The Book Of Proverbs, The Holy Bible, Complete Audiobook
The Book of Proverbs, “Proverbs (of Solomon)”) is the second book of the third section (called Writings) of the Hebrew Bible and a book of the Christian Old Testament. When translated into Greek and Latin, the title took on different forms: in the Greek Septuagint (LXX) it became Παροιμίαι Paroimiai (“Proverbs”); in the Latin Vulgate the title was Proverbia, from which the English name is derived.
Proverbs is not merely an anthology but a “collection of collections” relating to a pattern of life which lasted for more than a millennium. It is an example of the Biblical wisdom tradition, and raises questions of values, moral behaviour, the meaning of human life, and right conduct. The repeated theme is that “the fear of God (meaning submission to the will of God) is the beginning of wisdom”. Wisdom is praised for her role in creation; God acquired her before all else, and through her he gave order to chaos; and since humans have life and prosperity by conforming to the order of creation, seeking wisdom is the essence and goal of the religious life.
It is impossible to offer precise dates for the sayings in Proverbs, a “collection of collections” relating to a pattern of life which lasted for more than a millennium. The phrase conventionally used for the title is taken from chapter 1:1, mishley shelomoh, Proverbs of Solomon (the phrase is repeated at 10:1 and 25:1), is likely more concerned with labeling the material than ascribing authorship.
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 second, chapters 10–22:16, carries the superscription “the proverbs of Solomon”, which may have encouraged its inclusion in the Hebrew canon. 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. Chapter 24:23 begins a new section and source with the declaration, “these too are from the wise.” The next section at chapter 25:1 has a superscription to the effect that the following proverbs were transcribed “by the men of Hezekiah”, indicating at face value that they were collected in the reign of Hezekiah in the late 8th century BCE. 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. The wisdom literature of Israel may have been developed in the family, the royal court, and houses of learning and instruction; nevertheless, the overwhelming impression is of instruction within the family in small villages.
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