To know wisdom and instruction.
To understand speech and understanding.
To receive instruction in prudence, righteousness, justice, and evenness.
To give craftiness to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young.
Let the wise hear and add instruction, Let the understanding buy counsel,
to understand a proverb and a satire, words of the wise and their riddles.
There it is, the purpose of Proverbs, in the words of Proverbs, in the translation of Mike (borrowing from NRSV when I was stuck): To know, to understand, to receive, to give. Proverbs will not claim to present the truth through promises or commands, but rather to make observations on the world that seem to be generally true. It is designed to give people one of the most important skills of human life: what you do with all the words you hear, read, and say every day. Words hide things. Words sway. Words are at the heart of ideas. Words draw our emotions along: how many have felt the power of saying something out loud, either to reveal it as false, or remember that it is true?
I love also that everyone is included. The wise, the understanding, and the simple. The simple are my favorite, maybe because I identify with them. They are unformed, their decisions will either lead to wisdom or folly, to righteousness or evil. The fool, according to proverbs, is there by choice, and the fool can always choose to go back to being simple, in order to then become wise.
I'm testing this thought in my head, and I'd love your insight: one of the core ingredients to wisdom is considering oneself simple, and being teachable from there.