《Everett’s Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures – Proverbs (Vol. 1)》(Gary H. Everett) Commentator
Gary Everett received his Master of Divinity (1992) and Doctor of Ministry (2015) degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He served as pastor for five years and taught in Bible college for ten years.
Since 1997, Gary has worked as the station manager of Lighthouse Television, located in Kampala, Uganda, an affiliate of Trinity Broadcasting Network. The station is owned by Calvary Cathedral International in Fort Worth, Texas, and the chairman of the board and president of Lighthouse Television is Dr. Robert B. Nichols.
Gary served seven years as the director of the Joyce Meyer Ministries outreach in Uganda. He now serves as the international director Andrew Wommack Ministries Uganda.
Study Notes is also available along with his sermons and teachings on his website www.geverett.org.
Gary was married to Menchu in 1996. They have four children, three of whom were born and raised in Uganda.
Introduction STUDY NOTES ON THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
Using a Theme-based Approach
to Identify Literary Structures
By Gary H. Everett
THE BOOK OF PROVERBS
All Scripture quotations in English are taken from the King James Version unless otherwise noted. Some words have been emphasized by the author of this commentary using bold or italics.
All Old Testament Scripture quotations in the Hebrew text are taken from Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: With Westminster Hebrew Morphology, electronic ed, Stuttgart; Glenside PA: German Bible Society, Westminster Seminary, 1996, c 1925, morphology c 1991, in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004.
All New Testament Scripture quotations in the Greek text are taken from Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (with Morphology), eds.Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger, M. Robinson, and Allen Wikgren, Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft (United Bible Societies), c 1966, 1993, 2006, in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004.
All Hebrew and Greek text for word studies are taken from James Strong in The New Strong"s Dictionary of Hebrew and Greek Words, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, c 1996, 1997, in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004.
The Crucifixion image on the book cover was created by the author's daughter Victoria Everett in 2012.
Foundational Theme - How to Serve the Lord with All Our Heart
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart,
and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
Structural Theme - We are Predestined to Reflect the Image of Christ
as We Walk in the Wisdom of God (Mind)
To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;
Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets:
Imperative Theme - The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge:
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom;
and to depart from evil is understanding.
By mercy and truth iniquity is purged:
and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.
INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF PROVERBS
Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures supports the view of the verbal, plenary inspiration of the biblical text of the Holy Scriptures, meaning that every word originally written down by the authors in the sixty-six books of the Holy Canon were God-breathed when recorded by men, and that the Scriptures are therefore inerrant and infallible. Any view less than this contradicts the testimony of the Holy Scriptures themselves. For this reason, the Holy Scriptures contain both divine attributes and human attributes. While textual criticism engages with the variant readings of the biblical text, acknowledging its human attributes, faith in His Word acknowledges its divine attributes. These views demand the adherence of mankind to the supreme authority of the Holy Scriptures above all else. The Holy Scriptures can only be properly interpreted by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, an aspect of biblical scholarship that is denied by liberal views, causing much misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the Holy Scriptures.
The Message of the Book of Proverbs - The Lord once spoke to me and said that faith in Him brings the blessings of God, but it takes wisdom to manage those blessings. This means that it does us no good to receive good things from God if we are not mature enough to manage those blessings; and when we lack the wisdom to manage those blessings, we will soon lose them. The book of Proverbs is a book that gives us daily wisdom to live by, so that our lives will be pleasing to God and become a blessing to those around us.
As we journey through this life, we will have times of ecstasy when we are caught up in worship and we will have times of trials when we cry out to God for deliverance. The Psalm of David show us how to worship the Lord during such times. However, most of our days are given to simple routines and decisions that determine our future well-being. We must then look to the book of Proverbs for a pattern of how to worship the Lord during such uneventful day-to-day lifestyles.
The Proverbs of Solomon are like golden nuggets for our daily lives. How often we have read these chapters looking for insights to improve our social behavior. We have read a proverb or two a day, even a chapter per day, in an effort to become better Christians. We have chuckled at times when we read about the fool, recalling the time we saw this person at work or in town, or we groan inside when we remember how we behaved in such an undignified manner. We have prayed for God's grace to mold us and shape us like the wise man in the book of Proverb, but how many of us have really dug into this three thousand-year-old treasure chest and examined these treasures piece by piece; perhaps because it would take a lot of time and much discipline?
Let us take some time to examine this book and allow it to change our lives forever. First, we will put on an academic hat and lay a framework for wisdom literature. We will look at the theme and structure of this great book. Once we find our bearings within its pages, we will be ready to put on our spiritual hat and dig into these proverbs. As we examine them piece by piece, we will begin to see how divinely God has orchestrated these sayings, as well as divinely ordering our live, which we now see as a journey upon which we have embarked in order to find a place of peace and rest in the Lord. So come, let us go on a journey called "The Path of Wisdom"!
