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Proverbs (Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 22 | WBC)

ISBN: 9781418503697
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Roland Murphy approaches Proverbs as “a collection of collections.” The long poems of chapters 1–9 introduce the collections of short sayings in chapters 10-31. With this division Murphy accepts “the unproven but likely assumption” that during the postexilic period chapters 1-9 set the tone for the mostly pre-exilic collections in chapters 10–31. Murphy cautions his readers to consider the limitations of proverbial sayings. The Israelite sages sought in their optimistic teachings to express “the mystery that surrounds all human action: not only self-knowledge, but knowledge of the mysterious role of God.” Much of the wisdom of Proverbs points out the ambiguities of life. Yet the Proverbs do not provide the final word; "rather they act as a goad, a prod to further thought."

The Word Biblical Commentary delivers the best in biblical scholarship, from the leading scholars of our day who share a commitment to Scripture as divine revelation. This series emphasizes a thorough analysis of textual, linguistic, structural, and theological evidence. The result is judicious and balanced insight into the meanings of the text in the framework of biblical theology. These widely acclaimed commentaries serve as exceptional resources for the professional theologian and instructor, the seminary or university student, the working minister, and everyone concerned with building theological understanding from a solid base of biblical scholarship.

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Top Highlights

“Human judgment is fallible, despite good intentions. It is the Lord who sees straight, and evaluates human motives. Even those who fear the Lord need to be reminded of the possibility of self-deception. Their judgment is necessarily subjective; the Lord’s is objective.” (Page 120)

“But personified Wisdom is to be seen as another authoritative voice, and in fact more than a voice; she is a persona who is to be loved, one who loves those who love her (8:17).” (Page 11)

“The fear of the Lord (יראת יהוה) is a concept that is central to the biblical wisdom literature, and especially to the book of Proverbs. Its position within the book calls attention to the idea: it is the motto at the beginning, 1:7, and this unites with 9:10 to form a frame for the collection in chaps. 1–9. A further frame for the entire book is the connection between 1:7 and 31:30. But the idea did not suddenly appear with this book or with wisdom literature. In one form or another fear of the Lord/God permeates the entire Bible. It must be seen in its biblical context if one is to understand it more clearly and especially its place within wisdom. It seems undeniable that fear of God is rooted in a basic attitude of mortal beings before the Numen.” (Pages 254–255)

“Most important is the emphasis on wisdom as a gift of God. This is somewhat paradoxical. On the one hand, the teacher speaks as if everything depends upon the listening and obedience of the youth. On the other hand, wisdom is a divine gift. Her origin is described as from the mouth (see Note 6.a.) of the Lord, an anticipation of Sir 24:3; cf. Prov 8:22–24. As things develop, it will be seen that there is divine mystery lurking behind the security and the certainty of wisdom teaching. One must strive for the goal, but also realize that wisdom remains a divine gift. Ultimately we have a picture of the acquisition of wisdom by means of human industry and divine aid and generosity.” (Pages 15–16)

  • Title: Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 22: Proverbs
  • Author: Roland E. Murphy
  • Series: Word Biblical Commentary
  • Volume: 22
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson
  • Print Publication Date: 1998
  • Logos Release Date: 2002
  • Pages: 305
  • Era: era:contemporary
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subjects: Bible › Commentaries--Collected works; Bible. O.T. Proverbs › Commentaries
  • ISBNs: 9781418503697, 141850369X
  • Resource ID: LLS:29.25.2
  • Resource Type: Bible Commentary
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2022-09-28T20:02:03Z

Roland Murphy (1917–2002) was George Washington Ivey Professor of Biblical Studies Emeritus at Duke University and adjunct professor of biblical studies at the Washington Theological Union. He contributed to the Song of Songs volume in Hermeneia on CD-ROM 2.0 (43 Vols.)


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  1. Matthew



  2. Moshe Wise

    Moshe Wise


    When Faithlife/Logos converted the printed text to Logos format, the Hebrew characters ם ן ץ ך were misread for some reason (bad OCR?) so the Logos edition includes a fairly large number of errors in the Hebrew quotations.
  3. Alessandro



  4. Paulo Rabello

    Paulo Rabello





  6. Shaun Grunblatt
  7. Alex A. Salazar
WBC Commentary Sale


Print list price: $49.99
Regular price: $44.99
Save $25.00 (55%)