This chapter begins the collection of the proverbs themselves. These are short, two-line sayings that are easy to memorize and pack a punch.
This first collection of proverbs extends from 10:1 through 22:16, and we’re told that they come from King Solomon. We know it’s been carefully designed, at least as a whole: there are 375 proverbs in this section, and wouldn’t you know it, the numerical value of the word “Solomon” (שְׁלֹמֹ) in Hebrew is 375! Someone has thoughtfully curated these sayings for us to read and ponder.
Among all the proverbs in chapter 10, two themes are repeatedly highlighted: words and wealth.
There’s a strong emphasis on the power of our words and how they can create good or bring disaster. The “chattering fool” doesn’t control his mouth (8, 10) and invites ruin (14). In contrast, “the mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,” and adds value to others (11, 16, 20).
You’ll also notice that verses 2-5 speak of abundance or poverty as the long-term result of one’s behavior. “Lazy hands make for poverty,” but God loves to bless the “diligent hands” and hard work of the wise (22).
As you read the various proverbs, pay attention to how wealth is acquired or lost. Sometimes our own decisions play a key role, but other times forces beyond our control are at work. How does this lead to the fear of the Lord in how you think about your own money and possessions?