Book of Proverbs

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These entries certainly show their age. I've just scratched the surface of what needs to be done... The Book of Proverbs is a collection of moral and philosophical maxims of a wide range of subjects presented in a poetic form. This book sets forth a philosophy of practical life, and is a compilation and adaptation of common wisdom sayings. It is clear that the author of the book of proverbs gathered and recast many proverbs which sprang from human experience in preceding ages and were floating past him on the tide of time, and that he also elaborated many new ones from the material of his own experience. In particular, there is strong evidence that the author of proverbs were adapted from earlier Egyptian wisdom literature. And it is very possible that the book of Proverbs developed somewhat over time, with latter editors adding sayings as they went along.

"It impresses upon us in the most forcible manner the value of intelligence and prudence and of a good education. The whole strength of the Hebrew language and of the sacred authority of the book is thrown upon these homely truths. It deals, too, in that refined, discriminating, careful view of the finer shades of human character so often overlooked by theologians, but so necessary to any true estimate of human life." (Stanley's Jewish Church)


This book is usually divided into three parts: (1.) Consisting of ch. 1-9, which contain an exhibition of wisdom as the highest good.

(2.) Consisting of ch. 10-24.

(3.) Containing proverbs of Solomon "which the men of Hezekiah, the king of Judah, collected" (ch. 25-29).

These are followed by two supplements, (1) "The words of Agur" (ch. 30); and (2) "The words of king Lemuel" (ch. 31).

Solomon is said to have written three thousand proverbs, and those contained in this book may be a selection from these (1 Kings 4:32). In the New Testament there are thirty-five direct quotations from this book or allusions to it.


Initial text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897 -- Slightly updated, please continue to update as needed.