Proverbs, Book of
Proverbs, Book Of the 20th book of the Old Test., according to the arrangement of the English Bible, where it is placed between the Psalms and Ecclesiastes, doubtless from its presumed relation to the other works of Solomon; and in the Hebrew Bible it likewise follows the Psalms as part of the Kethubim, or Hagiographa. In the German MSS. of the Hebrew Old Test. the Proverbs are placed between the Psalms and Job, while in the Spanish MSS., which follow the Masorah, the order is Psalms, Job, Proverbs. This latter is the order observed in the Alexandrian MS. of the Sept. Melito, following another Greek MS., arranges the Hagiographa thus: Psalms. Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Job, as in the list made out by the Council of Laodicea; and the same order is given by Origen, except that the book of Job is separated from the others by the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, and Ezekiel. But our present arrangement existed in the time of Jerome (see Prtf. in Libr. Regum, iii: "Tertius ordo ἁγιόγραφα possidet. Et primus liber incipit ab Job. Secundus a David....' Tertius est Solomon. tres libros habens: Proverbia, quae illi parabolas, id est Masaloth appellant: Ecclesiastes, id est,'Coeleth: Canticum Canticorum, quem titulo Sir Asirim prmnotant"). In the Peshito Syriac, Job is placed before Joshua, while Proverbs and Ecclesiastes follow the Psalms, and are separated from the Son Song Songs by the book of Ruth. Gregory of Nazianzum, apparently from the exigencies of his verse, arranges the writings of Solomon in this order: Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Proverbs. Pseudo Epiphanius places Proverbs, Ecclesiastes. and Song of Songs between the 1st and 2d books of Kings and the minor prophets. The following article treats of the book both from an internal and an external point of view. SEE BIBLE.
I. Title. — As in the Pentateuch, the book of Proverbs takes its Hebrew title from its opening words — מַשׁלֵי, שׁלֹמֹה, or מַשׁלֵי, mishly, simply. From this are directly derived the titles it bears in the Sept. παροιμίαι, Σαλομῶντος) and Vulgate (Libel Proverbiorum, quem Hebraei "Misle" cappellant), and the name by which it is universally known in English. Another title, perlalps more appropriate to the book as a whole, is derived from its chief subject, "Wisdom." In the Tosaphoth to Baba Bathra (fol. 14
b), we find Proverbs and Ecclesiastes combined under the name סֵפֶר חָכמָה, "the book of wisdom," and this title appears to have passed thence into the early Church. Clemens Roman. (Lj. ad Coo-. i, 57) when quoting i, 23-31 says, οὕτως λέγει ἡ πανάρετος σοφία, a name which, according to Eusebius (H. E. 4:22), was adopted by Hegesippus. Irenteus, and "the whole band of the ancients," following the unwritten Jewish tradition, and by Clem. Alex. (Strom. ii, § 22). It is styled by Gregory Naz. (Orat. xi) παιδαγωγικὴ σοφία, and by Dion. Alex. σοφὴ βίβλος. In the catalogue of canonical books compiled by Melito of Sardis preserved by Eusebius (H. E. 4:26), we find Παρ. Σαλομ. ἡ καὶ Σοφία, a name which, as well as Sopientia, is of frequent occurrence in the early fathers (see Cotelerius in Clem. Rom. l.c.; Vales. ad Euseb. l.c.), though by no means restricted to the book of Proverbs, being equally used. as Cotelerius proves, of ' Ecclesiasticus" and "The Wisdom of Solomon," a circumstance from which some confusion has arisen.
The word מָשָׁל, mashal. by which the so-called "Proverbs" of Solomon are designated (Pr 1:1,6; Pr 10:1; Pr 25:1; and 1Ki 4:32 [5:12]), is more appropriately translated in the Vulgate "parabola." It is akin to the verb מָשִׁל, corresponding with the Arabic mnathala and the Syriac methal, "to be like," and primarily signifies "a comparison," "similitude," "parable" (Eze 17:2; Eze 24:3); whence it easily passed to those pithy, sententious maxims so often in the East appearing in the form of a terse comparison, of which many are to be found in the book before us e.g. 26:1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 14, 17 — and then to "proverbs" in general, whether containing a similitude or not (1Sa 10:12; 1Sa 24:13 ; Ec 12:9). Its scope was still further enlarged by its application to longer compositions of a poetical and figurative character — e.g. that of Balaam (Nu 23:7,18, etc., and Job 27:1; comp. Ps 49:5; Ps 78:2), and particularly to taunting songs of triumph over fallen enemies-e.g. against the king of Babylon (Isa 14:4), the Chlalleans (Hab 2:6: comp. also Mic 2:4; De 28:37; 1Ki 9:7). SEE PROVERB.
But the book of Proverbs, according to the introductory verses which describe its character, contains, besides several varieties of the mashal, sententious sayings of other kinds, mentioned in 1:6. The first of these is the חַידָה, chidah, rendered in the A.V. "dark saying," "dark speech," "hard question," "riddle," and once (Hab 2:6) "proverb." It is applied to Samson's riddle (Judges 14), to the hard questions with which the queen of Sheba plied Solomon (1Ki 10:1; 2Ch 9:1), and is used almost synonymously with marshal in Eze 17:2, and in Ps 49:4 (5); 78:2, in which last passages the poetical character of both is indicated. The word appears to denote a knotty, intricate saying, the solution of which demanded experience and skill: that it was obscure is evident from Nu 12:8. In addition to the chidah was the מלַיצָה, melitsah (Pr 1:6, A.V. "the interpretation," marg. "an eloquent speech"), which occurs in Hab 2:6 in connection both with chidch and marshal. It has been variously explained as a mocking, taunting speech (Ewald); or a speech dark and involved, such as needed a melits, or interpreter (comp. Ge 42:23; 2Ch 32:31; Job 33:23; Isa 43:27); or again, as by Delitzsch (Der Prophet Htbclukmk, p. 59), a brilliant or splendid saying ("Glanz-oder Vohlrede, oratio splendida, elecyas, lumninibus ornata"). This last interpretation is based upon the usage of the word in modern Hebrew, but it certainly does not appear appropriate to the Proverbs; and the first explanation, which Ewald adopts, is as little to the point. It is better to understand it as a dark, enigmatical saying, which, like the mashal, might assume the character of sarcasm and irony, though not essential to it. SEE PARABLE.
As might be expected from the nature of the work contemplated, the proverbs before us almost exclusively bear reference to the affairs of this life; but while a future existence is not formally brought to view, yet the consciousness of such an existence runs throughout, and forms the basis on which many of the strongest, most decisive. and oft-repeated declarations are made. For example, ch. 11:7 has no meaning except on the supposition that the writer believed in a future life, where, if not here, the hope and expectation of good men should be realized. If death were, in his judgment, annihilation, it would be equally the overthrow of the expectation of the righteous as of the wicked. See also, as affording similar indication, ch. 14:32; 23:17, 18. SEE IMMORTALITY.
II. Canonicity. — The canonical authority of the book of Proverbs has never been called in question, except among the Jews themselves. We learn from the Talmud (Shabbath, fol. 30 b) that the school of Shammai, thus early adopting the principle of the free handling of Scripture, was led by some apparent contradictions in the book (e.g. Pr 26:4-5) to question its inspiration, and to propose to cast it out of the canon. It is indeed certain, if we credit the Jewish tradition, that it did not at once take its place on a level with the other canonical Scriptures, but, like the Antilegomena of the New Test., remained for a time in suspense. According to Wolf (Bibl. Hebr. 2, 119) and Zunz (Gott. Vor'traag. p. 14), it was not till the period of the Persian rule that "the men of the great synagogue" admitted it to an equal rank with the other Hagiographa. In the remarkable passage of the Talmud, however, which contains the most ancient opinion of the Jews on the formation of the Old-Test. canon (Baba Bathra, p. 14, apud Westcott, Bible in the Church, p. 36), its recognition is fixed earlier: the Proverbs (" Meshalim") being included with Isaiah, Canticles (" Shir Hashirim"), and Ecclesiastes (" Koheleth") in the memorial word Jamshak, specifying the books "written" — i.e. reduced to writing-by Hezekiah and his learned men. With the trifling exception mentioned above, its right to a place in the canon has never been questioned since its admission into it, and there is no book of Holy Scripture whose authority is more unshaken. The amount of inspiration in the book has been a matter of speculation since the days of Theodore of Mopsuestia, who believed that the wisdom contained in it was that of Solomon only, not of the Spirit of God; even as some of the rabbins found in Ecclesiastes no divine wisdom, but merely that of Solomon. Leaving such vain and impracticable distinctions, the canonical authority of the book is attested to us by the frequent use of it in the New Test. The following is a list of the principal passages:
Pr 1:16 Ro 3; Ro 10; Ro 15. Pr 3:7 Ro 12:16. Pr 3:11-12 Heb 12:5-6; Re 3; Re 19. Pr 3:34 Jas 4:6. Pr 10:12 1Pe 4:8. * Pr 11:31 1Pe 4:18. Pr 17:13 Ro 12:17; 1Th 5:15; 1 Peter 3, 9. Pr 17:27 Jas 1:19. Pr 20:9 1Jo 1:8. Pr 20:20 Mt 15:4; Mr 7:10. Pr 22:8 (Sept.) 2Co 9:7. * Pr 25:21-22 Ro 12:20. * Pr 26:11 2Pe 2:22. Pr 27:1 Jas 4:13-14,16.
