Old Testament Lesson 31: ''Happy Is the Man That Findeth Wisdom''

"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man" (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I feel a need to say once again that it is not my intent to show you a better or even a different way to teach these lessons. The manual is the product of inspiration, correlation, and prophets. The lessons as prepared and presented there are the expression of the Church with regard to teaching these materials. I have a quiet but continuous fear that these lessons I am writing will pull some of you away from the place you ought to be.

Please spare me that condemnation. If these musings show you undiscovered insights in the scripture blocks covered in each lesson, I will be delighted. If they assist you in understanding the doctrine and the word, I will be content. If they cause you who are teaching to set aside correlated materials to teach something else, I will be devastated.

Introduction
This is what the Bible Dictionary says about Proverbs:

The Heb. word rendered proverb is mashal, a similitude or parable, but the book contains many maxims and sayings not properly so called, and also connected poems of considerable length. There is much in it that does not rise above the plane of worldly wisdom, but throughout it is taken for granted that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (1:7; 9:10). The least spiritual of the Proverbs are valuable as reminding us that the voice of Divine Inspiration does not disdain to utter homely truths. The first section, chs. 1-9, is the most poetic and contains an exposition of true wisdom. Chs. 10-24 contain a collection of proverbs and sentences about the right and wrong ways of living. Chs. 25-29 contain the proverbs of Solomon that the men of Hezekiah, king of Judah , copied out. Chs. 30 and 31 contain the "burden" of Agur and Lemuel, the latter including a picture of the ideal wife, arranged in acrostic form. The book is frequently quoted in the N.T., the use of ch. 3 being specially noteworthy.

The Proverbs are wonderful! They are rather like scriptural bumper stickers. I have often invited classes to rewrite them in more modern English on horizontal half sheets of cardstock and have then covered the walls of my classroom with them. Unlike some parts of the Old Testament, these gems are almost always clear and therefore penetrating. And almost all of them bridge the gap between ancient and modern Israel.

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