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Book of Proverbs

The Book of Proverbs is a book of the Bible's Old Testament. It is a collection of moral and philosophical maxims on a wide range of subjects presented in a poetic form. This book sets forth a philosophy of practical life, and is a compilation and adaptation of common sayings. It is clear that the author of the book gathered and recast many proverbs which sprang from human experience in preceding ages and were floating past him on the tide of time, and that he also elaborated many new ones from the material of his own experience. In particular, there is strong evidence that some of the proverbs were adapted from earlier Egyptian wisdom literature. And it is very possible that the book of Proverbs developed somewhat over time, with latter editors adding sayings as they went along.

This book is usually divided into three parts:

  1. ch. 1-9, which contain an exhibition of wisdom as the highest good.
  2. ch. 10-24.
  3. proverbs of Solomon "which the men of Hezekiah, the king of Judah, collected" (ch. 25-29).

These are followed by two supplements
  1. "The words of Agur" (ch. 30); and
  2. "The words of king Lemuel" (ch. 31).

Solomon is said to have written three thousand proverbs, and those contained in this book may be a selection from these (1 Kings 4:32).

Jewish tradition attributes the entire book to "Hezekiah and his colleagues," as attested by the word "too" in the verse, "these too are the proverbs of Solomon which" etc. (25:1). (Source: Babylonian Talmud, tractate Bava Bathra 15a).

In the New Testament there are thirty-five direct quotations from this book or allusions to it.

Initial text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897 -- Slightly updated, please continue to update as needed.