Of these only those marked with an asterisk are actual quotations; in the others there is a more or less direct allusion. SEE WISDOM PERSONIFIED.
III. Divisions. — The thirty-one chapters of the book of Proverbs may be roughly divided into four sections:
1. The hortatory introduction (1-9);
2. The first collection of "the Proverbs of Solomon," properly so called, with its appendices (10-24);
3. The second collection, compiled by Hezekiah's scribes (25-29);
4. An appendix by different writers.
1. The first of these sections has no continuous connection, and is hardly capable of any very accurate subdivision. The separate chapters form in some instances a connected whole (e.g. 2, 5, 7, 8, 9); sometimes the connection does not extend bevond a few verses (e.g. Pr 3:1-10,13-26; Pr 4:14-19; Pr 6:1-11). There is little coherence between the separate chapters, and little unity beyond that of the general subject or the mode of treating it; so that if one chapter were to be removed, the organization of the whole would not be affected, and it would hardly be missed. Ewald, however, who, somewhat in defiance of the internal evidence, looks on this portion as "an original whole, thoroughly connected, and cast, as it were, at one gush," after the general introduction (Pr 1:1-7) discovers three subdivisions, marked as well by the contents as by the position of the imperative verb at the beginning of the sections (e.g. Pr 1:8; Pr 4:1; Pr 6:20); while in the smaller divisions "mi son" stands before the verb (e.g. Pr 1:10,15; Pr 2:1; Pr 3:1,11,20; Pr 4:21, etc.). Ewald's subdivisions are —
(1) a general admonition to the pursuit of wisdom, not fully completed, but running off into particulars (Pr 1:3-8);
(2) an exhaustive enumeration of the particular points of his admonition (Pr 4:1-6:29), until
(3) the discourse, gradually rising in power and grandeur, at last attains an almost lyrical flight (Pr 6:9-20). According to Delitzsch (in Herzog's Encyklop.) this section is divisible into fifteen separate strains —
(1) Pr 1:7-19; (2) Pr 1:20-33; (3) Proverbs 2, (4) Pr 3:1-18; (5) Pr 3:19-26; (6) Pr 3:27-35, (7) Pr 4:1-5:6; (8) Pr 5:7-23; (9) Pr 6:1-5, (10) Pr 6:6-11, (11) Pr 6:12-19; (12) Pr 6:20-35; (13) Proverbs 7; (14) Proverbs 8; (15) Proverbs 9.
2. The second section (10-24) evidently contains three subdivisions —
(a) the collection of unconnected proverbs or gnomes (Pr 10:1-22,16);
(b) "the words of the wise" (comp. 1:6; Ec 9:7; Ec 12:11), consisting of a more connected series of maxims, with a hortatory preface recalling the style of the first section (Pr 22:17; Pr 24:22);
(c) a shorter appendix of proverbial sayings, with the title "these also belong to the wise," ending with a description of a sluggard (Pr 24:23-34).
3. The third section is a continuous series of gnomic sayings without any subdivision (Proverbs 25-29).
4. The fourth section, like the second, separates into three parts —
(a) "the words of Agur," a collection of proverbial and enigmatical sayings (30),
(b) "the words of king Lemuel" (Pr 31:1-9); and
(c) a short alphabetical poem in praise of a virtuous woman (Pr 31:10-31).
IV. History of the Text. — The variations from the existing Masoretic text of the book of Proverbs presented by the versions of the Sept., the Peshito- Syriac, the ''argum, and to some extent by the Vulgate, bear witness to the former existence of copies differing in many and not unimportant points from that which has become the authoritative text. The text, as preserved in these ancient versions, differs from that of our Hebrew Bibles both in excess and defect. They contain clauses, verses, and sometimes paragraphs not to be found in our extant copies, for the existence of which it is difficult to account, unless they formed part of the book which was before the translators; while other portions are wanting, for the absence of which no sufficient account can be given, except that they were not read in the ancient Hebrew MSS. they employed. The very large number of minor discrepancies, both in language and arrangement, which we meet with, all tend to confirm this view, and it well deserves consideration what influence these variations, which every student knows are not confined to this book, should have on the ordinarily received hypothesis of the integrity and purity of the present Hebrew text. This, however, is not the place for the prosecution of this investigation. We shall content ourselves with pointing out the principal points of variation.
1. To commence with the Sept., the earliest of the existing versions. The translation of this book, like that of Job, proves a more competent acquaintance with the Greek language and literature than is usual with the Alexandrine translators. The rendering is more free than literal, giving what the writer conceived to be the general spirit of the passage without strict adherence to the actual words. Bertheau remarks that the version of this book appears to have been undertaken rather with a literary than a religious object, as it was not read in the synagogues or required for their internal regulation. It is to this freedom of rendering that not a few of the apparent discrepancies are due, while there are others which are attributable to carelessness, misconception of the writer's meaning, or even possibly to arbitrary alterations on the part of the translators. In some cases, also, we find two incompatible translations fused into one — e.g. Pr 6:25; Pr 16:26; Pr 23:31. Of the majority, however, of the variations no explanation can be offered but that they represent a different original, and therefore deserve consideration for the history of the text.
In the first division (1-9) these variations are less considerable than in the second. Two verses appended to ch. 4 remove the abruptness of the close and complete the sense. To the simile of the ant (6:8), that of the bee is added. The insertion after 8:21 seems out of place, and disturbs the continuity. In ch. 9 there are two considerable additions to the description of the wise and foolish women, which seem to complete the sense in a very desirable manner. The variations are much more considerable in the section 10-24. A large number of verses are wanting (Pr 11:4; Pr 13:6; Pr 16:1-4; Pr 18:23-24; Pr 19:1-2; Pr 20:14-19; Pr 21:5; Pr 22:6; Pr 23:23 — which comes in very awkwardly in the Hebrew text; 24:8); the arrangement of others is dislocated — e.g. ch. 15 closes with ver. 29, vers. 30, 32, 33 standing at the beginning of ch. 16, while a verse very similar to ver. 31 is found after 16:17; 19:3 stands as the last verse of ch. 18; in ch. 20 vers. 20-22 come between vers. 9 and 10. The most extraordinary dislocation, hardly to be ascribed to anything but an error of the scribe, appears in ch. 24. After ver. 22 is introduced Pr 29:27, to which succeed four distichs descriptive of the wrath of a king and urging attention to the writer's words, not found in the Hebrew. We then find 30-31, 9 (i.e. the prophecy of Agur and of Lemuel), with the remainder of ch. 24 foisted in between vers. 14, 15 of ch. 30. The remainder of ch. 31, the acrostic on a virtuous woman, stands in its right place at the end of the book. The additions in this section are also numerous and important. We find proverbs intercalated between the following verses: Pr 10:4-5; Pr 11:16-17 (by which a very imperfect antithesis in the Hebrew is rectified); Pr 12:11-14; Pr 13:9-10,13-14 (found in the Vulgate, 14:15, 16); Pr 14:22-23; Pr 15:5-6; Pr 18; Pr 19; Pr 27; Pr 28; Pr 28; Pr 29; Pr 17:6-7; Pr 16; Pr 17; Pr 18:22-23; Pr 19:7-8; Pr 22:8-9 (found with slight variations 2Co 9:7); 9, 10; 14, 15. In the dislocated ch. 16 five or perhaps six new proverbs appear. Intercalated proverbs are also found in the section 25-29 — e.g. Pr 25:10-11; Pr 20; Pr 21; Pr 26:11-12 (found also in Ec 4:16), Pr 27:20-21; Pr 21:22; Pr 29:25-26. Besides these, a careful scrutiny will discover a large number of smaller interpolations throughout, many of which are only explanatory clauses.
