In these verses, Solomon develops one of the earliest Bible themes, the basic human need for companionship. In Genesis 1 and 2, Moses described God’s creation of the world, starting with the lowest forms of life and moving to the creation of “a man in God’s own image.” (Genesis 1:26). Immediately thereafter God comments about the nature of humans: “It is not good for a man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). It is a simple statement but establishes a central principle about human existence in God’s world.Read More
Throughout the Book of Proverbs, Solomon contrasts actions that are right and those that are wrong. Actions that are right are portrayed as wise: actions that are wrong are portrayed as foolish.
In ancient societies people tended to defer to the decisions of the elders. All things being equal, gray hair – that is, old age – is evidence of wisdom, goodness and virtue. There are biblical examples of people for whom that was so, but just like today, it was not always true.Read More right, wisdom, wrong
The compiler of Proverbs, King Solomon, lived in a golden era of national peace. The kingdom that he inherited from his father was experiencing the good life. After decades of war, with military and political manoeuvring, the borders of the land had been secured. The historic enemies of the people had been subdued and were being held at bay. But people will be people!
It is a great irony that times of civic tranquility do not automatically lead to peaceful life at home.Read More peace
Solomon lived in a time when lies and other forms of deception were fairly easy to discern. In small-scale societies, where most people lived in villages, and their number of acquaintances was only a couple of hundred people, deceit was hard to sustain: one could fool some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people for very long. Centuries before, Moses had warned, “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). This was a simple fact of everyday life. Solomon’s warnings against lying were frequent and loaded with assurance that lies would be discovered and liars punished.Read More deception @en
Interspersed throughout the Proverbs are a number of comments that give us a glimpse into the personal life of the writer. In these two verses Solomon reflects on the isolation – even loneliness – that a professional decision maker endures. Friendship and power do not mingle easily. The ancient adage that “for justice to be just,” it must be blind: it must not be influenced by issues of friendship, brotherhood, companionship or other kinds of self-interest.Read More friendship, justice, loyalty
In these verses Solomon is warning us of the danger of entering into agreements without considering all the potential consequences. At that time “striking hands” was a public way of sealing a transaction, much in the same way that people today “shake hands” to confirm a deal. Solomon teaches us that what used to be called a “gentleman’s agreement” is morally binding on both parties.Read More honoring promises
In these verses Solomon gives us counsel on a number of matters that have to do with friendship. Throughout the Proverbs Solomon has shown a consistently high view of friendship. In life we are thrown together with many acquaintances. We have family, neighbors, people we work with and various other companions. We can’t control all of the factors that put us in relationship with others: we can, and must, decide who to allow into that select circle of people that Solomon calls “friends.”Read More friendship, relationships