Book of Job

 

 

The book of Job is the first of the section of the Bible known as the wisdom or poetic books. Jewish tradition holds that Moses compiled this book during the time the nation was in the wilderness. Some scholars say that Job may have written some of the material after Jehovah restored his health and that Moses, while he lived in Midian, may have become familiar with his account. Job is thought to have lived during days of the patriarchs sometime after Joseph death and before Jehovah began using Moses. The reasoning given for this time period is the statement made in the first chapter that "there is no one like Job in the earth." (Job 1:8)

 

The book of Job is unique in its structure as it is a mixture of prose and poetry, monologue and dialogue as well as containing narrative prose. Even secular critics view this Whirlwind!book as being an exceptional dramatic work. Its poetry is composed of parallel thoughts; some of which are contrasting and while others are synonymous. The book is composed of a series of dialogues by Job's three friends, Job himself, a young man named Elihu and God who spoke to Job out of a whirlwind.

 

Job is mainly concerned that he is suffering unjustly, that God had allowed it to happen and he wants to plead his case before the Almighty God because he believes that he will be vindicated. In the end, he learns that his understanding of matters is misguided and he repents before Jehovah and his health and wealth are restored to him.

 

 

 

Book of Psalms

 

Blue Flower

 

The English name, "Psalms," has been derived from both the Latin and Greek words, Psalmi and psalmoi, both of which mean "songs with musical accompaniment." The Hebrew title for this collection emphasizes the contents of these songs and is called, "songs of praise."  The Psalms were written over a long period of time and had many different authors. Ezra probably completed the compilation of all of the psalms after he returned to Palestine in 458 BCE. Of the 150 psalms in this collection, seventy-three are attributed to David, forty-nine are anonymous and the remainder to Asaph, the sons of Korah, Solomon, Moses and Ethan.

 

This collection of sacred songs, that is, songs used in the worship of Jehovah, is generally divided into five sections: Psalms 1-41, Psalms 42-72, Psalms 73-89, Psalms 90-106 and Psalms 107-150. All but thirty-four of the psalms have superscriptions that help to identify the author or the occasion for its writing or directions for how the psalm was to be performed.

 

These Psalms cover a wide variety of purposes and occasions. There are prayers that include petitions for help in times of distress, sacred psalms especially for worship, psalms of praise to Jehovah such as the Hallel psalms, psalms of thanksgiving, sacred historical psalms, psalms of trust, royal psalms and psalms of meditation. This collection of psalms is the most quoted from book in the Hebrew scriptures. Of the more than 280 direct quotes by Bible writers of the Greek scriptures, 116 are from the Psalms.

 

 

 

Book of Proverbs

 

 

The book of Proverbs is placed in the Bible along with other Bible books such as Psalms and Job that are called the "wisdom literature." These books provide practical instructions to be applied in our everyday lives. The book of Proverbs contains a collection of timeless words of wisdom that offer help to those who wish to live their lives by doing what is right and prudent. Solomon is generally recognized as the author of most of the proverbs in this Bible book although the book in its present form was not completed until sometime after the reign of Hezekiah.

 

The book of Proverbs is written in Hebrew poetic style and contains many parallelisms. These parallelisms can be synonymous or contrasting. In synonymous parallelisms, an idea may be expressed using two thoughts that are very similar. (Proverbs 16:18) In contrasting parallelisms, the second line of the proverb expresses the idea with an opposite or contrasting thought. (Proverbs 10:7) Using parallelism allows the writer the ability to enlarge upon an idea making sure that the meaning is conveyed clearly.

 

The book is divided into six sections: Chapters 1-9 contain many short discourses on the value of obtaining wisdom. Chapter 10 through chapter 22:16 contain 375 unrelated proverbs most of which are written using contrasting parallelisms. Chapter 22:17 through chapter 24 are said to be "sayings of the wise ones" although no names of these ones are given. Chapters 25-29 contain proverbs of Solomon that were compiled during the days of Hezekiah, king of Judah. Chapter 30 contains the oracle or proverbs of Agur and chapter 31 contains the sayings of Lemuel the king.

 


 

Book of Ecclesiastes

 

 

This Bible book is traditionally attributed to Solomon although some recent Bible critics disagree. The fact that the author identifies himself as a "king over Israel" and a "son of David" shows it to be Solomon because no other son of David ruled over Israel, only over the two-tribe kingdom of Judah. The name of this book is derived from its first sentence where Solomon calls himself "the Qo"he"leth." The Hebrew word Qo"he"leth has to do with an assembly or congregation. Since this word is used in the Bible only once, it is uncertain what its true meaning is. The title of this book in the Greek Septuagint is Ekklesiastes, which means "one who calls an assembly."

 

In the book of Ecclesiastes, the main emphasis is on the futility of pursuing life without giving proper consideration to the Creator, learning to fear Him. Solomon certainly had not withheld anything from himself in his quest for enjoyment of life but had found that all was vanity and a striving after the wind. Chapters 1-6 deal with the futility of human effort and chapters 7-11 discusses the futility of human wisdom. Chapter 12 contains the formula for keeping one's life from being a "vanity and a striving after the wind" and that is to serve the Creator beginning in one's youth and to continue in His wisdom throughout life.

 

 

 

The Song of Solomon

 

 

The title of this Bible book refers to the greatest of songs or the superlative song and the writer of this song is Solomon. The reason for the writing is that Solomon has fallen in love with a young maiden who refuses his advances because she is in love with someone else. The material is presented in the form of a series of conversations between Solomon, the maiden, her shepherd companion, her brothers, the ladies of Solomon's court and the daughters of Jerusalem. This Bible book was held in high esteem by the Jews and was read on the eighth day of Passover during the Festival of Unleavened Bread.