Keil and Delitzsch OT Commentary
The Book of Proverbs
The Book of Proverbs bears the external title ספר משׁלי, which it derives from the words with which it commences. It is one of the three books which are distinguished from the other twenty-one by a peculiar system of accentuation, the best exposition of which that has yet been given is that by S. Baer,
(Note: Cf. Outlines of Hebrew Accentuation, Prose and Poetical, by Rev. A. B. Davidson, D.D., Professor of Hebrew, Free Church College, Edinburgh, 1861, based on Baer's Torath Emeth, Rdelheim 1872.)
as set forth in my larger Psalmen-commentar
(Note: Vol. ii., ed. of 1860, pp. 477-511).
The memorial word for these three books, viz., Job, Mishle (Proverbs), and Tehillim (Psalms), is אמת, formed from the first letter of the first word of each book, or, following the Talmudic and Masoretic arrangement of the books, תאם.
Having in view the superscription משׁלי שׁלמת, with which the book commences, the ancients regarded it as wholly the composition of Solomon. The circumstance that it contains only 800 verses, while according to 1 Kings 5:12 (1 Kings 4:32) Solomon spake 3000 proverbs, R. Samuel bar-Nachmani explains by remarking that each separate verse may be divided into two or three allegories or apothegms (e.g., Proverbs 25:12), not to mention other more arbitrary modes of reconciling the discrepancy.
(Note: Pesikta, ed. Buber (1868), 34b, 35a. Instead of 800, the Masora reckons 915 verses in the Book of Proverbs.)
The opinion also of R. Jonathan, that Solomon first composed the Canticles, then the Proverbs, and last of all Ecclesiastes, inasmuch as the first corresponds
(Note: Schir-ha-Schirim Rabba, c. i.f. 4a.)
with the spring-time of youth, the second with the wisdom of manhood, and the third with the disappointment of old age, is founded on the supposition of the unity of the book and of its Solomonic authorship.
At the present day also there are some, such as Stier, who regard the Book of Proverbs from first to last as the work of Solomon, just as Klauss (1832) and Randegger (1841) have ventured to affirm that all the Psalms without exception were composed by David. But since historical criticism has been applied to Biblical subjects, that blind submission to mistaken tradition appears as scarcely worthy of being mentioned. The Book of Proverbs presents itself as composed of various parts, different from each other in character and in the period to which they belong. Under the hands of the critical analysis it resolves itself into a mixed market of the most manifold intellectual productions of proverbial poetry, belonging to at least three different epochs.
1. The External Plan of the Book of Proverbs, and Its Own Testimony as to Its Origin
The internal superscription of the book, which recommends it, after the manner of later Oriental books, on account of its importance and the general utility of its contents, extends from Proverbs 1:1 to Proverbs 1:6. Among the moderns this has been acknowledged by Lwenstein and Maurer; for Proverbs 1:7, which Ewald, Bertheau, and Keil have added to it, forms a new commencement to the beginning of the book itself. The book is described as "The Proverbs of Solomon," and then there is annexed the statement of its object. That object, as summarily set forth in Proverbs 1:2, is practical, and that in a twofold way: partly moral, and partly intellectual. The former is described in Proverbs 1:3-5. It presents moral edification, moral sentiments for acceptance, not merely to help the unwise to attain to wisdom, but also to assist the wise. The latter object is set forth in Proverbs 1:6. It seeks by its contents to strengthen and discipline the mind to the understanding of thoughtful discourses generally. In other words, it seeks to gain the moral ends which proverbial poetry aims at, and at the same time to make familiar with it, so that the reader, in these proverbs of Solomon, or by means of them as of a key, learns to understand such like apothegms in general. Thus interpreted, the title of the book does not say that the book contains proverbs of other wise men besides those of Solomon; if it did so, it would contradict itself. It is possible that the book contains proverbs other than those of Solomon, possible that the author of the title of the book added such to it himself, but the title presents to view only the Proverbs of Solomon. If Proverbs 1:7 begins the book, then after reading the title we cannot think otherwise than that here begin the Solomonic proverbs. If we read farther, the contents and the form of the discourses which follow do not contradict this opinion; for both are worthy of Solomon. So much the more astonished are we, therefore, when at Proverbs 10:1 we meet with a new superscription, משׁלי שׁלמה, from which point on to Proverbs 22:16 there is a long succession of proverbs of quite a different tone and form - short maxims, Mashals proper - while in the preceding section of the book we find fewer proverbs than monitory discourses. What now must be our opinion when we look back from this second superscription to the part 1:7-9:18, which immediately follows the title of the book? Are 1:7-9:18, in the sense of the book, not the "Proverbs of Solomon"? From the title of the book, which declares them to be so, we must judge that they are. Or are they "Proverbs of Solomon"? In this case the new superscription (Proverbs 10:1), "The Proverbs of Solomon," appears altogether incomprehensible. And yet only one of these two things is possible: on the one side, therefore, there must be a false appearance of contradiction, which on a closer investigation disappears. But on which side is it? If it is supposed that the tenor of the title, Proverbs 1:1-6, does not accord with that of the section 10:1-22:6, but that it accords well with that of 1:7-9:18 (with the breadth of expression in 1:7-9:18, it has also several favourite words not elsewhere occurring in the Book of Proverbs; among these, ערמה, subtilty, and מזמּה, discretion, Proverbs 1:4), then Ewald's view is probable, that chap. 1-9 is an original whole written at once, and that the author had no other intention than to give it as an introduction to the larger Solomonic Book of Proverbs beginning at Proverbs 10:1. But it is also possible that the author of the title has adopted the style of the section Proverbs 1:7-9:18. Bertheau, who has propounded this view, and at the same time has rejected, in opposition to Ewald, the idea of the unity of the section, adopts this conclusion, that in 1:8-9:18 there lies before us a collection of the admonitions of different authors of proverbial poetry, partly original introductions to larger collections of proverbs, which the author of the title gathers together in order that he may give a comprehensive introduction to the larger collection contained in 10:1-22:16. But such an origin of the section as Bertheau thus imagines is by no means natural; it is more probable that the author, whose object is, according to the title of the book, to give the proverbs of Solomon, introduces these by a long introduction of his own, than that, instead of beginning with Solomon's proverbs, he first presents long extracts of a different kind from collections of proverbs. If the author, as Bertheau thinks, expresses indeed, in the words of the title, the intention of presenting, along with the "Proverbs of Solomon," also the "words of the wise," then he could not have set about his work more incorrectly and self-contradictorily than if he had begun the whole, which bears the superscription "Proverbs of Solomon" (which must be regarded as presenting the proverbs of Solomon as a key to the words of the wise generally), with the "words of the wise." But besides the opinion of Ewald, which in itself, apart from internal grounds, is more natural and probable than that of Bertheau, there is yet the possibility of another. Keil, following H. A. Hahn, is of opinion, that in the sense of the author of the title, the section 1-9 is Solomonic as well as 10-22, but that he has repeated the superscription "Proverbs of Solomon" before the latter section, because from that point onward proverbs follow which bear in a special measure the characters of the Mashal (Hvernick's Einl. iii. 428). The same phenomenon appears in the book of Isaiah, where, after the general title, there follows an introductory address, and then in Isaiah 2:1 the general title is repeated in a shorter form. That this analogy, however, is here inapplicable, the further discussion of the subject will show.
The introductory section Proverbs 1:7-9:18, and the larger section 10:1-22:16, which contains uniform brief Solomonic apothegms, are followed by a third section, 22:17-24:22. Hitzig, indeed, reckons 10:1-24:22 as the second section, but with Proverbs 22:17 there commences an altogether different style, and a much freer manner in the form of the proverb; and the introduction to this new collection of proverbs, which reminds us of the general title, places it beyond a doubt that the collector does not at all intend to set forth these proverbs as Solomonic. It may indeed be possible that, as Keil (iii. 410) maintains, the collector, inasmuch as he begins with the words, "Incline thine ear and hear words of the wise," names his own proverbs generally as "words of the wise," especially since he adds, "and apply thine heart to my knowledge;" but this supposition is contradicted by the superscription of a fourth section, Proverbs 24:23., which follows. This short section, an appendix to the third, bears the superscription, "These things also are לחכמים." If Keil thinks here also to set aside the idea that the following proverbs, in the sense of this superscription, have as their authors "the wise," he does unnecessary violence to himself. The ל is here that of authorship and if the following proverbs are composed by the חכמים, "the wise," then they are not the production of the one חכם, "wise man," Solomon, but they are "the words of the wise" in contradistinction to "the Proverbs of Solomon."
The Proverbs of Solomon begin again at Proverbs 25:1; and this second large section (corresponding to the first, 10:1-22:16) extends to chap. 29. This fifth portion of the book has a superscription, which, like that of the preceding appendix, commences thus: "Also (גּם) these are proverbs of Solomon which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah collected." The meaning of the word העתּיקוּ is not doubtful. It signifies, like the Arameo-Arabic נסח, to remove from their place, and denote that the men of Hezekiah removed from the place where they found them the following proverbs, and placed them together in a separate collection. The words have thus been understood by the Greek translator. From the supplementary words αἱ ἀδιάκριτοι (such as exclude all διάκρισις) it is seen that the translator had a feeling of the important literary historical significance of that superscription, which reminds us of the labours of the poetical grammarians appointed by Pisitratus to edit older works, such as those of Hesiod. The Jewish interpreters, simply following the Talmud, suppose that the "also" (גּם) belongs to the whole superscription, inclusive of the relative sentence, and that it thus bears witness to the editing of the foregoing proverbs also by Hezekiah and his companions;
(Note: Vid., B. Bathra, 15a. From the fact that Isaiah outlived Hezekiah it is there concluded that the Hezekiah-collegium also continued after Hezekiah's death. Cf. Frst on the Canon of the O.T. 1868, p. 78f.)
which is altogether improbable, for then, if such were the meaning of the words, "which the men of Hezekiah," etc., they ought to have stood after Proverbs 1:1. The superscription Proverbs 25:1 thus much rather distinguishes the following collection from that going before, as having been made under Hezekiah. As two appendices followed the "Proverbs of Solomon," 10:1-22:16, so also two appendices the Hezekiah-gleanings of Solomonic proverbs. The former two appendices, however, originate in general from the "wise," the latter more definitely name the authors: the first, chap. 30, is by "Agur the son of Jakeh;" the second, Proverbs 31:1-9, by a "King Lemuel." In so far the superscriptions are clear. The name of the authors, elsewhere unknown, point to a foreign country; and to this corresponds the peculiar complexion of these two series of proverbs. As a third appendix to the Hezekiah-collection, Proverbs 31:10. follows, a complete alphabetical proverbial poem which describes the praiseworthy qualities of a virtuous woman.
We are thus led to the conclusion that the Book of Proverbs divides itself into the following parts: - (1) The title of the book, Proverbs 1:1-6, by which the question is raised, how far the book extends to which it originally belongs; (2) the hortatory discourses, 1:7-9:18, in which it is a question whether the Solomonic proverbs must be regarded as beginning with these, or whether they are only the introduction thereto, composed by a different author, perhaps the author of the title of the book; (3) the first great collection of Solomonic proverbs, 10:1-22:16; (4) the first appendix to this first collection, "The words of the wise," 22:17-24:22; (5) the second appendix, supplement of the words of some wise men, Proverbs 24:23.; (6) the second great collection of Solomonic proverbs, which the "men of Hezekiah" collected, chap. 25-29; (7) the first appendix to this second collection, the words of Agur the son of Makeh, chap. 30; (8) the second appendix, the words of King Lemuel, Proverbs 31:1-9; (9) third appendix, the acrostic ode, Proverbs 31:10. These nine parts are comprehended under three groups: the introductory hortatory discourses with the general title at their head, and the two great collections of Solomonic proverbs with their two appendices. In prosecuting our further investigations, we shall consider the several parts of the book first from the point of view of the manifold forms of their proverbs, then of their style, and thirdly of their type of doctrine. From each of these three subjects of investigation we may expect elucidations regarding the origin of these proverbs and of their collections.
2. The Several Parts of the Book of Proverbs with Respect to the Manifold Forms of the Proverbs
If the Book of Proverbs were a collection of popular sayings, we should find in it a multitude of proverbs of one line each, as e.g., "Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked" (1 Samuel 24:13); but we seek for such in vain. At the first glance, Proverbs 24:23 appears to be a proverb of one line; but the line "To have respect of persons in judgment is not good," is only the introductory line of a proverb which consists of several lines, Proverbs 24:24. Ewald is right in regarding as inadmissible a comparison of the collections of Arabic proverbs by Abu-Obeida, Meidani, and others, who gathered together and expounded the current popular proverbs, with the Book of Proverbs. Ali's Hundred Proverbs are, however, more worthy of being compared with it. Like these, Solomon's proverbs are, as a whole, the production of his own spirit, and only mediately of the popular spirit. To make the largeness of the number of these proverbs a matter of doubt were inconsiderate. Eichhorn maintained that even a godlike genius scarcely attains to so great a number of pointed proverbs and ingenious thoughts. But if we distribute Solomon's proverbs over his forty years' reign, then we have scarcely twenty for each year; and one must agree with the conclusion, that the composition of so many proverbs even of the highest ingenuity is no impossible problem for a "godlike genius." When, accordingly, it is related that Solomon wrote 3000 proverbs, Ewald, in his History of Israel, does not find the number too great, and Bertheau does not regard it as impossible that the collection of the "Proverbs of Solomon" has the one man Solomon as their author. The number of the proverbs thus cannot determine us to regard them as having for the most part originated among the people, and the form in which they appear leads to an opposite conclusion. It is, indeed, probable that popular proverbs are partly wrought into these proverbs,
and many of their forms of expression are moulded after the popular proverbs; but as they thus lie before us, they are, as a whole, the production of the technical Mashal poetry.
The simplest form is, according to the fundamental peculiarity of the Hebrew verse, the distich. The relation of the two lines to each other is very manifold. The second line may repeat the thought of the first, only in a somewhat altered form, in order to express this thought as clearly and exhaustively as possible. We call such proverbs synonymous distichs; as e.g., Proverbs 11:25 :
A soul of blessing is made fat,
And he that watereth others is himself watered.
Or the second line contains the other side of the contrast to the statement of the first; the truth spoken in the first is explained in the second by means of the presentation of its contrary. We call such proverbs antithetic distichs; as e.g., Proverbs 10:1 :
A wise son maketh his father glad,
And a foolish son is his mother's grief.
Similar forms, Proverbs 10:16; Proverbs 12:5. Elsewhere, as Proverbs 18:14; Proverbs 20:24, the antithesis clothes itself in the form of a question. sometimes it is two different truths that are expressed in the two lines; and the authorization of their union lies only in a certain relationship, and the ground of this union in the circumstance that two lines are the minimum of the technical proverb - synthetic distichs; e.g., Proverbs 10:18 :
A cloak of hatred are lying lips,
And he that spreadeth slander is a fool.
Not at all infrequently one line does not suffice to bring out the thought intended, the begun expression of which is only completed in the second. These we call integral (eingedankige) distichs; as e.g., Proverbs 11:31 (cf. 1 Peter 4:18):
The righteous shall be recompensed on the earth -
How much more the ungodly and the sinner!
To these distichs also belong all those in which the thought stated in the first receives in the second, by a sentence presenting a reason, or proof, or purpose, or consequence, a definition completing or perfecting it; e.g., Proverbs 13:14; Proverbs 16:10; Proverbs 19:20; Proverbs 22:28.
(Note: Such integral distichs are also Proverbs 15:3; Proverbs 16:7, Proverbs 16:10; Proverbs 17:13, Proverbs 17:15; Proverbs 18:9, Proverbs 18:13; Proverbs 19:26-27; Proverbs 20:7-8, Proverbs 20:10-11, Proverbs 20:20-21; Proverbs 21:4, Proverbs 21:13, Proverbs 21:16, Proverbs 21:21, Proverbs 21:23-24, Proverbs 21:30; Proverbs 22:4, Proverbs 22:11; Proverbs 24:8, Proverbs 24:26; Proverbs 26:16; Proverbs 27:14; Proverbs 28:8-9, Proverbs 28:17, Proverbs 28:24; Proverbs 29:1, Proverbs 29:5, Proverbs 29:12, Proverbs 29:14. In Proverbs 14:27; Proverbs 15:24; Proverbs 17:23; Proverbs 19:27, the second line consists of one sentence with ל and the infin.; in Proverbs 16:12, Proverbs 16:26; Proverbs 21:25; Proverbs 22:9; Proverbs 27:1; Proverbs 29:19, of one sentence with כּי; with כּי אם, Proverbs 18:2; Proverbs 23:17. The two lines, as Proverbs 11:31; Proverbs 15:11; Proverbs 17:7; Proverbs 19:7, Proverbs 19:10, Proverbs 20:27, form a conclusion a minori ad majus, or the reverse. The former or the latter clauses stand in grammatical relation in Proverbs 23:1-2, Proverbs 23:15., Proverbs 27:22; Proverbs 29:21 (cf. Proverbs 22:29; Proverbs 24:10; Proverbs 26:12; Proverbs 29:20, with hypoth. perf., and Proverbs 26:26 with hypoth. fut.); in the logical relation of reason and consequence, Proverbs 17:14; Proverbs 20:2, Proverbs 20:4; in comparative relation, Proverbs 12:9, etc. These examples show that the two lines, not merely in the more recent, but also in the old Solomonic Mashal, do not always consist of two parallel members.)
But there is also a fifth form, which corresponds most to the original character of the Mashal: the proverb explaining its ethical object by a resemblance from the region of the natural and every-day life, the παραβολή proper. The form of this parabolic proverb is very manifold, according as the poet himself expressly compares the two subjects, or only places them near each other in order that the hearer or reader may complete the comparison. The proverb is least poetic when the likeness between the two subjects is expressed by a verb; as Proverbs 27:15 (to which, however, Proverbs 27:16 belongs):
A continual dropping in a rainy day
And a contentious woman are alike.
