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discourses, are collected together. These are the manifold productions of Hebrew wisdom, expressing itself in the formation of proverbs. This wisdom rests chiefly on a practical shrewdness, — the result of experience, — and on the religious doctrine of retribution, conceived of in a very positive form. The two mutually support one another. Yet it is not wanting in ideas of a pure, living morality and religion. The style is various, often ingenious, witty, sportive, and enigmatical ; but, for the most part, it is simply proverbial, abounding in antitheses, comparisons, and images.
After the inscription, (i. 1,) - Proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel,” and the preface, (i. 2–6,) there follows, –
I. 1. Chap. i. 7-ix. 18, – a connected discourse, exhorting men to chastity and wisdom, and extolling the excellency of the latter.
2. Under the title Proverbs of Solomon, are single proverbs, (chap. x. 1–xxii. 16.) A better connection, and an admonitory tone, — like that in the beginning of the book, — prevail in the next passage, which is not separated from this by any inscription, (xxii. 17–xxiv. 22.) After this, other single proverbs follow, with the inscription, These also from the wise."
II. 1. A new inscription, (xxv. 1,) . These also
son, On the Book of Proverbs, trans., with Notes; Oxford, 1778, 4to. Holden, Attempt towards an Improved Trans. of Proverbs, with Notes, &c.; London, 1819, 8vo. Lawson, Exposition of Proverbs; Edinburgh, 1821, 1822, 12mo.) a ringning
are proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah, king of Judah, collected." This connects the collection of Proverbs (xxv. 2—xxix. 27) together, and separates it from the preceding collection.
2. The following are supplements to the book:
(1.) Chap. XXX., containing several proverbs and enigmas, with the inscription, “ The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, the prophecy : The saying of the man to Ithiel, to Ithiel and Ccal."6
(2.) Chap. xxxi. 149, containing precepts for kings, with the inscription, “ Words spoken to Lemuel the king, a proverb which his mother taught him.”
(3.) Chap. xxxi. 10—31, containing the praise of a virtuous woman.
ORIGIN OF THIS COLLECTION.
The inscription and preface, (i. 1–6,) it is certain, do not relate merely to the first section, (i. 7-ix.,) but to a collection of proverbs. Chap. xxii. 17–xxiv. 22, is, indeed, like i. 7-ix. in its design and contents, but yet is not from the same author. Chap. xxiv. 23— xxv. 1, appears to be a supplementary addition. There
& The peculiarities of the first section (i. 9, iii. 3, 22, iv. 9, vi. 21, vii. 3) do not reappear, and even where a similar thought occurs, (xxiii. 27, 28,) the form of speech is different. (ii. 16, sqq., v. 3, sqq., et al.) Other peculiarities appear, as (xxii. 19, xxiii. 15) the emphatic pronouns, (xxii. 18, xxiii. 8, et al.,) -9), and many others. The tone of admonition is not preserved long at a time. Ewald, p. 42.
fore we 'must consider i.—xxii. 16, as an independent whole, forming the first collection, to which xxii. 17– xxiv. 22, was afterwards added by way of supplement."
It is difficult to determine whether the admonition (i. 7-ix.) was composed by the collector of this book, or was of earlier date, and previously in circulation.
The later collection, (xxv.—xxix.,) which originated in Hezekiah's time, was either discovered by the same author who compiled i.—xxii. 16, and with the supplements, xxii, 17—xxiv. 22, added it to that collection, or, which is more probable, it was added at a later period.
The supplements, (xxx. xxxi.,) which in different
• Most critics are of this opinion. (See Bertholdt, p. 2181, sqq.) Ziegler (Uebers. p. 273, sq.) finds marks of a later composition in the first passages, and the use of earlier forms of speech in the second. (Comp. xxiv. 24, with xi. 26, and xvii. 15; xxiv. 29, with xx. 23; xxiv. 33, sq., with vi. 10, 11.) Ewald (p. 41) thinks the inscription to the supplement (xxiv. 23) came from the same author as that in xxv. 1, who likewise added xxii. 17–xxiv. 22. But if this were the case, xxii. 17, would also have an inscription. To me, xxii. 17—xxiv. 22, seems to be a later epilogue, written in imitation of i.-ix. Chap. xxiv. 23, sqq., may have been added at the same time with xxv. 1, sq.
o Ewald (p. 36, sqq.) favors the first opinion, and regards this passage as an introduction to the whole collection. But, excepting i. 1–6, no reference is made to the whole collection, as, perhaps, it is done in xxii. 17. The author continually admonishes us to strive after wisdom, to observe and follow his doctrine, and that of father and mother. In particular, he dwells on the subject of chastity. Ewald thinks the language is more modern, and finds some imitations. (897?, iv. 22, vi. 15, and “tree of life,” iii. 18. ?) He finds an imitation of Job. (iii. 13, sq. viii. Job xxviii.) He maintains that such connected discourses are more characteristic of a later time than the short maxims of the older collection.
