HOST: Michael Whitworth
The word proverb comes from a combination of two Latin words that mean “instead of words” or “instead of many words.” Therefore, a proverb is a short and concise statement given instead of “many” words. The Hebrew idea of a proverb simply meant comparison. Practically all ancient eastern cultures wrote proverbs and the Jews were no exception.
King Solomon wrote most of the proverbs of this book (cf. 1:1; 10:1; 25:1) for he was the author of over 3000 proverbs in his lifetime (1 Kings 4:32). The men of Hezekiah copied the material from Prov. 25-29 (cf. 25:1) while chapters 30-31 were written by King Lemuel whom we know nothing about. Some speculate that this is another title for Solomon but we cannot know for sure.
Keys to Reading
- Proverbs are not legal guarantees from God.
- In Hebrew poetry, the 2nd line often sharpens/intensifies the first.
- Unpack the imagery of a proverb (e.g. 10:26; 11:22).
- Is there a circumstance when this proverb wouldn’t be true?
- Any stories from Scripture that illustrate this proverb?
- Are there ancient customs that need translating?
- Tag proverbs in your Bible by topic ($ sign for money, briefcase for work, etc.)
- What does the NT say?
- How does Christ fulfill this proverb?
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