To specify the words and clauses which vary from the Hebrew would carry us far beyond our limits. For these and the comparison of the two versions generally, the student may be referred to Jager, Observ. in Prov. Salom. vers. Alex., and Schleusner, Opusc. Critic. In many of these cases the Sept. has probably preserved the true reading (e.g. 10:10, b); but, on the whole, Ewald and Bertheau agree that the Masoretic text is the better and purer.
2. The Peshito-Syriac version, like the Sept., while it agrees with the Hebrew text generally, presents remarkable deviations in words and clauses, and contains whole verses of which there is no trace in the Hebrew. Some of the variations only prove a different interpretation of the text, but others are plainly referable to a difference in the text itself (e.g. Pr 7:22 sq.; 15:4-15; 19:20; 21:16; 22:21, etc.), and thus confirm the view that at the time the version was executed — i.e. anterior to the 4th century — the present Hebrew text was not universally recognised.
3. The Vulgate translation of Proverbs, hastily executed by Jerome in three days (together with Ecclesiastes and Canticles), offers largely the same phenomena as the Sept. version. Many of the additions of the Sept. are to be found in it — e.g. Pr 10:4; Pr 12:11,13; Pr 15:5,27 (comp. Pr 16:6); 16:5, etc.; and in one or two instances it has indepenennt additions — e.g. Pr 14:21; Pr 18:8. There can be little doubt that in these points it preserves an authentic record of the state of the text at a period anterior to any existing Hebrew MS.
4. We may conclude this hasty review with the Targum. That on the Proverbs is considered by Zunz (p. 64), on lingutistic grounds, to be nearly contemporaneous with those on the Psalms and Job, and is assigned by Bertheau to the latter half of the 7th century, though it is not quoted before the 12th. The version is close, and on the whole follows the original text very faithfully, though with some remarkable deviations (the following are quoted by Bertheau — Pr 7:22; Pr 10:3; Pr 14:14; Pr 25:1,20, etc.). Its similarity to the Peshito is too remarkable to be accidental (Pr 1:2-3,5-6,8,10,12-13; Pr 2:9-10,13-15; Pr 3:2-9, etc.), and is probably to be accounted for by the supposition of a subsequent recension of the text, which is very corrupt, based upon that version. See Wolf, Biblioth. Hebrews 2, 1176; Dathe, De Rat. Consens. rems. Chald. et Syr. Proverbs Salom.; Zunz, Gottesdienst. Vortrag.
V. Form and Style. —
1. The difference of style and structure between the first and second divisions is apparent on the most cursory perusal. Instead of the detached gnomes of the latter, we find a succession of hortatory addresses, varying in length and differing in subject, though for the most part on the same plan and with the same general object, in which the writer does not so much define wisdom as enlarge upon the blessings to be derived from its possession, and the lasting misery which is the consequence of the violation of its precepts, and in the most powerful and moving language urge the young to the earnest pursuit of it as the best of all good things. Whether originally written as a proem or introduction or not, it is certainly well fitted to occupy its present place, and prepare the mind of the reader for the careful consideration of the moral and practical precepts which follow. The style is of a much higher and more dignified character than in the succeeding portions; the language is more rhetorical; it abounds in bold personifications and vivid imagery. The concluding chapters (8, 9) are cast in the grandest mould of poetry, and are surpassed in true sublimity by few portions of Holy Scripture. At the same time, when this portion is viewed as a whole, a want of artistic skill is discoverable. The style is sometimes diffuse and the repetitions wearisome. The writer returns continually on his steps, treating of the same topic again and again, without any apparent plan or regular development of the subject.
As regards the form, we find but little regularity of structure. The paragraphs consist sometimes of no more than two or three verses (Pr 1:8-9; Pr 3:11-12; Pr 6:1-19); sometimes the same thought is carried through a long succession of verses, or event an entire chapter (Pr 2; Pr 5:1-20; Pr 6:20-35; Pr 7; Pr 8; Pr 9). A very favorite arrangement is a paragraph of ten verses (Pr 1:10-19; Pr 3:1-10; Pr 11-20; Pr 4:10-19; Pr 8:12-21; Pr 22-31), a form which, if we may trust the Sept. version, existed also in the copies employed by them in Pr 4:20-27; Pr 5:6-11; and, according to the Peshito-Syriac, in Pr 4:1-9. The parallelism of members is sometimes maintained, but frequently neglected. The parallels are usually synonymous (e.g. Pr 1:8-9,11-12, etc.). The antithetical parallels found in Pr 3:32-35 belong to a series of gnomes which disturb the harmony of the passage, and appear scarcely in their appropriate place. It may be remarked that the name "Elohim" occurs only six times in the whole book, and thrice in this section (Pr 2:5-17; Pr 3:4). The other places are, Pr 25:2; Pr 30:5-9. Other unusual words are חָכמוֹת, "wisdoms," for wisdom in the abstract (Pr 1:20; Pr 9:1; found also in 24:7); זָרָה "the strange woman," which occurs repeatedly (e.g. Pr 2:16; Pr 5:3,20, etc., found nowhere else save in Pr 22:14; Pr 23:23); and נָכרַיָּה, "the stranger" (Pr 2:16; Pr 7:5, etc.; found also in Pr 20:16; Pr 23:27; Pr 27:13); i.e. the foreign prostitute, then as now lurking at the dark corners of the streets, taken as the representative of the harlot sense seducing the youlng and inexperienced from true wisdom. Ewald also notices the unusual construction of שׁפָתִיַם, a dual fem. with a verb in the masc. plur. (Pr 5:2); while in the next verse it has properly a fern. plur., and the unusual plur. אַישַׁים (Pr 8:4).
2. In the second division, "the Proverbs of Solomon," which form the kernel of the book, (Proverbs 10- Pr 22:17), we find a striking similarity of structure throughout. Every verse (reckoned by Delitzsch at 375) in its normal form consists of two members, each containing three, four, or more rarely five short words. (The one exception to this rule [19:7] is probably due to the loss of a member, which is supplied by the Sept.) Every verse is independent, with no necessary connection with those that precede or follow, and, generally speaking, no attempt at arrangement. Ewald's theory of a continuous thread of connection running through this collection in its original form, and binding together the scattered sayings, has absolutely no evidence in its favor, and can only be sustained by supposing an almost total dismemberment of this portion of the book. It is true there are cases in which the same subject recurs in two or three successive verses (e.g. Pr 10:2-5; Pr 18-21; Pr 11:4-8; Pr 24-26), but these are the exceptions, and only occur, as Ewald elsewhere allows, when, from the studied brevity of the proverbial form, a thought cannot be expressed in all its fulness in a single verse. The cases in which the same characteristic word or words recur in successive proverbs are more frequent (e.g. Pr 10:6-7; Pr 8:10; Pr 11:5-6; Pr 10; Pr 11, etc.). But in every instance each verse gives a single definite idea. nor do we ever meet with two verses so connected that the latter contains the reason of the counsel, or the application of the illustration given in the former.
Nearly the whole of the proverbs in the earlier part of this division are antithetical; but after the middle of ch. 15 this characteristic gradually disappears, and is almost entirely lost in the concluding chapters. A large number are synonymous (e.g. Pr 11:7,25,30; Pr 12:14,28; Pr 14:13,17,19, etc.), some aphoristic (e.g. Pr 11:31; Pr 13:14), especially with the comparative and מַן (e.g. Pr 12:9; Pr 15:16-17; Pr 16:8-9, etc.), or אִŠ כּיַ, "much more" (e.g. Pr 11:31; Pr 15:11; Pr 17:7). Others are synthetic (Pr 10:18; Pr 11:29; Pr 14:17, etc.); only two are parabolic (Pr 10:26; Pr 11:22).
