Wisdom Wednesday: Finding Wisdom in the School House and Rest Home

Wisdom Wednesday :Finding Wisdom in the School House and Rest Home

Submitted by Debbie’s Dad

“Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom.

And in all your getting, get understanding.” (Prov. 4:7 NKJV)

Two Old Testament wisdom books provide wisdom from two contrasting perspectives of life. The Book of Proverbs addresses the young person and looks forward to life; it focuses on the issue of “‘How to live?’ This perspective can be compared to the Book of Ecclesiastes, which is an old person looking back on life and focuses on the issues of “Why?”. If Proverbs is the view of life from the “school room” window, then Ecclesiastes is the view from the “rest home” window. Both books, written by Solomon, look out of the window and ponder life.

Envision Solomon, the middle-aged teacher, pointing out of the window and instructing young people to think about the people they see, and then picture Solomon as a weary old man looking out of the window and reflecting on his life. Consider the contrasts and complimentary views in these two books:

Perspective on life:

  • Proverbs: Looking forward to Adult Life Warning: Instruction.
  • Ecclesiastes: Looking Backward on Adult Life Warning: Introspection.

 Objective of the Book:

  • Proverbs: “ … for attaining wisdom and discipline: for understanding words of insight: for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair: for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young Proverbs 1:2-4.
  • Ecclesiastes: … to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on men! Eccles. 1:13.

Conclusion of the Book

  • Proverbs: To Gain Wisdom “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”. Proverbs 1:7.
  • Ecclesiastes: To Fear God “Now all has been heard: here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. Eccles. 12:13.

Tone of the Book

  • Proverbs: Serious; hopeful in God.
  • Ecclesiastes: Somber; Hopelessness (futility) apart from God.

Emphasis of the Inquiry

  • Proverbs: In Youth, the Question is: How to Live.
  • Ecclesiastes: In Maturity, the Question is: Why to Live.

The description of the view of the Wise person:

  • Proverbs: Fear God, Gain Wisdom “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” Proverbs 1:7.
  • Ecclesiastes: Fear God, Consider Judgment “Fear God and keep his commandments … For God will bring every deed into judgment.” Eccles. 12:13-14.

The description of the view of the Foolish person:

  • Proverbs: They despise instruction; reject God. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction. Prov. 1:7; . … “The fool says in his heart, there is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.” Psalm 14:1 cf.: 53:1.
  • Ecclesiastes: There is no Purpose … “What advantage has a wise man over a fool? … This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” Eccles. 6:8-9.


These books provide deep reflection on life from two perspectives, yet both recognize the need for a reverent fear of God, the wisdom of God and obedience to Him.

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