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Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching Proverbs

, 2000


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The book of Proverbs is a collection of sayings, poems, and "life's little instructions." Wrestling with the values of things such as creation, livelihood, or moral character, Proverbs exhorts its readers to seek the higher ideals—knowledge, discipline, piety, and order—and offers guidance on how to live in harmony with God, others, and oneself. Perdue’s commentary divides Proverbs into eight separate collections, and clarifies the major historical, social, literary, theological, and ethical elements in this thorough interpretation.

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  • Detailed introduction
  • Bibliography

Top Highlights

“The poem provides an appropriate inclusion for the entire book of Proverbs, not only in dealing with the incarnation of wisdom in a female form—a noble housewife—but also in the reference toward the end of the poem that describes her ‘fear of Yahweh’ (31:30; cf. 1:7). Her wealth, wisdom, and success are attributed to her faith. She believes, like all true sages, that the beginning of wisdom is the belief in God as Creator and Sustainer. As a result, all the accoutrements of human desire that are noble are hers.” (Page 280)

“No human actions were isolated and self-contained, either in their performance or from their results. The sages taught that all actions and language had an effect, whether positive or adverse, on the human community and even on the order of creation.” (Page 11)

“While the verb is passive, it seems clear that Wisdom is saying that Yahweh is the one who gave her birth. In this metaphorical image of procreation, Yahweh is presented as both the father and the mother of wisdom, who ‘created’ her as the first born of creation (see Perdue, Wisdom and Creation, 89–91).” (Page 143)

“Trust (bāṭaḥ) in God, according to the wisdom teachers (Prov. 16:20; 29:25), is a virtue that is central to the practice of religious faith. To trust God means to rely on God’s truthfulness and integrity and on the authenticity of divine promises.” (Page 98)

“Trusting God and knowing Yahweh, while not depending on one’s own insight, are the acts of piety and the moral life that lead to divine guidance along the straight path.” (Page 98)

The Interpretation series from Westminster John Knox Press is clearly established as a rich source for teaching and preaching. They have tapped the talents of a varied and esteemed group of contributors, resulting in what is clearly the essential comprehensive commentary series on the Bible.

—W. Eugene March, A.B. Rhodes Professor of Old Testament Emeritus at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary

The Interpretation series is an invaluable resource for any leader or scholar interested in interpreting the biblical text to the broader church. Its works are essential for pastors, educators, and church libraries.

—Brian K. Blount, President and Professor of New Testament at Union Theological Seminary

  • Title: Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching Proverbs
  • Author: Leo G. Perdue
  • Publisher: John Knox Press
  • Publication Date: 2000
  • Pages: 289

Leo G. Perdue is President and Professor of the Hebrew Bible at Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University. He is the author of six books including most recently Proverbs (2000), the editor of ten collections, and has published more than 40 essays and journal articles.


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  1. PaulC



    Great exegetical commentary that gets you into and out of the text without being as heavy as Word Biblical or Anchor...


Digital list price: $26.99
Save $6.00 (22%)