The style is lower and more prosaic than in the former section. Ewald regards it as an example of the most ancient and simplest poetical style, full of primeval terseness, and bearing the visible stamp of antiquity in its language and imagery without any trace of later coloring. He remarks very justly that the proverbs in this collection are not to be looked upon as a collection of popular sayings, embodying mere prudential wisdom. but that they belong to the higher life, and are as broad in their grasp of truth as in their range of thought. The germ of many of them may have been found in popular sayings; but the skill and delicacy with which they have been fashioned into their present shape, though of the simplest kind, display the hand of a master.
Ewald remarks the following peculiar phrases as occurring in this section. "Fountain of life," Pr 10:11; Pr 13:14; Pr 14:27; Pr 16:22 (comp. Ps 36:9 ): "tree of life," Pr 3:18; Pr 11:30; Pr 13:12; Pr 15:4: "snares of death," 13:14; 14:27 (comp. Ps 18:5 ): and the following favorite words — מִרפֵּא, "healin in" in various similes and applications, Pr 12:18; Pr 13:17; Pr 16:24 (but this also occurs in the former section, Pr 4:22; Pr 6:15) מחַתָּה, "destruction," Pr 10:14-15,29; Pr 13:3; Pr 14:28; Pr 18:7; Pr 21:15; and only in four other places in the whole Bible: יָפַיחִ, part from פּוּחִ, "to blow," Pr 12:17; Pr 14:5,25; Pr 19:5-9 (comp. Pr 6:19; Ps 12:6; Ps 27:11): the unfrequent roots סֶלֵŠ, "perverseness," Pr 11:3; Pr 15:4, and the verb סַלֵּŠ, "to pervert," "destroy," Pr 13:6; Pr 19:3; Pr 21:12; Pr 22:12: the phrase לאֹ יַנָּקֶה, "shall not go unpunished," Pr 11:21; Pr 16:5; Pr 17:5 (comp. Pr 28:20; Pr 6:29): רַדֵּŠ, "he that pursueth," Pr 11:19; Pr 12:11; Pr 13:21; Pr 15:9; Pr 19:7 (comp. 28:19), and nowhere else. Ewald instances also as archaic phrases not met with elsewhere, עִד אִרגַּיעָה, "but for a moment," Pr 12:19: יָד ליָד, "hand join in hand," 11:21; 16:5: הַתגִּלִּע, "'meddled with," Pr 17:14; Pr 18:1; Pr 20:3: נַרגָּן, "whisperer," "talebearer," Pr 16:28; Pr 18:8 (comp. Pr 26:20-22). The word יֵשׁ, "there is," though frequent elsewhere, scarcely occurs in Proverbs, save in this section, Pr 11:24; Pr 12:18; Pr 13:7,23; Pr 14:12, etc.
3. With Pr 22:17, "the words of the wise" (comp. Pr 1:6), we are carried back to the style and language of the proem (ch. 1-9), of which we are also reminded by the continued address in the second person singular, and the use of "my son." There is, however, a difference in the phraseology and language; and, as Maurer remarks, the diction is not unfrequently rugged and awkward, and somewhat labored. Parallelism is neglected. The moral precepts are longer than those of ch. 10-22, but not so diffuse as those of the first section. We find examples of the distich, Pr 22:28; Pr 23:9; Pr 24:7-10: the tristich, Pr 22:29; Pr 24:29: but the tetrastich is the most frequent, the favorite form being that in which the second member gives the ground of the first, Pr 22:22-23; Pr 24; Pr 25; Pr 26; Pr 27, etc. We also find proverbs of five members, Pr 23:4-5; Pr 24:3-4: several of six, Pr 23:1-3,12-14,19-21; Pr 24:11-12: and one of seven, Pr 28:6-8. We have a longer strain, Pr 23:29-35, against drunkenness.
4. The short appendix, Pr 24:23-34, comprising more "words of the wise," can hardly be distinguished in style or form from the preceding. It closes with a "proverb-lay" of five verses on the evils of sloth.
5. The second collection of "the Proverbs of Solomon" (ch. 25-29), transcribed (הֶעתַּיקוּ, Sept. ἐξεγράψαντο, Aq. μετῆραν; Gr. Ven. μετήνεγκαν; comp. Pusey, Daniel, p. 322 note) by the scribes of Hezekiah, closely resembles the former one. They are, according to Pusey, "identical in language." It has, however, some very decided points of difference. The "parabolic" proverb is much more frequent than the "antithetical," the two members of the comparison being sometimes set side by side without any connecting link (e.g. Pr 25:12-13), which is in other cases given merely by ו, "and," or כֵּן, "so" (Pr 26:1-2,18-19; Pr 27:8, etc.). The parallelism is sometimes strict, sometimes lax and free. There is a want of the sententious brevity of the former collection, and the construction is looser and weaker. The proverbs are not always completed in a single verse (Pr 25:6-7; Pr 9; Pr 10; Pr 21; Pr 22; Pr 18:19); and more frequently than in the former section we have series of proverbs with an internal connection of subject (Pr 26:23-25; Pr 27:15-16,23-27), and others in which the same key-word recurs (Pr 25:8-10; Pr 26:3-12; Pr 13-16). This is not foumnd so often after Pr 27:5; but a close examination of the text suggests the idea that this may be due to a disturbance of the original order (comp. Pr 27:7,9; Pr 28:4,7,9; Pr 29:8,10, etc.). Ewald discovers a want of the figurative expressions of the earlier collection, and a difference of language and phraseology, while Rosenmüller remarks that the meaning of the proverbs is more obscure and enigmatical. The greater part of them are moral precepts. "The earlier collection may be called 'a book for youth;' this 'a book for the people'" (Delitzsch); "the wisdom of Solomon in the days of Hezekiah" (Stier).
6. The three supplemental writings with which the book closes (ch. 30, 31) are separated from the other portions and from one another no less by style and form than by authorship. Ewald somewhat arbitrarily divides ch. 30 after ver. 14 (a division, however, sanctioned by the Sept.), and thinks it not improbable that ch. 30 and Pr 31:1-9 are from the same pen. He also regards the opening verses of ch. 30 as a dialogue, vers. 2-4 being the words of an ignorant disciple of Agur, to which the teacher replies. The difference between the enigmatical savings of Agur (which find a counterpart in the collections of Oriental proverbs) and the simple admonitions of Lemuel's mother is very great if we assign them to one author. In ch. 30 we have, in Ewall's words, instead of moral aphorisms, a succession of elegant little pictures illustrative of moral truths, evidencing a decay of creative power, the skill of the author being applied to a novel and( striking presentation of an old truth. The ancient terse proverbial form is entirely lost sight of, and the style rises to a height and dignity warranting the use of the term מִשָּׂא (comp. Isa 13:1; Hab 1:1, etc.) applied to both. In "the words of king Lemuel" we find much greater regularity. The parallelism is synonymous, and is maintained throughout. The alphabetical ode in praise of a virtuous woman — "a golden A B C for women" (Doderlein) — has all its verses of about the same compass. The parallelism is very similar to that of the Psalms, especially those in which the same alphabetical arrangement is found.
VI. Authorship and Date. — On these points the most various opinions have been entertained, from that of the rabbins and the earlier school of commentators, with whom some modern writers (e.g. Keil) agree, who attribute the whole book to Solomon (even Pr 30:31 are assigned to him by Rashi and his school), to those of Hitzig and other representatives of the advanced critical school, who, however widely at variance with one another, agree in reducing to a minimum the wise king of Israel's share in the book which from the remotest antiquity has borne his name. In the face of such wide discrepancies, where the same data lead careful investigators (e.g. Ewald and Hitzig) to exactly opposite conclusions, a satisfactory decision of the question of authorship and date is hardly to be hoped for. It may rather be doubted whether the evidence at present before us is such as to admit of an absolute determination of the question at issue. Where so much indefiniteness exists, all we can do is to balance probabilities and to abstain from dogmatic decisions.
The evidence in favor of a composite origin of the book appears, we must confess, irresistible. No unprejudiced person, we think, accustomed to the consideration of such questions, could read the book for the first time, even in English, without seeing in it the traces of several different authors, or at least editors. Irrespective of the two concluding chapters, the express reference to other sages (חֲכָמַים, in Pr 22:17; Pr 24:23; comp. 1:6) indicates a diversity of authorship, while the difference of style between various divisions of the work strengthens the hypothesis. Indeed, a careful observer will find at the very outset an indication of the composite character of the book in the introductory verses which profess to give the contents and character (Pr 1:1-7). These prepare us to find in it, not merely "proverbs" and "eloquent speeches" (margin, A.V.: "interpretation"), but also such "words of the wise" as those we have just referred to, and "dark sayings" like those of Agur.
