The Great Literary Works of Solomon
Mary A. Wilson
BIB 113 – Old Testament History
Grand Canyon University
Dr. Calvin Habig, Instructor
August 16, 2009
The Great Literary Works of Solomon
The purpose of the Book of Psalms is to provide the expression of praise, worship and confession to God. The purpose of the Book of Proverbs is to teach people how to attain wisdom, discipline, and a prudent life, and how to do what is right, just, and fair. In short, to apply divine wisdom to daily life and to provide moral instruction. In the following paragraphs, we will compare the two Books. (Life Application Study Bible, New International Version, Tyndale)
In the book, An Historical Survey of the Old Testament by Eugene H. Merrill, it states that the psalms constitute the hymn book of Israel. Many psalms were sung and recited on festal occasions and probably even in homes and at work. Approximately half of the 150 were written by David, who it is evident, had great artistic abilities (1Chron. 13:8); a few were by Solomon, whose reputation also is well established in these pursuits (1 Kings 4:29-34); by Asaph, one of David’s court poets; and by the sons of Korah, another group of professional writers; and one was even written by Moses (Ps. 90). Some are of anonymous authorship and were written over many years. A majority of the psalms come from the unied monarchy period (tenth century), and only a few from much later. Some were composed shortly before the time of Christ.
The Book of Proverbs claims to have been written largely by Solomon, and there is no convincing reason to argue otherwise. The biblical account maintains that he was highly gifted in wisdom and literary talent (1 Kings 4:32) and wrote hundreds of proverbs and songs that have never been recovered. The main purpose of the book is to disclose human wisdom or observation in the light of that from God. It discusses the whole range of seemingly earthly approach, there is clearly a recognition of divine revelation in the guidance of mankind’s affairs (An Historical Survey of the Old Testament, Proverbs 3:21- 26). Solomon and the other wisdom writers did not merely express their own opinions here but regarded God as the fountainhead of all wisdom and, indeed, considered Wisdom (hokma) in almost a personified sense, perhaps as a manifestation of the Spirit of God. Wisdom to them was not, in a Gnostic sense, the means of salvation per se, but the gift of God available to all men whereby they might know him and their world as well.
In addition to the portions written by Solomon (1:12-22:16), there are also the “words of the wise” (22:17-24:34), perhaps by an unknown author; proverbs of Solomon copied out by Hezekiah’s scribes and included in the final edition (25-29); the “words of Agur” *30), an unknown figure; the “words of Lemuel” (31:1-9), also otherwise unknown; and an anonymous acrostic poem written in honor of the virtuous woman (31:10-31). All verses above are from the Life Application Study Bible, second edition by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. and Zondervan.
In Psalms 1-41, the psalm writers praise God for his justice, express confidence in God’s compassion, recount the depravity of humanity, plead for vindication, ask God to deliver them from their enemies, speak of the blessedness of the forgiven sinner, and portray God as a shepherd. We should worship God with the same sense of adoration found in these psalms. Psalms and Proverbs give God’s point of view on our choices, our circumstances and the values to pass on to our children. They speak to every heart’s deepest need. (Psalms and Proverbs, Journals of Wisdom, www.neighborhoodbiblestudy.org)
David and the other writers honestly poured out their true feelings, reflecting a dynamic, powerful, and life-changing friendship with God. The psalmists confess their sins, express their doubts and fears, ask God for help in times of trouble, and praise...
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