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The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

Date and Authorship.

1.

The book comprises a number of separate collections each of which, save the last one, is introduced by its own heading (see the outline below). The heading in 1:1 may be intended to refer to the book as a whole and Solomon is traditionally regarded as its author. But while its major collections are assigned either directly ( 10:1 ) or indirectly ( 25:1 ) to him, the remaining collections are ascribed to other ‘authors’. It is also clear that the book can be no older than the time of Hezekiah ( 25:1 ). If the Solomonic origin of some sayings should not be excluded, neither can it be demonstrated. The headings are best seen as a reflection of the association of wisdom with the royal court in pre-exilic times (cf. 25:1 ), together with the tradition of Solomon as the paradigm of the wise king (1 Kings 4:29–34 ).

2.

The dates of the individual collections are difficult to determine. It is likely that chs. 10–31 largely emerged during the pre-exilic period. Chs. 1–9 are commonly regarded as the latest section of the book. They may have been put together and edited to form an extended introduction to chs. 10–31 , and it was probably in the post-exilic period that the book received its final shape.

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