Reading these chapters, I am always struck by all the antithetical parallelisms, that is, statements of contrast: “This . . . butd/not that . . .” I would not be surprised if Solomon, as he writes, is thinking about Psalm 1 (written by his father David?), which lays out two contrasting paths: the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked. Selected proverbs from these chapters . . .
“The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked what is perverse” (10:32).
“Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent” (11:12).
“One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want” (11:25). Now, that’s an interesting observation!
“The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied” (12:4).
“A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot” (14:30).
I might be wrong (I have not actually counted), but it seems the preponderance of these proverbs have to do either with possessions or the mouth. Jesus had a lot to say about such matters as did James and others. Perhaps because these are two areas of our lives that are greatly susceptible to Satan’s temptations?
How happy are all they who hear
true Wisdom’s guiding voice;
and who her understanding make
their early, only choice.
For she has treasures greater far
than east or west unfold;
and her rewards more precious are
than all their stores of gold. –Michael Bruce (18th century)