“Why should I read this book?” is what’s on my mind any time a friend recommends a book to me. I’m busy enough already, and I hear more recommendations than I know what to do with. Solomon knows my pain. He cares, and right up front he gives us reason to care about his book. In the next few Proverbs posts we’ll examine Solomon’s four purposes for writing Proverbs, and along the way we’ll piece together a definition of wisdom from each building block. As we progress, we’ll see why we should care about wisdom as much as Solomon does.
To begin with, observe the five-fold repetition of the word “to” in Prov 1:2-7. Solomon completes his sentence from the first verse: “The proverbs of Solomon … (are) to know wisdom (Prov 1:2), to understand words of insight (Prov 1:2), to receive instruction (Prov 1:3), to give prudence (Prov 1:4-5), and to understand a proverb (Prov 1:6).” By means of these “to” phrases, Solomon lists his reasons for writing.