7. There are five parts to the book: I. The Preface of the book, wherein the foundation of all virtues, wisdom and the true knowledge of the true God, is explained (Proverbs 1-9). II. The Proverbs of Solomon, written with his own hand, as it appears (Proverbs 10-24). III. The Proverbs of Solomon, gathered by the men of Hezekiah, King of Judah (Proverbs 25-29). IV. Proverbs written under the name of Agur (Proverbs 30). V. The Proverbs of Lemuel, suggested by his mother (Proverbs 31). A Synoptic Table of the book, and its Interpreters, ancient, Reformed, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Hebrew.
Now, although a certain order in the Proverbs, in which we see a great many things written indiscriminately, as each was offering itself, was not observed: nevertheless, it is able commodiously to be disposed of according to the distinct inscriptions, in five parts, the Preface, the Proverbs, both those written by Solomon with his own hand, as it appears, and those joined by the Men of Hezekiah, those by Agur, and finally those composed by the mother of Solomon.
I. The Preface of the book, in which the foundation of all virtues, Wisdom and the true knowledge of the true God, and other things are set forth, Chapters 1-9. See:
1. The title and sum of the Preface, in which he shows the scope/end of the book (verses 1-6), and declares that true Wisdom is situated in the fear of God (verse 7): chapter 1:1-7.
2. The treatment, in which Solomon exhorts:
a. To obedience towards superiors (verses 8, 9), avoidance of bad company (verses 10-19), repentance (verses 20-23), with punishment denounced against the refractory, and a reward promised to the obedient (verses 24-33): chapter 1:8-33.
b. To the study of wisdom, of the reverence of God, of sanctification (verses 1-9), with the various advantages and fruits of the same enumerated (verses 10-22): chapter 2.
c. To faith, reverence, humility towards God, promotion of Divine worship according to our means (verses 1-10), patience (verses 11, 12), the study of wisdom (verses 13-26), beneficence towards one’s neighbor (verses 27, 28), candor (verse 29), concord (verse 30), avoiding envy (verse 31-35): chapter 3.
d. To the study of wisdom (verses 1-13), avoidance of the impious (verses 14-19), the observance of his admonitions (verses 20-22), integrity of heart (verse 23), of mouth (verse 24), of the eyes (verse 25), of the feet (verses 26, 27): chapter 4.
e. To flight from an harlot (verses 1-14), the legitimate use of marriage (verses 15-19), avoidance of the strange woman on account of the knowledge and judgments of God (verses 20-22): chapter 5.
f. To the avoidance of rash suretyship (verses 1-5), of sloth, with the example of the ant brought in (verses 6-8), and the shame of long lasting sleep (verses 9, 10), and the loss of sudden poverty (verse 11), of dishonesty (verses 12-15), of seven vices hated by God (verses 16-19); to obedience towards the precepts of parents (verses 20-23), especially towards their admonitions concerning fleeing from the harlot and adulteress (verses 24-35): chapter 6.
g. To the pursuit of Wisdom, so that it might free us from the allurements of pleasures (verses 1-5), where an experience alleged traces out the misery of those that serve the lusts of the flesh, their lot, and their sad end (verses 6-27): chapter 7.
h. To the love of the eternal Wisdom of God, which, inviting all men to herself, sets forth her nature, most powerful and beneficent to those trusting in her, and confirms this from her eternal essence and works (verses 1-31); and he again excites to the love and pursuit of her (verses 32-36): chapter 8.
i. To the love of the same eternal Wisdom, where in a parable her house and feast, unto which the simple are invited, are described (verses 1-5); mockers and profane men are kept from it (verses 6-9); the fear and knowledge of God is commended (verses 10-12); finally, the dangerous seduction of the foolish adulteress is depicted (verses 13-18): chapter 9.
II. The Proverbs of Solomon, written with his own hand, as it appears, Chapters 10-24.
Where incredibly lovely proverbs concerning various duties towards God and men are set forth en bloc, as it were, and without any certain order: and there are almost as many arguments as verses, so that it would be an unnecessary labor to try to reduce them by a fixed analysis to certain general arguments: chapters 10-24.
III. The Proverbs of Solomon, gathered by the men of Hezekiah, King of Judah, Chapters 25-29.
It would be little conducive to memory, for the strengthening of which we labor here, for them to be distinguished by their arguments: chapters 25-29.
IV. Proverbs written under the name of Agur, who himself also appears to be Solomon, Chapter 30.
V. Proverbs furnished under the name of Lemuel, or Solomon, by his mather, Chapter 31.
In which Solomon is commanded to beware of women and wine, and diligently to foster righteousness (verses 1-9); and is instructed to seek from God a good woman, whose praise is vividly illustrated (verses 10-31): chapter 31.