Introductory Material- The introduction to the book of Proverbs will deal with its historical setting, literary style, and theological framework. 1] These three aspects of introductory material will serve as an important foundation for understanding God's message to us today from this divinely inspired book of the Holy Scriptures.
1] Someone may associate these three categories with Hermann Gunkel's well-known three-fold approach to form criticism when categorizing the genre found within the book of Psalm: (1) "a common setting in life," (2) "thoughts and mood," (3) "literary forms." In addition, the Word Biblical Commentary uses "Form/Structure/Setting" preceding each commentary section. Although such similarities were not intentional, but rather coincidental, the author was aware of them and found encouragement from them when assigning the three-fold scheme of historical setting, literary style, and theological framework to his introductory material. See Hermann Gunkel, The Psalm: A Form-Critical Introduction, trans. Thomas M. Horner, in Biblical Series, vol 19, ed. John Reumann (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Fortress Press, 1967), 10; see also Word Biblical Commentary, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard, and Glenn W. Barker(Dallas, Texas: Word Incorporated, 1989-2007).
"We dare not divorce our study from understanding the historical setting of every passage of Scripture
if we are going to come to grips with the truth and message of the Bible."
(J. Hampton Keathley) 2]
2] J. Hampton Keathley, III, "Introduction and Historical Setting for Elijah," (Bible.org) [on-line]; accessed 23May 2012; available from http://bible.org/seriespage/introduction-and-historical-setting-elijah; Internet.
Each book of the Holy Scriptures is cloaked within a unique historical setting. An examination of this setting is useful in the interpretation of the book because it provides the context of the passage of Scripture under examination. The section on the historical setting of the book of Proverbs will provide a discussion on its title, historical background, authorship, date and place of writing, recipients, and occasion. This discussion supports the Jewish tradition that Solomon was the primary author of the book of Proverbs , writing during his reign as king over Israel.
I. The Title
The superscription for the book of Proverbs is found in its opening verse. In fact, all three of Solomon's works have opening verses as titles with his name included in it.
Ecclesiastes 1:1, "The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem."
Song of Solomon 1:1, "The Song of Solomon , which is Solomon"s."
Numerous other Old Testament books have similar superscriptions. These titles were either placed there by the author himself or edited later by someone like Samuel the prophet, or Hezekiah the king, or Ezra the scribe, when these books were compiled and organized into the Old Testament Scriptures. Note how most of these books begin with the phrases "the word of," "the burden of," or "the vision of."
Deuteronomy 1:1, "These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel on this side Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain over against the Red sea, between Paran, and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Dizahab."
Nehemiah 1:1, "The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah."
Isaiah 1:1, "The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah."
Jeremiah 1:1, "The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin:"
Hosea 1:1, "The word of the LORD that came unto Hosea , the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel."
Joel 1:1, "The word of the LORD that came to Joel the son of Pethuel."
Amos 1:1, "The words of Amos, who was among the herdmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake."
Obadiah 1:1, "The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning Edom; We have heard a rumour from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle."
Micah 1:1, "The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem."
Nahum 1:1, "The burden of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite."
Habakkuk 1:1, "The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see."
Zephaniah 1:1, "The word of the LORD which came unto Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hizkiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah."
Malachi 1:1, "The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi."
Some of the writers of the New Testament also followed this Hebrew pattern.
Matthew 1:1, "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham."
Mark 1:1, "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;"
Revelation 1:1, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:"
Throughout the centuries, both Jews and Christians have tended to title these books by shortening its superscription. This has resulted in a number of titles for the book of Proverbs.
A. The Ancient Jewish Title "Millah" -The early church historian Eusebius cites Origen, who tells us that the ancient Jews assigned the name "Me-loth," or "Millah" ( מִלָּה) (H 4405) to the book of Proverbs , which means, "a words, a speech" (Gesenius), "a word, a discourse, a topic" (Strong). 3] This word is not found in the opening verse of the book and only occurs once within its Hebrew text ( Proverbs 23:9). KD says the use of this ancient Jewish title is confirmed by the fact that both the Hebrew Talmud and the Midrash also use the word "Millah," or "Me-loth," as their title for the book of Proverbs. 4] Thus, the Jews would have read the opening verse of Proverbs as "the words of Song of Solomon ," just the way many of the other Old Testament books listed above are opened.
