Proverbs 3

This passage lies in the second section of the book, found in chapters 1—9. The author, King Solomon, reigned over Israel from 971 to 931 BC. The first section of Proverbs, the preface, is found in Proverbs 1:1–7. The third section, chapters 10—22, were also written by Solomon. These proverbs were likely written by Solomon in his middle years, whereas he probably wrote Song of Songs in his early adulthood, and Ecclesiastes near the end of his life. As in the first two chapters, wisdom is stressed in Proverbs 3.
This chapter begins with another encouragement for the reader to embrace the wisdom being imparted. Solomon's reference to "my son" most likely means his actual child or children. However, it was common for teachers in that era to refer to their students using father-son terminology. Typical of wisdom literature, the remarks that follow are segments of general-case advice. Wise living doesn't guarantee a person a worry-free experience (Proverbs 3:25–26). Still, it greatly increases one's chance of success. In that common-sense way, obeying these instructions will bring comparative peace and longevity (Proverbs 3:1–4).

The book of Proverbs often uses alternating patterns. These are sometimes used to contrast positive statements with negative ones. Here, Solomon presents several cycles of instructions and benefits. These emphasize the need to submit to godly wisdom, placing God and His will first and foremost in one's life. This includes being willing to see God's discipline as a sign of love, not a reason to despair (Proverbs 3:5–12).

Solomon also wrote the book of Ecclesiastes, which describes the results of trying to attain happiness through worldly means. In this passage, the reader is encouraged to see wisdom and discretion as unimaginably more valuable than wealth and material goods. Once again, true wisdom is grounded in the character and will of God. As in other parts of Proverbs, the term wisdom implies an ability to act according to godly knowledge. Discretion is the ability to carefully consider a situation, separating right from wrong and making the judicious choice. This passage also indicates that hardship can come even to those who follow godly wisdom. Still, among the advantages of godly wisdom are a clear conscience and confidence that God will stand beside a believer, no matter what (Proverbs 3:13–26).

The chapter ends with another set of instructions. These are focused on relationships, especially with other people. Among these are commands not to delay in doing good for others, especially when such honor is expected or owed. This passage touches on the fact that the ungodly often seem to have success—but this is nothing to envy. Even those who seem to prosper in their sin will eventually be held accountable to God. Those who are arrogant and foolish will one day be humiliated and disgraced; those who submit to godly wisdom will be blessed (Proverbs 3:27–35).
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