Poetic and Wisdom Literature
Dr. W. Noble King
All Rights Reserved
These notes were taken
by students and reviewed by a former colleague.
1. Attendance - graded
2. Collateral Reading 900 pp. -150 pp. for theme
3. Set Triadic exams
4. Term theme of at least 3000 words on an approved subject
in thesis form and typed (leaves 750 pp. outside reading)
5. A few special short reports
King James and American
Revised and English Revised Versions
Read King James through
once (Job to Song of Solomon) 1 page credit per chapter.
Alexander, Joseph A. The Psalms. 2 vols. New York: Baker
and Scribner, 1850.
-----. The Psalms, Translated and Explained. 3 vols.
New York: Scribner, 1869.
Angus, and Green. The Bible Handbook Encyclopedia.
Aycock, Jarette E. The Nightingale of the Psalms. Louisville:
The Herald Press, 1921
Briggs, Charles A. The Book of Psalms. 2 vols. The International
New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1906.
Davidson, W. T. The Praises of Israel. London: Charles H. Kelley,
Delitzsch, F. S. Biblical Commentary on the Psalms. 2nd. ed.
3 vols. Edinburg: T. & T.
------. Biblical Commentary on the Proverbs of Solomon. 2 vols.
Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,
Dummelow, John R. A Commentary on the Holy Bible. New York:
The Macmillan Co.,
Gaddis, Tilden H. The Shepherd Psalm. Berne, Ind.: Berne Witness
Jowett, John H. Springs in the Desert: Studies in the Psalms.
Grand Rapids: Baker Book
Halley, H. H. Pocket Bible Handbook. 15th ed., 1941.
Huffman, Jasper. A. Job: A World Example. Rev. ed. Salem,
Kirkpatrick, A. F. The Book of Psalms. Cambridge Bible Commentary.
Cambridge University Press, 1902.
Leslie, Elmer. A. Poetry and Wisdom. New York & Nashville:
------. The Psalms. New York and Nashville: Abingdom-Cokesbury
Meyer, F. B. F. B. Meyer on the Psalms: Bible Readings. Grand
Publishing House, 1950.
------. The Shepherd Psalm. Philadelphia: H. Altemus, 1890.
Morgan, G. Campbell. Living Messages of the Books of the Bible.
New York: Fleming H.
Murphy, James G. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book
Andover: Warren F. Draper, 1875.
Patrick, Miller. Four Centuries of Scottish Psalmody. London:
Oxford University Press,
Peake's Commentary on the Bible. London: Routledge, 1890.
Perowne, T. T. The Book of Psalms. 1899.
------. Proverbs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1899.
Sampley, Arthur M. A Syllabus for the Old Testament Study.
Sell, Henry. T. Bible Study by Periods. Nashville: National
Baptist Publishing Board, 1899.
------. Supplemental Bible Studies. Rev. ed. Chicago:
Spurgeon, Charles A. The Treasury of David. 7 vols. London:
Marshall Brothers, 1885.
BOOK OF JOB
I. The book of Job is one of the grandest books of Holy Writ.
Victor Hugo declared it perhaps the greatest masterpiece of the Human mind
(Dummelow). Luther said that the diction of the book "is magnificent
and sublime as no other book of the Bible." (Schaff-Herzog). Others
tie it in as a thing of beauty with The Song of Songs (Solomon).
Considered the greatest masterpiece of literature ever written by
man. (Canticles is another name for Song).
II. It is a precious monument of patriarchal theology drawn from
the revelation of nature (no quotes from written word). No
written revelation was made. It refers to the pyramids (according
to P.C. p. 15) ch. 3:14. Some say it refers to the flood of
Noah 22:16. Some say it refers to the destruction of the cities of
the Plain 18:15. No event in Israel's history is referred to.
No reference to Abraham, not even the Exodus. (Sapiential Literature
is Wisdom Literature).
III. Job lived 140 years after his prosperity and health returned.
Job was classed as an old man even before his trial. Almost everything
he had had was doubled upon its return. If his age was 70 when the
calamity came then he would have been 210 at death. He was probably older
than 70 when the calamity struck. Terah, Abraham's father, died at
205 (Gen. 11:32). Abraham died at 175 (Gen. 25:7-8). Isaac
died at 180 (Gen. 35:28). Ishmael died at 137 (Gen 25:17).
Jacob died at 147 (Gen. 47:9-28). Joseph died at 110 (Gen.
