Proverbs 1:7-9

7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools[a] despise wisdom and instruction.

Prologue: Exhortations to Embrace Wisdom

8

Warning Against the Invitation of Sinful Men

8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
9 They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.

Images for Proverbs 1:7-9

Proverbs 1:7 in Other Translations

KJV
7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
ESV
7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
NLT
7 Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
MSG
7 Start with God - the first step in learning is bowing down to God; only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning.
CSB
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 1:7-9 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO PROVERBS

This book is called, in some printed Hebrew copies, "Sepher Mishle", the Book of Proverbs; the title of it in the Vulgate Latin version is,

``the Book of Proverbs, which the Hebrews call "Misle":''

in the Septuagint version it has the name of the writer, the Proverbs of Solomon; and so in the Syriac version, with the addition of his titles,

``the son of David, king of Israel.''

This and Ecclesiastes are both of them by the Jews {a} called Books of Wisdom: and it is common with the ancient Christian writers {b} to call the book of Proverbs by the names of "Wisdom" and "Panaretos"; names they give also to the apocryphal books of Ecclesiasticus and the Wisdom of Solomon; and therefore this is to be carefully distinguished from them. The author of this book was King Solomon, as the "first" verse, which contains the inscription of it, shows; for he was not a collector of these proverbs, as Grotius is of opinion, but the author of them, at least of the far greater part; and not only the author, but the writer of them: the Jews {c} say that Hezekiah and this men wrote them; it is true indeed the men of Hezekiah copied some, Pr 25:1; but even those were written by Solomon. R. Gedaliah {d} would have it that Isaiah the prophet wrote this book; but without any foundation. At what time it was written is not certain; the Jewish writers generally say {e} it was written by Solomon, as were the books of Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs, in his old age, when near the time of his death; though some think it was written before his fall: and it may be it was not written all at once, but at certain times, when these proverbs occurred unto him and were spoken by him, and as occasion served: however, it is not to he doubted but that they were written under the inspiration of God. The Jews once thought to have made this book of Proverbs an apocryphal one, because of some seeming contradictions in it; but finding that these were capable of a reconciliation, changed their minds, as became them {f}. Among Christians, Theodore of Mopsuest, in the sixth century, denied the divine authority of this book, and attributed it merely to human wisdom; which opinion of his was condemned in the second council at Constantinople: and in later times it has been treated with contempt by the Socinians, and particularly by Father Simon and Le Clerc; but the authority of it is confirmed by the writers of the New Testament, who have cited passages out of it; see \Ro 12:20 Heb 12:5,6 2Pe 2:22\ from \Pr 25:21,22 3:11,12 26:11\. The book consists of "five" parts; "first", a preface or introduction, which takes up the first "nine" chapters; the "second", the proverbs of Solomon, put together by himself, beginning at the tenth chapter to the twenty-fifth; the "third", the proverbs of Solomon, copied by the men of Hezekiah, beginning at the twenty-fifth chapter to the thirtieth; the "fourth", the words of Agur, the thirtieth chapter, the "fifth", the instruction of Solomon's mother, Bathsheba, the thirty-first chapter.

{a} Gloss. in T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 14. 2. {b} Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 4. c. 22. 26. {c} T. Bab. Ibid. fol. 15. 1. {d} Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 55. 1. {e} Seder Olam Rabba, c. 15. p. 41. {f} T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 30. 2.

\\INTRODUCTION TO PROVERBS 1\\

After the inscription, which gives the title of the book, and describes the author by his name, descent, and dignity, Pr 1:1, follows the scope and design of it, which is to teach men wisdom and knowledge; even such as are simple and foolish, and particularly young men; nay, hereby wise men may grow wiser, and attain to an higher degree of learning, Pr 1:2-6; and the "first" doctrine taught in it is the fear of the Lord, or devotion to God; which is the beginning of knowledge, though despised by fools, Pr 1:7. The next is obedience to parents; whose instructions, attended to, are more ornamental than chains of gold, Pr 1:8,9. And then follows a dissuasive from bad company; in which the arguments made use of by wicked men to draw in others with them, and the danger of compliance, are most strongly and beautifully represented, Pr 1:10-19. When Wisdom, who is the instructor and teacher throughout the whole, is introduced as calling upon the simple and the scorners to leave their sins and turn to her, with a promise of the Spirit to them, Pr 1:20-23; but they slighting and rejecting her call, are threatened with just and irrevocable rum and destruction, Pr 1:24-32. And the chapter is closed with a promise of safety and rest to those that hearken to her, Pr 1:33.

Proverbs 1:7-9 In-Context

5 let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance—
6 for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.
7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
9 They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.
10 My son, if sinful men entice you, do not give in to them.
11 If they say, “Come along with us; let’s lie in wait for innocent blood, let’s ambush some harmless soul;

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Cross References 7

  • 1. S Exodus 20:20; S Job 23:15; Psalms 34:4-22; S Psalms 112:1; Job 28:28; Psalms 111:10; Proverbs 9:10; Proverbs 15:33; Ecclesiastes 12:13; Isaiah 33:6; Isaiah 50:10; Isaiah 59:19
  • 2. S Deuteronomy 4:6; Jeremiah 8:9
  • 3. Proverbs 8:33-36; Proverbs 9:7-9; Proverbs 12:1; Proverbs 13:18; Proverbs 15:32
  • 4. ver 8-9; Proverbs 2:1; Proverbs 3:1; Proverbs 4:1; Proverbs 5:1; Proverbs 6:1; Proverbs 7:1; Proverbs 19:27; Proverbs 22:17; Proverbs 23:26-28
  • 5. Jeremiah 35:8
  • 6. S Deuteronomy 21:18; Proverbs 6:20
  • 7. Proverbs 3:21-22; Proverbs 4:1-9

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. The Hebrew words rendered "fool" in Proverbs, and often elsewhere in the Old Testament, denote a person who is morally deficient.
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