3] Eusebius writes, "…the Proverbs of Song of Solomon , Me-loth; Ecclesiastes , Koelth; the Song of Songs (not, as some suppose, Songs of Songs), Sir Hassirim…" Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 6251-2, trans. Arthur C. McGiffert under the title The Church History of Eusebius, in A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, A New Series, vol 1, eds. Henry Wace and Philip Schaff (Oxford: Parker and Company, c 1890, 1905), 272-3.
4] C. F. Keil, and F. Delitzsch, Proverbs , in Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database (Seattle, WA: Hendrickson Publishers Inc, 1996), in P.C. Study Bible, v 31 [CD-ROM] (Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc, 1993-2000), "Introduction."
B. The Hebrew Title "Mashal" - The first word that occurs in the Hebrew text of the book of Proverbs is "mashal" ( מָשָׁל) (H 4912), meaning, "similitude, parable" (Gesenius), "byword, like, parable, proverb" (Strong). This Hebrew word is derived from the word root ( מָשַׁל) (H 4910), which means, "to make like, to rule" (Gesenius). The Masoretic title is ( שלמה משלי) "Proverbs of Song of Solomon ," and it can be abbreviated to ( משל). 5] Thus, the title ( משלי) can be found in the standard work Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. 6]
5] Crawford H. Toy, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Proverbs, in The International Critical Commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, eds. Charles A. Briggs, Samuel R. Driver, and Alfred Plummer (New York: Charles Scriber's Sons, 1899), v.
6] Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, eds. A. Alt, O. Eifelt, P. Kahle, and R. Kittle (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelstiftung, c 1967-77).
C. The Modern English Title "Proverbs" -Today's English bibles use the title " Proverbs ," which is derived from two Latin words, " Proverbs ," meaning "instead of," and "verba," meaning "words"; thus, it means that a proverb is a short statement given in the place of a lengthy statement. The English title "Proverbs" finds it origin in the Greek title " παροιμίαι" found in the LXX, which means, "a parable, proverb" (Strong). Philo (20 B.C - A.D 50) also called the book by its Greek name παροιμίαι. 7] This Greek title παροιμίαι was known by Melito, bishop of Sardis (d. c 190). 8] The Latin Vulgate (A.D 400) uses the title "Liber Proverbiorum, quem Hebræi Misle appellant," translated as "the Book of Proverbs , which the Hebrews call Misle." 9] Today's English bibles follow the Vulgate by using the title "Proverbs."
7] Henry B. Swete, An Introduction to Old Testament in Greek (Cambridge: University Press, 1902), 215; Herbert E. Ryle, Philo and Holy Scripture (London: Macmillan and Company, 1895), xxviii.
8] Eusebius writes, "‘I learned accurately the books of the Old Testament, and send them to thee as written below. Their names are as follows: Of Moses, five books: Genesis ,, Exodus ,, Numbers ,, Leviticus , Deuteronomy; Jesus Nave, Judges , Ruth; of Kings, four books; of Chronicles, two; the Psalm of David; the Proverbs of Song of Solomon , Wisdom also, Ecclesiastes ,, Song of Solomon , Job; of Prophets, Isaiah , Jeremiah; of the twelve prophets, one book; Daniel ,, Ezekiel , Esdras. From which also I have made the extracts, dividing them into six books.' Such are the words of Melito." Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 42614trans. Arthur C. McGiffert under the title The Church History of Eusebius, in A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, A New Series, vol 1, eds. Henry Wace and Philip Schaff, (Oxford: Parker and Company, c 1890, 1905), 206.
9] Biblia Sacra Juxta Vulgatae, edition ocata, ed. Aoisius Claudius Fillion (Paris: Librairie Letouzey et Ane, 1887), 661; see W. J. Deane, S. T. Taylor-Taswell, Walter F. Adeney, T. Whitelaw, R. A. Redford, and B. C. Caffin, Proverbs ,, Ecclesiastes ,, Song of Solomon , in The Pulpit Commentary, vol 9, ed. H. D. M. Spence and Joseph Exell (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co, 1950), in Ages Digital Library, v 10 [CD-ROM] (Rio, WI: Ages Software, Inc, 2001), "Introduction to Proverbs."
