Vv. 17-21. These verses form an introduction to this section and are similar to 1:1-6. They encourage the student to memorize the sayings so that they might be a guide for responding to questions. The students were to know their homework and trust in Yahweh to succeed. The following sayings are molded on the thirty sayings of the Egyptian Amen-em-Opet.
V. 28. Land was marked by boundary stones established by earlier generations. To change them was to steal from one's neighbor and defy one's ancestors' decisions.
V. 29. Excellence in performance brings a rich reward.
Vv. 1-3. Observe table manners and discipline oneself in the presence of one in higher authority. To act as if one were accustomed to such food could be interpreted as grasping at the host's position.
Vv. 4, 5. Wealth is elusive. One must not make it one's ultimate goal.
Vv. 6-8. One should not work for a stingy man, for he will get little; and what little he gets, the man will take back.
V. 9. Do not waste words on one incapable of understanding them.
V. 12. This verse contains advice to a student to pursue instruction and knowledge.
Vv. 22-25. In ancient Israel the parents' hope for immortality was bound up with their children. Thus they took great pride in their achievements, especially in their wise and righteous deeds.
Vv. 29-35. This is a vivid and humorous description of the alcoholic who seeks only after drink and does not learn from his physical and psychological deterioration. This one is the ultimate fool.
V. 7. The fool has no standing in the community and thus will not be listened to.
Vv. 8, 9. Those who scheme evil are despised by the community.
Vv. 10-12. The responsibility of the wise extends to helping those in need of legal defense. Ignorance can be no excuse for the wise, who will be judged by Yahweh.