Checklist – Begins!

There’s a new topical section on Bible Study Space called “Christian Checklist” which will be updated weekly. This is based off of 2 Pet 1:5-11, and Ecc12:13. While currently being developed, the goal is for each subject to show binding commandments (New Testament) that can help guide our development as Christians. To gain a better understanding of these commandments, other commentaries and non-binding content (Old Testament) will be included for each subject.

I’m thoroughly excited for this new addition to Bible Study Space, let’s look forward to more content.
Thanks, Dan.

Commentary – Proverbs 1:4

You can find an updated commentary on proverbs 1 thus far here.

Dan


Verse Lexicon Study Interpretation
4: “To give subtlety to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.” ‘Ormah (subtlety) = The root idea is to be like a fox: cunning and crafty, calculative, showing care for the future. To be far-sighted and intelligent.
P@thiy (simple) = a type of fool. Someone who is gullible, easily persuaded by flattery, deception, or anything enticing. This person falls for lusting of the eyes/flesh, and believes gossip, slander, and false teaching. See more here.
Na’ar (young man) = specifically refers to a group of ages from infancy to adolescence.
Da’ath (knowledge) = knowledge and understanding. Contextual uses of da’ath during the Old Testament period hint at an associated mysticism, whereby da’ath refers specifically to the conscience and the soul. It is not intellect, thought, theory, word, or any other form, but rather a unique presence or state.
M@zimmah (discretion) = To purpose in one’s heart. An underlying strong/powerful belief, premeditated resolve and determination against evil intents, specifically lewdness and wickedness. See more here. An example would be Dan 1:8.
Solomon presents 2 oxymorons: a wise fool, and an insightful youth. The gullible and foolish are 2 groups of people who commonly face ridicule for their faults. Solomon specifically chooses hyperbole to emphasize the dichotomy, implying that if you read proverbs, even if you are a fool, you can become the crafty fooler; or if you are a foolish youth who lacks self-control, has a weak resolve that is tossed easily by youthful lusts (2 Tim 2:22), and has the childish innocence of inexperience, you can become strong and steadfast mentally, mature and resolved beyond your chronological age.

It is important to recognise that Solomon is not actually telling us that we will become ‘ormah if we read his book, because even though it is similar to sakal (the intelligent wisdom), it suggests a misguidance by malicious intent. Nor does he mean with na’ar that an infant will become insightful. Instead, Solomon chooses these analogies to symoblically highlight the effectiveness of his book and the power of the words within. It can breach the gap of inexperience. It can help fools become intelligent, and in continuing this hyperbole, Solomon’s advice encompasses and can address/correct many other faults.

Commentary – Proverbs 1:3

You can find an updated commentary on proverbs 1 thus far here.

Dan


Verse Lexicon Study Interpretation
3: “To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity” Sakal (wisdom) = To show prudence/thought/care for the future, having good judgement, being circumspect, and shrewd in the management of practical affairs. It is an intelligent reasoning where one considers and successfully navigates the multivariate steps needed to make a wise decision/dealing.
Tsedeq (justice) = Righteousness and justice; what is right and wrong. This word can be applied in the moral sense, and also the legal sense, both to ourselves internally with good conduct, honesty and truthfulness, and to others externally with their right to just claims like human rights and fair decision making. Tsedeq is seen in Gal 2:11-21 where Paul rebukes Peter for his hypocrisy.
Mishpat (judgement) = literally make a verdict. Based on shawfat, to govern, mishpat encompasses creating law, passing sentences and authorising punishment/forgiveness. This ruling position was originally reserved for God, see Col 3:12-14 and Heb 12:29. For more information, see here.
Meyshar (equity) = to have a smooth, peaceful arrangement, living uprightly.
Solomon here continues his hook and discusses a second type of wisdom: Sakal, which is an intelligent wisdom, as compared to the skillful wisdom of chokmah. Solomon tells us that if we read proverbs, while we may not be as intelligent, Solomon as the wisest will instruct us in the ways of righteousness to find peace through this book. He will teach us what to think about when faced with difficult situations, and how to behave to bring about God’s mishpat.

The 3 words tsedeq, mishpat, and meyshar were used commonly in the old testament to represent order: that righteous godly judgement would lead to peace (another commonly connected word is shalom or peace/harmony/restoration). What is interesting though is that Solomon prefaces this idea with sakal, that the root idea to gain peace comes from within us: it all starts with the way we approach situations; the way we consider and reason. He implicitly links sakal with tsedeq saying that we cannot be righteous, and therefore cannot judge correctly, unless we first think carefully.

Essentially, if Proverbs is Solomon’s guide to be successful, this is his guide to be street-smart.

Commentary – Proverbs 1:2

You can find an updated commentary on all of proverbs 1 thus far here.

Dan


Verse Lexicon Study Interpretation
2: “To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;” Chokmah (wisdom) = Used in the old testament to describe proficiency at physical skills: tailoring, metalwork, woodwork, engraving, etc. Proverbs however uses it metaphorically to describe life in general: skilled to live a successful life.
Muwcar (instruction) = moral discipline rather than your classroom, theoretical instruction.
Biynah (understanding) = Spiritual/godly discernment, comprehension, and righteous action. Understanding what is good and what is bad from a biblical perspective.
After the introduction, Solomon tries to hook the audience: if you read this book, you stand to gain these things: 1) be skilled and successful in life, 2) be morally and mentally disciplined, and 3) gain spiritual/godly discernment of right and wrong.

What is interesting is the combination of muwcar and biynah: moral instruction towards thinking like God. Solomon is saying that what you will learn from Proverbs isn’t something you can learn in the classroom, it’s not common sense/gut feeling/worldly reasoning/intelligence. This wisdom from God is completely unrelated to your own intelligence or education; a gift.

In that sense even if our common sense is in line with God’s will, it isn’t Biynah because we have relied on our own understanding. For example, see Prov 3:5,6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

This idea is also translated into the new testament: see 1 Pet 4:11 “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God…”. Oracles here means utterances/words, so our responsibility is to speak using God’s word, not our words, with the goal of glorifying God.

Commentary – Proverbs 1:1

Howdy!  finished my study of Proverbs 1:1, check it out here.

Dan


Verse Lexicon Study Interpretation
1: “The Proverbs of Solomon, the son of David, King of Israel.” Mashal (Proverbs) = a short story with a moral meaning and religious allegory. Exemplified in Prov 5:15, it is the summarised expounding of a person’s wisdom to describe a crossroad: the choice individuals have to do right or wrong, and the subsequent consequences of those actions. These comparisons are strictly black or white. An introduction: Solomon proclaims himself as the author of this book, describes his authority as the King while namedropping his father, David, to gain more credibility, and explained the contents of his book as his collection of wise thoughts.

A proverb is closely related to a parable. For more information, click here.