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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on Proverbs

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Commentary spanning earlier chapters

8.1–36 : Wisdom speaks

(cf. Sir 24.1–34 ).

1–5 :

Wisdom publicly addresses all people, but especially the simple in need of instruction ( 1.20–22 ).

6–11 :

Wisdom's value is incomparable (See 2.4n.; cf. Job 28.15–19 ).

12–16 :

Her authority is that by which kings reign (Sir 4.15 ).

17–21 :

Wisdom's blessings begin with returning the love of those who love her (v. 17; Sir 4.14; Wis 6.12–13 ).

22–31 :

Wisdom recounts her divine origin, before anything was created (Sir 1.4; 24.9 ). She was with God as a master worker (v. 30 ), and thus had a role in creation (Sir 1.9–10; Wis 7.22; 9.9 ). Wisdom is seen delighting in God's human creatures (v. 31; Sir 1.15; 24.7–12 ).

22 :

Created, the proper translation of the Heb word (“qanah”) is debated, but “acquired” (see 4.5,7 ) or even “engendered, conceived” (see Gen 4.1 ) are also possible.

24–29 :

See Gen 1; Job 38.4–11; Ps 104.5–9 .

32–36 :

The speech concludes with an offer of lifein place of death.

1.1–7 : Introduction.

1 :

Proverbs of Solomon, see the Introduction ( 10.1; 25.1 ).

2–6 : The purpose of the book.

Addressed to the simple and the young, as well as the wise, Proverbs teaches discernment and ethical responsibility. A highly practical discipline, wisdom entails living in accord with righteousness, justice, and equity.

6 :

Figure, an allusive saying or an extended metaphor, as in 1.20–33 . Riddle, a comparison or analogy that provokes reflection and requires readers to decide the meaning (e.g., 30.15–16, 18–19 ).

7 : A basic wisdom theme.

Reverence toward God is the prerequisite to knowledge ( 9.10; 15.33; 31.30b; Job 28.28; Ps 111.10; Sir 1.14 ). Fools are not simply unintelligent, but unethical in their conduct.

1.8–9.18 : Instruction in Wisdom.

These chapters contain mostly long poems, in contrast to the short proverbial sayings of chs 10–29 .

1.8–19 : Instruction as a moral safeguard

against the temptations of the wicked.

8 :

My child (lit. “my son”), a typical usage of the sages when referring to the teacher‐student relationship (vv. 10,15; 2.1; 4.10; Sir 2.1; 3.12,17 ). The pairing of the father's instruction and the mother's teaching alludes to the family as the place where wisdom instruction first takes place (see 6.20; 23.22; 31.1 ). The term teaching (Heb “torah”) is used elsewhere in the Bible as a term for covenant law. In Proverbs, however, it refers primarily to wisdom instruction. But See Sir 24 , which identifies the two.

12 :

Sheol … the Pit, common expressions for death and the place and state of the dead.

16 :

An editorial quotation of Isa 59.7 .

17 :

The sage cites a popular proverb to affirm that the consequences of crime ought to be obvious.

1.20–33 : Wisdom personified as a prophet.

She speaks publicly in the city streets and gates. In language that echoes the prophets (for v. 22 see Jer 4.14,21; v. 24 see Isa 65.2,12; 66.4; Jer 7.13,24–27 ), Wisdom pronounces dire threats against those who will not listen to her (vv. 26–32 ).

22 :

The simple (see 1.4 ) are considered teachable, but scoffers and fools are generally represented as (fatally) resistant to instruction (see 1.7; 15.12; 26.3 ).

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