Proverbs 1 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Proverbs 1)

Verse 2

[2] To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;

To know — Written to help men to know throughly and practically. Both human wisdom to conduct our affairs in this life, and Divine wisdom.

Instruction — The instructions delivered either by God, or men, in order to the attainment of wisdom.

To perceive — Which teach a man true understanding.

Verse 3

[3] To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;

To receive — Willing to receive the counsels of others. Such as makes men wise and prudent, and to teach just judgments or equity.

Verse 4

[4] To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.

Simple — Such as want wisdom.

Young man — Who wants both experience and self-government.

Verse 5

[5] A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:

Will hear — Is willing to learn.

Attain to — The art of governing himself or others.

Verse 7

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

The fear — Reverence and obedience to God.

Beginning — The foundation without which all other knowledge is vain.

Fools — That is, wicked men, are so far from attaining true wisdom, that they despise it, and all the means of getting it.

Verse 8

[8] My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:

My son — He speaks to his scholars with paternal authority and affection.

Of thy mother — Those pious instructions, which thy mother instilled into thee in thy tender years.

Verse 17

[17] Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.

In vain — The fowler who spreads, his net in the sight of the bird looseth his labour. But these, are more foolish than the silly birds, and though they are not ignorant of the mischief which these evil courses will bring upon themselves, yet they will not take warning.

Verse 18

[18] And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives.

Their own blood — The destruction which they design to others, fall upon themselves.

Verse 19

[19] So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.

Greedy — That seeks gain by wicked practices.

Verse 20

[20] Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets:

Wisdom — Having expressed the counsels of wicked men, he now declares the voice of wisdom. By wisdom he understands the wisdom of God revealed to men in his word. And this is said to cry with a loud voice, to intimate God's earnestness in inviting sinners to repentance.

Abroad — Or, in the streets or open places. Not in corners, but openly before all the world.

Verse 21

[21] She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying,

Gates — Where magistrates sit in judgment, and people are assembled.

The city — Not only in the gate, but in every part of the city.

Verse 22

[22] How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?

Scoffers — That scoff at religion and contemn the word and faithful ministers of God.

Verse 23

[23] Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.

My words — By my spirit I will cause you to understand my word.

Verse 24

[24] Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;

Called — By my ministers, by my judgments, and by the motions of my spirit and your own conscience.

Verse 26

[26] I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;

Your fear — The misery you do or should fear.

Verse 28

[28] Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:

Early — With diligence and fervency.

Verse 29

[29] For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:

Knowledge — The practical knowledge of God and of their duty.

Verse 31

[31] Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.

Eat — They should receive punishment answerable to their sins.

Filled — With the fruits of them.

Verse 32

[32] For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.

Turning — From God.

Destroy — Shall prove the occasion of their ruin, by making them presumptuous, and secure.