Lesson 2 of 5
In Progress

Outline of Proverbs

1. Title (Proverbs 1:1)

As is often the case with biblical books, the first sentence stands as the title for the entire book (see also Ecclesiastes 1:1; Song of Solomon 1:1; Isaiah 1:1).

2. Instructional Essays (Proverbs 1:2-9:18)

The thematic statement, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,” frames this opening section (1:7; 9:10). The purpose of the book is stated in 1:2-7. Dominated by imperative verbs, 1:8-9:18 takes the form of instruction.

3. Proverbs Associated with Solomon (Proverbs 10:1-22:16)

This segment consists mainly of short sayings or “proverbs” dealing with a variety of topics. Such sayings are characterized by shortness, sense, and salt.

4. Words of the Wise (Proverbs 22:17-24:22)

A good many of the sayings in this section have parallels in the Egyptian wisdom collection, The Wisdom of Amenemope.

5. More Words from the Wise (Proverbs 24:23-34)

Noteworthy in this short collection of sayings is the use of the “autobiographical stylization” form in 24:30-34.

6. Proverbs of Solomon Collected by Hezekiah’s People (Proverbs 25:1-29:27)

Here is a collection of miscellaneous sayings gathered at the time of Solomon (about 961-922 B.C.E.), then preserved in the royal libraries and passed on with expansions and annotations at the time of Hezekiah (about 715-687 B.C.E.)

7. Words of Agur (Proverbs 30:1-33)

The identity of Agur is not known; of interest in this section is the series of numerical sayings in verses 7-9, 15-16, 18-19, 21-23, 24-28, 29-31.

8. Words of King Lemuel (Proverbs 31:1-9) and the ABCs of a Capable Wife (Proverbs 31:10-31)

The identity of this king is not known. In the original Hebrew, each of the verses in 10-31 begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet, for ease in memorization.