The usual form of expression, neither unpoetic nor properly poetic, is the introduction of the comparison by כּ [as], and of the similitude in the second clause by כּן [so]; as Proverbs 10:26 :
As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes,
So is the sluggard to them who give him a commission.
As a dog returning to his vomit -
A fool returning to his folly.
We call the parabolic proverbs of these three forms comparisons. The last, the abbreviated form of the comparative proverb, which we will call, in contradistinction to the comparative, the emblematic, in which the contrast and its emblem are loosely placed together without any nearer expression of the similitude; as e.g., Proverbs 26:20; Proverbs 27:17-18, Proverbs 27:20. This takes place either by means of the couplative Vav, ו, as Proverbs 25:25 -
Cold water to a thirsty soul,
And good news from a far country.
(Note: This so-called Vav adaequationis, which appears here for the first time in the Proverbs as the connection between the figure and the thing itself without a verbal predicate (cf. on the other hand, Job 5:7; Job 12:11; Job 14:11.), is, like the Vav, ו, of comparison, only a species of that Vav of association which is called in Arab. Waw alajam'a, or Waw alam'ayat, or Waw al'asatsahab (vid., at Isaiah 42:5); and since usage attributes to it the verbal power of secum habere, it is construed with the accus. Vid., examples in Freytag's Arabum Proverbia, among the recent proverbs beginning with the Arabic letter k.)
A gold ring in a swine's snout -
A fair woman without understanding.
These ground-forms of two lines, can, however, expand into forms of several lines. Since the distich is the peculiar and most appropriate form of the technical proverb, so, when two lines are not sufficient for expressing the thought intended, the multiplication to four, six, or eight lines is most natural. In the tetrastich the relation of the last two to the first two is as manifold as is the relation of the second line to the first in the distich. There is, however, no suitable example of four-lined stanzas in antithetic relation. But we meet with synonymous tetrastichs, e.g., Proverbs 23:15., Proverbs 24:3., 28f.; synthetic, Proverbs 30:5.; integral, Proverbs 30:17., especially of the form in which the last two lines constitute a proof passage beginning with כּי, Proverbs 22:22., or פּן, Proverbs 22:24., or without exponents, Proverbs 22:26.; comparative without expressing the comparison, Proverbs 25:16. (cf. on the other hand, Proverbs 26:18., where the number of lines is questionable), and also the emblematical, Proverbs 25:4.:
Take away the dross from the silver,
And there shall come forth a vessel for the goldsmith;
Take away the wicked from before the king,
And this throne shall be established in righteousness.
Proportionally the most frequently occurring are tetrastichs, the second half of which forms a proof clause commencing with כּי or פּן. Among the less frequent are the six-lined, presenting (Proverbs 23:1-3; Proverbs 24:11.) one and the same thought in manifold aspects, with proofs interspersed. Among all the rest which are found in the collection, Proverbs 23:12-14, Proverbs 23:19-21, Proverbs 23:26-28; Proverbs 30:15., Proverbs 30:29-31, the first two lines form a prologue introductory to the substance of the proverb; as e.g., Proverbs 23:12-14 :
O let instruction enter into thine heart,
And apply thine ears to the words of knowledge.
Withhold not correction from the child;
For if thou beatest him with the rod - he dies not.
Thou shalt beat him with the rod,
And deliver his soul from hell.
Similarly formed, yet more expanded, is the eight-lined stanza, Proverbs 23:22-28 :
Hearken unto thy father that begat thee,
And despise not thy mother when she is old.
Buy the truth and sell it not:
Wisdom, and virtue, and understanding.
The father of a righteous man greatly rejoices,
And he that begetteth a wise child hath joy of him.
Thy father and thy mother shall be glad,
And she that bare thee shall rejoice.
The Mashal proverb here inclines to the Mashal ode; for this octastich may be regarded as a short Mashal song, - like the alphabetical Mashal Psalm 37, which consists of almost pure tetrastichs.
We have now seen how the distich form multiplies itself into forms consisting of four, six, and eight lines; but it also unfolds itself, as if in one-sided multiplication, into forms of three, five, and seven lines. Tristichs arise when the thought of the first line is repeated (Proverbs 27:22) in the second according to the synonymous scheme, or when the thought of the second line is expressed by contrast in the third (Proverbs 22:29; Proverbs 28:10) according to the antithetic scheme, or when to the thought expressed in one or two lines (Proverbs 25:8; Proverbs 27:10) there is added its proof. The parabolic scheme is here represented when the object described is unfolded in two lines, as in the comparison Proverbs 25:13, or when its nature is portrayed by two figures in two lines, as in the emblematic proverb PRomans 25:20 :
To take off clothing in cold weather,
Vinegar upon nitre,
And he that singeth songs to a heavy heart.
In the few instances of pentastichs which are found, the last three lines usually unfold the reason of the thought of the first two: Proverbs 23:4., Proverbs 25:6., Proverbs 30:32.; to this Proverbs 24:13 forms an exception, where the כּן before the last three lines introduces the expansion of the figure in the first two. As an instance we quote Proverbs 25:6.:
Seek not to display thyself in the presence of the king,
And stand not in the place of the great.
For better that it be said unto thee, "Come up hither,"
Than that they humble thee in the presence of the prince,
While thine eyes have raised themselves.
Of heptastichs I know of only one example in the collection, viz., Proverbs 23:6-8 :
Eat not the bread of the jealous,
And lust not after his dainties;
For he is like one who calculates with himself: -
"Eat and drink," saith he to thee,
And his heart is not with thee.
Thy morsel which thou hast eaten must thou vomit up,
And thou hast wasted thy pleasant words.
From this heptastich, which one will scarcely take for a brief Mashal ode according to the compound strophe-scheme, we see that the proverb of two lines can expand itself to the dimensions of seven and eight lines. Beyond these limits the whole proverb ceases to be משׁל in the proper sense; and after the manner of Psalm 25; 34, and especially chap. 37, it becomes a Mashal ode. Of this class of Mashal odes are, besides the prologue, Proverbs 22:17-21, that of the drunkard, Proverbs 23:29-35; that of the slothful man, Proverbs 24:30-34; the exhortation to industry, Proverbs 27:23-27; the prayer for a moderate portion between poverty and riches, Proverbs 30:7-9; the mirror for princes, Proverbs 31:2-9; and the praise of the excellent wife, Proverbs 31:10. It is singular that this ode furnishes the only example of the alphabetical acrostic in the whole collection. Even a single trace of original alphabetical sequence afterwards broken up cannot be found. There cannot also be discovered, in the Mashal songs referred to, anything like a completed strophe-scheme; even in Proverbs 31:10. the distichs are broken by tristichs intermingled with them.
In the whole of the first part, Proverbs 1:7-9:18, the prevailing form is that of the extended flow of the Mashal song; but one in vain seeks for strophes. There is not here so firm a grouping of the lines; on the supposition of its belonging to the Solomonic era, this is indeed to be expected. The rhetorical form here outweighs the purely poetical. This first part of the Proverbs consists of the following fifteen Mashal strains: (1) Proverbs 1:7-19, (2) Proverbs 1:20., (3) chap. 2, (4) 3:1-18, (5) Proverbs 3:19-26, (6) Proverbs 3:27., (7) 4:1-5:6, (8) Proverbs 4:7., (9) Proverbs 6:1-5, (10) Proverbs 6:6-11, (11) Proverbs 6:12-19, (12) Proverbs 6:20., (13) chap. 7, (14) chap. 8, (15) chap. 9. In chap. 3 and chap. 9 there are found a few Mashal odes of two lines and of four lines which may be regarded as independent Mashals, and may adapt themselves to the schemes employed; other brief complete parts are only waves in the flow of the larger discourses, or are altogether formless, or more than octastichs. The octastich Proverbs 6:16-19 makes the proportionally greatest impression of an independent inwoven Mashal. It is the only proverb in which symbolical numbers are used which occurs in the collection from 1 to 29:
There are six things which Jahve hateth,
And seven are an abhorrence to His soul:
Haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
And hands that shed innocent blood;
An heart that deviseth the thoughts of evil,
Feet that hastily run to wickedness,
One that uttereth lies as a false witness,
And he who soweth strife between brethren.
Such numerical proverbs to which the name מדּה has been given by later Jewish writers (see my Gesch. der Jd. Poesie, pp. 199, 202) are found in chap. 30. With the exception of Proverbs 30:7-9, Proverbs 30:24-28 (cf. Sir. 25:1, 2), the numerical proverb has this peculiarity, found also in most of the numerical proverbs of Sirach (Sir. 23:16; 25:7; 26:5, 28), that the number named in the first parallel line is in the second (cf. Job 5:9) increased by one. On the other hand, the form of the Priamel
(Note: From praeambulum, designating a peculiar kind of epigram found in the German poetry of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.)
is used neither in the Book of Proverbs nor in that of Sirach. Proverbs such as Proverbs 20:10 ("Diverse weights, diverse measures - an abomination to Jahve are they both") and Proverbs 20:12 ("The hearing ear, the seeing eye - Jahve hath created them both"), to be distinguished from Proverbs 17:3; Proverbs 27:21, and the like, where the necessary unity, and from Proverbs 27:3, where the necessary resemblance, of the predicate is wanting, are only a weak approach to the Priamel - a stronger, Proverbs 25:3, where the three subjects form the preamble ("The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings - are unsearchable"). Perhaps Proverbs 30:11-14 is a greater mutilated Priamel. Here four subjects form the preamble, but there is wanting the conclusion containing the common predicate. This, we believe, exhausts the forms of the Mashal in the collection. It now only remains to make mention of the Mashal chain, i.e., the ranging together in a series of proverbs of a similar character, such as the chain of proverbs regarding the fool, Proverbs 26:1-12, the sluggard, Proverbs 26:13-16, the tale-bearer, Proverbs 26:20-22, the malicious, Proverbs 26:23-28 - but this form belongs more to the technics of the Mashal collection than to that of the Mashal poetry.
We now turn to the separate parts of the book, to examine more closely the forms of their proverbs, and gather materials for a critical judgment regarding the origin of the proverbs which they contain. Not to anticipate, we take up in order the separate parts of the arrangement of the collection. Since, then, it cannot be denied that in the introductory paedagogic part, Proverbs 1:7-9, notwithstanding its rich and deep contents, there is exceedingly little of the technical form of the Mashal, as well as generally of technical form at all. This part, as already shown, consist not of proper Mashals, but of fifteen Mashal odes, or rather, perhaps, Mashal discourses, didactic poems of the Mashal kind. In the flow of these discourses separate Mashals intermingle, which may either be regarded as independent, or, as Proverbs 1:32; Proverbs 4:18., can easily be so understood. In the Mashal chains of chap. 4 and chap. 9 we meet with proverbs that are synonymous (Proverbs 9:7, Proverbs 9:10), antithetic (Proverbs 3:35; Proverbs 9:8), integral, or of one thought (Proverbs 3:29-30), and synthetic (Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 3:5, Proverbs 3:7), of two lines and of four lines variously disposed (Proverbs 3:9., 11f., 31f., 33f.); but the parabolic scheme is not at all met with, separate proverbs such as Proverbs 3:27. are altogether without form, and keeping out of view the octastich numerical proverb, Proverbs 6:16-19, the thoughts which form the unity of separate groups are so widely expanded that the measure of the Mashal proper is far exceeded. The character of this whole part is not concentrating, but unfolding. Even the intermingling proverbs of two lines possess the same character. They are for the most part more like dissolved drops than gold coins with sharp outline and firm impress; as e.g., Proverbs 9:7 :
He that correcteth the mocker getteth to himself shame;
And he that rebuketh the sinner his dishonour.
The few that consist of four lines are closer, more compact, more finished, because they allow greater space for the expression; e.g., Proverbs 3:9.:
Honour Jahve with thy wealth,
And with the first-fruits of all thine income:
And thy barns shall be filled with plenty,
And thy vats shall overflow with must.
But beyond the four lines the author knows no limits of artistic harmony; the discourse flows on till it has wholly or provisionally exhausted the subject; it pauses not till it reaches the end of its course, and then, taking breath, it starts anew. We cannot, moreover, deny that there is beauty in this new springing forth of the stream of the discourse with its fresh transparent waves; but it is a peculiar beauty of the rhetorically decomposed, dissolved Mashal, going forth, as it were, from its confinement, and breathing its fragrance far and wide.
The fifteen discourses, in which the Teacher appears twelve times and Wisdom three times, are neither of a symmetrically chiselled form nor of internally fashioned coherence, but yet are a garland of songs having internal unity, with a well-arranged manifoldness of contents. It is true that Bertheau recognises here neither unity of the contents nor unity of the formal character; but there is no Old Testament portion of like extent, and at the same time of more systematic internal unity, and which bears throughout a like formal impress, than this. Bertheau thinks that he has discovered in certain passages a greater art in the form; and certainly there are several sections which consist of just ten verses. But this is a mere accident; for the first Mashal ode consists of groups of 1, 2, and 10 verses, the second of 8 and 6 verses, the third of 10 and 12, the fourth of 10 and 8, the fifth of 2 and 6, etc. - each group forming a complete sense. The 10 verses are met with six times, and if Proverbs 4:1-9 from the Peshito, and Proverbs 4:20-27 from the lxx, are included, eight times, without our regarding these decades as strophes, and without our being able to draw any conclusion regarding a particular author of these decade portions. In Proverbs 1:20-33, Bertheau finds indeed, along with the regular structure of verses, an exact artistic formation of strophes (3 times 4 verses with an echo of 2). But he counts instead of the stichs the Masoretic verses, and these are not the true formal parts of the strophe.
We now come to the second part of the collection, whose superscription משׁלי שׁלמה can in no respect be strange to us, since the collection of proverbs here commencing, compared with Proverbs 1:7-9, may with special right bear the name Mishle. The 375 proverbs which are classed together in this part, chap. 10-22:16, without any comprehensive plan, but only according to their more or fewer conspicuous common characteristics (Bertheau, p. xii), consist all and every one of distichs; for each Masoretic verse falls naturally into two stichs, and nowhere (not even Proverbs 19:19) does such a distich proverb stand in necessary connection with one that precedes or that follows; each is in itself a small perfected and finished whole. The tristich Proverbs 19:7 is only an apparent exception. In reality it is a distich with the disfigured remains of a distich that has been lost. The lxx has here two distichs which are wanting in our text. The second is that which is found in our text, but only in a mutilated form:
ὁ πολλὰ κακοποιῶν τελεσιουργεὶ κακίαν,
[He that does much harm perfects mischief,]
ὅς δέ ἐρεθίζει λόγους οὐ σωθήσεται.
[And he that uses provoking words shall not escape.]
Perhaps the false rendering of
מרע רבים ישׁלם־רע
מרדף אמרים לא ימלט׃
The friend of every one is rewarded with evil,
He who pursues after rumours does not escape.
But not only are all these proverbs distichs, they have also, not indeed without exception, but in by far the greatest number, a common character in that they are antithetic. Distichs of predominating antithetic character stand here together. Along with these all other schemes are, it is true, represented: the synonymous, Proverbs 11:7, Proverbs 11:25, Proverbs 11:30; Proverbs 12:14, Proverbs 12:28; Proverbs 14:19, etc.; the integral, or of one thought, Proverbs 14:7; Proverbs 15:3, etc., particularly in proverbs with the comparative מן, Proverbs 12:9; Proverbs 15:16-17; Proverbs 16:8, Proverbs 16:19; Proverbs 17:10; Proverbs 21:19; Proverbs 22:1, and with the ascending עף כּי־ much more, Proverbs 11:31; Proverbs 15:11; Proverbs 17:7; Proverbs 19:7, Proverbs 19:10; Proverbs 21:27; the synthetic, Proverbs 10:18; Proverbs 11:29; Proverbs 14:17; Proverbs 19:13; the parabolic, the most feebly represented, for the only specimens of it are Proverbs 10:26; Proverbs 11:22; besides which I know not what other Bertheau could quote. We shall further see that in another portion of the book the parabolic proverbs are just as closely placed together as are the antithetic. Here almost universally the two members of the proverbs stand together in technical parallelism as thesis and antithesis; also in the synonymous proverbs the two members are the parallel rays of one thought; in the synthetic two monostichs occur in loose external connection to suffice for the parallelism as a fundamental law of the technical proverb. But also in these proverbs in which a proper parallelism is not found, both members being needed to form a complete sentence, verse and members are so built up, according to Bertheau's self-confirmatory opinion, that in regard to extent and the number of words they are like verses with parallel members.
To this long course of distichs which profess to be the Mishle of Solomon, there follows a course, Proverbs 22:17-24:22, of "words of the wise," prefaced by the introduction Proverbs 22:17-21, which undeniably is of the same nature as the greater introduction, Proverbs 1:7-9, and of which we are reminded by the form of address preserved throughout in these "words of the wise." These "words of the wise" comprehend all the forms of the Mashal, from those of two lines in Proverbs 22:28; Proverbs 23:9; Proverbs 24:7-10, to the Mashal song Proverbs 23:29-35. Between these limits are the tetrastichs, which are the most popular form, Proverbs 22:22., Proverbs 22:24., Proverbs 22:26., Proverbs 23:10., Proverbs 23:15., Proverbs 23:17., Proverbs 24:1., Proverbs 24:3., Proverbs 24:5., Proverbs 24:15., Proverbs 24:17., Proverbs 24:19., Proverbs 24:21. - pentastichs, Proverbs 23:4., Proverbs 24:13., and hexastichs, Proverbs 23:1-3, Proverbs 23:12-14, Proverbs 23:19-21, Proverbs 23:26-28; Proverbs 24:11.; - of tristichs, heptastichs, and octastichs are at least found one specimen of each, Proverbs 22:29; Proverbs 23:6-8, Proverbs 23:22-25. Bertheau maintains that there is a difference between the structure of these proverbs and that of the preceding, for he counts the number of the words which constitute a verse in the case of the latter and of the former; but such a proceeding is unwarrantable, for the remarkably long Masoretic verse Proverbs 24:12 contains eighteen words; and the poet is not to be made accountable for such an arrangement, for in his mind Proverbs 24:11. forms a hexastich, and indeed a very elegant one. Not the words of the Masoretic verse, but the stichs are to be counted. Reckoning according to the stichs, I can discover no difference between these proverbs and the preceding. In the preceding ones also the number of the words in the stichs extends from two to five, the number two being here, however, proportionally more frequently found (e.g., Proverbs 24:4, Proverbs 24:8, Proverbs 24:10); a circumstance which has its reason in this, that the symmetry of the members is often very much disturbed, there being frequently no trace whatever of parallelism. To the first appendix to the "Proverbs of Solomon" there follows a second, Proverbs 24:23., with the superscription, "These things also to the wise," which contains a hexastich, Proverbs 24:23-25, a distich, Proverbs 24:26, a tristich, Proverbs 24:27, a tetrastich, Proverbs 24:28., and a Mashal ode, Proverbs 24:30., on the sluggard - the last in the form of an experience, of the poet like Psalm 37:35. The moral which he has drawn from this recorded observation is expressed in two verses such as we have already found at Proverbs 6:10. These two appendices are, as is evident from their commencement as well as from their conclusion, in closest relation to the introduction, Proverbs 1:7-9.
