Book 1 was a collection of poems extolling the virtues of wisdom while warning against the destructiveness of folly. In book 2 we see a clear change of style in the writing. The proverbs of 10:1 through 22:16 are almost all two line maxims assembled for the most part without any logical sequence. For this reason it is impossible to make an outline of this section of the book. This section of the book is titled the “Proverbs of Solomon” in verse 1, and generally believed to be the oldest section of the entire book. Solomon is considered to be the patron of Old Testament wisdom, these proverbs likely originated in his time. Most of the proverbs of Prat 2 are two lines antithetical observations, the two lines connected by a conjunction. The very first proverb in the collection, 10:1, is a classic example. It emphasizes the prime place of the home teaching of the children, and also contrast the gladness brought on by a wise son with the heartbreak that comes from having a foolish one. This maxim reminds us that there is no success a parent can enjoy that will compensate for the grief of failing with one child.
In verse 2 we see a reflection of the Proverbs that right living pays off, as wickedness, though it may seem to be prosperous but actually is not profitable. In verse three we see the same reward-retribution theme, arguing that the Lord will take care of the righteous but will block cravings if the wicked, God will always be found on the side of the upright. The promise of the Lord will not let the righteous go hungry would be difficult for one who is starving. Again in verse four we see the same prudential view of life, as it is claimed that poverty is the result of a “slack hand,” or laziness, while wealth is the result of diligence. One would want to say that there is a connection between these causes and effects, but it would be an error to absolute the claim. Verse 5 reinforces the teaching that if one works hard he will prosper but if one sleeps in the harvest that one would bring shame upon his family.
Every kind of argument is made for the workability of life to the advantage of the wise and righteous, God will work everything out for those who by their wisdom and righteousness prove their worthiness of His confidence. The consequences of wickedness continue even after death, although Proverbs has no conception that life continues beyond the grave. The consequences, are stated in verse 7, are that the memory of the righteous will live on after him, while the wicked will rot and decay and disappear.
The winking of the eye is a figure to describe malicious discerption. It is the picture of a conniving fellow lying to you while assuring you that he is giving you the true story. Avoid such a person. Verse 12 should be engraved on stone tablets and placed at the center of the table wherever heads of state meet to discuss problems. “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions.” Love overlooks the faults of others. Read 1 Corinthians 13.
Verse 15 again shows the commitment of Proverbs to the doctrine that wealth is the blessing of the righteous and poverty is a curse. It makes the observation that in most cases is true. There are many advantages to having wealth and many hazards to not having it. We may talk self-righteously about honest money but the poor know that it is not all that much a blessing.
Verse 16 is concerning the wages of the ri8ghterous and the gain of the wicked, is a good reminder of Romans 6:23. This make one wonder if Paul had this verse in mind when he wrote this Scripture.
Verse 18 stands out as a collection and is seen as not authentic, but is seen as synthetic or progressive. It basically says that if you hate and pretend that you do not, you have lying lips, and that if you slander another you are a fool. But in either case telling the truth would be the best option. Verse 19 is about speaking. It says that a lot of talk is probably an attempt to cover up wrong doing.
In verse 21 we are told that the righteous person is a source of sustenance for the many while the fool cannot even care for himself. We can see an old adage in verse 23 which is “different strokes for different folks.” We are told here that the sport of fools is to do wrong. The fool enjoys trying to get away with something. In contrast it is the righteous that enjoys doing the right thing. In the next verse 24 we have the consequences of bad behavior emphasized. This is highlighted by the words “dread” and “desire.” Each person will get what they deserve from what they have done.
We find a humorous note in verse 26. As irritating vinegar is to ones teeth and smoke to the eyes, is a last person to those who are trying to get some work from him. In the remaining verses of this chapter the basic teaching of Proverbs is reinforced. Which is that righteousness or wisdom will bring forth the Lord’s blessing. Wickedness and folly will produce destruction. Proverbs is sure footed about the reward for goodness and the punishment of evil.