Are we, then, to discard the title, "the Proverbs of Solomon," and to consider that the designation has been given to the book erroneously? To us this appears rash in the extreme. We know from historical sources that Solomon was the author of a very large number of proverbs; and nothing but that restlessness of speculation which discards old beliefs simply. as it would seem, because they are old, and seeks to unsettle all that hias hitherto been held certain, can discover any sufficient reason for questioning that Solomon was the composer of the greater part of those contained in our present book, especially in the sections 10 - 22:16; 25 - 29. However much these collections may have been modified in successive redactions, though too much has probably been conceded to this hypothesis, of which there is no definite trace, and by which a work may be made to assume any form that may suit the theory to be supported, we have no sufficient reason for doubting that Solomon was the originator of the peculiar style of poetry in which they are composed, and that, even if they are not all to be referred to him, the mass are his, and that they are all pervaded with his spirit, and may be assigned to his epoch. Even those attributed to "the ancients" may have been found by Solomon already floating in a semi-gnomic form, and recast by him in a more distinctly proverbial dress. Eichhorn finds in them no trace of language or thought subsequent to the time of Solomon. Even Ewald, who insists most on the collection as we have it having suffered from abbreviations, transpositions, and unauthorized additions, remarks that the proverbs all breathe the happy peace and growing civilization of Solomon's age; nor is there any epoch either earlier or later to which we could preferably assign them.
The proverbs in the later collection (ch. 25-29), though they present some diversities, do not differ so essentially from the earlier ones as to give any sufficient grounds for questioning the accuracy of the superscription (Pr 25:1). The title itself informs us that the compilation was not made till four centuries after Solomon, and the differences are not greater than might be looked for in sayings that had been so long floating about among the common people, and thereby subjected to disfigurement and change. The indications of an altered state of society and a decrease of confidence in the rulers, in which Ewald discovers such unmistakable proofs of a later date, are hardly so evident to others as to himself. We know too little of the internal economy of Solomon's reign to enable us to pronounce authoritatively that such and such expressions are inconsistent with the state of the people and tone of thought at that period.
The objection brought by Eichhorn and others against assigning the proverbs in the two collections to Solomon, that the genius of no one man, not even one as divinely gifted with wisdom as Solomon, is sufficient for the production of so large a number, is puerile in the extreme. Those we possess are but a portion of the three thousand ascribed to him (1Ki 4:32), and scarcely give twenty for each of the forty years of his reign.
The general didactic tone of the book is asserted to be more consistent with the character of a prophet or priest than that of a king (Davidson). To this it is replied that this is true of kings in general. but not of such a king as Solomon, to whom God gave a wise and understanding heart, whose proverbs are eminently didactic, and who has in 1 Kings 8 discoursed on the divine economy towards mall in a way that no prophet or priest could well surpass. The praises of monogamy, and the strict illjunctions against adultery, are urged by Bertholdt as reasons why Solomon, a polygamist himself, and Bathsheba's son, could not be the author of this section. It is, however, a remarkable feature of the Old Test. in general, and not peculiar to this place, that polygamy, however generally practiced, is never praised; that invariably where the married state is spoken of in terms of praise it is the union of one man to one woman that is held up to honor. Beside the force of this objection is considerably modified by the reflection that precepts are here given for the mass of men, with whom monogamy is the general rule, though polygamy may be common among the richer classes (Wilkinson's Egypt, 2, 62); and also that the contrast here drawn (Pr 5:18, etc.) is not between monogamy and polygamy, but between the marriage tie and adulterous connection. As to the supposition that the repeated warnings against adultery could not come from one whose own mother fell into that sin, no great weight can be attached to it; for a moral and religious teacher must disregard considerations which would influence other men. The allusions to deeds of violence (Pr 1:11-19; Pr 2:12, etc.) are supposed by Ewald to indicate a state of confusion inconsistent with that state of peace and social security which marked the reign of Solomon (1Ki 4:25). To this it is replied that a condition of great private wealth, such as was the condition of Solomon's times, always tempts needy and unprincipled men to acts of unlawful violence; and that nothing bevond crimes which now are committed in the most civilized and best-regulated countries are referred to in the passages in question. Besides, Judaea always afforded in its caverns and wildernesses peculiar facilities for robbers (Jg 6:2; 1Sa 24:1). From a supposed degeneracy of style, Ewald attributes this section to the earlier part of the 7th century B.C. But other critics do not see this. Davidson thinks it indicates a flourishing state of Hebrew literature, and refers it probably to the 9th century B.C., an opinion in which he coincides with Hitzig. The grounds on which Ewald relies for his alleged degeneracy of style seem weak. Thus, he asserts that the plural ishim (Pr 8:4) is so unusual as to indicate a very late date. It is certainly very unusual, for it occurs only three times (Furst). From these, however, we cannot argue as to the (late, as one of them is in Isaiah, another in Ps 141:3, attributed to David, and the third in the passage above referred to.
Similar and equally futile objections have been based, by Bertholdt and others, on the familiarity displayed in the proverbs with circumstances and conditions in life with which it is supposed that Solomon as a king could have had no experimental acquaintance. For example, it is maintained that Pr 10:5; Pr 12:10-11; Pr 14:4; Pr 20:4, must have been written by a landowner or husbandman: Pr 10:15, by a poor man: Pr 11:14; Pr 14:19, by a citizen of a well-ordered state: Pr 11:26, by a tradesman: Pr 12:4, by one who was not a polygamist: Pr 15:25; Pr 16:1; Pr 17:2; Pr 19:13-14; Pr 20:10,14,23, by an ordinary citizen: Pr 25:2-7, not by a king, but by one who had lived some time at a court: Pr 27:11, by a teacher of youth: Pr 17:23-27, by a sage who lived a nomadic life: Pr 28:16, by one free from those errors which weakened Solomon's throne, and robbed his son of his kingdom. It is needless to point out the weakness of these fancied arguments which would affect no one who had not a theory of his own to support. They are akin to those which have been used with as little success to prove that no one man could have written the plays of Shakespeare, and they display the most marvellous ignorance of that many-sidedness and keenness of perception and insight which are characteristic of the highly gifted among mankind.
As little weight is to be assigned to the objections drawn from the repetitions. It is true that we find the same idea, and even the same words, recurring not only in the two collections (e.g. Pr 21:9; Pr 25:24; Pr 18:8; Pr 26:22; Pr 22:3; Pr 27:12; Pr 22:13; Pr 26:13; Pr 19:24; Pr 26:15; Pr 19:1; Pr 28:6), but in the same collection (e.g. Pr 14:12; Pr 16:25; Pr 10:1; Pr 15:20; Pr 16:2; Pr 21:2; Pr 10:2; Pr 11:4; Pr 13:14; Pr 14:27; Pr 26:12; Pr 29:20). This latter is, however, no more. as Umbreit remarks, than is natural in such a compilation, in the formation of which one is very apt to forget what had already been set down; while the former class of repetitions is easily to be accounted fir by the anxiety of the collectors to lose nothing which had the stamp of Solomon's authorship, even though the same idea had already been expressed in the earlier collection; and it goes far to confirm the view that Solomon was the composer of the whole.
The internal evidence — derived from language, construction, ideas, historic background, and the like — varies with every successive critic, and is entirely inadequate to varrant any decisive verdict. Its precariousness is proved by the opposite results to which the same data lead various commentators. Keil maintains that every part of' the book, with the exception of the last two chapters, corresponds to the epoch of Solomon, and that only. Eichhorn agrees with this to a certain extent, but limits the correspondence to ch. 1-24; while Ewald, Hitzig, and Bertheau, and other minor critics, arrive at conclusions expressed with equal confidence and at variance with these and with one another. There is, however, one evidence which speaks strongly in favor of an early date — the entire absence of all reference to idolatry. The form of religion appearing throughout is purely Jehovistic (as we have noticed above, Elohim occurs only four times in the body of the work), and false gods and foreign faiths are not even referred to.
