In this chapter we find an interesting design. “The LORD” appears in the opening 3 verses and the closing 2 verses, like literary bookends. Set in between these two sections is the topic of justice. This specific arrangement reminds us that God is the beginning and the end— evil can do its worst, but righteousness will prevail.
Verses 9 and 19 are both about a wife that is difficult to get along with. At first they seem kind of random and out of place, but when we view them in light of the rest of the chapter’s main themes, they serve a functional role in the design of the chapter. These verses serve as organizational markers that break up the 3 sections (verses 4-8, 10-18, 20-29).
Bruce Waltke, in his commentary on Proverbs, outlines the chapter this way:
- Verses 1-3 The LORD’s Sovereign Wisdom
- Verses 4-8 The defeat of the wicked
- Verse 9 The difficult wife
- Verses 10-18 The triumph of the righteous over them
- Verse 19 The difficult wife
- Verses 20-29 The lasting gratification of the righteous
- Verses 30-31 The LORD’s Sovereign Wisdom
The main idea is that the wicked will get what’s coming to them, but as verse 15 reminds us, “when justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous.” God’s justice is a good thing, but it’s also sobering and should motivate us to pursue faith and wisdom.