D. Other Titles: The Book of Wisdom - The early Church fathers called the book of Proverbs by a variety of titles that included the word "wisdom" (σοφία). Clement of Rome (c 96) calls the book "All-Virtuous Wisdom" when he quotes from Proverbs 1:23-31 in his first epistle to the Corinthians. 10] Justin Martyr (100-165 A.D.) calls it "The Book of Wisdom." 11] Eusebius (260-340 A.D) confirms this title by saying that the early church called the book of Proverbs by the titles "the Book of Proverbs" and "All-virtuous Wisdom." 12] Eusebius quotes Melito of Sardis (d. c 190) , who mentions both titles: "the Proverbs of Solomon" and "Wisdom" (σοφία). 13] We see additional titles used during this period. The Constitutions of the Apostles called it the "Book of Wisdom." 14] Dionysius of Alexandria (d. c. A.D 264) called it "The Wise Book" 15] and Gregory Nazianzen (A.D 329 to 389) called it "Instructive Wisdom." 16] Otto Zöckler believes that this title was used in Old Testament times since it occurs in the Talmud and by some of the earliest Church fathers. 17] However, the early Church writers often used the title "the Book of Wisdom" to refer to the books of the Old Testament apocryphal literature, such as Ben-Sira (Ecclesiasticus) and Wisdom of Solomon. 18]
10] Clement writes, "For it is better for you that ye should occupy a humble but honourable place in the flock of Christ, than that, being highly exalted, ye should be cast out from the hope of His people. For thus speaketh all-virtuous Wisdom: ‘Behold, I will bring forth to you the words of My Spirit, and I will teach you My speech...' (First Epistle to the Corinthians )
11] Justin Martyr writes, "And it is written in the book of Wisdom: ‘If I should tell you daily events, I would be mindful to enumerate them from the beginning. The Lord created me the beginning of His ways for His works. From everlasting He established me in the beginning, before He formed the earth, and before He made the depths, and before the springs of waters came forth, before the mountains were settled; He begets me before all the hills." (Dialogue of Justin 129)
12] Eusebius writes, "And not only Hebrews , but also Irenaeus and the whole company of the ancients, called the Proverbs of Solomon All-virtuous Wisdom." (Ecclesiastical History 4228)
13] See Ecclesiastical History 426.
14] The Constitutions of the Apostles reads, "For, says Hebrews , ‘Woe to him by whom My name is blasphemed among the Gentiles;' and lest, if thy husband be a Christian, he be forced, from his knowledge of the Scriptures, to say that which is written in the book of Wisdom: ‘It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.'" (Constitutions of the Holy Apostles 110), and again, "For let us learn what the sacred word says in the book of Wisdom: "My Song of Solomon , keep my words, and hide my commandments with thee. Say unto Wisdom of Solomon , Thou art my sister; and make understanding familiar with thee: that she may keep thee from the strange and wicked woman, in case such a one accost thee with sweet words…" (Constitutions of the Holy Apostles 17)
15] Dionysius of Alexandria, Catena in Jobum Cap 28. See Dionysius of Alexandria, Exercpta Quaedan ex Niceta Catena Patrum in Jobum, in Reliquiae Sacrae, vol 4, ed. Martinus Josephus Routh (Oxonius: 1846), 439-447; Moses Stuart, Critical History and Defence of the Old Testament Canon, ed. Peter Lorimer(London: William Tegg and Co, 1849), 226.
16] Gregory Nazianzen writes, "The divine Song of Solomon , in his instructive Wisdom of Solomon , I mean his Proverbs , praises the woman who looks to her household and loves her husband." (Oration VIII:Funeral Oration on His Sister Gorgonia 9).
17] Otto Zckler cites Tosephoth toBaba Bathra f 14b. See Otto Zckler, The Proverbs of Song of Solomon , ed. and trans. Charles A. Aiken, in Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, ed. Philip Schaff(New York: Scribner, Armstrong and Co, 1875), 23.
18] Crawford H. Toy, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Proverbs (New York: Charles Scriber's Sons, 1899), v. For example, Methodius writes, "And in the Book of Wisdom of Solomon , a book full of all virtue, the Holy Spirit, now openly drawing His hearers to continence and chastity, sings on this wise, "Better it is to have no children, and to have virtue, for the memorial thereof is immortal; because it is known with God and with men. When it is present men take example at it; and when it is gone they desire it: it weareth a crown and triumpheth for ever, having gotten the victory, striving for undefiled rewards." (The Banquet of Ten Virgins:Discourse I.—Marcella 3) (see Wisdom of Solomon 41-2), and Methodius writes, "And those artificers who, to the destruction of men, make images in human form, not perceiving and knowing their own Maker, are blamed by the Word, which says, in the Book of Wisdom of Solomon , a book full of all virtue,14 "his heart is ashes, his hope is more vile than earth, and his life of less value than clay; forasmuch as he knew not his Maker, and Him that inspired into him an active soul, and breathed in a living spirit;" (The Banquet of Ten Virgins: Discourse II.—Theophila.7) (see Wisdom of Solomon 1510-11) See Methodius, Fathers of the Third Century, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol 6, eds. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe (Buffalo, New York: The Christian Literature Company, 1886), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004.
II. Historical Background
In the historical background, we will look at (A) the widespread use of wisdom literature in the ancient world, and (B) wisdom literature as a form of divine guidance for the Jews under the Old Covenant.