In Proverbs 1–9, Bible scholar Michael V. Fox translates and explains the meaning of the first nine chapters of this profound, timeless book, and examines their place in the intellectual history of ancient Israel. This thorough study of Proverbs includes a survey of the collections of ancient Near Eastern wisdom literature, as well as innovative and insightful comments. In addition to the translation and commentary proper, Fox includes several extended thematic essays on Proverbs 1–9, covering such themes as the origins of personified wisdom, what wisdom is, and where wisdom can be heard, plus an appendix of textual notes. The format of the commentary makes it accessible to the general reader and also provides materials of special interest to scholars. This is the first of a two-volume commentary that accords Proverbs the depth of study it deserves.
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“The fear of God is so valued because it motivates right behavior even when socially enforced sanctions do not exist or cannot be effective.” (Page 70)
“The tenet that knowledge of God must permeate all one’s behavior is at the core of the message of Prov 1–9, fusing knowledge, piety, and action into one principle. Knowledge of God must be realized in a person’s ways—his behavior—not merely in cognition and certainly not in theological erudition. Knowledge of God is an attitude, awareness of what he wants as well as a desire to do it. To ‘know God in all your ways’ means giving constant attention to the divine will and presence (Hameʾiri).” (Page 149)
“This is correct, ʾiwwelet is the willful refusal to make moral choices, ʾiwwelet is moral corruption from the standpoint of its impact on judgment and reason.” (Page 40)
“The syntax of this passage—a noun defined by a long series of infinitives of purpose—is without parallel in the Bible.” (Page 58)
“To ‘incline the heart’ (or for the heart to incline) means to desire and choose something, not only to pay attention.” (Page 109)