The above remarks refer chiefly to the collection of proverbs properly so called, which we have no Difficulty in ascribing, on the whole, to Solomon as their ultimate author. We may, if we choose, suppose that the men of Hezekiah made a collection of unwritten proverbs current among the people, and by them supposed, truly or not, to have come down from Solomon; but the men of Hezekiah, or whoever wrote the superscription of 25:1, declare those they put forth to have been copied from written records. Assuming this to be the correct view, the difference between these proverbs and those which went before is, that whereas in Solomon's time the latter were arranged as we have them, the former were in Hezekiah's time selected from more ancient written records and added to the existing collection. It gives us the idea, which is itself an extremely probable one, that voluminous records were made in Solomon's time of the wise king's sayings, either by himself or by scribes. This idea derives considerable confirmation from the notice in 1Ki 4:30-34, where we are told of the accurate account taken of his compositions and sayings, and even of the precise number of his proverbs and songs. We are led to suppose, then, that in Solomon's time a selection (10-22:16) was made bv himself, or under his immediate supervision, while in Hezekiah's time a further selection was made, and an exact transcript taken. A comparison of the proverbs in these two collections lends strong confirmation to this view, In selecting or arranging a collection in Solomon's time, and under his inspection, the choice would naturally fall upon the most perfect, and as alterations might he freely made by their actual author, these would tend to bring them into a still more finished form. Accordingly, we find in the more ancient collection a certain tastefulness and polish which the others do not possess. In the former each verse contains its own perfect sense, and this usually comprised in a certain number of words, varying from seven to nine, beyond which they very rarely extend. In the latter, while the sense is generally contained in one verse, it not unfrequently runs through two or more verses. Examples from these might easily be produced as concise and perfect in form as the others (e.g. Pr 25:2-3,14); but very commonly the sense is brought out in a much more diffuse manner (e.g. Pr 25:6-7,9-10,21-22; Pr 26:18,20; Pr 27:15-16,23-27). In the individual verses also we find occasionally a far greater number of words than are ever admitted into those of the older collection (e.g. Pr 25:7,20); and the parallelism, which never fails in the verses of the earlier, is often wanting in those of the later division (Pr 25:8,21-22; Pr 26:10; Pr 27:1). This agrees with the idea which we think warranted by a comparison of Pr 25:1 with 1Ki 4:32-33, that the proverbs in this collection are probably much as they fell from Solomon's lips, and were first committed to writing by himself or others under him; and that while the former collection received his own final corrections, the men of Hezekiah simply copied from the text before them, but did not venture upon any alteration in the form.
The case is somewhat different with regard to the introductory chapters (1- 9), and there is more ground for the diversity of opinion as to their date and authorship. It is certainly quite possible that the whole or a considerable portion of this section may have been written by Solomon. The differences of style, of which Ewald makes much, are, as Bertheau has shown, somewhat exaggerated by him, and are not perhaps greater than may be accounted for by the different nature of the compositions. The terse simplicity of a proverb would be out of place in a series of hortatory addresses such as those which characterize this section. Ewald dwells with emphasis on the internal evidence of a late date afforded by the state of society, and the tone of feeling as portrayed here. But we repeat our former remark, that we know too little of the internal history of Judaea at this time to allow us to speak with so much confidence on these points, and express our conviction that the conclusions drawn by Ewald are not warranted by the premises. The imagery all points to a large and profligate city, such as Jerusalem may well have become during the middle of Solomon's prosperous reign; and the vivid representation of the habits of the foreign prostitutes and lawless freebooters who roamed its streets is hardly more than could have been attained by one who, lilke Harun Alraschid, was fond of laying aside his kingly state and visiting his city in disguise.
It is evident, from what we have remarked in a former section, that we regard the proem (ch. 1-9) in its present form as a composite work, though very possibly proceeding from one pen. The similarity of style, subject, and treatment, is strongly in favor of unity of authorship, while the internal evidence favors the view that it is compiled of various unconnected members, collected and arranged subsequently to the time of their composition. The date of this compilation it is impossible to fix. The evidence on this point is faint and untrustworthy, and has led different investigators to very opposite conclusions. Ewald places it in the 7th, Hitzig in the 9th century B.C., while Keil, as we have seen, ascribes it to the time of Solomon. The resemblance that may be traced in this portion of the work to the spirit and teaching of the book of Job, and the recurrence of some of the words arid images found there, is employed both by Hitzig and Ewald to aid in determining the date of this section (comp. Job 15:7 with Pr 8:25; Job 21:17; Pr 13:9; Job 28:18; Pr 8:16; Job 5:17; Pr 3:11; see Pusey, Daniel, p. 323, note 7). But as there is no unanimity as to the date of the composition of Job, little help is to be expected from this source, nor can we be surprised at the diversity of opinion among those who have employed it: Ewald maintaining that the writer of Proverbs had read and made use of Job: Hitzig, on the contrary, believing that the former is the earlier work, and that the author of Job borrowed from Proverbs. The adoption of such expedients proves most forcibly the cormplete want of any decisive testimony which will enable us to arrive at any trustworthy conclusion as to the date of this section. In the midst of this uncertainty, the above solution is as probable as any other —namely, that it is due to Solomon's authorship out of materials existing at his time.
The similarity in style between 1-9 and the appendix to the first collection of proverbs (Pr 22:17-24) appears to favor the view that this supplement is due to the same person by whom the proem was prefixed to the book. Ewald enumerates several reasons for ascribing the two to the same writer (p. 42), but finally decides against the unity of authorship. The proverbs themselves, designated as "words of the wise," are evidently distinguished from those Qf Solomon, and are probably to be regarded as the adages of other sages, which the compiler of the work thought too valuable to be lost, and therefore appended to his larger collection. The short supplement (Pr 24:23-34) is accounted for by Umbreit on the supposition that the compiler had laid aside his work for a time, and took it up again on the discovery of fresh sayings worthy of preservation. He renders לחֲבָמַים, "for," not "of the wise," and regards them as directed to the compiler's scholars. Ewald, Bertheau, Delitzsch, etc., defend the received translation.
It only remains for us to speak of the threefold supplement (30, 31), with regard to the authorship and date of which again nothing can be determined. It would be hardly profitable to discus the marvellous fabric of fanciful history and biography which has been evolved from the scantiest materials by Hitzig, Bunsen, and Bertheau. Those who desire it may refer to their works to see the grounds on which "Massa" (A.V. "the prophecy") is identified with a district in Arabia (Ge 10:30; Ge 25:14; 1Ch 1:30) of which Lemuel was king, and Agur with a descendant of the Simeonites, who in the reign of Hezekiah drove out the Amalekites from Mount Seir (1Ch 4:42); or, again, on which it is sought to prove that Agur and Lemuel were brothers, sons of the reigning queen of Massa. We would rather commend to our reader Eichhorn's sensible words that "Agur should remain Agur, and belong to the wise men of the old world of whom history gives us no further information," and with him deprecate "spinning a long thread of tedious conjectures alout a name, which do not advance us an inch in our insight into the literature of the old world, or any profitable learning." As little to the purpose is the fancv of Doderlein that the opening part of ch. 30 is a dialogue that Ithiel is a heathen; Agur a much valued servant of Ithiel, to whom, as his master, his praver (Pr 5:7-9) is addressed. Manv are content with saying that Agur was an unknown Hebrew sage, the teacher of Ithiel and Ucal — names from which, also, many unprofitable speculations have been built — and that he lived subsequently to the reign of Hezekiah. Still more probable do we regard the view which identifies him with Solomon himself under a fanciful name. SEE AGUR; SEE MASSA.
Lemuel — "to God," "devoted to God," after the analogy of לָאֵל, Nu 3:24 (Pusey) — may certainly be regarded as a figurative name descriptive of an ideal king, "a monarch as he should be" (Ewald; Eichhorn; comp. Pusey, Lect. on Daniel, p. 13 note 1, p. 323, note 5). SEE LEMUEL.
The alphabetical lay which concludes the whole has usually been thought to belong to the latest period of Hebrew poetry, and hardly to be placed higher than the 7th century. Its style and language seem to distinguish it from the words of Lemuel, with which it has sometimes been confounded; but we are again warned against the precariousness of such grounds of argument as to authorship.