There now follows in chap. 25-29 the second great collection of "Proverbs of Solomon," "copied out," as the superscription mentions, by the direction of King Hezekiah. It falls, apparently, into two parts; for as Proverbs 24:30., a Mashal hymn stands at the end of the two appendices, so that the Mashal hymn Proverbs 27:23. must be regarded as forming the division between the two halves of this collection. It is very sharply distinguished from the collection beginning with chap. 10. The extent of the stichs and the greater or less observance of the parallelism furnish no distinguishing mark, but there are others worthy of notice. In the first collection the proverbs are exclusively in the form of distichs; here we have also some tristichs, Proverbs 25:8, Proverbs 25:13, Proverbs 25:20; Proverbs 27:10, Proverbs 27:22; Proverbs 28:10, tetrastichs, Proverbs 25:4., Proverbs 25:9., Proverbs 25:21., Proverbs 26:18., Proverbs 26:24., Proverbs 27:15., and pentastichs, Proverbs 25:6., besides the Mashal hymn already referred to. The kind of arrangement is not essentially different from that in the first collection; it is equally devoid of plan, yet there are here some chains or strings of related proverbs, Proverbs 26:1-13 -16, 20-22. A second essential distinction between the two collections is this, that while in the first the antithetic proverb forms the prevailing element, here is it the parabolic, and especially the emblematic; in chap. 25-27 are sentences almost wholly of this character. We say almost, for to place together proverbs of this kind exclusively is not the plan of the collector. There are also proverbs of the other schemes, fewer synonymous, etc., than antithetic, and the collection begins in very varied quodlibet: Proverbs 25:2, an antithetic proverb; Proverbs 25:3, a priamel with three subjects; Proverbs 25:4., an emblematic tetrastich; Proverbs 25:6., a pentastich; Proverbs 25:8, a tristich; Proverbs 25:9., a tetrastich, with the negative פן; Proverbs 25:11, an emblematic distich ("Golden apples in silver caskets - a word spoken in a fitting way"). The antithetic proverbs are found especially in chap. 28 and 29: the first and the last proverb of the whole collection, Proverbs 25:2; Proverbs 29:27, are antithetic; but between these two the comparative and the figurative proverbs are so prevalent, that this collection appears like a variegated picture-book with explanatory notes written underneath. In extent it is much smaller than the foregoing. I reckon 126 proverbs in 137 Masoretic verses.
The second collection of Solomon's proverbs has also several appendices, the first of which, chap. 30, according to the inscription, is by an otherwise unknown author, Agur the son of Jakeh. The first poem of this appendix present in a thoughtful way the unsearchableness of God. This is followed by certain peculiar pieces, such as a tetrastich regarding the purity of God's word, Proverbs 30:5.; a prayer for a moderate position between riches and poverty, Proverbs 30:7-9; a distich against slander, Proverbs 30:10; a priamel without the conclusion, Proverbs 30:11-14; the insatiable four (a Midda), Proverbs 30:15.; a tetrastich regarding the disobedient son, Proverbs 30:17, the incomprehensible four, Proverbs 30:18-20; the intolerable four, Proverbs 30:21-23; the diminutive but prudent four, Proverbs 30:24-28; the excellent four, Proverbs 30:29-31; a pentastich recommending prudent silence, Proverbs 30:32. Two other supplements form the conclusion of the whole book: the counsel of Lemuel's mother to her royal son, Proverbs 31:2-9, and the praise of the virtuous woman in the form of an alphabetical acrostic, Proverbs 31:10.
After we have acquainted ourselves with the manifold forms of the technical proverbs and their distribution in the several parts of the collection, the question arises, What conclusions regarding the origin of these several parts may be drawn from these forms found in them? We connect with this the conception of Ewald, who sees represented in the several parts of the collection the chief points of the history of proverbial poetry. The "Proverbs of Solomon," Proverbs 10:1-22:16, appear to him to be the oldest collection, which represents the simplest and the most ancient kind of proverbial poetry. Their distinguishing characteristics are the symmetrical two-membered verse, complete in itself, containing in itself a fully intelligible meaning, and the quick contrast of thesis and antithesis. The oldest form of the technical proverb, according to Ewald, is, according to our terminology, the antithetic distich, such as predominates in 10:1-22:16. Along with these antithetic distichs we find here also others of a different kind. Ewald so considers the contrast of the two members to be the original fundamental law of the technical proverb, that to him these other kinds of distichs represent the diminution of the inner force of the two-membered verse, the already begun decay of the art in its oldest limits and laws, and the transition to a new method. In the "Proverbs of Solomon," chap. 25-29, of the later collection, that rigorous formation of the verse appears already in full relaxation and dissolution: the contrast of the sense of the members appears here only exceptionally; the art turns from the crowded fulness and strength of the representation more to the adorning of the thought by means of strong and striking figures and forms of expression, to elegant painting of certain moral conditions and forms of life; and the more the technical proverb is deprived of the breath of a vigorous poetic spirit, so much the nearer does it approach to the vulgar proverb; the full and complete symmetry of the two members disappears, less by the abridgment of one of them, than by the too great extension and amplification of the two-membered proverb into longer admonitions to a moral life, and descriptions relating thereto. So the proverbial poetry passes essentially into a different form and manner. "While it loses in regard to internal vigorous brevity and strength, it seeks to gain again by means of connected instructive exposition, by copious description and detailed representation; breaking up its boldly delineated, strong, and yet simply beautiful form, it rises to oratorical display, to attractive eloquence, in which, indeed, though the properly poetical and the artistic gradually disappears, yet the warmth and easy comprehension are increased." In chap. 1-9, the introduction of the older collection, and Proverbs 22:17-24, of the first half of the supplement to the older collection (chap. 25-29 is the second half), supplied by a later writer, the great change is completed, the growth of which the later collection of the "Proverbs of Solomon," particularly in chap. 25-29, reveals. The symmetry of the two members of the verse is here completely destroyed; the separate proverb appears almost only as an exception; the proverbial poetry has passed into admonition and discourse, and has become in many respects lighter, and more flexible, and flowing, and comprehensible. "It is true that on the side of this later form of proverbial poetry there is not mere loss. While it always loses the excellent pointed brevity, the inner fulness and strength of the old proverbs, it gains in warmth, impressiveness, intelligibility; the wisdom which at first strives only to make its existence and its contents in endless manifoldness known, reaches this point at last, that having become clear and certain, it now also turns itself earnestly and urgently to men." In the later additions, chap. 30-31, appended altogether externally, the proverbial poetry has already disappeared, and given place to elegant descriptions of separate moral truths. While the creative passes into the background, the whole aim is now toward surprising expansion and new artistic representation.
This view of the progressive development of the course of proverbial poetry is one of the chief grounds for the determination of Ewald's judgment regarding the parts that are Solomonic and those that are not Solomonic in the collection. In Proverbs 10:1-22:16 he does not regard the whole as Solomon's, as immediately and in their present form composed by Solomon; but the breath of the Solomonic spirit enlivens and pervades all that has been added by other and later poets. But most of the proverbs of the later collection (chap. 25-29) are not much older than the time of Hezekiah; yet there are in it some that are Solomonic, and of the period next to Solomon. The collection stretches backward with its arms, in part indeed, as the superscription, the "Proverbs of Solomon," shows, to the time of Solomon. On the other hand, in the introduction, chap. 1-9, and in the first half of the appendix (Proverbs 22:17-24), there is not found a single proverb of the time of Solomon; both portions belong to two poets of the seventh century b.c., a new era, in which the didactic poets added to the older Solomonic collection longer pieces of their own composition. The four small pieces, Proverbs 30:1-14, 15-33; Proverbs 31:1-10., are of a still later date; they cannot belong to an earlier period than the end of the seventh or the beginning of the sixth century b.c.
We recognise the penetration, the sensibility, the depth of thought indicated by this opinion of Ewald's regarding the origin of the book; yet for the most part it is not supported by satisfactory proof. If we grant that he has on the whole rightly construed the history of proverbial poetry, nevertheless the conclusion that proverbs which bear in themselves the marks of the oldest proverbial poetry belong to the Solomonic era, and that the others belong to a period more nearly or more remotely subsequent to it, is very fallacious. In this case much that is found in Sirach's Book of Proverbs must be Solomonic; and the משׁלי אסף of Isaac Satanow,
(Note: Isaac Ha-Levi was born at Satanow (whence his name), in Russian Poland, 1732, died at Berlin 1802. Besides other works, he was the author of several collections of gnomes and apothegms in imitation of the Proverbs. Vid., Delitzsch Zur Gesch. der Jd. Poesie, p. 115.)
the contemporary of Moses Mendelssohn, as well as many other proverbs in the collection מלין דרבנן, and in the poetical works of other Jewish poets belonging to the middle ages or to later times, might be dated back perhaps a thousand years. Along with the general course of development the individuality of the poet is also to be taken into account; an ancient poet can, along with the formally completed, produce the imperfect, which appears to belong to a period of art that has degenerated, and a modern poet can emulate antiquity with the greatest accuracy. But Ewald's construction of the progress of the development of proverbial poetry is also in part arbitrary. That the two-membered verse is the oldest form of the technical proverb we shall not dispute, but that it is the two-membered antithetic verse is a supposition that cannot be proved; and that Solomon wrote only antithetic distichs is an absurd assertion, to which Keil justly replies, that the adhering to only one form and structure is a sign of poverty, of mental narrowness and one-sidedness. There are also other kinds of parallelism, which are not less beautiful and vigorous than the antithetic, and also other forms of proverbs besides the distich in which the thought, which can in no way be restrained within two lines, must necessarily divide itself into the branches of a greater number of lines. Thus I must agree with Keil in the opinion, that Ewald's assertion that in the Hezekiah-collection the strong form of the technical proverb is in full dissolution, contains an exaggeration. If the first collection, Proverbs 10:1-22:16, contains only two (Proverbs 10:26; Proverbs 11:22) figurative proverbs, while it would be altogether foolish to deny that these two, because they were figurative proverbs, were Solomonic, or to affirm that he was the author of only these two, so it is self-evident that the Hezekiah-collection, which is principally a collection of figurative proverbs, must contain many proverbs in which a different kind of parallelism prevails, which has the appearance of a looser connection. Is it not probable that Solomon, who had an open penetrating eye for the greatest and the smallest objects of nature, composed many such proverbs? And is e.g., the proverb PRomans 26:23,
Dross of silver spread over a potsherd -
Burning lips and a wicked heart,
less beautiful, and vigorous, and worthy of Solomon than any antithetic distich? If Ewald imagines that the 3000 proverbs which Solomon wrote were all constructed according to this one model, we are much rather convinced that Solomon's proverbial poetry, which found the distich and the tetrastich as forms of proverbs already in use, would not only unfold within the limits of the distich the most varied manifoldness of thought and form, but would also within the limits of the Mashal generally, run through the whole scale from the distich up to octastichs and more extensive forms. But while we cannot accept Ewald's criteria which he applies to the two collections, Proverbs 10:1-22:16 and chap 25-29, yet his delineation of the form and kind of proverbial poetry occurring in chap. 1-9, Proverbs 22:17., is excellent, as is also his conclusion, that these portions belong to a new and more recent period of proverbial poetry. Since in Proverbs 22:17-21 manifestly a new course of "Words of the Wise" by a poet later than Solomon is introduced, it is possible, yea, not improbable, that he, or, as Ewald thinks, another somewhat older poet, introduces in 1:7-9:18 the "Proverbs of Solomon" following from Proverbs 10:1 onward.
But if Solomon composed not only distichs, but also tristichs, etc., it is strange that in the first collection, chap. 10-22:16, there are exclusively distichs; and if he constructed not only contrasted proverbs, but equally figurative proverbs, it is as strange that in the first collection the figurative proverbs are almost entirely wanting, while in the second collection, chap. 25-29, on the contrary, they prevail. This remarkable phenomenon may be partly explained if we could suppose that not merely the second collection but both of them, were arranged by the "men of Hezekiah," and that the whole collection of the Solomonic proverbs was divided by them into two collections according to their form. But leaving out of view other objections, one would in that case have expected in the first collection the proportionally great number of the antithetic distichs which stand in the second. If we regard both collections as originally one whole, then there can be no rational ground for its being divided in this particular way either by the original collector or by a later enlarger of the collection. We have therefore to regard the two portions as the work of two different authors. The second is by the "men of Hezekiah;" the first cannot be by Solomon himself, since the number of proverbs composed, and probably also written out by Solomon, amounted to 3000; besides, if Solomon was the author of the collection, there would be visible on it the stamp of his wisdom in its plan and order: it is thus the work of another author, who is certainly different from the author of the introductory Mashal poems, Proverbs 1:7-9:18. For if the author of the title of the book were not at the same time the author of the introduction, he must have taken it from some other place; thus it is inconceivable how he could give the title "Proverbs of Solomon," etc., Proverbs 1:1-6, to poems which were not composed by Solomon. If 1:7-9:18 is not by Solomon, then these Mashal poems are explicable only as the work of the author of the title of the book, and as an introduction to the "Proverbs of Solomon," beginning Proverbs 10:1. It must be one and the same author who edited the "Proverbs of Solomon" 10:1-22:16, prefixed 1:7-9:18 as an introduction to them, and appended to them the "Words of the Wise," 22:17-24:22; the second collector then appended to this book a supplement of the "Words of the Wise," Proverbs 24:23., and then the Hezekiah-collection of Solomonic proverbs, chap. 25-29; perhaps also, in order that the book might be brought to a close in the same form in which it was commenced, he added
(Note: Zckler takes Proverbs 24:23. as a second appendix to the first principal collection. This is justifiable, but the second superscription rather suggests two collectors.)
the non-Solomonic proverbial poem chap. 30 f. We do not, however, maintain that the book has this origin, but only this, that on the supposition of the non-Solomonic origin of 1:7-9:18 it cannot well have any other origin. But the question arises again, and more emphatically, How was it possible that the first collector left as gleanings to the second so great a number of distichs, almost all parabolical, and besides, all more than two-lined proverbs of Solomon? One can scarcely find the reason of this singular phenomenon in anything else than in the judgment of the author of the first collection as the determining motive of his selection. For when we think also on the sources and origin of the two collections, the second always presupposes the first, and that which is singular in the author's thus restricting himself can only have its ground in the freedom which he allowed to his subjectivity.
Before we more closely examine the style and the teaching of the book, and the conclusions thence arising, another phenomenon claims our attention, which perhaps throws light on the way in which the several collections originated; but, at all events, it may not now any longer remain out of view, when we are in the act of forming a judgment on this point.
3. The Repetitions in the Book of Proverbs
We find not only in the different parts of the collection, but also within the limits of one and the same part, proverbs which wholly or in part are repeated in the same or in similar words. Before we can come to a judgment, we must take cognizance as closely as possible of this fact. We begin with "The Proverbs of Solomon," chap. 10-22:16; for this collection is in relation to chap. 25-29 certainly the earlier, and it is especially with respect to the Solomonic proverbs that this fact demands an explanation. In this earlier collection we find, (1) whole proverbs repeated in exactly the same words: Proverbs 14:12 equals Proverbs 16:25; - (2) proverbs slightly changed in their form of expression: Proverbs 10:1 equals Proverbs 15:20; Proverbs 14:20 equals Proverbs 19:4; Proverbs 16:2 equals Proverbs 21:2; Proverbs 19:5 equals Proverbs 19:9; Proverbs 20:10 equals Proverbs 20:23; Proverbs 21:9 equals Proverbs 21:19 - (3) proverbs almost identical in form, but somewhat different in sense: Proverbs 10:2 equals Proverbs 11:4; Proverbs 13:14 equals Proverbs 14:27 - (4) proverbs the first lines of which are the same: Proverbs 10:15 equals Proverbs 18:11 - (5) proverbs with their second lines the same: Proverbs 10:6 equals Proverbs 10:11; Proverbs 10:8 equals Proverbs 10:10; Proverbs 15:33 equals Proverbs 18:12 - (6) proverbs with one line almost the same: Proverbs 11:13 equals Proverbs 20:19; Proverbs 11:21 equals Proverbs 16:5; Proverbs 12:14 equals Proverbs 13:2; Proverbs 14:31 equals Proverbs 17:5; Proverbs 16:18 equals Proverbs 18:12; Proverbs 19:12 equals Proverbs 20:2; comp. also Proverbs 16:28 with Proverbs 17:9; Proverbs 19:25 with Proverbs 21:11. In comparing these proverbs, one will perceive that for the most part the external or internal resemblance of the surrounding has prompted the collector to place the one proverb in this place and the other in that place (not always indeed; for what reason e.g., could determine the position of Proverbs 16:25 and Proverbs 19:5, Proverbs 19:9, I cannot say); then that the proverb standing earlier is generally, to all appearance, also the earlier formed, for the second of the pair is mostly a synonymous distich, which generally further extends antithetically one line of the first: cf. Proverbs 18:11 with Proverbs 10:15; Proverbs 20:10, Proverbs 20:23 with Proverbs 11:1; Proverbs 20:19 with Proverbs 11:13; Proverbs 16:5 with Proverbs 11:21; Proverbs 20:2 with Proverbs 19:12, also Proverbs 17:5 with Proverbs 14:31, where from an antithetic proverb a synthetic one is formed; but here also there are exceptions, as Proverbs 13:2 compared with Proverbs 12:14, and Proverbs 15:33 with Proverbs 18:12, where the same line is in the first case connected with a synonymous, and in the second with an antithetic proverb; but here also the contrast is so loose, that the earlier-occurring proverb has the appearance of priority.
