Biblical commentary on the Proverbs of Solomon (vol 1.)

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  1. Proverbs Bibliography
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The book is an anthology made up of six discrete units. The first, chapters 1—9, was probably the last to be composed, in the Persian or Hellenistic periods. This section has parallels to prior cuneiform writings. The third unit is headed "bend your ear and hear the words of the wise": a large part of it is a recasting of a second-millennium BCE Egyptian work, the Instruction of Amenemope , and may have reached the Hebrew author s through an Aramaic translation.

Proverbs Bibliography

Chapter begins a new section and source with the declaration, "these too are from the wise. Chapters 30 and 31 the "words of Agur," the "words of Lemuel," and the description of the ideal woman are a set of appendices, quite different in style and emphasis from the previous chapters.

The "wisdom" genre was widespread throughout the ancient Near East , and reading Proverbs alongside the examples recovered from Egypt and Mesopotamia reveals the common ground shared by international wisdom. Along with the other examples of the Biblical wisdom tradition — Job and Ecclesiastes and some other writings — Proverbs raises questions of values, moral behavior, the meaning of human life, and righteous conduct. The three retain an ongoing relevance for both religious and secular readers, Job and Ecclesiastes through the boldness of their dissent from received tradition, Proverbs in its worldliness and satiric shrewdness.

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Wisdom is as close as Biblical literature comes to Greek philosophy, of which it was a contemporary; it shares with the Greeks an inquiry into values and reflections on the human condition, although there is no discussion of ontology , epistemology , metaphysics , and the other abstract issues raised by the Greeks. Proverbs was almost excluded from the Bible because of its contradictions the result of the book's origins as not just an anthology but an anthology of anthologies.

The reader is told, for example, both to "not answer a fool according to his folly", according to , and to "answer a fool according to his folly", as advises. More pervasively, the recurring theme of the initial unit chapters 1—9 is that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but the following units are much less theological, presenting wisdom as a transmissible human craft, until with —14, the "words of Agur," we return once more to the idea that God alone possesses wisdom. Wisdom is praised for her role in creation "God by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens" — Proverbs God acquired her before all else, and through her he gave order to chaos "When [God] established the heavens Since humans have life and prosperity by conforming to the order of creation, seeking wisdom is the essence and goal of the religious life.

For the most part Proverbs offers a simplistic view of life with few grey areas: life lived according to the rules brings reward, life in violation of them is certain to bring disaster. In contrast, Job and Ecclesiastes appear to be direct contradictions of the simplicities of Proverbs, each in its own way all but dismissing the assumptions of the "wise". The pre-Exilic i. In the 4th century, when Christianity was caught up in heresies and still developing the creeds which would define its beliefs, Proverbs was used both to support and refute the claims of the Arians.

The Arians, assuming that Christ could be equated with the "Wisdom of God" 1 Corinthians , argued that the Son, like Wisdom, was "created" Proverbs , and therefore subordinate to the Creator; their opponents, who argued that the relevant Hebrew word should be translated as "begot", won the debate, and the Nicene Creed declared that the Son was "begotten, not made", meaning that God and Christ were consubstantial. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy. Fragment of Wisdom Literature".

Cuneiform parallels to the Old Testament 1st ed. New York: Eaton and Mains. It appears that Jesus had these verses from Proverbs in mind when he gave that advice. That is not the case for these verses in Proverbs, which are simply advice to young and upcoming people at court on how to avoid embarrassment in high places. The best seats are those nearest the host. It is so even today.

Proverbs of Solomon Family Discussion Guide |

The boss sits at the head of the table, flanked by top lieutenants. Key staff members sit at the table, and others sit at the back of the room. A savvy person can walk into the room and determine rank simply by observing where people sit. We see the same phenomenon at sporting events where the best seats are closest to the action—or, better yet, in comfortable boxes elevated above and separated from the crowd.

A person with the right connections can always get a good ticket. A person without connections might not be able to purchase a ticket at any price. We like the best seats.

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The view is better, of course, but the appeal goes beyond the view. Sitting in the best seats makes us feel superior, and our fine seats trumpet our superior status to ordinary folk. The word presumptuous is key here—although not used in the text itself.

This verse is intended to provide wisdom to help the ambitious young person to avoid embarrassment by pushing too far too fast. In a setting where rigid protocol assigns seats according to rank, people will tend to correct those who are not in compliance with protocol.

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  7. A person who sits in a high seat is likely to have the opposite experience—a call to sit in a lower seat—thus receiving public humiliation as the price of their presumptuousness. I have personally experienced this in a mild way. While serving as an Army chaplain, I was running late and parked my car in a space reserved for a particular Colonel.

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    I doubted that he would know whose car was in his parking space, and doubted further that he would care enough to track me down and embarrass me. I was wrong. It would have been far more embarrassing if I had taken his seat at a big staff meeting. Then my humiliation would have been witnessed by many rather than a few.