The Proverbs of Solomon (Proverbs 21)

Scripture Text:

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Proverbs 21

Questions:

1. What kind of character do you think you would most enjoy portraying in a play? Why? How are you like (or unlike) that character?

2. If this chapter were a play, what would the cast of characters look like? Who has the lead role? Does Solomon have in mind real people, or is his cast of characters largely symbolic? Symbolic of what?

3. How are the first eight verses linked thematically to one another? How are the themes of heart attitude and right behavior linked?

4. What do the images of “haughty eyes” and “lying tongue” have in common? Likewise, what is the contrast linking “watercourse” with “fleeting vapor”?

5. Knowing that kings are subject to the King of kings (verse 1), what does that say about what a subject can expect from a king and vice versa?

6. Why does the Lord regard “sacrifice” (verses 3 and 27) as unacceptable, even detestable? What does He want instead (Proverbs 15:8; Micah 6:7, 8)? What does this say about mere religious ritual or orthodox belief? Why are spiritual reality and practical justice more acceptable?

7. The pursuit of justice brings “joy” (verse 15) among other blessings (verse 21), but the direct pursuit of “pleasure” leads to poverty (verse 17)? How do you explain this paradox?

8. As for the poor, what happens when we ignore and when we heed their cry for justice and mercy (verse 13, 14, 21, 31)? Positively restated, what does this proverb and related ones suggest we do for the poor (see Proverbs 22:9, Proverbs 28:8 and Proverbs 31:9)?

9. What do verses 14, 20 and 26 add to this subject of stewardship?

10. If the proverbial types in this chapter were characters in a play, which one(s) would get your standing ovation? Why? With whom would you feel the most empathy? Why?

11. Verse 1 expresses the truth proverbially what Tiglathpileser (Isaiah 10:6, 7), Cyrus (Isaiah 41:2 -4) and Artaxerxes (Ezra 7:21) exemplify historically. Where do you see this principle in force today? How does that affect your view of those in authority, even pagan leaders? How are pagan leaders subservient to God?

12. We tend to exert authority as kings in our own right, but in reality we are subject to God’s heart-searching authority (verses 2, 30, 31; see also Proverbs 16:2; Hebrews 4:12). How have you tried to prevail against the Lord? What was the result? What victory did you experience with the Lord?

13. What does it mean for God’s people to make sacrifices with “evil intent” (verse 27; see also Isaiah 1:11 – 15 on “evil assemblies”)? What is the result to God? To us? To others?

14. (If you are studying Proverbs with a group of people) What different feelings do verses 9 and 19 arouse in the men and women in your small group? Why? Where are you living these days? Why there?

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