The central theme of the book of Proverbs is getting wisdom, which Solomon describes as the principle thing (Prov. 4:7). So what is wisdom? And what is the difference between wisdom and knowledge? That is what the book of Proverbs is about.
v. 1 King Solomon was the wisest man on earth (1 Kings 4:29-30, 34). People streamed to him from all over to hear his wisdom. And out of his wisdom he spoke these Proverbs. A proverb is a pithy saying that gives you insight into the way the world works, and from this insight, exhorts you to make righteous decisions.
vv. 2-3 Solomon gives the first half of a definition for Wisdom in v.2-3. Wisdom is justice, judgment, and equity. Wisdom is not just seeing what is, but seeing what should be. It moves from is to ought. This makes it an inherently religious virtue because it is not just looking at creation, but it is looking at creation and discerning the purpose of the Creator behind it all.
vv. 4-5 One of the bizarre things about the Bible in general, but the book of Proverbs in particular, is the way that it is suited for all ages.
v. 6 The Hebrew verbs for “to speak a Proverb” is marshal. But that same verb also means “to rule, or to exercise dominion.” There is an innate connection between wisdom and ruling. Solomon was wise and everyone came to submit themselves to him. But more specifically, it is not just wisdom in general, it is the riddling of Proverbs that goes hand in hand with kings.
That is what wisdom is – it is a blessed intuition that sees not just the facts of the matter, but the bigger story, the riddle that God is telling in the lives and circumstances around you. Therefore, wisdom is also a tool for dominion. People are drawn to a wise leader.
vv. 7-9 But remember the Gospel irony, the truth that the way up will be down. Wisdom and the power to rule come first to humility, to the one ready to fear God and to sit and listen to his father and mother. Fools will kick against this. The wise man is one who stops to listen.
Wisdom is particularly attached to faithful communities. We as a congregation are blessed beyond imagination with the privilege of living and worshiping in a community like this, with a wide range of ages and experience in life, living closely together. But you will find that receiving wisdom sounds a lot better on paper than it feels in real life.