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The Jewish Study Bible Contextualizes the Hebrew Bible with accompanying scholarly text on Jewish traditions and history.

Wisdom Literature

THE WISDOM TEXTS IN THE BIBLE are Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes, which need to be read within the framework of an international Near Eastern wisdom tradition (see intro. to Kethuvim, pp. 1276–77). Proverbs and the postbiblical book of Sirach belong to the genre of didactic wisdom. They offer instructions and observations directing the reader in the formation of ethical character and in leading a successful and happy life. Ecclesiastes, in spite of its sometimes unorthodox ideas, belongs in this group. Books very similar in character and content were written in Egypt and Mesopotamia, starting in the late third millennium BCE and extending to the Hellenistic period, as late as the third century BCE.

Egyptian wisdom books in particular are close in form and content to Proverbs. Most important is the Instruction of Amenemope (probably dating from the 13th or 12th century), which is the source of much of Proverbs 22.17–23.11 (see 22.17–23.11n. ). Foreign wisdom books provide the intellectual context of Proverbs and clarify its ideas and goals. In the annotations, reference will be made primarily to the translations of Egyptian wisdom in Miriam Lichtheim's Ancient Egyptian Literature (AEL), vols. 1–3 (Berkeley: University of California).

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