Proverbs 1-4 (The Daily Walk Bible).

Here’s a mini synopsis of the first 4 chapters of Proverbs:

Wisdom is essential.

Your elders can help you become wise.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

There’s a lot of other good stuff in there, but these main ideas will serve us well as we go through the rest of the book.

From John Kitchen’s commentary on Proverbs (because I think it’s important):

“Understanding Proverbs requires appreciating the nature of Hebrew parallelism and the purposes for which it is employed. Though some proverbs have three lines (e.g. Prov. 1:27; 6:13; 19:7; 27:10; 30:20), a few have four (e.g. 30:14, 15, 17, 19), and one has six (30:4), the standard form of the Hebrew proverb is two lines. These two lines are designed to stand in some kind of parallel relationship with one another, in order to achieve a desired affect.

Several kinds of poetic parallelism are employed in Proverbs. Antithetical parallelism sets the two lines in contrast to one another. The contrast is intended to make a point by moving the reader to reflect on the differences. Proverbs 10:7 is an example: ‘The memory of the righteous is blessed, But the name of the wicked will rot.’ Consider also Proverbs 12:27: ‘A slothful man does not roast his prey, But the precious possession of a man is diligence.’ This is the most common type of parallelism in Proverbs and it dominates the scene in Proverbs 10–15.

Synonymous parallelism takes the lesson of the first line and restates it in only slightly different words in the second. The restatement aims at impressing the observation more powerfully upon the mind of the reader. An example is Proverbs 18:7: ‘A fool’s mouth is his ruin, And his lips are the snare of his soul.’ Another is Proverbs 17:4: ‘An evildoer listens to wicked lips, A liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.’

Synthetic parallelism uses the second line to amplify or expand upon the lesson of the first: ‘The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, And adds persuasiveness to his lips’ (Prov. 16:23). Also: ‘A man lacking in sense pledges, And becomes surety in the presence of his neighbor’ (Prov. 17:18). In addition, the ‘how much more’ proverbs fit here (Prov. 11:31; 15:11; 19:7; 21:27). This form of parallelism is most common in Proverbs 16:1–22:16.

Emblematic parallelism employs a simile or metaphor in one line to cast light upon the other: ‘Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, So is the lazy one to those who send him’ (Prov. 10:26). Or: ‘Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest Is a faithful messenger to those who send him, For he refreshes the soul of his masters’ (Prov. 25:13). Such proverbs bring us nearest to the root meaning of the word (‘to be like’; see in ‘Proverbs within the context of Hebrew poetic literature’). The goal is to move the reader to meditate on the similarities of the two subjects.

Formal parallelism generally appears to be a full sentence merely expressed in two lines. The ‘better than’ proverbs fit this description, such as ‘Better is a little with righteousness Than great income with injustice’ (Prov. 16:8; cf. 12:9; 15:16, 17; 16:16, 19, 32; 17:1; 19:1; 21:9, 19; 25:7, 24; 27:5; 28:6).”

One thought on “Devotional Reading for July 1, 2021

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