50:76). Moses died at 120 (Deut. 34:7). These were regarded
as venerable old men. This would place Job during or before Terah's
time. Job would then have been an old, old man while Abraham
was a young man.
IV. The word "Jehovah" appears but once in the discourse of Job.
It was in existence but not popular. It appears in the prose introduction
but not in the discourse. Shaddai or Eloah appears about 30 times.
Thus Job lived in the Shaddai period. God was known to Abraham, Isaac,
and Jacob as El Shaddai and not as Jehovah. The word was known to
them but not popular (Gen. 17:1; Ex. 6:2-3). Jehovah appears in the
author's prose introduction and conclusion thus Job appears to have lived
in the Shaddai period before the burning bush. (El Shaddai emphasizes
the Power of God. Jehovah emphasizes the Person of God.) Technically,
is correct that the word "Jehovah" appears but once in the discourse, but
only if the Job-God discussion of chapters 38-40 are not considered part
of the discourse. Lord, hw"hy, occurs 32 times in 23 verses, of which
18 times in 12 verses are in the first two chapters, of which 3 times are
from Job's mouth (1:21); 8 times in 5 verses in the concluding chapter
(42); 5 times in the Job-God discussion of 38-40; which leaves 1 time (12:9)
in the other discourses.
V. Job lived during the time that the father (hibal), or head
of the tribal clan, officiated as priest. This started with Noah
and stopped with Moses. Job sacrificed for his sons continually.
Thus in sacrifices he is between Noah and Mt. Sinai.
VI Job appeared to have lived when divine knowledge was gleaned
from the revelation of nature and oral descent from generation to generation.
Nowhere does the book of Job say "It is written." He does however
refer to the sayings of the ancients, Job 8:8; 21:29; 15:18; 5:1.
Job probably lived considerably before Moses. It is not likely that
the book was written during Job's lifetime. This conclusion is drawn
1. Nature, theology, and tradition.
2. He lived well over 200 years.
3. He lived in the Shaddai period.
4.. He lived in the patriarchal period.
During the Patriarchal period
we find those strong characters like Job, Melchizedek, Balaam [sic - he
didn't appear til the time of Moses], Abraham, who brought the message
of God to the people, scattered around in the pagan world. Abraham
was one such who was selected by God for a special task beyond the others.
Job was selected to work out a theological or moral problem.
VII . The land of Uz appears to have been a general name for the
great Syro-Arabian desert. It is described as lying east of Palestine
and north of Edom. It corresponds generally with the Arabian desert
in classical geography, at least as much of it as lies north of 30°
1. All the people and all the kings of the Land of Uz are among
those who were to drink of the wine of the cup of God's wrath. (It did
not seem so wicked in Job's day -- Jer. 25:20).
2. The land of Uz was adjacent to the Edomites, who at one
time appeared to have control of it. (After Job) Lam. 4:21.
3. Eliphaz the Temanite came from Teman , a city or district
of Idumea. It was thus not remote from the area Esau inherited.
4. We have such expressions as "The Land of Shem," "The Land
of Ham," "The land of Uz." The descendants of these men probably
settled there. Uz, or Huz, was the name of the Son of Aram, who was
the son of Shem, Gen. 10:23. The first born of Nahor, Abraham's brother,
was also called Uz, Gen. 22:21. Uz was also the name of the grandson
of Seir the Horite (perhaps this is Esau), Gen. 36:28. Thus there
are three families with Uz as their name. In any case the chances
are that Job was a descendant of Shem, as that whole area was settled by
VIII . Opinion is divided
as to when the book was composed and by whom. The possible authors
1. Moses - during the time he was herding sheep, for he was
over this area before the burning bush incident.
2. Solomon - sometime during his literary career. He
had to realize how these could write without reference to other writings.
5. Baruch - wrote for Jeremiah.
6. By Job himself, after his trials were all over.
It was known by Ezekiel 600 B.C., Ezek. 14:14. It was translated
into Greek at about 270 B.C. and was included in the Sacred Scriptures.
James refers to Job, citing his patience (James 5:11).. There is
no question as to its canonical authenticity. The human authorship is undoubtedly
uncertain, but the divine authorship is certain. Thus the human author
of the world's greatest poem is unknown. (The book emphasized holding on
to an experience when you are sure you have one no matter what the trials
IX. The purpose of the work.
1. Is there such a thing as disinterested Godliness (not just
being good for what one can get from it) among men in this world?