. For the different character of the language in the second part, see Ziegler, p. 25, sq. Bertholdt, p. 2187. Ewald, p. 31, sqq. The latter adduces the following proofs: 1. Different style : the interrogative or conditional preterit ; xxv. 12, 16, xxix. 20. Fact and figure connected merely by and ; xxv. 3, 20, 25, xxvi. 3, 7, 9, 10, 21. Cases of asyndeton ; xxv. 11 -14, 18, 19, 26, 28, xxvi. 23. (But comp. xi. 22, xxi. 1.) 2. We do not find the simple, rigorous parallelism, the condensed fulness and strength of expression, but the thought is extended to two or more verses ; xv. 4--10. Longer proverbs ; xxvi. 23—28, (?) xxvii. 23—27. (But compare x. 4, 5, 16,
ways transgress the limits of the ancient proverbs, were probably added still later.“
It is highly probable in itself that many proverbs have been ascribed to Solomon — as well as many lyric poems to David — which he never wrote.
These proverbs, judging from their number and variety, seem rather the productions of a whole nation than of a single man. Many of them relate to private and rustic life; with one of which Solomon was not. sufficiently acquainted, and in the other he could not participate.
17, 31, 32, xv. 16, 17, xxi. 25, 26.) 3. Signs of a party-colored, complicated, and perilous state of society, where one portion was hostile to another; xxviii. 2, 3, 15–22, 28, xxix. 2, 16, (only xi. 10, is like this; but see xi. 11, 14, xvi. 10–23,) xxv. 3–5, xxix. 12. — Some other peculiarities are not characteristic — the maxims on modesty in the presence of great men, (xxv. 6, sg. ;) on being troublesome or importunate in visits and desire of success, (xxv. 16, 17, xxvii. 14;) on love of glory, (xxv. 10, xxvii. 1, 2;) on quarrelsomeness, (xxv. 8—10,) &c. To these I will add, the obvious effort to be witty in comparisons, (xxv. 11, sqq., 20, xxvi. 2, 8, 17, 23, et al. ;) and the love of paradox, (xxvi. 4, 5.) — To this may be added the repetition of many proverbs already given before, (xxv. 24, comp. xxi. 9; xxvi. 15, comp. xix. 24; xxvi. 22, comp. xviii. 8; xxvii. 12, comp. xxii. 3; xxvii. 13, comp. xx. 16,) from which we may conclude, not only that these were collected later, but that they originated later.
"*22, in the inscription of xxx. and xxxi., means, elsewhere, a prophetic oracle ; and here the tone sometimes rises to lyrical elevation. (xxx, 2, sq., xxxi. 2, sqq.) There are “ spiteful descriptions” in xxx. 11, sqq., 18, 19, 21, sqq., as Ewald says. Chap. xxxi. 10, sqq., is simple in sense, though artificial in form. In xxxi. 2, we find the word 72, (but see Ps. ii. 12,) and run in verse 3.
o See, in particular, xii. 10, 11, xiii. 23, xiv. 4, xxiv. 27,30—34, xxvii. 23, sqq. ; xiii. 7, 11, xiv. 1, xv. 15—17, xvi. 8, 26, xvii. 1, 2, xviii. 9, 22, xix. 14, 15, xx. 13, 14, xxi. 9, 17, xxiii. 1, sqq., 20, sqq., 29, 30, xxv. 17, xxi. 1, xxii.
Chap. i.-ix., with their didactic and admonitory tone, and their strict injunction of chastity, agree rather with the character of a teacher of youth, a prophet, or priest, than a king like Solomon.
We know for a certainty that he did not write xxv.xxix.; but, three centuries after him, many proverbs might easily be taken for Solomon's which did not really belong to him.
It may at least be doubted that the first collection was made by Solomon ; and there is nothing to prove it.
29, xxv. 6, 7, xxviii. 15, 16. See Bertholdt, p. 2180, 2186. [It is probable, from the well-known passage, 1 Kings v. 12, that Solomon wrote proverbs; succeeding ages very naturally ascribed to him most of the proverbs which came into general circulation. In the same manner, the Greeks ascribed many of their gnomic sentences to Pythagoras, as the Arabians referred theirs to Locman, Abu-Obeid Mophaddel, and Meidani, and as the northern nations referred their wise sayings to Odin, or as the Oriental fables are ascribed to Pilpay. Part of these sayings may, doubtless, belong to Solomon; yet it is not possible for the critic to lay his finger on any one with the absolute certainty that it is his. Negative criticism is here more safe than positive affirmation, for many passages bear internal marks which show conclusively they could not have proceeded from him.]
a Bertholdt, p. 2176. Chap. v. 10, vi. 26–31, seem to have proceeded from a private man.
6 [Jahn (p. 731) has a different hypothesis. He thinks, since Solomon uttered 3000 proverbs, and this book has been commonly ascribed to him, that we have no adequate reason for denying that he was the author. He supposes that the chancellor (7731977) wrote in the annals all the remarkable sayings of the king, with the occasion which gave birth to them, and at Solomon's command collected them into a book, to which the king himself wrote the introduction. (1.-ix.) Various readers made extracts from this book, to suit their own taste; the whole was copied more rarely. Thus it happened that much, especially from the end of the book, was lost. Afterwards attempts were made to restore it, and the later additions were made. This explains the reiteration of some proverbs.]
Ewald (p. 30) thinks there is a Salomonic book of proverbs at the basis, which was much abridged, in the two first centuries after its publication, (?) transformed, and gradually enlarged with new additions. In i.-v. he thinks the greater part is old and Salomonic; but additions have been made in the
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