The Proverbs of Solomon
The “Wisdom Literature” of the Hebrews centres round the name of Solomon. The Book of Proverbs which has come down to us, was compiled long after the wise king’s death, but so great had been his fame, so widespread through all the East was the tradition of his wisdom, that all the accumulated thought of the ages was ascribed to him, the ancient proverbs were accepted as his teaching.
Proverbs are necessarily of the earth; they express the deeps of worldly experience rather than the heights of spiritual inspiration. The writer of wisdom has learned, and he proclaims to us, the worth and value of morality as a rule of conduct in this life, insisting upon his doctrines almost without appeal to the life beyond. The aim of the Book of Proverbs is thus, as its own words tell us, “To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.”
“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.”
The proverbs are to be “dark sayings” over the deeper meanings of which we must ponder; we must meditate long if we would garner all their value.
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