We now direct our attention to the second collection, chap. 25-29. When we compare the proverbs found here with one another, we see among them a disproportionately smaller number of repetitions than in the other collection; only a single entire proverb is repeated in almost similar terms, but in an altered sense, Proverbs 29:20 equals Proverbs 26:12; but proverbs such as Proverbs 28:12, Proverbs 28:28; Proverbs 29:2, notwithstanding the partial resemblance, are equally original. On the other hand, in this second collection we find numerous repetitions of proverbs and portions of proverbs from the first: - (1) Whole proverbs perfectly identical (leaving out of view insignificant variations): Proverbs 25:24 equals Proverbs 21:9; Proverbs 26:22 equals Proverbs 18:8; Proverbs 27:12 equals Proverbs 22:3; Proverbs 27:13 equals Proverbs 20:16 - (2) proverbs identical in meaning with somewhat changed expression: Proverbs 26:13 equals Proverbs 22:13; Proverbs 26:15 equals Proverbs 19:24; Proverbs 28:6 equals Proverbs 19:1; Proverbs 28:19 equals Proverbs 12:11; Proverbs 29:13 equals Proverbs 22:2 - (3) proverbs with one line the same and one line different: Proverbs 27:21 equals Proverbs 17:3; Proverbs 29:22 equals Proverbs 15:18; cf. also Proverbs 27:15 with Proverbs 19:13. when we compare these proverbs with one another, we are uncertain as to many of them which has the priority, as e.g., Proverbs 27:21 equals Proverbs 17:3; Proverbs 29:22 equals Proverbs 15:18; but in the case of others there is no doubt that the Hezekiah-collection contains the original form of the proverb which is found in the other collection, as Proverbs 26:13; Proverbs 28:6, Proverbs 28:19; Proverbs 29:13; Proverbs 27:15, in relation to their parallels. In the other portions of this book also we find such repetitions as are met with in these two collections of Solomonic proverbs. In Proverbs 1:7-9:18 we have Proverbs 2:16, a little changed, repeated in Proverbs 7:5, and Proverbs 3:15 in Proverbs 8:11; Proverbs 9:10 equals Proverbs 1:7 is a case not worthy of being mentioned, and it were inappropriate here to refer to Proverbs 9:4, Proverbs 9:16. In the first appendix of "the Words of the Wise," 22:17 - 24:22, single lines often repeat themselves in another connection; cf. Proverbs 23:3 and Proverbs 23:6, Proverbs 23:10 and Proverbs 22:28; Proverbs 23:17. and Proverbs 24:13., Proverbs 22:23 and Proverbs 23:11, Proverbs 23:17 and Proverbs 24:1. That in such cases the one proverb is often the pattern of the other, is placed beyond a doubt by the relation of Proverbs 24:19 to Psalm 37:1; cf. also Proverbs 24:20 with Psalm 37:38. If here there are proverbs like those of Solomon in their expression, the presumption is that the priority belongs to the latter, as Proverbs 23:27 cf. Proverbs 22:14; Proverbs 24:5. cf. Proverbs 11:14; Proverbs 24:19. cf. Proverbs 13:9, in which latter case the justice of the presumption is palpable. Within the second appendix of "the Words of the Wise," Proverbs 24:23., no repetitions are to be expected on account of its shortness; yet is Proverbs 24:23 repeated from the Solomonic Mashal Proverbs 28:21, and as Proverbs 24:33. are literally the same as Proverbs 6:10., the priority is presumably on the side of the author of 1:7-9:18, at least of the Mashal in the form in which he communicates it. The supplements chap. 30 and 31 afford nothing that is worth mention as bearing on our present inquiry,
(Note: Quite the same phenomenon, Fleischer remarks, presents itself in the different collections of proverbs ascribed to the Caliph Ali, where frequently one and the same thought in one collection is repeated in manifold forms in a second, here in a shorter, there in a longer form. As a general principle this is to be borne in mind, that the East transmits unchanged, with scrupulous exactness, only religious writings regarded as holy and divine, and therefore these Proverbs have been transmitted unchanged only since they became a distinct part of the canon; before that time it happened to them, as to all in the East that is exposed to the arbitrariness of the changing spirit and the intercourse of life, that one and the same original text has been modified by one speaker and writer after another. Thus of the famous poetical works of the East, such e.g., as Firdusi's Schah-Nahem (Book of the Kings) and Sadi's Garden of Roses, not one MS copy agrees with another.)
and we may therefore now turn to the question, What insight into the origin of these proverbs and their collection do the observations made afford? From the numerous repetitions of proverbs and portions of proverbs of the first collection of the "Proverbs of Solomon" in the Hezekiah-collection, as well as from another reason stated at the end of the foregoing section of our inquiry, we conclude that the two collections were by different authors; in other words, that they had not both "the men of Hezekiah" for their authors. It is true that the repetitions in themselves do not prove anything against the oneness of their authorship for there are within the several collections, and even within chap. 1-9 (cf. Proverbs 6:20 with Proverbs 1:8; Proverbs 8:10. with Proverbs 3:14.), repetitions, notwithstanding the oneness of their authorship. But if two collections of proverbs are in so many various ways different in their character, as 10:1-22:16 and chap. 25-29, then the previous probability rises almost to a certainty by such repetitions. From the form, for the most part anomalous, in which the Hezekiah-collection presents the proverbs and portions of proverbs which are found also in the first collection, and from their being otherwise independent, we further conclude that "the men of Hezekiah" did not borrow from the first collection, but formed it from other sources. But since one does not understand why "the men of Hezekiah" should have omitted so great a number of genuine Solomonic proverbs which remain, after deducting the proportionally few that have been repeated (for this omission is not to be explained by saying that they selected those that were appropriate and wholesome for their time), we are further justified in the conclusion that the other collection was known to them as one current in their time. Their object was, indeed, not to supplement this older collection; they rather regarded their undertaking as a similar people's book, which they wished to place side by side with that collection without making it superfluous. The difference of the selection in the two collections has its whole directing occasion in the difference of the intention. The first collection begins (Proverbs 10:1) with the proverb -
A wise son maketh glad his father,
And a foolish son is the grief of his mother;
the second (Proverbs 25:2) with the proverb -
It is the glory of God to conceal a thing,
And the glory of kings to search out a matter.
The one collection is a book for youth, to whom it is dedicated in the extended introduction, Proverbs 1:7-9:18; the second is a people's book suited to the time of Hezekiah ("Solomon's Wisdom in Hezekiah's days," as Stier has named it), and therefore it takes its start not, like the first, from the duties of the child, but from those of the king. If in the two collections everything does not stand in conscious relation to these different objects, yet the collectors at least have, from the commencement to the close (cf. Proverbs 22:15 with Proverbs 29:26), these objects before their eyes.
As to the time at which the first collection was made, the above considerations also afford us some materials for forming a judgment. Several pairs of proverbs which it contains present to us essentially the same sayings in older and more recent forms. Keil regards the proverbs also that appear less original as old-Solomonic, and remarks that one and the same poet does not always give expression to the same thoughts with the same pregnant brevity and excellence, and affirms that changes and reproductions of separate proverbs may proceed even from Solomon himself. This is possible; but if we consider that even Davidic psalms have been imitated, and that in the "Words of the Wise" Solomonic proverbs are imitated - moreover, that proverbs especially are subject to changes, and invite to imitation and transformation - we shall find it to be improbable. Rather we would suppose, that between the publication of the 3000 proverbs of Solomon and the preparation of the collection chap. 10-22:16 a considerable time elapsed, during which the old-Solomonic Mashal had in the mouths of the people and of poets acquired a multitude of accretions, and that the collector had without hesitation gathered together such indirect Solomonic proverbs with those that were directly Solomonic. But did not then the 3000 Solomonic proverbs afford to him scope enough? We must answer this question in the negative; for if that vast number of Solomonic proverbs was equal in moral-religious worth to those that have been preserved to us, then neither the many repetitions within the first collection nor the proportional poverty of the second can be explained. The "men of Hezekiah" made their collection of Solomonic proverbs nearly 300 years after Solomon's time; but there is no reason to suppose that the old book of the Proverbs of Solomon had disappeared at that time. Much rather we may with probability conclude, from the subjects to which several proverbs of these collections extend (husbandry, war, court life, etc.), and from Solomon's love for the manifold forms of natural and of social life, that his 3000 proverbs would not have afforded much greater treasures than these before us. But if the first collection was made at a time in which the old-Solomonic proverbs had been already considerably multiplied by new combinations, accretions, and imitations, then probably a more suitable time for their origination could not be than that of Jehoshaphat, which was more related to the time of Solomon than to that of David. The personality of Jehoshaphat, inclined toward the promotion of the public worship of God, the edification of the people, the administration of justice; the dominion of the house of David recognised and venerated far and wide among neighbouring peoples; the tendencies of that time towards intercourse with distant regions; the deep peace which followed the subjugation of the confederated nations - all these are features which stamped the time of Jehoshaphat as a copy of that of Solomon. Hence we are to expect in it the fostering care of the Chokma. If the author of the introduction and editor of the older book of Proverbs 54ed after Solomon and before Hezekiah, then the circumstances of the case most suitably determine his time as at the beginning of the reign of Jehoshaphat, some seventy years after Solomon's death. If in chap. 1-9 it is frequently said that wisdom was seen openly in the streets and ways, this agrees with 2 Chronicles 17:7-9, where it is said that princes, priests, and Levites, sent out by Jehoshaphat (compare the Carolingian missi), went forth into the towns of Judah with the book of the law in their hands as teachers of the people, and with 2 Chronicles 19:4, where it is stated that Jehoshaphat himself "went out through the people from Beer-sheba to Mount Ephraim, and brought them back unto the Lord God of their fathers." We have an evidence of the fondness for allegorical forms of address at that time in 2 Kings 14:8-11 (2 Chronicles 25:17-21), which is so far favourable to the idea that the allegorizing author of chap. 1-9 belonged to that epoch of history.
This also agrees with the time of Jehoshaphat, that in the first collection the kingdom appears in its bright side, adorned with righteousness (Proverbs 14:35; Proverbs 16:10, Proverbs 16:12-13; Proverbs 20:8), wisdom (Proverbs 20:26), grace and truth (Proverbs 20:28), love to the good (Proverbs 22:11), divine guidance (Proverbs 21:1), and in the height of power (Proverbs 16:14-15; Proverbs 19:12); while in the second collection, which immediately begins with a series of the king's sayings, the kingdom is seen almost only (with exception of Proverbs 29:14) on its dark side, and is represented under the destructive dominion of tyranny (Proverbs 28:15-16; Proverbs 29:2), of oppressive taxation (Proverbs 29:4), of the Camarilla (Proverbs 25:5; Proverbs 29:12), and of multiplied authorities (Proverbs 28:2). Elster is right when he remarks, that in chap. 10-22:16 the kingdom in its actual state corresponds to its ideal, and the warning against the abuse of royal power lies remote. If these proverbs more distinguishably than those in chap. 25-29 bear the physiognomy of the time of David and Solomon, so, on the other hand, the time of Jehoshaphat, the son and successor of Asa, is favourable to their collection; while in the time of Hezekiah, the son and successor of Ahaz, and father and predecessor of Manasseh, in which, through the sin of Ahaz, negotiations with the world-kingdom began, that cloudy aspect of the kingdom which is borne by the second supplement, Proverbs 24:23-25, was brought near.
Thus between Solomon and Hezekiah, and probably under Jehoshaphat, the older Book of Proverbs contained in chap. 1-24:22 first appeared. The "Proverbs of Solomon," Proverbs 10:1-22:16, which formed the principal part, the very kernel of it, were enclosed on the one side, at their commencement, by the lengthened introduction 1:7-9:18, in which the collector announces himself as a highly gifted teacher and as the instrument of the Spirit of revelation, and on the other side are shut in at their close by "the Words of the Wise," 22:17-24:34. The author, indeed, does not announce Proverbs 1:6 such a supplement of "the Words of the Wise;" but after these words in the title of the book, he leads us to expect it. The introduction to the supplement Proverbs 22:17-21 sounds like an echo of the larger introduction, and corresponds to the smaller compass of the supplement. The work bears on the whole the stamp of a unity; for even in the last proverb with which it closes (Proverbs 24:21., "My son, fear thou Jahve and the king," etc.), there still sounds the same key-note which the author had struck at the commencement. A later collector, belonging to the time subsequent to Hezekiah, enlarged the work by the addition of the Hezekiah-portion, and by a short supplement of "the Words of the Wise," which he introduces, according to the law of analogy, after 22:17-24:22. The harmony of the superscriptions Proverbs 24:23; Proverbs 25:1, favours at least the supposition that these supplements are the work of one hand. The circumstance that "the Words of the Wise," 22:17-24:22, in two of their maxims refer to the older collection of Solomonic proverbs, but, on the contrary, that "the Words of the Wise," Proverbs 24:23., refer in Proverbs 24:23 to the Hezekiah-collection, and in Proverbs 24:33. to the introduction 1:7-9:18, strengthens the supposition that with Proverbs 24:23 a second half of the book, added by another hand, begins. There is no reason for not attributing the appendix chap. 30-31 to this second collector; perhaps he seeks, as already remarked above, to render by means of it the conclusion of the extended Book of Proverbs uniform with that of the older book. Like the older collection of "Proverbs of Solomon," so also now the Hezekiah-collection has "Proverbs of the Wise" on the right and on the left, and the king of proverbial poetry stands in the midst of a worthy retinue. The second collector distinguishes himself from the first by this, that he never professes himself to be a proverbial poet. It is possible that the proverbial poem of the "virtuous woman," Proverbs 31:10., may be his work, but there is nothing to substantiate this opinion.
After this digression, into which we have been led by the repetitions found in the book, we now return, conformably to our plan, to examine it from the point of view of the forms of its language and of its doctrinal contents, and to inquire whether the results hitherto attained are confirmed, and perhaps more fully determined, by this further investigation.
4. The Book of the Proverbs on the Side of Its Manifoldness of Style and Form of Instruction
We commence our inquiry with the relation in which chap. 10-22:16 and chap. 25-29 stand to each other with reference to their forms of language. If the primary stock of both of these sections belongs indeed to the old time of Solomon, then they must bear essentially the same verbal stamp upon them. Here we of course keep out of view the proverbs that are wholly or partially identical. If the expression חדרי־בטן (the chambers of the body) is in the first collection a favourite figure (Proverbs 18:8; Proverbs 20:27, Proverbs 20:30), coined perhaps by Solomon himself, the fact that this figure is also found in Proverbs 26:22 is not to be taken into account, since in Proverbs 26:22 the proverb PRomans 18:8 is repeated. Now it cannot at all be denied, that in the first collection certain expressions are met with which one might expect to meet again in the Hezekiah-collection, and which, notwithstanding, are not to be found in it. Ewald gives a list of such expressions, in order to show that the old-Solomonic dialect occurs, with few exceptions, only in the first collection. But his catalogue, when closely inspected, is unsatisfactory. That many of these expressions occur also in the introduction Proverbs 1-9 proves, it is true, nothing against him. But מרפּא (health), Proverbs 12:18; Proverbs 13:17; Proverbs 14:30; Proverbs 15:4; Proverbs 16:24, occurs also in Proverbs 29:1; רדּף (he pursueth), Proverbs 11:19; Proverbs 12:11; Proverbs 15:9; Proverbs 19:7, also in Proverbs 28:19; נרגּן (a tattler), Proverbs 16:28; Proverbs 18:8, also in Proverbs 26:20, Proverbs 26:22; לא ינּקה (not go unpunished), Proverbs 11:21; Proverbs 16:5; Proverbs 17:5, also in Proverbs 28:20. These expressions thus supply an argument for, not against, the linguistic oneness of the two collections. The list of expressions common to the two collections might be considerably increased, e.g.: נפרע (are unruly), Proverbs 29:18, Kal Proverbs 13:18; Proverbs 15:32; אץ (he that hastens), Proverbs 19:2; Proverbs 21:5; Proverbs 28:20; Proverbs 29:19; מדונים (of contentions), Proverbs 21:9 (Proverbs 25:24), Proverbs 21:19; Proverbs 23:29; Proverbs 26:21; Proverbs 27:25. If it may be regarded as a striking fact that the figures of speech מקור חיּים (a fountain of life), Proverbs 10:11; Proverbs 13:14; Proverbs 14:27; Proverbs 17:22, and עץ חיּים (a tree of life), Proverbs 11:30; Proverbs 13:12; Proverbs 15:4, as also the expressions מחתּה (destruction), Proverbs 10:14-15; Proverbs 13:3; Proverbs 14:28; Proverbs 18:7; Proverbs 10:29; Proverbs 21:15, יפיח (he uttereth), Proverbs 12:17; Proverbs 14:5, Proverbs 14:25; Proverbs 19:5, Proverbs 19:9; סלּף (perverteth), Proverbs 13:6; Proverbs 19:3; Proverbs 21:12; Proverbs 22:12, and סלף (perverseness), Proverbs 11:3; Proverbs 15:4, are only to be found in the first collection, and not in that by the "men of Hezekiah," it is not a decisive evidence against the oneness of the origin of the proverbs in both collections. The fact also, properly brought forward by Ewald, that proverbs which begin with ישׁ (there is) - e.g., Proverbs 11:24, "There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth still," - are exclusively found in the first collection, need not perplex us; it is one peculiar kind of proverbs which the author of this collection has by preference gathered together, as he has also omitted all parabolic proverbs except these two, Proverbs 10:26; Proverbs 11:22. If proverbs beginning with ישׁ are found only in the first, so on the other hand the parabolic Vav and the proverbial perfect, reporting as it were an experience (cf. in the second collection, besides Proverbs 26:13; Proverbs 27:12; Proverbs 29:13, also Proverbs 28:1; Proverbs 29:9), for which Dderlein
(Note: Reden u. Aufstze, ii.316.)
has invented the expression aoristus gnomicus,
(Note: A similar thing is found among German proverbs, e.g.: Wer nicht mitsass, auch nicht mitass (Whoso sat not, ate not).)
are common to both sentences. Another remark of Ewald's (Jahrb. xi. 28), that extended proverbs with אישׁ are exclusively found in the Hezekiah-collection (Proverbs 29:9, Proverbs 29:3; Proverbs 25:18, Proverbs 25:28), is not fully established; in Proverbs 16:27-29 three proverbs with אישׁ are found together, and in Proverbs 20:6 as well as in Proverbs 29:9 אישׁ occurs twice in one proverb. Rather it strikes us that the article, not merely the punctatorially syncopated, but that expressed by ה, occurs only twice in the first collection, in Proverbs 20:1; Proverbs 21:31; oftener in the second, Proverbs 26:14, Proverbs 26:18; Proverbs 27:19-20, Proverbs 27:22. Since, however, the first does not wholly omit the article, this also cannot determine us to reject the linguistic unity of the second collection with the first, at least according to their primary stock.
