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.