Sometimes in the book of Proverbs we feel they deal with the mundane matters but underlying them is the belief that all of life is related to God. Sometimes this is only implied but in verses 1-7 the belief is explicit. In each of these verses the Lord is named as the source or controller of people’s lives. As in verse one where man may make big plans that leave God out, still God has a way to have His word said in our lives. In the King James Version it reads that in the plans of the mind and the words of the mouth both originate with God. Then in verse 2 it seems to favor the Revised Standard Version interpretation of verse 1. Namely that man may propose but that God disposes. Man may be able to justify everything he does but it is God who weighs the inmost being of us all.
In verse 3 we are admonished to trust the Lord with our work, making Him a partner in all our plans, with the assurance that if we do He will insure our success. In this promise there is no hocus pocus. If our work is of an evil nature then we need not expect God to bless our efforts. The confidence that God is in charge of everything is expressed in verses 4. In the view of Proverbs even the wicked are part of God’s divine plan. Their purpose of existence is so that God can punish them at the proper time.
In verse 6 we see a prophetic conception of forgiveness. To have sins atoned for one must present a sacrifice of covenant love and fidelity to the Lord. There are two ways to offer a sacrifice of oneself to the Lord and are called in the King James Version “mercy and truth.” The Hebrews words for mercy and truth are two of the most important in the Old Testament. The first “loyalty,” often translated mercy, means more accurately, covenant love, or loyal love. The second word means faithfulness or fidelity. These words are often put together and their essence is a deep and abiding relationship. Covenant love keeps fidelity from becoming a form of legalism. Fidelity keeps love from becoming mere sentimentalism. If genuine atonement is a spiritual act of giving oneself to the Lord, so worship is a way of avoiding evil. (Micah 6:8)
In verse 7 if the Lord is pleased with a man He will deliver him from his enemies. In verse 8 we seen another better this than that Proverb of comparison. “Better is a little with righteousness Than great income with injustice.”
In verses 10 and 12 and 13-15 we reflect the exalted place of the king in Israel’s wisdom thought. The wise were almost certain to be in the king’s court and therefore the high regard for the king is reflected in their writings. This is not the case for the prophets, as they were not so inclined to the kingship. (1 Samuel 8:10-18; Hosea 8:4; 13:10-11) In verse 10 we see the king has the authority to speak inspired words in his decision making. The king does not sin when he is making judgment, as he speaks the whole truth. This is only if the king is a man of God and verse 12 make that clear. If the king is evil, then it is an abomination in the Lord’s sight than if he were an ordinary man. In verse 13 it is emphasized that the king should be a righteous man, and not have a knave. Verses 14-15 speaks of the king’s power. In verse 14 the king’s anger is something to be feared. And in verse 15 the king’s favor is as a refreshing rain in a dry land.
We are reminded that God is Lord of all, which include the systems of weights and measures. We are depending on the measurements, yet we mindlessly take them for granted. The world would be filed with chaos if there was no standard of measurement. This verse illustrates the wise teachers that everything is sacred. And that God is the author of all that there is.
Verse 16 is a salutation that wisdom is the highest achievement in a person’s life.
Verses 17 gives us a metaphor of a journey to describe the manner in which a person conducts their life. The road that he travels does not pass through a sinful city. The righteous man knows that to avoid sin is to stay away from sinful situations as much as possible. (Lead us not into temptation.)
Verse 18n speaks of the pitfalls of pride. Haughtiness in the Bible is an offence towards God, as it reflects that we desire something other than what God intended us to be. Verse 20 is another reference to the importance of God’s Word to the wise. Following the commands of God is the secret of prosperity and happiness.
Verses 21 and 23 are both synonymous Proverbs lauding the pleasantness and discernment as assets to the persuasiveness of one’s teaching. The teacher who packages his truths in attractive packages will more likely be heard than the one who makes no effort to be pleasant.
Verse 22 is a plain lesson to teach about wisdom and folly. The point is who the greatest loser is when one refuses to learn the lesson. Verse 26 tells us that hunger is the great motivation for one to work.
Verses 27-30 is a series of Proverbs denouncing evil men and particularly those who do their evil by malicious talk. The worthless fellow digs a hole to trap others, his speech will destroy a life as a forest fire destroys the forest. He will continually spread strive and he enjoys his malicious whisper when he destroys close friends. He delights in taking his neighbor to the dens of iniquity. He makes suggestive gestures and he whispers his lewd suggestions to another, he winks and makes provocative signs with his mouth.
In verse 31 old age is honored. Here it is presumed by the wise that the attainment of advanced years is evidence that one is righteous. It is assumed that the wicked shall die young.
In verse 33 declares that people may suppose that what happens is by the luck of the draw but the Lord makes the choice of what comes to us. “The lot is cast into the lap” refers to the practice of concealing the lots to be drawn in the fold of one’s robe from which one would draw a lot.