But also what of the linguistic unity of Proverbs 1-9 with both of these, maintained by Keil? It is true, and merits all consideration, that a unity of language and of conception between chap. 1-9 and chap. 10-22:16 which far exceeds the degree of unity between chap. 10-22:16 and chap. 25-29 may be proved. The introduction is bound with the first collection in the closest manner by the same use of such expressions as אגר (gathereth), Proverbs 6:8; Proverbs 10:5; אישׁון (the middle, i.e., of the night, deep darkness), Proverbs 7:9; Proverbs 20:20; אחרית (the end), Proverbs 5:4; Proverbs 23:18; Proverbs 24:14; אכזרי (fierce), Proverbs 5:9; Proverbs 17:11; בּינה (understanding), Proverbs 1:2; Proverbs 16:16; תּבוּנה (understanding), Proverbs 2:6; Proverbs 3:19; Proverbs 21:30; זרה (an adulteress), Proverbs 5:3; Proverbs 22:14; Proverbs 23:33; חסר לב (lacking understanding), Proverbs 6:32; Proverbs 7:7; Proverbs 12:11; יוסף לקח (will increase learning), Proverbs 1:5; Proverbs 9:9; Proverbs 16:21, Proverbs 16:23; יפיח (uttereth), Proverbs 6:19; Proverbs 14:5; Proverbs 19:5, Proverbs 19:9; נלוז (perverted), Proverbs 3:32; Proverbs 14:2; מדנים (contention), Proverbs 6:14, Proverbs 6:19; Proverbs 10:12; מרפּא (health), Proverbs 4:22; Proverbs 12:18; Proverbs 13:17; Proverbs 16:24 (deliverance, Proverbs 29:1); נסּח (are plucked up), Proverbs 2:22; Proverbs 15:25; ינּקה לא (shall not be unpunished), Proverbs 6:29; Proverbs 11:21; Proverbs 16:5; העז (strengthened, i.e., the face), Proverbs 7:13; Proverbs 21:29; עץ חיּים (tree of life), Proverbs 3:18; Proverbs 11:30; Proverbs 13:12; Proverbs 15:4; ערב (becometh surety) and תּקע (striketh hands) occurring together, Proverbs 6:1; Proverbs 17:18; Proverbs 22:26; פּתים and פּתאים (simplicity, folly), Proverbs 1:22, Proverbs 1:32; Proverbs 8:5; Proverbs 9:6; Proverbs 23:3; קרץ (to wink with the eyes), Proverbs 6:13; Proverbs 10:10; קרת (a city), Proverbs 8:3; Proverbs 9:3, Proverbs 9:14; Proverbs 11:11; ראשׁית (the beginning), Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 17:14; שׂכל טוב (good understanding), Proverbs 3:4; Proverbs 13:15; ישׁכּנוּ־ארץ (shall dwell in the land), Proverbs 2:21; Proverbs 10:30; שׁלּח מדון (sendeth forth strife), Proverbs 6:14; Proverbs 16:28; תּהפּכות (evil words), Proverbs 2:12; Proverbs 6:14; Proverbs 10:31; Proverbs 16:28; תּורה (instruction), Proverbs 1:8; Proverbs 3:1; Proverbs 4:2; Proverbs 7:2; Proverbs 13:14; תּוּשׁיּה (counsel), Proverbs 3:21; Proverbs 8:14; Proverbs 18:1; תּחבּוּלות (prudent measures), Proverbs 1:5; Proverbs 20:18; Proverbs 24:6; - and these are not the only points of contact between the two portions which an attentive reader will meet with. This relation of Proverbs 1-9 to chap. 10-22:16 is a strong proof of the internal unity of that portion, which Bertheau has called in question. But are we therefore to conclude, with Keil, that the introduction is not less of the old time of Solomon than chap. 10-22:16? Such a conclusion lies near, but we do not yet reach it. For with these points of contact there are not a few expressions exclusively peculiar to the introduction; - the expressions מזמּה sing. (counsel), Proverbs 1:4; Proverbs 3:21; ערמה (prudence), Proverbs 1:4; Proverbs 8:5, Proverbs 8:12; מליצה (an enigma, obscure maxim), Proverbs 1:6; מעגּל (a path of life), Proverbs 2:9; Proverbs 4:11, Proverbs 4:26; מעגּלה, Proverbs 2:15, Proverbs 2:18; Proverbs 5:6, Proverbs 5:21; אישׁון (the apple of the eye), Proverbs 7:2, Proverbs 7:9; גּרגּות (the throat), Proverbs 1:9; Proverbs 3:3, Proverbs 3:22; the verbs אתה (cometh), Proverbs 1:27, פּלּס (make level or plain), Proverbs 4:26; Proverbs 5:6, Proverbs 5:21, and שׂטה (deviate), Proverbs 4:15; Proverbs 7:25. Peculiar to this section is the heaping together of synonyms in close connection, as "congregation" and "assembly," Proverbs 5:14, "lovely hind" and "pleasant roe," Proverbs 5:19; cf. Proverbs 5:11; Proverbs 6:7; Proverbs 7:9; Proverbs 8:13, Proverbs 8:31. This usage is, however, only a feature in the characteristic style of this section altogether different from that of 10:1-22:16, as well as from that of chap. 25-29, of its disjointed diffuse form, delighting in repetitions, abounding in synonymous parallelism, even to a repetition of the same words (cf. e.g., Proverbs 6:2), which, since the linguistic and the poetic forms are here inseparable, we have already spoken of in the second part of our introductory dissertation. This fundamental diversity in the whole condition of the section, notwithstanding those numerous points of resemblance, demands for chap. 1-9 an altogether different author from Solomon, and one who is more recent. If we hold by this view, then these points of resemblance between the sections find the most satisfactory explanation. The gifted author of the introduction (Proverbs 1-9) has formed his style, without being an altogether slavish imitator, on the Solomonic proverbs. And why, then, are his parallels confined almost exclusively to the section 10:1-22:16, and do not extend to chap. 25-29? Because he edited the former and not the latter, and took pleasure particularly in the proverbs which he placed together, 10:1-22:16. Not only are expressions of this section, formed by himself, echoed in his poetry, but the latter are for the most part formed out of germs supplied by the former. One may regard Proverbs 19:27, cf. Proverbs 27:11, as the germ of the admonitory addresses to the son, and Proverbs 14:1 as the occasion of the allegory of the wise and the foolish woman, chap. 9. Generally, the poetry of this writer has its hidden roots in the older writings. Who does not hear, to mention only one thing, in Proverbs 1:7-9:18 an echo of the old שׁמע (hear), Deuteronomy 6:4-9, cf. Proverbs 11:18-21? The whole poetry of this writer savours of the Book of Deuteronomy. The admonitory addresses Deuteronomy 1:7-9:18 are to the Book of Proverbs what Deuteronomy is to the Pentateuch. As Deuteronomy seeks to bring home and seal upon the heart of the people the תּורה of the Mosaic law, so do they the תּורה of the Solomonic proverbs.
We now further inquire whether, in the style of the two supplements, Proverbs 22:27-24:22 and Proverbs 24:23., it is proved that the former concludes the Book of Proverbs edited by the author of the general introduction, and that the latter was added by a different author at the same time with the Hezekiah-collection. Bertheau placed both supplements together, and attributes the introduction to them, Proverbs 22:17-21, to the author of the general introduction, Proverbs 1:7-9. From the fact that in Proverbs 22:19 of this lesser introduction ("I have taught thee, אף־אתּה, even thee") the pronoun is as emphatically repeated as in Proverbs 23:15 (לבּי גם־אני, cf. Proverbs 23:14, Proverbs 23:19), and that נעים (sweet), Proverbs 22:18, also occurs in the following proverbs, Proverbs 23:8; Proverbs 24:4, I see no ground for denying it to the author of the larger general introduction, since, according to Bertheau's own just observation, the linguistic form of the whole collection of proverbs has an influence on the introduction of the collector; with more justice from שׁלישׁים, Proverbs 22:20 [only in Keri], as the title of honour given to the collection of proverbs, compared with נגידים, Proverbs 8:6, may we argue for the identity of the authorship of both introductions. As little can the contemporaneousness of the two supplements be shown from the use of the pronoun, Proverbs 24:32, the שׁית לב (animum advertere, Proverbs 24:32), and ינעם (shall be delight) Proverbs 24:25, for these verbal points of contact, if they proved anything, would prove too much: not only the contemporaneousness of the two supplements, but also the identity of their authorship; but in this case one does not see what the superscription גּם־אלּה לחכמים (these also of the wise men), separating them, means. Moreover, Proverbs 24:33. are from Proverbs 6:10., and nearer than the comparison of the first supplement lies the comparison of ינעם with Proverbs 2:10; Proverbs 9:17, אדם חסר לב (a man lacking understanding) with Proverbs 17:18, יזעמוּהוּ with Proverbs 22:14 - points of contact which, if an explanatory reason is needed, may be accounted for from the circumstance that to the author or authors of the proverbs PRomans 24:23. the Book of Proverbs 1:1-24:22 may have been perfectly familiar. From imitation also the points of contact of Proverbs 22:17-24:22 may easily be explained; for not merely the lesser introduction, the proverbs themselves also in part strikingly agree with the prevailing language of 1-9: cf. אשּׁר בּדּרך (go straight forward in the way), Proverbs 23:19, with Proverbs 4:14; חכמות (wisdom), Proverbs 24:7, with Proverbs 1:20; Proverbs 9:1; and several others. But if, according to Proverbs 1:7, we conceive of the older Book of Proverbs as accompanied with, rather than as without דּברי חכמים (words of wise men), then from the similarity of the two superscriptions Proverbs 24:23; Proverbs 25:1, it is probable that the more recent half of the canonical book begins with Proverbs 24:23, and we cannot therefore determine to regard Proverbs 24:23. also as a component part of the older Book of Proverbs; particularly since Proverbs 24:23 is like Proverbs 28:21, and the author of the introduction can scarcely have twice taken into his book the two Proverbs 24:33., which moreover seem to stand in their original connection at Proverbs 6:10.
The supplements to the Hezekiah-collection, chap. 30f., are of so peculiar a form, that it will occur to no one (leaving out of view such expressions as דּעת קדשׁים, knowledge of the Holy, Proverbs 30:3, cf. Proverbs 9:10) to ascribe them to one of the authors of the preceding proverbs. We content ourselves here with a reference to Mhlau's work, De Proverbiorum quae dicuntur Aguri et Lemuelis origine atque indole, 1869, where the Aramaic-Arabic colouring of this in all probability foreign section is closely investigated.
Having thus abundantly proved that the two groups of proverbs bearing the inscription משׁלי שׁלמה are, as to their primary stock, truly old-Solomonic, though not without an admixture of imitations; that, on the contrary, the introduction, Proverbs 1:7-9:18, as well as the דברי חכמים, Proverbs 22:17-24 and 30f., are not at all old-Solomonic, but belong to the editor of the older Book of Proverbs, which reaches down to Proverbs 24:22, so that thus the present book of the poetry of Solomon contains united with it the poems of the older editor, and besides of other poets, partly unknown Israelites, and partly two foreigners particularly named, Agur and Lemuel; we now turn our attention to the Doctrinal Contents of the work, and ask whether a manifoldness in the type of instruction is noticeable in it, and whether there is perceptible in this manifoldness a progressive development. It may be possible that the Proverbs of Solomon, the Words of the Wise, and the Proverbial poetry of the editor, as they represent three eras, so also represent three different stages in the development of proverbial poetry. However, the Words of the Wise Proverbs 22:17-24 are so internally related to the Proverbs of Solomon, that even the sharpest eye will discover in them not more than the evening twilight of the vanishing Solomonic Mashal. There thus remain on the one side only the Proverbs of Solomon with their echo in the Words of the Wise, on the other the Proverbial Poems of the editor; and these present themselves as monuments of two sharply defined epochs in the progressive development of the Mashal.
The common fundamental character of the book in all its parts is rightly defined when we call it a Book of Wisdom. Indeed, with the Church Fathers not only the Book of Sirach and the Solomonic Apocrypha, but also this Book of Proverbs bears this title, which seems also to have been in use among the Jews, since Melito of Sardes adds to the title "Proverbs of Solomon," ἡ καὶ Σοφὶα; since, moreover, Eusebius (H.E. iv. 22) affirms, that not only Hegesippus and Irenaeus, but the whole of the ancients, called the Proverbs of Solomon Πανάρετος Σοφία.
(Note: This name meaning "wisdom, including all virtue", there are many things to show, was common in Palestine. The Jerusalem Talmud, in a passage quoted by Krochmal, Kerem Chemed, v. 79, divides the canon into תורה, נבואה, and חכמה. Rashi, in Baba bathra, 14b, calls Mishle (Proverbs) and Koheleth (Ecclesiastes) ספרי חכמה. The Book of Koheleth is called (b. Megilla, 7a), according to its contents, חכמתו שׁל שׁלמה. The Song bears in the Syriac version (the Peshito) the inscription chekmetho dechekmotho.)
It is also worthy of observation that it is called by Dionysius of Alexandria ἡ σοφὴ βίβλος, and by Gregory of Nazianzum ἡ παιδαγωγικὴ σοφία. These names not only express praise of the book, but they also denote at the same time the circle of human intellectual activity from which it emanated. As the books of prophecy are a product of the נבוּאה, so the Book of the Proverbs is a product of the חכמה, σοφία, the human effort to apprehend the objective σοφία, and thus of φιλοσοφία, or the studium sapientiae. It has emanated from the love of wisdom, to incite to the love of wisdom, and to put into the possession of that which is the object of love - for this end it was written. We need not hesitate, in view of Colossians 2:8, to call the Book of Proverbs a "philosophical" treatise, since the origin of the name φιλοσοφία is altogether noble: it expresses the relativity of human knowledge as over against the absoluteness of the divine knowledge, and the possibility of an endlessly progressive advancement of the human toward the divine. The characteristic ideas of a dialectic development of thought and of the formation of a scientific system did not primarily appertain to it - the occasion for this was not present to the Israelitish people: it required fructification through the Japhetic spirit to produce philosophers such as Philo, Maimonides, and Spinoza. But philosophy is everywhere present when the natural, moral, positive, is made the object of a meditation which seeks to apprehend its last ground, its legitimate coherence, its true essence and aim. In the view C. B. Michaelis, in his Adnotationes uberiores in Hagiographa, passes from the exposition of the Psalms to that of the Proverbs with the words, "From David's closet, consecrated to prayer, we now pass into Solomon's school of wisdom, to admire the greatest of philosophers in the son of the greatest of theologians."
(Note: "In hoc genere," says Lord Bacon, De Augmentis Scientiarum, viii. 2, "nihil invenitur, quod ullo modo comparandum sit cum aphorismis illis, quos edidit rex Salomon, de quo testatur Scriptura, cor illi fuisse instar arenae maris. Sicut enim arenae maris universas orbis oras circumdant, ita et sapientia ejus omnia humana non minus quam divina complexa est. In aphorismis vero illis praeter alia magis theologica reperies liquido haud pauca praecepta et monita civilia praestantissima, ex profundis quidem sapientiae penetralibus scaturientia atque in amplissimum varietatis campum excurrentia." Accordingly, in the same work Bacon calls the Proverbs of Solomon "insignes parabolas s. aphorismos de divina atque morali philosophia.")
When we give the name φιλοσοφία to the tendency of mind to which the Book of Proverbs belongs, we do not merely use a current scientific word, but there is an actual internal relation of the Book of Proverbs to that which is the essence of philosophy, which Scripture recognises (Acts 17:27, cf. Romans 1:19.) as existing within the domain of heathendom, and which stamps it as a natural produce of the human spirit, which never can be wanting where a human being or a people rises to higher self-consciousness and its operations in their changing relation to the phenomena of the external world. The mysteries of the world without him and of the world within him give man no rest, he must seek to solve them; and whenever he does that, he philosophizes, i.e., he strives after a knowledge of the nature of things, and of the laws which govern them in the world of phenomena and of events; on which account also Josephus, referring to Solomon's knowledge of nature, says (Ant. viii. 2. 5), οὐδεμίαν τούτων φύσιν ἠγνόησεν οὐδὲ παρῆλθεν ἀνεξέταστον ἀλλ ̓ ἐν πάσαις ἐφιλοσόφησεν. Cf. Irenaeus, Cont. Her. iv. 27. 1: eam quae est in conditione (κτίσει) sapientiam Dei exponebat physiologice.