The results of our inquiry may be thus summed up. The nucleus of the book is the larger collection of proverbs (Pr 10:1-22:16). These may safely be regarded as really what they profess to be, "the proverbs of Solomon." Whether they were arranged as we now have them and published by him, there is not sufficient evidence to determine. It is probable, however, that the collection was either contemporaneous with or not long subsequent to him. The greater part of the hortatory introduction (1-9) may also be, with great probability, ascribed originally to Solomon, though we incline to the belief that its present form is due to a later compiler, who collected the admonitions of the wise king, and prefixed them to his book of proverbs. The same author also appears to have added the appendix (Pr 22:17; Pr 24:22), containing proverbs of which Solomon was not the proper author. but perhaps only the earliest collector, and after this from similar sources were supplied the few supplementary sayings (Pr 24:23-34). The time when this was done cannot be fixed, but there are cogent arguments in favor of a latate date. The second collection, as its name declares, was formed by the scribes of Hezekiah, cir. B.C. 725. The last two chapters contain compositions of the dates and authors of which nothing certain can now be known. They, too, may have been in some important sense due to Solomon, but were probably inserted by a later editor.
It will not be worth while to enumerate the many and widely varying theories of recent critics as to the dates of the composition of the different parts of this book, and the time when it assumed its present form. One or two of the most characteristic may be specified. Suffice it to say that Ewald would place the publication of Pr 10:1-22:16 about two centuries after Solomon, and 1-9 in the first half of the 7th century. Not much later the second collection of proverbs (25-29) was added, the sections Pr 22:17-24 being due to the same compiler. Hitzig, on the contrary, views 1- 9 as the earliest part of the book; 10-22, 16 and Pr 28:17-28 being added about B.C. 750. Twenty-five years later Hezekiah's collection followed; the gaps being filled up and the volume completed by some unknown compiler at a later period. The theory of Delitzsch (Herzog, Encyklop., s.v. Spruche) is marked by more calm sense, but even this is in parts not a little fanciful or conjectural. Rightly regarding 10-22. 16 as the kernel of the book, and mainly composed by Solomon, he divides the whole into two portions —
(1) 1-24, 22 put forth in the time of Jehoshaphat; the introduction (1-9) and appendix (Pr 22:16-24,22) being written by the compiler, whom he regards as "a highly gifted didactic poet, and an instrument of the spirit of revelation;" and
(2) Pr 24:23-31, published in the reign of Hezekiah; the introductory and closing portions (Pr 24:23-34; Pr 30:31) being set on either side of the collection of Soiomon's proverbs to serve as a kind of foil.
The two periods which are generally selected in opposition to the above views of the Solomonic authorship for the composition of various parts of the book are the reign of Hezekiah and the times subsequent to the captivitv. Neither of these periods seems to suit the general character of Proverbs at all so well as the reign of Solomon. Hezekiah found his kingdom in great domestic miserv-immersed in idolatry and subject to foreign rule. At home his pre-eminent character was that of a social and religious reformer, struggling against the sins and evils of his times; abroad the most active period of his reign was distinguished by a series of wars, during some of which his kingdom was reduced to the verge of ruin, the whole land overrun by hostile armies, its fenced cities taken, and the king forced to submission. The terror of an Assyrian invasion also hung over the land for years. The later period of his reign, indeed, was peaceful; but the evils of preceding reigns were far from being eradicated, and he had before him the certain prospect, conveyed by prophecy, of the utter prostration of his kingdom. His chief works seem to have been the making a pool and conduit to bring water to Jerusalem. On his death Judah relapsed into idolatry. The times subsequent to the captivity were marked by equally strong characteristics, and chiefly of a mournful kind — a feeble, struggling, and too often languid and depressed remnant, striving amid many difficulties to maintain their ground and bear up amid manifold discouragements. With neither of these periods does the general character of Proverbs agree. Royalty marks it throughout, sharply distinguishing it from any period subsequent to the captivity; as by other marked features it bears the impress of a time different from Hezekiah's. Its warnings are not against the public sins which disgraced that period, nor are its consolations suited to the public trials which were threatening to bring both king and kingdom to the ground. Its pointed allusions to a powerful monarchy, a numerous and wealthy people, and such sins as readily spring up in a time of plenty; its fine linens of Egypt, its high places thronged, its roads covered with travellers, its gates and cities crowded and rejoicing, its precious stones and fine gold and architectural illustrations, its people living beneath the eye of their monarch and dependent on his good-will, all seem to mark a reign when an absolute monarch ruled over a great and wealthy people, who lived at ease at home, and had no dreaded'eenemy io their borders; who traded to distant lands and brought their products into common use; when the worship of Jehovah prevailed through the landl, and men had leisure for learningl; when wisdom sat on the throne, personified in Solomon, and the evils which must ever exist while man is a fallen being were evils inseparable from any condition of humanity, and especially from one abounding with the elements of material prosperity. SEE SOLOMON.
