The initial collection of Solomon’s proverbs (chapters 1-9) centers on verse groupings of ancient Hebrew poetic wise sayings which make a complete message. Here it’s 4:3-9.
This one’s addressed to Solomon’s “sons,” not the usual “son.” Understanding this was a common technique of ancient Near Eastern wisdom literature, I still like to think of it in terms of biological sons – guy talk.
Of course Solomon had a number of wives and numerous sons – which eventually got him in big trouble (1 Kings 11:1-15). Here he tells his sons to listen carefully to what he is saying, and then recounts for them the same things his father, King David, told him (:4-9).
The focus of David’s words to Solomon, and Solomon’s words to his sons, is to go after wisdom with all our power and ability. This father-to-son talk addresses wisdom as a good woman. Treat “Lady Wisdom” like you would treat a good woman.
Do not forsake her, love her (:7); esteem her, embrace her (:8) – and she will absolutely take care of you. Wisdom will protect and watch over you (:6); exalt and honor you (:8); provide you a garland of grace and a crown of splendor (:9).
Wisdom is “seeing life from God’s point of view,” the key character quality in Proverbs and is generally pictured in the feminine. If the book was written from mother to daughter, she might have spoken of wisdom as a good man.
At HUM, to keep the focus on the spiritual character qualities of wisdom, I suggest to guys in class that they think of “Lady Wisdom” as a kindly, generous, old grandmother. The focus is spiritual and not sexual!
Seeing life from God’s point of view is life changing stuff. Wisdom is available to any and all who are interested.