The historical books show us how much the age of Solomon favoured philosophical inquiries by its prosperity and peace, its active and manifold commercial intercourse with foreign nations, its circle of vision extending to Tarshish and Ophir, and also how Solomon himself attained to an unequalled elevation in the extent of his human and secular knowledge. We also read of some of the wise men in 1 Kings 5:11, cf. Psalm 88-89, who adorned the court of the wisest of kings; and the משׁל, which became, through his influence, a special branch of Jewish literature, is the peculiar poetic form of the חכמה. Therefore in the Book of Proverbs we find the name חכמים דּברי (words of the wise) used for משׁלים (proverbs); and by a careful consideration of all the proverbs in which mention is made of the חכמים, one will convince himself that this name has not merely a common ethical sense, but begins to be the name of those who made wisdom, i.e., the knowledge of things in the depths of their essence, their special lifework, and who connected themselves together in oneness of sentiment and fellowship into a particular circle within the community. To this conclusion we are conducted by such proverbs as Proverbs 13:20 -
He that walketh with wise men becomes wise,
And whoever has intercourse with fools is destroyed;
The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;The external title, i.e., the Synagogue name, of the whole collection of Proverbs is משׁלי (Mishle), the word with which it commences. Origen (Euseb. h. e. vi. 25) uses the name Μισλώθ, i.e., משׁלות, which occurs in the Talmud and Midrash as the designation of the book, from its contents. In a similar way, the names given to the Psalter, תּהלּים and תּהלּות, are interchanged.
This external title is followed by one which the Book of Proverbs, viewed as to its gradual formation, and first the older portion, gives to itself. It reaches from Proverbs 1:1 to Proverbs 1:6, and names not only the contents and the author of the book, but also commends it in regard to the service which it is capable of rendering. It contains "Proverbs of Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel." The books of the נבואה and חכמה, including the Canticles, thus give their own titles; among the historical books, that of the memoirs of Nehemiah is the only one that does so. משׁלי has the accent Dech, to separate
(Note: Norzi has erroneously accented משלי with the accent Munach. The מ is besides the Masoretic majusculum, like the ב, שׁ, and א at the commencement of the Law, the Canticles, and Chronicles.)
it from the following complex genitive which it governs, and מלך ישׂראל is made the second hemistich, because it belongs to שׁלמה, not to דּוד.
(Note: If it had belonged to דוד, then the sentence would have been accented thus: משׁלי שלמה בן־דוד מלך ישראל.)
As to the fundamental idea of the word משׁל, we refer to the derivation given in the Gesch. der jud. Poesie, p. 196, from משׁל, Aram. מתל, root תל, Sanskr. tul (whence tul, balance, similarity), Lat. tollere; the comparison of the Arab. mathal leads to the same conclusion. "משׁל signifies, not, as Schultens and others after him affirm, effigies ad similitudinem alius rei expressa, from משׁל in the primary signification premere, premente manu tractare; for the corresponding Arab. verb mathal does not at all bear that meaning, but signifies to stand, to present oneself, hence to be like, properly to put oneself forth as something, to represent it; and in the Hebr. also to rule, properly with על to stand on or over something, with בּ to hold it erect, like Arab. kam with b, rem administravit [vid. Jesaia, p. 691]. Thus e.g., Genesis 24:2, it is said of Eliezer: המּשׁל בּכל־אשׁר־לו, who ruled over all that he (Abraham) had (Luther: was a prince over all his goods). Thus משׁל, figurative discourse which represents that which is real, similitude; hence then parable or shorter apothegm, proverb, in so far as they express primarily something special, but which as a general symbol is then applied to everything else of a like kind, and in so far stands figuratively. An example is found in 1 Samuel 10:11. It is incorrect to conclude from this meaning of the word that such memorial sayings or proverbs usually contained comparisons, or were clothed in figurative language; for that is the case in by far the fewest number of instances: the oldest have by far the simplest and most special interpretations" (Fleischer). Hence Mashal, according to its fundamental idea, is that which stands with something equals makes something stand forth equals representing. This something that represents may be a thing or a person; as e.g., one may say Job is a Mashal, i.e., a representant, similitude, type of Israel (vide the work entitled עץ החיים, by Ahron b. Elia, c. 90, p. 143); and, like Arab. mathal (more commonly mithl equals משׁל, cf. משׁל, Job 41:25), is used quite as generally as is its etymological cogn. instar (instare). But in Hebr. Mashal always denotes representing discourse with the additional marks of the figurative and concise, e.g., the section which presents (Habakkuk 2:6) him to whom it refers as a warning example, but particularly, as there defined, the gnome, the apothegm or maxim, in so far as this represents general truths in sharply outlined little pictures.
To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;Now follows the statement of the object which these proverbs subserve; and first, in general,
To become acquainted with wisdom and instruction,
To understand intelligent discourses.
They seek on the one side to initiate the reader in wisdom and instruction, and on the other to guide him to the understanding of intelligent discourses, for they themselves contain such discourses in which there is a deep penetrating judgment, and they sharpen the understanding of him who engages his attention with them.
(Note: לדעת is rightly pointed by Lwenstein with Dech after Cod. 1294; vide the rule by which the verse is divided, Torath Emeth, p. 51, 12.)
As Schultens has already rightly determined the fundamental meaning of ידע, frequently compared with the Sanskr. vid, to know (whence by gunating,
(Note: Guna equals a rule in Sanskrit grammar regulating the modification of vowels.)
vda, knowledge), after the Arab. wad'a, as deponere, penes se condere, so he also rightly explains חכמה by soliditas; it means properly (from חכם, Arab. hakm, R. hk, vide under Psalm 10:8, to be firm, closed) compactness, and then, like πυκνότης, ability, worldly wisdom, prudence, and in the higher general sense, the knowledge of things in the essence of their being and in the reality of their existence. Along with wisdom stands the moral מוּסר, properly discipline, i.e., moral instruction, and in conformity with this, self-government, self-guidance, from יסר equals וסר, cogn. אסר, properly adstrictio or constrictio; for the מ of the noun signifies both id quod or aliquid quod (ὅ, τι) and quod in the conjunctional sense (ὅτι), and thus forms both a concrete (like מוסר equals מאסר, fetter, chain) and an abstract idea. The first general object of the Proverbs is דּעת, the reception into oneself of wisdom and moral edification by means of education and training; and second is to comprehend utterances of intelligence, i.e., such as proceed from intelligence and give expression to it (cf. אמרי אמת, Proverbs 22:21). בּין, Kal, to be distinguished (whence בּין, between, constr. of בּין, space between, interval), signifies in Hiph. to distinguish, to understand; בּינה is, according to the sense, the n. actionis of this Hiph., and signifies the understanding as the capability effective in the possession of the right criteria of distinguishing between the true and the false, the good and the bad (1 Kings 3:9), the wholesome and the pernicious.
To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;In the following, 2a is expanded in Proverbs 1:3-5, then 2b in Proverbs 1:6. First the immediate object:
3 To attain intelligent instruction,
Righteousness, and justice, and integrity;
4 To impart to the inexperienced prudence,
To the young man knowledge and discretion
5 Let the wise man hear and gain learning,
And the man of understanding take to himself rules of conduct.
With דּעת, denoting the reception into oneself, acquiring, is interchanged (cf. Proverbs 2:1) קחת, its synonym, used of intellectual reception and appropriation, which, contemplated from the point of view of the relation between the teacher and the learner, is the correlative of תּת, παραδιδόναι, tradere (Proverbs 9:9). But מוּסר השׂכּל is that which proceeds from chokma and musar when they are blended together: discipline of wisdom, discipline training to wisdom; i.e., such morality and good conduct as rest not on external inheritance, training, imitation, and custom, but is bound up with the intelligent knowledge of the Why and the Wherefore. השׂכּל, as Proverbs 21:16, is inf. absol. used substantively (cf. השׁקט, keeping quiet, Isaiah 32:17) of שׂכל (whence שׂכל, intellectus), to entwine, involve; for the thinking through a subject is represented as an interweaving, complicating, configuring of the thoughts (the syllogism is in like manner represented as אשׁכּל, Aram. סגול, a bunch of grapes), (with which also סכל, a fool, and חסכּיל, to act foolishly, are connected, from the confusion of the thoughts, the entangling of the conceptions; cf. Arab. 'akl, to understand, and מעקּל). The series of synonyms (cf. Proverbs 23:23) following in 3b, which are not well fitted to be the immediate object to לקחת, present themselves as the unfolding of the contents of the מוּסר השׂכּל, as meaning that namely which is dutiful and right and honest. With the frequently occurring two conceptions צדק וּמשׁפּט (Proverbs 2:9), (or with the order reversed as in Psalm 119:121) is interchanged משׁפּט וּצדקה (or with the order also reversed, Proverbs 21:3). The remark of Heidenheim, that in צדק the conception of the justum, and in צדקה that of the aequum prevails, is suggested by the circumstance that not צדק but צדקה signifies δικαιοσύνη (cf. Proverbs 10:2) in the sense of liberality, and then of almsgiving (ἐλεημοσύνη); but צדק also frequently signifies a way of thought and action which is regulated not by the letter of the law and by talio, but by love (cf. Isaiah 41:2; Isaiah 42:6). Tsedek and ts'dakah have almost the relation to one another of integrity and justice which practically brings the former into exercise. משׁפּט (from שׁפט, to make straight, to adjust, cf. שׁבט, Arab. sabita, to be smooth) is the right and the righteousness in which it realizes itself, here subjectively considered, the right mind.
(Note: According to Malbim, משׁפט is the fixed objective right, צדק the righteousness which does not at once decide according to the letter of the law, but always according to the matter and the person.)
משׁרים (defect. for מישׁרים, from ישׁר, to be straight, even) is plur. tantum; for its sing. מישׁר (after the form מיטב) the form מישׁור (in the same ethical sense, e.g., Malachi 2:6) is used: it means thus a way of thought and of conduct that is straight, i.e., according to what is right, true, i.e., without concealment, honest, i.e., true to duty and faithful to one's word.
To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.This verse presents another aspect of the object to be served by this book: it seeks to impart prudence to the simple. The form פּתאים
(in which, as in גּוים, the י plur. remains unwritten) is, in this mongrel form in which it is written (cf. Proverbs 7:7; Proverbs 8:5; Proverbs 9:6; Proverbs 14:18; Proverbs 27:12), made up of פּתים (Proverbs 1:22, Proverbs 1:32, once written plene, פּתיים, Proverbs 22:3) and פּתאים (Proverbs 7:7). These two forms with י and the transition of י into א are interchanged in the plur. of such nouns as פּתי, segolate form, "from פּתה (cogn. פּתח), to be open, properly the open-hearted, i.e., one whose heart stands open to every influence from another, the harmless, good-natured - a vox media among the Hebrews commonly (though not always, cf. e.g., Psalm 116:6) in malam partem: the foolish, silly, one who allows himself to be easily persuaded or led astray, like similar words in other languages - Lat. simplex, Gr. εὐήθης, Fr. nav; Arab. fatyn, always, however, in a good sense: a high and noble-minded man, not made as yet mistrustful and depressed by sad experiences, therefore juvenis ingenuus, vir animi generosi" (Fl.). The פּתאים, not of firm and constant mind, have need of ערמה; therefore the saying Proverbs 14:15, cf. Proverbs 8:5; Proverbs 19:25. The noun ערמה (a fem. segolate form like חכמה) means here calliditas in a good sense, while the corresponding Arab. 'aram (to be distinguished from the verb 'aram, ערם, to peel, to make bare, nudare) is used only in a bad sense, of malevolent, deceptive conduct. In the parallel member the word נער is used, generally (collectively) understood, of the immaturity which must first obtain intellectual and moral clearness and firmness; such an one is in need of peritia et sollertia, as Fleischer well renders it; for דּעת is experimental knowledge, and מזמּה (from זמם, according to its primary signification, to press together, comprimere; then, referred to mental concentration: to think) signifies in the sing., sensu bono, the capability of comprehending the right purposes, of seizing the right measures, of projecting the right plans.
A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:In this verse the infinitives of the object pass into independent sentences for the sake of variety. That ישׁמע cannot mean audiet, but audiat, is shown by Proverbs 9:9; but ויסף is jussive (with the tone thrown back before לקח; cf. Proverbs 10:8, and Proverbs 16:21, Proverbs 16:23, where the tone is not thrown back, as also 2 Samuel 24:3) with the consecutive Vav ( ו ) ( equals Arab. f): let him hear, thus will he... or, in order that he. Whoever is wise is invited to hear these proverbs in order to add learning (doctrinam) to that which he already possesses, according to the principle derived from experience, Proverbs 9:9; Matthew 13:12. The segolate לקח, which in pausa retains its segol (as also בּטח, ישׁע, צמח, מלך, צדק, קדם, and others), means reception, and concretely what one takes into himself with his ear and mind; therefore learning (διδαχὴ with the object of the ἀποδοχή), as Deuteronomy 32:2 (parallel אמרה, as Deuteronomy 4:2 תּורה), and then learning that has passed into the possession of the receiver, knowledge, science (Isaiah 29:24, parall. בּינה). Schultens compares the Arab. laḳah, used of the fructification of the female palm by the flower-dust of the male. The part. נבון (the inf. of which is found only once, Isaiah 10:13) is the passive or the reflexive of the Hiph. הבין, to explain, to make to understand: one who is caused to understand or who lets himself be informed, and thus an intelligent person - that is one who may gain תּחבּות by means of these proverbs. This word, found only in the plur. (probably connected with חבל, shipmaster, properly one who has to do with the חבלים, ship's ropes, particularly handles the sails, lxx κυβέρνησιν), signifies guidance, management, skill to direct anything (Job 32:7, of God's skill which directs the clouds), and in the plur. conception, the taking measures, designs in a good sense, or also (as in Proverbs 12:5) in a bad sense; here it means guiding thoughts, regulating principles, judicious rules and maxims, as Deuteronomy 11:14, prudent rules of government, Deuteronomy 20:18; Deuteronomy 24:6 of stratagems. Fl. compares the Arab. tedbı̂r (guidance, from דּבר, to lead cattle), with its plur. tedâbı̂r, and the Syr. dubôro, direction, management, etc.
To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.The mediate object of these proverbs, as stated in Proverbs 1:2, is now expanded, for again it is introduced in the infinitive construction: - The reader shall learn in these proverbs, or by means of them as of a key, to understand such like apothegms generally (as Proverbs 22:17.):
To understand proverb and symbol,
The words of wise men and their enigmas.
In the Gesch. der jd. Poesie, p. 200f., the derivation of the noun מליצה is traced from לוּץ, primarily to shine, Sanskr. las, frequently with the meanings ludere and lucere; but the Arab. brings near another primary meaning. "מליצה, from Arab. root las, flexit, torsit, thus properly oratio detorta, obliqua, non aperta; hence לץ, mocker, properly qui verbis obliquis utitur: as Hiph. הליץ, to scoff, but also verba detorta retorquere, i.e., to interpret, to explain" (Fl.). Of the root ideas found in חידה, to be sharp, pointed (חד, perhaps related to the Sanskr. kaṭu, sharp of taste, but not to acutus), and to be twisted (cf. אחד, אגד ,אחד, עקד, harmonizing with the at present mysterious catena), that the preference is given to the latter already, Psalm 78:2. "The Arab. ḥâd, to revolve, to turn (whence hid, bend, turn aside!), thence חידה, στροφή, cunning, intrigue, as also enigma, dark saying, perlexe dictum" (Fl.). The comparison made by Schultens with the Arab. ḥidt as the name of the knot on the horn of the wild-goat shows the sensible fundamental conception. In post-biblical literature חידה is the enigma proper, and מליצה poetry (with הלצה of poetical prose). The Graec. Venet. translates it ῥητορείαν.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.The title of the book is followed by its motto, symbol, device:
The fear of Jahve is the beginning of knowledge;
Wisdom and discipline is despised by fools.
The first hemistich expresses the highest principle of the Israelitish Chokma, as it is found also in Proverbs 9:10 (cf. Proverbs 15:33), Job 28:28, and in Psalm 111:10 (whence the lxx has interpolated here two lines). ראשׁית combines in itself, as ἀρχή, the ideas of initium (accordingly J. H. Michaelis: initium cognitionis, a quo quisquis recte philosophari cupit auspicium facere debet) and principium, i.e., the basis, thus the root (cf. Micah 1:13 with Job 19:28).
(Note: In Sirach 1:14, 16, the Syr. has both times רישׁ חכמתא; but in the second instance, where the Greek translation has πλησμονὴ σοφίας, שׂבע חכמה (after Psalm 16:11) may have existed in the original text.)
Wisdom comes from God, and whoever fears Him receives it (cf. James 1:5.). יראת יהוה is reverential subordination to the All-directing, and since designedly יהוה is used, and not אלהים (ה), to the One God, the Creator and Governor of the world, who gave His law unto Israel, and also beyond Israel left not His holy will unattested; the reverse side of the fear of Jahve as the Most Holy One is שׂנאת רע, Proverbs 8:13 (post-biblical יראת חטא). The inverted placing of the words 7b imports that the wisdom and discipline which one obtains in the way of the fear of God is only despised by the אוילים, i.e., the hard, thick, stupid; see regarding the root-word אול, coalescere, cohaerere, incrassari, der Prophet Jesaia, p. 424, and at Psalm 73:4. Schultens rightly compares παχεῖς, crassi pro stupidis.
(Note: Malbim's explanation is singular: the sceptics, from אוּלי, perhaps! This also is Heidenheim's view.)
בּזוּ has the tone on the penult., and thus comes from בּוּז; the 3rd pr. of בּזה would be בּזוּ or בּזיוּ. The perf. (cf. Proverbs 1:29) is to be interpreted after the Lat. oderunt (Ges. 126).