VII. Commentaries. — The following are the special exegetical helps on the whole book; a few of the most important of them are designated by an asterisk — Origen, Commentarii (in Opp. vol. 3); also Scholia (in Bibl. Patr. Gallandii, vol. xiv); Basil, Commentarii (in Opp. II. i); Bede, Expositio (in Opp. vol. iv; also in Works, vol. ix); Honorius, Commentarius (in Opp. p. 1140); Ralbag [Levi ben-Gershon], פֵּרוּשׁ [with Ben-Meira's commentary], by Baholes (Leiria, 1492, fol.; afterwards in the Rab. Bibles; also [with Aben-Ezra, etc.] in Latin by Ghiggheo, Amst. 1638, 4to); Arama, יִד אִבשָׁלוֹם (Constantinop. s.a. 4to; with notes by Berlin, Leips. 1859, 8vo); Imm. ben-Salomo, פֵּרוּשׁ [with Kimchi on Psalm] (Naples, 1486. fol.); Shalom ben-Abraham, קִב ונָקַי (Salonica, 1522, fol.; also in Frankfurter's Bible); Melancthon, Explicatio (Hag. 1525, and elsewhere later, 8vo); Munster, Adnotatione, (Basil. 1525, 8vo); Jos. ibn-Jachja, פֵּרוּשׁ [with Job, etc.] (Bologna, 1538, fol.; also in Frankfurter's Bible); Cajetan [Rom. Cath.], Enarratio (Lugd. 1545, fol.); Fobian, תִּרגּים (Constantinop. 1548, 4to); Arboreus [Rom. Cath.], Commnentarius (Par. 1549, fol.); Malvenda [Rom. Cath.], Exrplicatio (in Opp. Lugd. 1550, fol.); Bayne, Commentarii (Par. 1555, fol.; also in the Critici Sacri, vol. iii); Lavater, Commentarii (Tigur. 1562, 4to, 1565, 1572, 1586, fol.); Strigel, Scholia (Lips. 1565, Neost. 1571, 8vo); Jansenius [Rom. Cath.], Adnotationes (Lovan. 1568. 8vo, and elsewhere later, with Psalm, etc.) Sidonius [Rom. Cath.], Commentarii (Mog. 1570, fol.); Mercer, Commentarii (Genev. 1573, fol.; also [with Job] Amst. 1651, fol.); Cope, Exposition (transl. by Outrerd, Lond. 1580,4to); aard. ben-Jakob, מַשׁלֵי (Cracow, 1582, 4to); Is. ben-Miose, תָּמַים יִחדָּיר (Lublin, 1592, 4to); Drabit, Auslequngq (Erf. 1595, 8vo); Musselt Commentaire (Lond. 1596, 8vo); Wilcocks, Commentary (in Works); Alspach, רֹב פּנַינַים (Ven. 1601, 4to; and later elsewhere, fol.); Cleaver, Explanation (Lond. 1608, 1615, 4to); Dod, Exposition [on ch. ix-xvii] (Lond, 1609, 4to); Agell
[Rom. Cath.], Commentarius (Par. 1611, fol.); Cartwright, Commnentarii (L. B. 1617, anli later elsewhere, 4to); Imninuts, Exipositio (Par. 1619, 2 vols. fol.); De Salazar [Rom. Cath.], Expositio (ibid. 1619-21, and elsewhere later, 2 vols. fol.); Jizchaki, פֵּרוּשׁ [with Aben-Ezra's and others] (in Latin by Ghiggheo, Mail. 1620, 4to; by Breithaupt, Gotha, 1714. 4to); Duran, חֵשֶׁק שׁלֹמֹה (Ven. 1623, 4to); Egard, Christenthum, etc. [on ch. i- ix] (Lub. 1624, 8vo); Guillebert [Rom. Cath.], Paraphrasis (Par. 1626, 1637, 8vo); A Lapide, Commentarius (Antw. 1635, fol.); Jermin, Commentary (Lond. 1638, fol.); Bohll, Commentarius (Rost. 1640, 4to); Maldonatus [Rom. Cath.], Commentarius [includ. Psalm, etc.] (Par. 1643, fol.); Geier, Curac (Lips. 1653 and later, 4to); Gorse [Rom. Cath.], Explication (Par. 1654, 12mo); Taylor, Exposition [on ch. iix] (Lond. 1655-57, 2 vols. 4to); Leigh, Annotations [includ. Job, etc.] (ibid. 1657, fol.); Deckey, Handbuch (Magdeb. 1667, 4to); Anon. [Rom. Cath.], Recueil [patristic] (Par. 1677, 1704, 8vo; also in Germ., Chemn. 1707. 12mo; Dresd. 1720, 8vo); David ben-Mose, דָּוַד מָגֵּן (Amst. 1683, 4to); Bossuet [Rom. Cath.], Notac [includ. Ecclesiastes, etc.] (Par. 1693. 8x-o; also in (Euvres, vol. xxi); Oier, Verklacaring [on ch. i-ix] (Amst. 1698, 4to); Anon. [Rom. Cath.], Analyse [with Ecclesiastes] (Par. 1702, 12mo); )u iHamel [Rom. Cath.], Adnotattiones (ibid. 1703, 12mo); Goldschmidt, אִבנֵי צֶדֶק (Wilmersd. 1714, 8vo); also מַשׁלֵי (F. a. Mi. 1713, 12mo); Pinto, כֶּסֶŠ צָרוּŠ (Amst. 1714, 1735, 8vo); C. B. Alichaelis, Adnotationes (Hal. 1720, 4to; also in Comment. in Hagiog. vol. i); Meiri, פֵּרוּשׁ (first in Frankfurter's Bible, Amst. 1724-27; separately, Fiirth, 1844, 8vo); Wolle, Auslegung (Leips. 1729, 8vo); Is. ben-Elija, מַשׁלֵי (Wandsb. 1731, 8vo); Kortum, Auflosung (Goriz 1735, 4to); Grey, Notes (Lond. 1738, 8vo); Hansen, Betrachtungen (Lib. 1746, 4to); *Schultens, Conmentarius (L. B. 1748, 4to; abridged, with additions by Vogel and Seller, Hal. 1768, 8vo); Gavison, עֹמֶר הִשַּׁכֵּחָה (Legh. 1752, 4to); Lsnser, Observationes (Lips. 1761, 4to; also in Velth. and Kuinil's Commentt. ii, 270); De Witt, Dissertationes (Amst. 1762, 8vo); Dathe, Prolusio (Lips. 1764, 8vo; Lond. 1838, 18mo; also in Opitsc. Lips. 1796); Judetnes, שׁנוֹת חִיַּים [with Ecclesiastes] (Amst. 1765, 4to); Vogel, U.,nschreibung (Leips. 1767, 8vo); Hirt, Eklarung (Jen. 1768, 4to); Durel, Remarks [includ. Job, etc.] (Oxf. 1772, 4to); Hunt, Observations (ibid. 177 5,4to); Schnurrer, Observationes (Tiibing. 1776, 4to; also in Disserf. Goth. 1790); Bode, Versio [includ. Ecclesiastes and Cant.] (Helmst. 1777, 4to; also in Germ., Quedlinb. 1791, 8vo); Moldenhauer, Erlaut. [with Ecclesiastes and Cant.] (ibid. 1777, 4to); J. D. Michaelis, Anmerk. (G(tt. 1778, 8vo; also in Bibliothek, 7:168); Doderlein, Anmerk. (Altd. 1778 and later, 4to); also his Scholia [on poet. books] (Hal. 1779, 4to); Reiske, Conjecturc [with Job] (Lips. 1779, 8vo); Zinck, Commentarius [includ. other books] (Augsb. 1780, 4to); Arnold, Anmerk. (Frckft. and Leips. 1781, 8vo); Schleusner, Collatio (Lips. 1782, 4to); also Commentarius (ibid. 1790-94, 4to); Troschel, Salomon's Moral (Berl. 1782, 8vo); Struensee, Erlaut. [includ. Psalm] (Hal. 1783, 8vo) Schoinhdeder, Erklar. (from the Danish by Wolff, Flensb. 1784, 8vo); De Vilioisin, Versio [from the Veneto-Greek, includ. other books] (Argent. 1784, 8vo); also Dahler's Animadversiones [on the same] (ibid. 1788, 8vo); Knis, De Usu Proverbs (Giess. 1787, 4to); Hodgson, Notes (Oxf. 1788, 4to); Juger, Observationes [on the Sept.] (Meld. and Lips. 1788, 8vo); Euchel, תִּרגּוּם (Berl. 1789, and later elsewhere, 8vo); Reichard, Smrklar. (Hal. 1790, 8vo); Ziegler, Erlalt. (Leips. 1791, 8vo); reviewed by Hasse (in the latter's Biblioth., Regensb. 1793, No. 5); Castalio, Notce (Havn. 1793, 8vo); Hensler, Erlaut. [includ. 1 Samuel] (Hamb. and Kiel, 1795, 8vo); Hammond, Paraphrase [on ch. i- ix] (in Works, vol. iv); Wilna, פֵּרוּשׁ (Sklov, 1798, and later elsewhere, 4to; Konigsb. 1857, 8vo); Rhode, De Poet. Gnomnica (Havn. 1800, 8vo); Tingstadt, Vamice Lectt. (Upsal. 1800, 4to); Wistinitz, זַרִע יִעֲקֹב (Wilna, 1800, 4to); Muntinghe, Anmerk (fromn the Dutch by Scholl, F. a. M. 1800-2, 3 vols. 8vo); Schellillg, Notce [includ. other books] (Stuttg. 1806, 8vo); Dahler, Uebersetz. [from the Sept.] (Strasb. 1810, 8vo); Mard. Kohen, מֵאמִר (Grodno, 1811, 4to); Kelle, Anmerlk. (Freyb. 1815, 8vo); Holden, Notes (Liverp. 1819, 8vo); Melsheimer, Ammerk. (Mannh. 1821, 8vo); Lawson, Exposition (Edinb. 1821, 1855, 2 vols. 12mo); Case, Commnentary (Lond. 1822, 12mo); *Umbreit, Conmmentura (Heidelb. 1826, 8vo); *Gramberg, Annmerk. (Leips. 1828, 8vo); *Rosenmüller, Scholia (Lips. 1829, 8vo); Bockel, Em laut. (Hamb. 1829, 8vo); Bridges, Exposition (Lond. 1830 and later, 2 vols. 8'vo); French and Skinner, Notes (ibid. 1831, 8vo); Stern, בַּאוּר (Pressb. 1833, 8vo); Lowenstein, Erklar. (Frckft. 1838,8vo); Freund, מוּסָר אָב (Vien. 1839,8vo); Newman, Version (Lond. 1839, 18mo); Maurer, Commentarius (Lips. 1841, 8vo); Nichols, Explanation (Lond. 1842, 12mo); Noyes, Translation [includ. Ecclesiastes and Cant.] (Bost. 1846, 1867, 8vo); *Bertheau. Erklar. (Leips. 1847 8vo); Binney, Lectures (Lond. 1851,18mo); *Stuart, Commentary (N. Y. 1852, 8vo); Gaussen, Reflexions (Toulouse, 1857, 8vo); *Hitzig, Auslegun (Ztir. 1858, 8vo); Elster, Commentar (Gitt. 1858, 8vo); Stein, Bearbeit. (Brilon, 1860, 8vo); Anon., Exposition (Lond. 1860, 12mo); Schulze, Biblische Spruchwoirte (Gott. 1860, 8vo); Brooks, Arrangement (Lond. 1860, 12mo); Wardlaw. Lectures (ibid. 1861, 3 vols. 8vo); Diedrich, Erklar. [includ. other books] (Neu-Rupp. 1665, 8vo); Mtuscher, Version (Gambier, 0., 1866, 12mo); Conant, Translation (N. Y. 1872, 4to); Miller, Commentary (Lond. 1874. 8vo). SEE OLD TESTAMENT.