Introduction

\\INTRODUCTION TO PROVERBS\\

This book is called, in some printed Hebrew copies, "Sepher Mishle",
the Book of Proverbs; the title of it in the Vulgate Latin version is,

``the Book of Proverbs, which the Hebrews call "Misle":''

in the Septuagint version it has the name of the writer, the Proverbs
of Solomon; and so in the Syriac version, with the addition of his
titles,

``the son of David, king of Israel.''

This and Ecclesiastes are both of them by the Jews {a} called Books of
Wisdom: and it is common with the ancient Christian writers {b} to call
the book of Proverbs by the names of "Wisdom" and "Panaretos"; names
they give also to the apocryphal books of Ecclesiasticus and the Wisdom
of Solomon; and therefore this is to be carefully distinguished from
them. The author of this book was King Solomon, as the "first" verse,
which contains the inscription of it, shows; for he was not a collector
of these proverbs, as Grotius is of opinion, but the author of them, at
least of the far greater part; and not only the author, but the writer
of them: the Jews {c} say that Hezekiah and this men wrote them; it is
true indeed the men of Hezekiah copied some, \\#Pr 25:1\\; but even those
were written by Solomon. R. Gedaliah {d} would have it that Isaiah the
prophet wrote this book; but without any foundation. At what time it
was written is not certain; the Jewish writers generally say {e} it was
written by Solomon, as were the books of Ecclesiastes and the Song of
Songs, in his old age, when near the time of his death; though some
think it was written before his fall: and it may be it was not written
all at once, but at certain times, when these proverbs occurred unto
him and were spoken by him, and as occasion served: however, it is not
to he doubted but that they were written under the inspiration of God.
The Jews once thought to have made this book of Proverbs an apocryphal
one, because of some seeming contradictions in it; but finding that
these were capable of a reconciliation, changed their minds, as became
them {f}. Among Christians, Theodore of Mopsuest, in the sixth century,
denied the divine authority of this book, and attributed it merely to
human wisdom; which opinion of his was condemned in the second council
at Constantinople: and in later times it has been treated with contempt
by the Socinians, and particularly by Father Simon and Le Clerc; but
the authority of it is confirmed by the writers of the New Testament,
who have cited passages out of it; see \\#Ro 12:20 Heb 12:5,6 2Pe 2:22\\
from \\#Pr 25:21,22 3:11,12 26:11\\. The book consists of "five" parts;
"first", a preface or introduction, which takes up the first "nine"
chapters; the "second", the proverbs of Solomon, put together by
himself, beginning at the tenth chapter to the twenty-fifth; the
"third", the proverbs of Solomon, copied by the men of Hezekiah,
beginning at the twenty-fifth chapter to the thirtieth; the "fourth",
the words of Agur, the thirtieth chapter, the "fifth", the instruction
of Solomon's mother, Bathsheba, the thirty-first chapter.

{a} Gloss. in T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 14. 2.
{b} Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 4. c. 22. 26.
{c} T. Bab. Ibid. fol. 15. 1.
{d} Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 55. 1.
{e} Seder Olam Rabba, c. 15. p. 41.
{f} T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 30. 2.

\\INTRODUCTION TO PROVERBS 1\\

After the inscription, which gives the title of the book, and describes
the author by his name, descent, and dignity, \\#Pr 1:1\\, follows the
scope and design of it, which is to teach men wisdom and knowledge;
even such as are simple and foolish, and particularly young men; nay,
hereby wise men may grow wiser, and attain to an higher degree of
learning, \\#Pr 1:2-6\\; and the "first" doctrine taught in it is the fear
of the Lord, or devotion to God; which is the beginning of knowledge,
though despised by fools, \\#Pr 1:7\\. The next is obedience to parents;
whose instructions, attended to, are more ornamental than chains of
gold, \\#Pr 1:8,9\\. And then follows a dissuasive from bad company; in
which the arguments made use of by wicked men to draw in others with
them, and the danger of compliance, are most strongly and beautifully
represented, \\#Pr 1:10-19\\. When Wisdom, who is the instructor and
teacher throughout the whole, is introduced as calling upon the simple
and the scorners to leave their sins and turn to her, with a promise of
the Spirit to them, \\#Pr 1:20-23\\; but they slighting and rejecting her
call, are threatened with just and irrevocable rum and destruction,
\\#Pr 1:24-32\\. And the chapter is closed with a promise of safety and
rest to those that hearken to her, \\#Pr 1:33\\.