My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:After the author has indicated the object which his Book of Proverbs is designed to subserve, and the fundamental principle on which it is based, he shows for whom he has intended it; he has particularly the rising generation in his eye:
8 Hear, my son, thy father's instruction,
And refuse not the teaching of thy mother;
9 For these are a fair crown to thy head,
And Jewels to thy neck.
"My son," says the teacher of wisdom to the scholar whom he has, or imagines that he has, before him, addressing him as a fatherly friend. The N.T. representation of birth into a new spiritual life, 1 Corinthians 4:15; Plm 1:10; Galatians 4:19, lies outside the circle of the O.T. representation; the teacher feels himself as a father by virtue of his benevolent, guardian, tender love. Father and mother are the beloved parents of those who are addressed. When the Talmud understands אביך of God, אמּך of the people (אמּה), that is not the grammatico-historic meaning, but the practical interpretation and exposition, after the manner of the Midrash. The same admonition (with נצר, keep, instead of שׁמע, hear, and מצות, command, instead of מוּסר, instruction) is repeated in Proverbs 6:20, and what is said of the parents in one passage is in Proverbs 10:1 divided into two synonymous parallel passages. The stricter musar, which expresses the idea of sensible means of instruction (discipline), (Proverbs 13:24; Proverbs 22:15; Proverbs 23:13.), is suitably attributed to the father, and the torah to the mother, only administered by the word; Wisdom also always says תּורתי (my torah), and only once, Proverbs 8:10, מוּסרי (my musar).
For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.הם, which is also used in the neut. illa, e.g., Job 22:24, refers here to the paternal discipline and the maternal teaching. These, obediently received and followed, are the fairest ornament of the child. לויה, from לוה, to wind, to roll, Arab. lawy (from לו, whence also לוּל equals לולו, as דּוּד, to boil up, equals דּודּו), means winding, twisted ornament, and especially wreath; a crown of gracefulness is equivalent to a graceful crown, a corolla gratiosa, as Schultens translates it; cf. Proverbs 4:9, according to which, Wisdom bestows such a crown.
(Note: In לוית חן the חן has the conjunctive accent shalsheleth, on account of which the Pesiq accent is omitted. This small shalsheleth occurs only eight times. See Torath Emeth, p. 36.)
ענקים (or ענקות, Judges 8:26) are necklaces, jewels for the neck; denom. of the Arab. 'unek, and Aram. עוּנק, the neck (perhaps from ענק equals עוּק, to oppress, of heavy burdens; cf. αὐχήν, the neck). גּרגּות, is, like fauces, the throat by which one swallows (Arab. ǵarǵara, taǵarǵara), a plur. extensive (Bttcher, 695), and is better fitted than גּרון to indicate the external throat; Ezekiel, however, uses (Ezekiel 16:11) garon, as our poet (Proverbs 3:3, Proverbs 3:22; Proverbs 6:21) uses garg'roth, to represent the front neck.
My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.The general counsel of Proverbs 1:9 is here followed by a more special warning:
My son, if sinners entice thee
Consent thou not.
(Note: The accent Pazer over the בּני has the force of Athnach.)
(my son) is emphatically repeated. The intensive from חטּאים (signifies men to whom sin has become a habit, thus vicious, wicked. פּתּה (Pi. of פּתה, to open) is not denom., to make or wish to make a פּתי; the meaning, to entice (harmonizing with πείθειν), פּתּה obtains from the root-meaning of the Kal, for it is related to it as pandere (januam) to patere: to open, to make accessible, susceptible, namely to persuasion. The warning 10b is as brief as possible a call of alarm back from the abyss. In the form תּבא (from אבה, to agree to, to be willing, see Wetstein in Job, p. 349) the preformative א is wanting, as in תּמרוּ, 2 Samuel 19:14, cf. Psalm 139:20, Ges. 68, 2, and instead of תּבה ( equals תּאבה, 1 Kings 20:8) is vocalized not תּבא (cf. Proverbs 11:25), but after the Aram. תּבא (cf. יגלי); see Genesis 26:29, and Comment. on Isaiah, p. 648; Gesen. 75, 17.
If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause:Of the number of wicked men who gain associates to their palliation and strengthening, they are adduced as an example whom covetousness leads to murder.
11 If they say, "Go with us, we will lurk for blood,
Lie in wait for the innocent without cause;
12 Like the pit we will swallow them alive
And in perfect soundness like them that go down to the grave.
13 We find all manner of precious treasure,
Fill our houses with spoil.
14 Thou shalt cast thy lot amongst us,
We all have only one purse."
The verb ארב signifies nectere, to bind fast (from רב, close, compact), (see under Isaiah 25:11), and particularly (but so that it bears in itself its object without ellipse) insidias nectere equals insidiari. Regarding לדם Fleischer remarks: "Either elliptically for לשׁפּך־דּם (Jewish interp.), or, as the parallelism and the usage of the language of this book rather recommend, per synecd. for: for a man, with particular reference to his blood to be poured out (cf. our saying 'ein junges Blut,' a young blood equals a youth, with the underlying conception of the blood giving colour to the body as shining through it, or giving to it life and strength), as Psalm 94:21." As in post-biblical Heb. בּשׂר ודם (or inverted, αἱμα καὶ σάρξ, Hebrews 2:14), used of men as such, is not so used in the O.T., yet דּם, like נפשׁ, is sometimes used synecdochically for the person, but never with reference to the blood as an essentially constituent part of corporealness, but always with reference to violent putting to death, which separates the blood from the body (cf. my System der bibl. Psychologie, p. 242). Here לדם is explained by לדמים, with which it is interchanged, Micah 7:2 : let us lurk for blood (to be poured out). The verb צפן is never, like טמן (to conceal), connected with חבלים, מוקשׁים ,ח, פּח, רשׁת - thus none of these words is here to be supplied; the idea of gaining over one expressed in the organic root צף (whence צפּה, diducendo obducere) has passed over into that of restraining oneself, watching, lurking, hence צפן (cog. Aram. כּמן) in the sense of speculari, insidiari, interchanges with צפה (to spy), (cf. Psalm 10:8; Psalm 56:7 with Psalm 37:32). The adv. חנּם (an old accus. from חן) properly means in a gracious manner, as a free gift (δωρεάν, gratis equals gratiis), and accordingly, without reward, also without cause, which frequently equals without guilt; but it never signifies sine effectu qui noceat, i.e., with impunity (Lwenst.). We have thus either to connect together נקי חנּם "innocent in vain" (as איבי חנּם, my enemies without a cause, Lamentations 3:52): his innocence helps him nothing whom God protects not against us notwithstanding his innocence (Schultens, Bertheau, Elster, and others); or connect חנם with the verb (lie in wait for), for which Hitzig, after the lxx, Syr., Rashi,
(Note: Rashi, i.e., Rabbi Salomo Isaaki, of Troyes, died a.d. 1105. Ralbag, i.e., Rabbi Levi ben Gershon, usually referred to by Christian writers as Master Leo de Bannolis, or Gersonides, a native of Banolas near Gerona, died about 1342.)
Ralbag, Immanuel, rightly decides in view of 1 Samuel 19:5; 1 Samuel 25:31; cf. also Job 9:17, where the succession of the accents is the same (Tarcha transmuted from Mugrash). Frequently there are combined together in his חנם (cf. Isaiah 28:14.), that which the author thinks, and that which those whom he introduces as speaking think.
Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit:The first clause of this verse Hitzig translates: "as the pit (swallows) that which lives." This is untenable, because כּ with the force of a substantive (as instar, likeness) is regarded as a preposition, but not a conjunction (see at Psalm 38:14.). חיּים (the living) is connected with נבלעם, and is the accus. of the state (hâl, according to the terminology of the Arab. grammarians) in which they will, with impunity, swallow them up like the pit (the insatiable, Proverbs 27:20; Proverbs 30:16), namely, while these their sacrifices are in the state of life's freshness,
(Note: Only in this sense is the existing accentuation of this verse (cf. the Targ.) to be justified.)
"the living," - without doubt, like Psalm 55:16; Psalm 63:10; Psalm 124:3, in fact and in expression an allusion to the fate of the company of Korah, Numbers 16:30, Numbers 16:33. If this is the meaning of חיים, then תּמימים as the parallel word means integros not in an ethical sense, in which it would be a synonym of נקי of Proverbs 1:11 (cf. Proverbs 29:10 with Psalm 19:14), but in a physical sense (Graec. Venet. καὶ τελείους; Parchon as Rashi, בריאים ושלמים, vid., Bttcher, De Inferis, 293). This physical sense is claimed for תּם, Job 21:23, for תּם probably, Psalm 73:4, and why should not תמים, used in the law regarding sacrifices (e.g., Exodus 12:5, "without blemish") of the faultlessness of the victim, also signify such an one אשׁר אין־בּו מתם (Isaiah 1:6)? In the midst of complete external health they will devour them like those that go down to the grave (cf. Psalm 28:1; Psalm 88:5, with Isaiah 14:19), i.e., like those under whose feet the earth is suddenly opened, so that, without leaving any trace behind, they sink into the grave and into Hades. The connection of the finite with the accus. of place, Psalm 55:16, lies at the foundation of the genitive connection יורדי בור (with the tone thrown back): those that go down to the grave.
We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil:(Note: Here, in Proverbs 1:14, גורלך is to be written with Munach (not Metheg) in the second syllable; vid., Torath Emeth, p. 20. Accentuationssystem, vii. 2.)
To their invitation, bearing in itself its own condemnation, they add as a lure the splendid self-enriching treasures which in equal and just fellowship with them they may have the prospect of sharing. הון (from הוּן, levem, then facilem esse, tre ais, son aise) means aisance, convenience, opulence, and concretely that by which life is made agreeable, thus money and possessions (Fleischer in Levy's Chald. Wrterbuch, i. 423f.). With this הון with remarkable frequency in the Mishle יקר (from יקר, Arab. waḳar, grave esse) is connected in direct contrast, according to its primary signification; cf. Proverbs 12:27; Proverbs 24:4 : heavy treasures which make life light. Yet it must not be maintained that, as Schultens has remarked, this oxymoron is intended, nor also that it is only consciously present in the language. מצא has here its primitive appropriate signification of attaining, as Isaiah 10:14 of reaching. שׁלל (from שׁלל, to draw from, draw out, from של, cf. שׁלה, שׁלף, Arab. salab, Comm. on Isa. p. 447) is that which is drawn away from the enemy, exuviae, and then the booty and spoil taken in war generally. נמלּא, to fill with anything, make full, governs a double accusative, as the Kal (to become full of anything) governs only one. In Proverbs 1:14, the invitation shows how the prospect is to be realized. Interpreters have difficulty in conceiving what is here meant. Do not a share by lot and a common purse exclude one another? Will they truly, in the distribution of the booty by lot, have equal portions at length, equally much in their money-bags? Or is it meant that, apart from the portion of the booty which falls to every one by lot, they have a common purse which, when their business is ebbing, must supply the wants of the company, and on which the new companion can maintain himself beforehand? Or does it mean only that they will be as mutually helpful to one another, according to the principle τὰ τῶν φίλων κοινά (amicorum omnia communia), as if they had only one purse? The meaning is perfectly simple. The oneness of the purse consists in this, that the booty which each of them gets, belongs not wholly or chiefly to him, but to the whole together, and is disposed of by lot; so that, as far as possible, he who participated not at all in the affair in obtaining it, may yet draw the greatest prize. This view harmonizes the relation between 14b and 14a. The common Semitic כּים is even used at the present day in Syria and elsewhere as the name of the Exchange ("Brse") (plur. akjâs); here it is the purse ("Kasse") (χρημάτων δοχεῖον, Procop.), which is made up of the profits of the business. This profit consists not merely in gold, but is here thought of in regard to its worth in gold. The apparent contradiction between distributing by lot and having a common purse disappears when the distribution by lot of the common property is so made, that the retaining of a stock-capital, or reserve fund, is not excluded.
Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse:
My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path:After the men are described against whose enticements a warning is given forth, the warning is emphatically repeated, and is confirmed by a threefold reason:
My son! go not in the way with them.
Keep back thy foot from their path.
If בּדרך (in the way), taken alone, cannot be equivalent to בדרך אחד (in one way), so is אתּם (with them) to be regarded as its determination.
(Note: The Arab. grammarians regard this as half determination, and call it takhsys; that אתּם has with them the force of a virtually coordinated attributive; while, according to the Arab. gram., it is also possible that בּדרך, "in one way," is equivalent to on the common way, for in the indetermination sometimes there lies the conception not merely of âhad, but of weahad.)
Foot (not feet), as eye, hand, etc., is used where the members come less under consideration than what they unitedly bring about (Proverbs 4:26.). נתיבה, from נתב, signifies properly that which is raised, especially the (raised) footstep.
For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.The first argument to enforce the warning:
For their feet run to the evil,
And hasten to shed blood.
That this is their object they make no secret (Proverbs 1:11.); but why is it that such an object as this should furnish no ground of warning against them, especially as on this beginning the stamp of that which is morally blamable is here impressed with לרע? Besides, this circular movement of the thoughts is quite after the manner of this poet; and that Proverbs 1:16 is his style, Proverbs 6:18 shows. The want of this distich (Proverbs 1:16 equals Romans 3:15) in lxx B. א. weighs heavier certainly than the presence of it in lxx A. (Procop., Syro-Hezap.), since the translation is not independent, but is transferred from Isaiah 59:7; but if for the first time, at a later period, it is supplied in the lxx, yet it has the appearance of an addition made to the Hebr. text from Isaiah 59:7 (Hitzig, Lagarde); cf. Comm. on Isaiah, 40-66. לשׁפּך is always pointed thus; for, as a regular rule, after ל as well as מ sa llew s the aspiration disappears; but in Ezekiel 17:17 בּשׁפּך is also found, and in this case (cf. at Psalm 40:15) the punctuation is thus inconsequent.
Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.The second argument in support of the warning.
For in vain is the net spread out
In the eyes of all (the winged) birds.
The interpretation conspersum est rete, namely, with corn as a bait, which was put into circulation by Rashi, is inadmissible; for as little as הזּה (Hiph. of נזה) can mean to strew, can זרה mean to spread. The object is always that which is scattered (gestreut), not that which is spread (bestreut). Thus, expansum est rete, but not from מזר, extendere, from which מזורה
(Note: The MS Masora remarks לית וחסר, and hence מזרה is written defectively in the Erfurt, 1, 2, 3, Frankf. 1294, in the edition of Norzi and elsewhere.)
in this form cannot be derived (it would in that case be מזוּרה), but from זרה, pass. of זרה, to scatter, spread out. The alluring net, when it is shaken out and spread, is, as it were, scattered, ventilatur. But if this is done incautiously before the eyes of the birds to be caught, they forthwith fly away. The principle stress lies on the בּעיני (before the eyes) as the reason of the חנּם (in vain), according to the saying of Ovid, Quae nimis apparent retia, vitat avis. The applicatio similitudinis lying near, according to J. H. Michaelis, is missed even by himself and by most others. If the poet wished to say that they carried on their work of blood with such open boldness, that he must be more than a simpleton who would allow himself to be caught by them, that would be an unsuitable ground of warning; for would there not be equally great need for warning against fellowship with them, if they had begun their enticement with more cunning, and reckoned on greater success? Hitzig, Ewald, Zckler, and others, therefore interpret חנם, not in the sense of in vain, inasmuch as they do not let themselves be caught; but: in vain, for they see not the net, but only the scattered corn. But according to the preceding, הרשׁת (the net) leads us to think only either of the net of the malicious designs, or the net of the alluring deceptions. Thus, as Ziegler has noticed, the warned ought to make application of the similitude to himself: Go not with them, for their intention is bad; go not with them, for if the bird flees away from the net which is spread out before it, thou wilt not surely be so blind as suffer thyself to be ensnared by their gross enticements. בּעל כּנף: the furnished with the wing (wings in Ecclesiastes 10:20); בּעל forms the idea of property (lord).
And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives.The causal conj. כּי (for) in Proverbs 1:16 and Proverbs 1:17 are coordinated; and there now follows, introduced by the conj. ו ("and"), a third reason for the warning:
And they lie in wait for their own blood,
They lay snares for their own lives.
The warning of Proverbs 1:16 is founded on the immorality of the conduct of the enticer; that of Proverbs 1:17 on the audaciousness of the seduction as such, and now on the self-destruction which the robber and murderer bring upon themselves: they wish to murder others, but, as the result shows, they only murder themselves. The expression is shaped after Proverbs 1:11, as if it were: They lay snares, as they themselves say, for the blood of others; but it is in reality for their own blood: they certainly lie in wait, as they say; but not, as they add, for the innocent, but for their own lives (Fl.). Instead of לדמם, there might be used לדמיהם, after Micah 7:2; but לנפשׁם would signify ipsis (post-biblical, לעצמם), while לנפשׁתם leaves unobliterated the idea of the life: animis ipsorum; for if the O.T. language seeks to express ipse in any other way than by the personal pronoun spoken emphatically, this is done by the addition of נפשׁ (Isaiah 53:11). המו was on this account necessary, because Proverbs 1:17 has another subject (cf. Psalm 63:10).
So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.An epiphonema:
Such is the lot of all who indulge in covetousness;
It takes away the life of its owner.
This language is formed after Job 8:13. Here, as there, in the word ארחות, the ideas of action and issue, manner of life and its result, are all combined. בּצע signifies properly that which is cut off, a piece, fragment broken off, then that which one breaks off and takes to himself - booty, gain, particularly unjust gain (Proverbs 28:16). בּצע בּצע is he who is greedy or covetous. The subject to יקּח is בּצע, covetousness, πλεονεξία (see Isaiah 57:17). As Hoses, Job 4:11, says of three other things that they taken away לב, the understanding (νοῦς), so here we are taught regarding unjust gain or covetousness, that it takes away נפשׁ, the life (ψυχή) (לקח נפשׁ, to take away the life, 1 Kings 19:10; Psalm 31:14). בּעליו denotes not the possessor of unjust gain, but as an inward conception, like בעל אף, Proverbs 22:24, cf. Proverbs 23:2; Proverbs 24:8; Ecclesiastes 10:11, him of whom covetousness is the property. The sing. נפשׁ does not show that בּעליו is thought of as sing.; cf. Proverbs 22:23, Psalm 34:23; but according to Proverbs 3:27; Proverbs 16:22; Ecclesiastes 8:8, this is nevertheless probable, although the usage without the suffix is always בּעל בּצע, and not בּעלי (of plur. intens. בּעלים).
Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets:Looking to its form and vocalization, חכמות may be an Aramaizing abstract formation (Gesen.; Ew. 165, c; Olsh. 219, b); for although the forms אחות and גּלות are of a different origin, yet in רבּות and הוללות such abstract formations lie before us. The termination ûth is here, by the passing over of the u into the less obscure but more intensive o (cf. יהו in the beginning and middle of the word, and יהוּ יהו at the end of the word), raised to ôth, and thereby is brought near to the fem. plur. (cf. חכמות, Proverbs 14:1, sapientia, as our plur. of the neut. sapiens, חכמה), approaching to the abstract. On the other hand, that חכמות is sing. of abstract signification, is not decisively denoted by its being joined to the plur. of the predicate (for תּרנּה here, as at Proverbs 8:3, is scarcely plur.; and if ראמות, Proverbs 24:7, is plur., חכמות as the numerical plur. may refer to the different sciences or departments of knowledge); but perhaps by this, that it interchanges with תּבוּנות, Psalm 49:4, cf. Proverbs 11:12; Proverbs 28:16, and that an abstract formation from חכמה (fem. of חכם, חכם), which besides is not concrete, was unnecessary. Still less is חכמות equals חכמת a singular, which has it in view to change חכמה into a proper name, for proof of which Hitzig refers to תּהומות, Psalm 78:15; the singular ending ôth without an abstract signification does not exist. After that Dietrich, in his Abhandl. 1846, has shown that the origin of the plur. proceeds not from separate calculation, but from comprehension,
(Note: In the Indo-Germanic languages the s of the plur. also probably proceeds from the prep. sa (sam) equals συν. See Schleicher, Compend. der vergl. Gram. 247.)
and that particularly also names denoting intellectual strength are frequently plur., which multiply the conception not externally but internally, there is no longer any justifiable doubt that חכמות signifies the all-comprehending, absolute, or, as Bttcher, 689, expresses it, the full personal wisdom. Since such intensive plurals are sometimes united with the plur. of the predicate, as e.g., the monotheistically interpreted Elohim, Genesis 35:7 (see l.c.), so תּרנּה may be plur. On the other hand, the idea that it is a forma mixta of תּרן (from רנן) and תּרנה (Job 39:23) or תּרנּה, the final sound in ah opposes. It may, however, be the emphatic form of the 3rd fem. sing. of רנן; for, that the Hebr. has such an emphatic form, corresponding to the Arab. taktubanna, is shown by these three examples (keeping out of view the suspicion of a corruption of the text, Olsh. p. 452), Judges 5:26; Job 17:16; Isaiah 28:3; cf. תּשׁלחנה, Obadiah 1:13 (see Caspari, l.c.), an example of the 2nd masc. sing. of this formation. רנן (with רנה) is a word imitative of sound (Schallwort), used to denote "a clear-sounding, shrill voice (thence the Arab. rannan, of a speaker who has a clear, piercing voice); then the clear shrill sound of a string or chord of a bow, or the clear tinkle of the arrow in the quiver, and of the metal that has been struck" (Fl.). The meaning of רחבות is covered by plateae (Luke 14:21), wide places; and חוּץ, which elsewhere may mean that which is without, before the gates of the city and courts, here means the "open air," in contradistinction to the inside of the houses.
She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying,המיּות (plur. of הומי, the ground-form of הומה, from המי equals המה), "they who are making noise;" for the epithet is poetically used (Isaiah 22:2) as a substantive, crowded noisy streets or places. ראשׁ is the place from which on several sides streets go forth: cf. ras el-ain, the place where the well breaks forth; ras en-nahr, the place from which the stream divides itself; the sing. is meant distributively as little as at Proverbs 8:2. פּתח, if distinguished from שׁער (which also signifies cleft, breach), is the opening of the gate, the entrance by the gate. Four times the poet says that Wisdom goes forth preaching, and four times that she preaches publicly; the בּעיר used in five places implies that Wisdom preaches not in the field, before the few who there are met with, but in the city, which is full of people.
How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?The poet has now reached that part of his introduction where he makes use of the very words uttered by Wisdom:
How long, ye simple, will ye love simplicity,
And scorners delight in scorning,
And fools hate knowledge?
Three classes of men are here addressed: the פּתים, the simple, who, being accessible to seduction, are only too susceptible of evil; the לצים, mockers, i.e., free-thinkers (from לוּץ, Arab. luṣ, flectere, torquere, properly qui verbis obliquis utitur); and the כּסילים, fools, i.e., the mentally imbecile and stupid (from כּסל, Arab. kasal, to be thick, coarse, indolent). The address to these passes immediately over into a declaration regarding them; cf. the same enallage, Proverbs 1:27. עד־מתי has the accent Mahpach, on account of the Pasek following; vid., Torath Emeth, p. 26. Intentionally, Wisdom addresses only the פתים, to whom she expects to find soonest access. Between the futt., which express the continuing love and hatred, stands the perf. חמדוּ, which expresses that in which the mockers found pleasure, that which was the object of their love. להם is the so-called dat. ethicus, which reflexively refers to that which is said to be the will and pleasure of the subject; as we say, "I am fond of this and that." The form תּאהבוּ, Abulwald, Parchon, and Kimchi regard as Piel; but תּאהבוּ instead of תּאהבוּ would be a recompensatio of the virtual doubling, defacing the character of the Piel. Schultens regards it as a defectively written Pail (in Syr.), but it is not proved that this conjugation exists in Hebr.; much rather תּאהבוּ is the only possible Kal form with תּאהבוּן without the pause, regularly formed from תּאהבוּ (vid., Ewald, 193, a). The division by the accent Mercha-Mahpach of the two words תאהבו פתי is equal in value to the connecting of them by Makkeph; vid., Baer's Psalterium, p. x. In codd., and also in correct texts, תאהבו is written with the accent Galgal on the first syllable, as the servant of the Mercha-Mahpach. The Gaja is incorrectly here and there placed under the תּ.
Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.To the call to thoughtfulness which lies in the complaint "How long?" there follows the entreaty:
Turn ye at my reproof!
Behold! I would pour out my Spirit upon you,
I would make you to know my words.
23a is not a clause expressive of a wish, which with the particle expressive of a wish, which is wanting, would be תּשׁוּבוּ־נא, or according to Proverbs 23:1 and Proverbs 27:23 would be שׁוב תּשׁוּבוּ. The הנּה, introducing the principal clause, stamps 23a as the conditional clause; the relation of the expressions is as Isaiah 26:10; Job 20:24. תּשׁוּבוּ
(Note: In the Hagiographa everywhere written plene, with exception of Job 17:10.)
is not equivalent to si convertamini, which would require תּפנוּ, but to si revertamini; but לתוכהתּי
(Note: The Metheg belongs to the ת, under which it should be placed (and not to the ל), as the commencing sound of the second syllable before the tone-syllable; cf. Proverbs 1:25.)
does not therefore mean at my reproof, i.e., in consequence of it (Hitzig, after Numbers 16:34), but it is a constructio praegnans: turning and placing yourselves under my reproof. With תוכחת there is supposed an ἔλεγχος (lxx, Symm.): bringing proof, conviction, punishment. If they, leaving their hitherto accustomed way, permit themselves to be warned against their wickedness, then would Wisdom cause her words to flow forth to them, i.e., would without reserve disclose and communicate to them her spirit, cause them to know (namely by experience) her words. הבּיע (from נבע, R. נב; vid., Genesis, p. 635) is a common figurative word, expressive of the free pouring forth of thoughts and words, for the mouth is conceived of as a fountain (cf. Proverbs 18:4 with Matthew 12:34), and the ῥῆσις (vid., lxx) as ῥεῦσις; only here it has the Spirit as object, but parallel with דּברי, thus the Spirit as the active power of the words, which, if the Spirit expresses Himself in them, are πνεῦμα καὶ ζωή, John 6:63. The addresses of Wisdom in the Book of Proverbs touch closely upon the discourses of the Lord in the Logos-Gospel. Wisdom appears here as the fountain of the words of salvation for men; and these words of salvation are related to her, just as the λόγοι to the divine λόγος expressing Himself therein.
Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;The address of Wisdom now takes another course. Between Proverbs 1:23 and Proverbs 1:24 there is a pause, as between Isaiah 1:20 and Isaiah 1:21. In vain Wisdom expects that her complaints and enticements will be heard. Therefore she turns her call to repentance into a discourse announcing judgment.
24 Because I have called, and ye refused;
Stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;
25 And ye have rejected all my counsel
And to my reproof have not yielded:
26 Therefore will I also laugh at your calamity,
Will mock when your terror cometh;
27 When like a storm your terror cometh,
And your destruction swept on like a whirlwind;
When distress and anguish cometh upon you.
Commencing with יען (which, like מען, from ענה, to oppose, denotes the intention, but more the fundamental reason or the cause than, as למען, the motive or object), the clause, connected with גּם־אני, ego vicissim, turns to the conclusion. As here יען קראתי (as the word of Jahve) are connected by גּם־אני to the expression of the talio in Isaiah 66:4, so also מאם, with its contrast אבה, Isaiah 1:19. The construction quoniam vocavi et renuistis for quoniam quum vocarem renuistis (cf. Isaiah 12:1) is the common diffuse (zerstreute) Semitic, the paratactic instead of the periodizing style. The stretching out of the hand is, like the "spreading out" in Isaiah 65:2, significant of striving to beckon to the wandering, and to bring them near. Regarding הקשׁיב, viz., אזנו, to make the ear still (R. קש), arrigere, incorrectly explained by Schultens, after the Arab ḳashab, polire, by aurem purgare, vid., Isaiah, p. 257, note.
But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:פּרע is synonymous with נטשׁ, Proverbs 1:8; cf. Proverbs 4:15 פּרעהוּ, turn from it. Gesenius has inaccurately interpreted the phrase פרע ראש of the shaving off of the hair, instead of the letting it fly loose. פרע means to loosen ( equals to lift up, syn. החל), to release, to set free; it combines the meanings of loosening and making empty, or at liberty, which is conveyed in Arab. by fr' and frg. The latter means, intrans., to be set free, therefore to be or to become free from occupation or business; with mn of an object, to be free from it, i.e., to have accomplished it, to have done with it (Fl.). Thus: since ye have dismissed (missum fecistis) all my counsel (עצה as לדה, from יעץ, Arabic w'd), i.e., what I always would advise to set you right. אבה combines in itself the meanings of consent, Proverbs 1:10, and compliance, Proverbs 1:30 (with ל), and, as here, of acceptance. The principal clause begins like an echo of Psalm 2:4 (cf. Jeremiah 20:7).
I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;שׂחק, as Proverbs 31:25 shows, is not to be understood with בּ; בּ is that of the state or time, not of the object. Regarding איד, calamitas opprimens, obruens (from אוּד equals Arabic âda, to burden, to oppress), see at Psalm 31:12. בא is related to יאתה as arriving to approaching; פחדּכם is not that for which they are in terror - for those who are addressed are in the condition of carnal security - but that which, in the midst of this, will frighten and alarm them. The Chethı̂b שאוה is pointed thus, שׁאוה (from שׁאו equals שׁאה, as ראוה, זעוה after the form אהבה, דּאבה); the Kerı̂ substitutes for this infinitive name the usual particip. שׁאה (where then the Vav is יתיר, "superfluous"), crashing (fem. of שׁאה), then a crash and an overthrow with a crash; regarding its root-meaning (to be waste, and then to sound hollow), see under Psalm 35:8. סוּפה (from סוּף equals ספה), sweeping forth as a (see Proverbs 10:25) whirlwind. The infinitive construction of 27a is continued in 27b in the finite. "This syntactical and logical attraction, by virtue of which a modus or tempus passes by ו or by the mere parallel arrangement (as Proverbs 2:2) from one to another, attracted into the signification and nature of the latter, is peculiar to the Hebr. If there follows a new clause or section of a clause where the discourse takes, as it were, a new departure, that attraction ceases, and the original form of expression is resumed; cf. 1:22, where after the accent Athnach the future is returned to, as here in 27c the infinitive construction is restored" (Fl.). The alliterating words צרה וצוּקה, cf. Isaiah 30:6; Zephaniah 1:15, are related to each other as narrowness and distress (Hitzig); the Mashal is fond of the stave-rhyme.
(Note: Jul. Ley, in his work on the Metrical Forms of Hebrew Poetry, 1866, has taken too little notice of these frequently occurring alliteration staves; Lagarde communicated to me (8th Sept. 1846) his view of the stave-rhyme in the Book of Proverbs, with the remark, "Only the Hebr. technical poetry is preserved to us in the O.T. records; but in such traces as are found of the stave-rhyme, there are seen the echoes of the poetry of the people, or notes passing over from it.")
When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.
Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:Then - this sublime preacher in the streets continues - distress shall teach them to pray:
28 Then shall they call on me, and I will not answer;
They shall early seek after me, and not find me;
29 Because that they hated knowledge,
And did not choose the fear of Jahve.
30 They have not yielded to my counsel,
Despised all my reproof:
31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their way,
And satiate themselves with their own counsels.
In the full emphatic forms, יקראנני, they shall call on me, ישׁחרנני, they shall seek me, and ימצאנני, they shall find me, the suffix ני may be joined to the old plur. ending ûn (Gesenius, Olshausen, Bttcher); but open forms like יברכנהוּ, He will bless him,יכבּדנני, He will honour me (from יכבּדנּי), and the like, rather favour the conclusion that נ is epenthetic (Ew. 250, b).
(Note: In the Codd. יקראנני is written; in this case the Metheg indicates the tone syllable: vid., Torath Emeth, p. 7 note, p. 21 note; and Accentssystem, ii. 1, note. In ישׁחרנני the Rebia is to be placed over the ר. In the Silluk-word ימצאנני it appears undoubtedly that the form is to be spoken as Milel, i.e., with tone on the penult.)
The address here takes the form of a declaration: Stultos nunc indignos censet ulteriori alloquio (Mich.). It is that laughter and scorn, Proverbs 1:26, which here sounds forth from the address of the Judge regarding the incorrigible. שׁחר is denom. of שׁחר, to go out and to seek with the morning twilight, as also בּקּר, Psalm 27:5, perhaps to appear early, and usually (Arab.) bakar (I, II, IV), to rise early, to be zealous (Lane: "He hastened to do or accomplish, or attain the thing needed"). Zckler, with Hitzig, erroneously regards Proverbs 1:29, Proverbs 1:30 as the antecedent to Proverbs 1:31. With ויאכלוּ, "and they shall eat," the futt. announcing judgment are continued from Proverbs 1:28; cf. Deuteronomy 28:46-48. The conclusion after תּהת כּי, "therefore because," or as usually expressed (except here and Deuteronomy 4:37, cf. Genesis 4:25), תּהת אשׁר (ἀνθ ̓ ὧν), is otherwise characterized, Deuteronomy 22:29; 2 Chronicles 21:12; and besides, תהת אשׁר stands after (e.g., 1 Samuel 26:21; 2 Kings 22:17; Jeremiah 29:19) oftener than before the principal clause. בּחר combines in itself the meanings of eligere and diligere (Fl.). The construction of אבה ל (to be inclining towards) follows that of the analogous שׁמע ל (to hear). Each one eats of the fruit of his way - good fruit of good ways (Isaiah 3:10), and evil fruit of evil ways. "The מן, 31b, introduces the object from which, as a whole, that which one eats, and with which he is satisfied, is taken as a part, or the object from which, as from a fountain, satisfaction flows forth" (Fl.). In correct texts, ויאכלוּ has the accent Dech, and at the same time Munach as its servant. Regarding the laws of punctuation, according to which וּממּעצתיהם (with Munach on the tone-syllable, Tarcha on the antepenult, and Metheg before the Chateph-Pathach) is to be written, see Baer's Torath Emeth, p. 11, Accentssystem, iv. 4. Norzi accents the word incorrectly with Rebia Mugrash. With the exception of Proverbs 22:22, the pluralet
(Note: A plur. denoting unity in the circumstances, and a similarity in the relations of time and space.)
מועצות has always the meaning of ungodly counsels.
For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:
They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.
Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.
For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.The discourse is now summarily brought to a close:
32 For the perverseness of the simple slays them,
And the security of fools destroys them.
33 But whoever harkeneth to me dwells secure,
And is at rest from fear of evil.
Of the two interpretations of שׁוּב, a turning towards (with אל and the like, conversion) or a turning away (with מאחרי or מעל, desertion), in משׁוּבה the latter (as in the post-Bib. תּשׁוּבה, repentance, the former) is expressed; apostasy from wisdom and from God are conjoined. שׁלוה is here carnalis securitas; but the word may also denote the external and the internal peace of the righteous, as שׁאנן, whence שׁלאנן, Job 21:23, as a superlative is formed by the insertion of the ל of שׁלו, is taken in bonam et malam partem. שׁאנן is, according to the Masora (also in Jeremiah 30:10; Jeremiah 46:27; Jeremiah 48:11), 3rd perf. Pilel (Ewald, 120, a), from the unused שׁאן, to be quiet: he has attained to full quietness, and enjoys such. The construction with מן follows the analogy of הניח מן (to give rest from), שׁקט מן (to rest from), and the like. The negative interpretation of מן, sine ullo pavore mali (Schultens, Ewald), is unnecessary; also Job 21:9 may be explained by "peace from terror," especially since שׁלום is derived from the root של, extrahere. פּחד רעה, "fear of evil," one may perhaps distinguish from פחד רע as the genitive of combination.
But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.