Pattern Analysis for Proverbs 1:1-7

Pattern Analysis Handbook

Example of Insertion

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This IMPERFECT CHIASM, representing verses 1 through 7 of the first chapter of Proverbs, is widely considered to be the Prologue to that book. It provides the overall sense, purpose and design of Proverbs.

There are possibly several ways to approach these seven verses. After some deliberation I have settled on a CHIASM. The A and A′ elements correspond very well as a contrast between The Wise and The Fool. B and B′ attempt to categorize Proverbs and is again good correspondence. The INSERTION is clearly emphatic in verse 7A, and the audience is well defined in the LIST SUBSTRUCTURE.

Therefore I suggest four emphatic portions of this CHIASM:

1) A and A′ (verses 2A and 7B) CONTRAST The Wise who pursue wisdom and instruction with The Fools that do not. Briefly stated, this book is about wisdom and instruction; it contrasts the path that we chose: the way of The Wise versus that of The Fool.

2) C and C′ (verses 2B and 6) state the overall structure of this book. There are four parts to these sayings of understanding:
a) the list of many proverbs in chapters 10 to 29,
b) the figures of chapters 1 to 9 that describe the seven characters of Proverbs,
c) the riddles of chapter 30, and
d) the benefit of following wisdom in chapter 31. That last chapter contains the CONCLUDING SUMMARY for the entire book.

3) The INSERTION in verse 7A is like a two-edged sword. A person who rightfully fears the LORD will follow the path of Lady Wisdom while the one who does not follows the path of The Wicked One. The beginning of knowledge is a reference to the knowledge of God.

4) The CENTER POINT in verses 3 through 5 identify the audience for this book. All people should benefit from its instruction (verse 3); that is, the naïve, youth, wise and understanding will benefit. The wise man and the man of understanding in verse 5 are the same person.