chapter, a stimulating conclusion to the proverbs discussed up to that point, is presented as an exciting illustration that motivates us to pursue wisdom.
Scriptural Questions Answered:
5 1:7; 9:10
6 7:1, 2
Lessons for Us:
9 1:10-14. We should guard against being lured into the bad ways of sinners by their promises of riches.
10 3:3. We should highly value loving-kindness and trueness and visibly display them as we would a priceless necklace. We also need to inscribe these qualities on our heart, making them an integral part of us.
11 4:18. Spiritual knowledge is progressive. To remain in the light, we must continue to manifest humility and meekness.
12 5:8. We ought to keep far away from all immoral influences, whether they come through music, entertainment, the Internet, or books and magazines.
13 5:21. Would a lover of Jehovah exchange his good relationship with the true God for a few moments of pleasure? Of course not! The strongest incentive for maintaining moral purity is the awareness that Jehovah sees our ways and holds us accountable.
14 6:1-5. In these verses, what fine advice we have against ‘going surety,’ or making an unwise financial commitment, in behalf of others! If, upon closer scrutiny, the action we have taken seems unwise, without delay we should ‘storm our fellowman’ with persistent requests and do all we can to set matters straight.
15 6:16-19. Herein are seven basic categories involving almost every type of wrongdoing. We should develop a hatred of them.
16 6:20-24. A Scriptural upbringing can protect one from getting caught in the trap of sexual immorality. Parents should not be negligent about providing such training.
17 7:4. We should develop an affection for wisdom and understanding.
INDIVIDUAL PROVERBS TO GUIDE US
18 The remainder of Solomon’s proverbs are concise individual sayings. Presented mainly as contrasts, parallels, and comparisons, they convey powerful lessons in conduct, speech, and attitude.
19 Chapters 10 through 24 emphasize the value of the reverential fear of Jehovah. The proverbs in chapters 25 through 29 were transcribed by “the men of Hezekiah the king of Judah.” (Proverbs 25:1) These proverbs teach dependence on Jehovah and other vital lessons.
Scriptural Questions Answered:
Lessons for Us:
23 10:11-14. For our words to be upbuilding, our mind should be filled with accurate knowledge, our heart ought to be motivated by love, and wisdom should dictate what comes out of our mouth.
24 10:19; 12:18; 13:3; 15:28; 17:28. May our words be few and thoughtful.
25 11:1; 16:11; 20:10, 23. Jehovah wants us to be honest in our business dealings.
26 11:4. It is foolish to pursue material wealth at the expense of personal Bible study, meeting attendance, prayer, and the field ministry.
27 13:4. To be “desirous” of a position of responsibility in the congregation or of life in the new world is in itself not enough. We must also be industrious and put forth diligent effort to meet the requirements.
28 13:24; 29:15, 21. A loving parent does not pamper his child or overlook his faults. Rather, a father or a mother takes corrective measures to root out such faults before they become deeply ingrained.
29 14:10. Since our innermost feelings can neither be precisely expressed at all times nor be always understood by onlookers, the emotional comfort that others can offer has its limitations. We may have to endure some difficulties by relying solely on Jehovah.
30 15:7. We should not pour out everything we know to a person all at once, just as a farmer does not pour out all his seeds in one location. The wise one scatters his knowledge a little at a time as the need may be.
31 15:15; 18:14. Maintaining a positive mental outlook will help us to find joy, even under distressing circumstances.
32 17:24. Unlike “the stupid one,” whose eyes and mind wander instead of being focused on important matters, we should seek understanding so that we can act in wisdom.
33 23:6-8. We should be on guard against a hypocritical display of hospitality.
34 27:21. Praise can show us up for who we are. Humility is revealed if the praise moves us to acknowledge our indebtedness to Jehovah and encourages us to continue to serve him. A lack of humility is disclosed when praise fosters a feeling of superiority.
35 27:23-27. Using a pastoral setting, these proverbs emphasize the value of finding contentment in a simple life resulting from diligent work. They should especially impress on us the need to depend on God. *
36 28:5. If we ‘seek Jehovah’ through prayer and a study of his Word, we “can understand everything” needed to serve him acceptably.
37 The Bible book of Proverbs concludes with two ‘weighty messages.’ (Proverbs 30:1; 31:1) By means of thought-provoking comparisons, the message of Agur illustrates the insatiableness of greed, and it shows how undetectable the persuasive ways of a seducer are with a maiden. * It also warns against self-exaltation and angry speech.
38 The weighty message that Lemuel received from his mother contains sound advice about the use of wine and intoxicating liquor as well as about judging in righteousness. The description of a good wife ends with the statement: “Give her of the fruitage of her hands, and let her works praise her.”
39 Gain wisdom, accept discipline, cultivate godly fear, rely upon Jehovah. What valuable lessons the inspired proverbs teach! By all means, let us apply their advice and thus experience the happiness of “the man in fear of Jehovah.”
^ par. 35 See The Watchtower of August 1, 1991, page 31.
^ par. 37 See The Watchtower of July 1, 1992, page 31.
[Pictures on page 16]
Jehovah is the Source of all true knowledge
[Picture on page 18]
What does it mean to ‘scatter knowledge about’?