A proverb is defined as “a short popular saying that expresses effectively some commonplace truth or useful thought” (dictionary.com). As its name reflects, the Book of Proverbs is a collection of just such thought-provoking statements, which are attributed to “the wisest of all men,” King Solomon and King Hezekiah and his circle.

After a brief introduction in which Solomon declares his reasons for composing the book (That the wise man may hear, and increase in learning, and the man of understanding may attain unto wise counsels – 1:5), Proverbs’ most defining statement is written: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but the foolish despise wisdom and discipline” (1:7).

The Book of Proverbs has several distinct sections. The first several chapters of the Book of Proverbs appear to be the advice of a father to his son, or a grown man to a youth, much of the second half is written in the form of contrasting descriptions such as: “A wise son makes a glad father; but a foolish son is the grief of his mother” (10:1), “A false balance is an abomination to God; but a perfect weight is His delight” (11:1), and “A soft answer turns away wrath; but a grievous word stirs up anger” (15:1). The most famous section of the Book of Proverbs  is comprised of the final 21 verses, which are known Aishet Chayil, and extol the virtues of the Woman of Valor.

The Book of Proverbs was included in the Biblical canon as one of the works of Writings (Ketuvim). As such, it is considered a non-prophetic book of wisdom that has important life-lessons  to offer every generation.

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