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Bible Old Testament wisdom literature (Job-Song of Songs)

An overview of Old Testament wisdom literature and lists of helpful references for further research and understanding. Prepared by Major Bill Garrett's Messengers of the Kingdom BS104 Class.

Who Wrote Proverbs and When? (Kiara Blaire)

Authorship

There is a debate on who wrote Proverbs. They say that it could be written by Solomon. However, because of the way that it is written, Proverbs could imply that it could have been written or collected by Solomon. “However, the association of Solomon with proverbial sayings supports the option of Solomonic authorship. We know from 1 Kings 4:29-34 that he ‘spoke 3,000 proverbs’ (more than in this book), which implies that he was more than capable of writing the proverbs found in this book.”, states Wilson. (Wilson 1).

The few other people that are thought to have written Proverbs are the following: the men of Hezekiah, Agur, and King Lemuel. Wilson states, “In 25:1 there is explicit mention of the men of Hezekiah (late eight-early seventh centuries BC) who copied or edited some further proverbs of Solomon. Finally, chapters 30-31 have separate authorship titles (The words of Agur, The words of King Lemuel), which preclude him from being the author of the entire book. So as a book it claims to be substantially, but not entirely, Solomonic.” (Wilson 2). Scholars do not deny that the attributions to Hezekiah, Agur, and Lemuel are genuine. However, scholars use Solomon as a figurehead to attach wisdom to. (Waltke 31).

Date of Authorship

Due to all the people who had a part in writing and or editing the book of Proverbs it is hard to give a date to when it was written. “Much of it would have circulated in oral form before Solomon collected, edited and crystallized the contents. Solomon’s theological structuring of the first twenty-two or twenty-four chapters would have taken place in the tenth century BC, while chapters 25-29 were complied by the men of Hezekiah’s time (late eighth-early seventh centuries BC). It appears that materials from Agur (ch. 30) and Lemuel (31:1-9), as well as the closing poem (31:10-31), were added after this time, but our lack of information about the identities of these authors make it very difficult to date.”, states Wilson. (Wilson 3). The core of the book of the book of Proverbs is in Solomons’ time. Though, centuries later the complete form of the book was put together. (Wilson 3).

References

Waltke, Bruce K. The Book of Proverbs: Chapters 1-15William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2004.

Wilson, Lindsay. Proverbs: An Introduction and CommentaryInterVarsity Press, 2018.

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