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To give subtlety to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.
A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

1:1 proverbs. The word “proverb” (Hebrew mashal) is also frequently translated “parable.” Its basic meaning is “pithy maxim,” also suggesting special insight and authority.

1:1 of Solomon. The sense here may be “proverbs for Solomon”—that is, prepared specifically for him, perhaps by his father David. This contrasts with Proverbs 10:1—“proverbs of Solomon”—that is, proverbs either written or collected by him.

1:2 wisdom. The great theme of Proverbs is to know the true “wisdom.” The word itself occurs more in Proverbs than in any other book of the Bible. The same is true of the words “instruction” and “understanding” (Proverbs 1:2), “knowledge” and “discretion” (Proverbs 1:4), “learning” and “wise counsels” (Proverbs 1:5).

1:3 the instruction of wisdom. Seven mental attributes are mentioned in Proverbs 1:3-5. The Biblical meaning of these can be summarized roughly as follows:

(1) “Knowledge” (synonymous with “science”): awareness of facts.

(2) “Understanding:” comprehension of meaning and inter-relationships of facts.

(3) “Instruction” (same as “correction”): reception of knowledge and understanding.

(4) “Discretion” (i.e., “thought”): ingenuity in planning use of facts.

(5) “Learning:” absorption and retention of facts and their use.

(6) “Wisdom:” character; ability to use one’s knowledge and understanding effectively in one’s own life and in dealing with others.

(7) “Wise counsels:” ability to convey wisdom to others; good advice.

1:6 interpretation. This is not the usual word for “interpretation.” It is used elsewhere only in Habakkuk 2:6, where it is translated “taunting,” or “satirical.” This suggests that Proverbs may have sharp, sometimes sarcastic, implications in order to make a point more effectively. Proverbs may even take the form of “dark sayings”—that is, “conundrums.”

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