“Chapter 16: Being Wise Before God”

“Chapter 16: Being Wise Before God”

Read: Proverbs 16

Chapters 10-15 contained proverbs that use contrast as a teaching tool. Here chapter 16 shifts to a comparison style model. Basically the “but, but, but” of chapter 12 is replaced with “and, and, and.” These comparison sayings often state one basic idea and go on to explore it in two ways. It’s like studying an object first with one eye shut and then again with both eyes open. You gain a new appreciation for its depth and substance.

This chapter continues to frequently use God’s personal covenant name, Yahweh. Of the 375 proverbs of Solomon (10:1-22:16) only 55 use the name Yahweh, and nearly half of those are in these two chapters (9 times in chapter 15, 11 times in chapter 16). What do you think accounts for this high concentration of God’s name?

This collection of proverbs has three main sections: Wisdom for living before Yahweh (verses 1-9), wisdom for how to behave in the presence of a king (verses 10-15), and wisdom for getting along in God’s world (16-33). These proverbs are trying to point us down the path of wisdom in three significant realms of life: God, authority, and our community.

Finally, notice the recurring theme of God’s sovereignty that’s peppered throughout, interspersed in verses 1 and 9 as well as verses 25 and 33. The underlying point is clear: “Hey, don’t forget!” the author reminds us, “People make many plans, but the final say is up to God.”

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