Meditation – The Author of the Book of Proverbs
by Isaac Overton
Proverbs 1:1 introduces this book in the following way: “The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel”. The first verse of this book reveals the author to us: Solomon, son of David, king of Israel. We have the accounts of Solomon in the books of the books of Kings and Chronicles for background. When it comes to his authorship of the Book of Proverbs, as well as that of Ecclesiastes, we find a special and lasting record of the supernatural gift of wisdom that God gave to King Solomon, who asked for wisdom from God and received a measure of wisdom unlike any other. He is the pre-eminent author of wisdom literature in the Bible.
Even with these things in mind, however, there is actually something far more important we need to consider when it comes to Solomon’s identity. Verse 1 notes that he is the “Son of David”, and that title comes with far more weight than the mere fact that King David was his father. To see the significance of this, we need to consider the promise that God made to David in 2 Samuel 7, in which he essentially wedded together the lineage of David with the greater promise of blessing to the all the nations given to Abraham at the beginnings of the nation of Israel (Gen 12:1-3). In that promise, God said to David:
“‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth... (v11) Moreover, the LORD declares to you that the LORD will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom... And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’”
In this promise, God said that he would establish an everlasting kingdom through the “Son of David”. Certainly, God blessed Solomon greatly, but it must be said that Solomon’s failure as a king was also dramatic, and even resulted in a fracturing and diminishing of the kingdom. He, it become apparent, was not the one who would fulfil this promise. Furthermore, the prophets continued to prophesy of one who would come, the promised “Son of David”. Down through the years, David’s line endured, but the longexpected son did not appear. However, when the Lord Jesus was born, of the line of David, one of his titles was “Son of David” (Mt 1:1; 21:15). It was he who would be the promised Messiah (Messiah simply meaning: “Anointed King”).
Bringing this back to the Book of Proverbs, this all has great significance, for what it shows us that as we read this book, we are not just listening to Solomon. In fact, Solomon is very much the secondary figure here. God himself is the true and ultimate author of this book (2 Tim 3:16-17), and he has revealed himself through Christ, of whom all scripture speaks (Luke 24:27). All Scripture points to Christ, and when it comes to Book of Proverbs what this means is that Solomon is the prophetic voice of Christ’s wisdom. This book reveals the wisdom of the Son of David, which is another way of saying that when we read Proverbs, it’s Christ – Son of God – who is speaking to us. In 1 Corinthians 1:24, the Apostle Paul calls Christ “the wisdom of God”. What this means is that as Proverbs takes up wisdom as it’s chief subject, it is thus an exposition of Christ’s character and likeness, prophetically declared from the mouth of Christ through Solomon. Colossians 2:3 likewise says that in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and thus, in writing Proverbs, Solomon was a prophetic mouthpiece for God.
The basic lesson for us to learn here is simply this: listen to Jesus’ voice in the book of proverbs. As we open up and study this book, this is not worldly wisdom. It is not just a series of tips for living the good life. In studying this book, we come to this book to sit at the feet of Christ, to listen as he speaks wisdom to us and reveals his mind to us. In the New Covenant we see that Christ is the heart and substance of our relationship with God, and thus with clarity we can say that Jesus Christ, the Son of David, speaks to us through this book of proverbs. Could there be any greater reason to attract our attention? Here we have the chance to sit at the feet of Christ and learn from him! Listen to Jesus’ voice in the book of proverbs. Take up and read! SDG.