A proverb is a short pithy saying in general use, stating a general truth or piece of advice. Some synonyms are: saying, adage, maxim, axiom, motto, precept; words of wisdom.
King Solomon collected these sayings of his day to teach. The book is set up like a father giving advice to a son.
I think every family has some instructional sayings. Teachings nestled in quaint adages. Whenever I hit the bottom of a malt (not a milkshake, there is a difference) she would say, “Emily Post says you are done.” I didn’t have any idea who Emily Post was or why she would care. I just knew it was Mom’s nice way of saying, “Stop making all that slurping noise.” Which was disappointing because boys like noise.
My Dad’s most memorable personal cliché was: “I wish I would have…” That phrase preempted many stories. He also said, “I wish I could go back and do things over…knowing what I know now.”
I even came up with my very own proverb as our kids were growing up. I found their indecision at times most irritating. At times like these, I would say, “Either do it or don’t.” Not quite as profound as Solomon’s, but it worked.
Our society today likes brief witticisms usually posted as memes on social media. The idea Solomon had was to record these terse words of wisdom to help people remember truths. The only problem is that I am getting older and my memory isn’t working so well – hey, maybe I could have a wise saying printed backwards on a t-shirt. Something meant for me because only I could read it in the mirror.
To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity. To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. Proverbs 1:1-4