Ethics and sanctions for both the wicked and the righteous are a major theme in the proverbs. Solomon wrote this book for his son, and gave him counsel. His message was directed toward ethics and God’s sanctions for both the righteous and unrighteous. This was reiterated many times in the forms of foolishness vs. wisdom, a hard-working person vs. a lazy person; a faithful husband vs. an unfaithful one etc.
The primary goal of Solomon’s was to give his child wisdom. He viewed this as one of the most important things in life. You need to have wisdom to decide what major choices to make during your lifetime, which could ultimately lead you to destruction or prosperity.
He warned his son that thieves and criminals would entice him to join in their ways, but not to listen to them because those who choose that path will ultimately end up in destruction.
Proverbs 1:10-15: My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent. If they say, “Come with us, Let us lie in wait to shed blood; Let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause; Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, And whole, like those who go down to the Pit; We shall find all kinds of precious possessions, We shall fill our houses with spoil; Cast in your lot among us, Let us all have one purse”-My son, do not walk in the way with them, Keep your foot from their path;
Proverbs 1:19: So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; It takes away the life of its owners.
The paths of the sinner and the unrighteous man ultimately lead to the destruction of the soul. They are never content in life, and are consumed by their evil ways. Solomon advised his son to choose the path of wisdom and righteousness, because he will inherit honor and glory in life.
Proverbs 3:35: The wise will inherit honor, but the fools get only shame.
Proverbs 4:18: But the path of the just is like the shining sun, That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.
Solomon also contrasts the ethics of diligence vs. laziness, and the sanctions that each one brings. The diligent man reaps the benefits of his labor and lives in prosperity, but the lazy and slothful man brings about his own destruction.
Proverbs 6:10-11: A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep-So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, And your need like an armed man.
As well, Solomon warns his son against the evil and immoral women, who lure unsuspecting young men into their doom. He exhorts his son, not to fall into that trap; for it will lead to his ruin.
The goal of the book of Proverbs is to teach us wisdom; how to live our life in a wise and righteous manner. It also warns us of the dangers that this world has to offer, and reminds us of what will happen to those who fall into these ways. The unrighteous will end up snared in their own trap, while the righteous will end up with honor and glory.