In other words, can one be holy? Satan said, "No, there is no such
thing as disinterested Godliness." God said "Yes." God permits Satan
to test Job to see, though this was not for God's nor Job's benefit but
2. Upon what grounds are prosperity and adversity, happiness
and unhappiness distributed to men in this life? The friends proceeded
on the assumption that this affliction came as a result of sin. Job
said he knew this was not so because it was happening to him.
3 What is the future destiny? Is death the end of all?
What is Sheol? What of those in Sheol? What is their state?
It just means beyond - neither heaven nor hell but either. It is somewhat
discussed in 10:21-22; 18:18. It must ever be remembered that "life
and immortality" were brought to light by Jesus Christ. Jesus acted
them out and Paul wrote them up. Now there is nothing uncertain about
the two and what lies beyond. "Thus Satan insinuates that the piety
of Job is a selfish piety - his challenge strikes at the nature of God
himself. God accepts the challenge. This is the key to the
(hidden mystery), though Job knew nothing of this" (Butler).
4. Can Man be just before God? They said no. As
God alone is perfect and man at best is vile. Job said yes, in the
ethical or moral sense with regard to the heart intention, but not as God
is perfect. It was a battle of heart-perfection on one side and the
impossibility on the other. Between God and Satan it is a battle
on disinterested holiness. Job held that he was morally perfect but
not as God is perfect. Job used sin in two senses:
1. In that he was free from it in heart
2. That he was not free from faults, mistakes, shortcomings.
In this sense he was vile;
in any other sense he was upright. His friends declared that no man
could be perfect even in the sense that Job claimed. Only God was
. 5. Another question that is discussed at considerable length is
to what extent can man know God? He does know him to a considerable
extent, but not at all perfectly.
The first question is the all important one. The others are only
secondary with regard to it. "Is there such a thing as being Godly
just because of what God is (disinterested Godliness)?" Does a man
have to be said to be good. God said no. The Devil said yes.
There is the battle for one benefit. (John 11:41-42; 12:29-30).
Every time that Jesus took an inferior position to God it was for our sakes.
The question is going to be settled with Job as a test case. (Abraham offered
Isaac after about 75 years of growth in grace.)
X. The divisions of the Book -
1. The Introductory or Historical section. This consists of the first
two chapters. This is written in prose supplied by the author.
2. The discourses proper are from Job 3:3 to 42:6. They ares almost
completely poetic, with the exception of the introductory sentences
at the beginning of the speeches. Those sentences are in prose.
The poetry is Hebraic and in parallelism (that is a slightly varied form
of the same thought by use of a different word or phrase or arrangement).
The earliest biblical example of this is in Gen. 4:23. The poetry
of Job's is also strophic. It is written in strophes or stanzas (P.A.C.
3. The conclusion of the book consists of an address by the author, in
which he declares that God justified Job and reproved his three friends.
Job came through unscathed. 42:7-17. This last section is also
XI. The number of speeches and speakers are:
1. Job 10 speeches
2. Eliphaz 3 speeches
3. Bildad 3 speeches
4. Zophar 2 speeches
5. God made one long divisional speech or two speeches
6. Elihu made one long divisional speech or 4 speeches.
In all, 24 speeches were
Introductory or historical Section Chap 1:1-2:13
I The inspired
penman, God, and Satan, all declared that Job was perfect (Job 1:1;
1:8; 2:3). Satan admitted the fact (1:9; 2:4-5). Throughout, Job
held fast his integrity and his moral uprightness (2:3c). Both the author
and God said that Job sinned not (1:22). At the close Job had an unclouded
sky, as he could act as priest and sacrifice for others without first having
to sacrifice for himself.
Job's three friends contended
for no middle ground. Either he was sinful or holy as God was holy.
Job said he was not as holy as God was in every respect. He did sin
in that he was finite and wrong sometimes, as guilty of errors and transgressions
in his youth. But he was now morally upright and perfect in heart.
Job contended for what was even then present-day heart purity.
Watson says that perfection as used in Job and elsewhere under similar
circumstances means the same as the present (p. 28). When Jesus said,
"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect" (Mt.
5:48) He meant the same as we say. The fight for heart holiness is
the same in every as it is today. Watson says, however, that Job
was in pigmalian stature which never lived [?? Text faint]; therefore,
a living person has never had the experience.
Job was perfect, and he was
upright, and he did fear (to love God reverently in awe). Ps. 19:9a;
2:11; Prov. 1:7a; 8:13; 9:10; 14:27; 15:33; Deut. 10:12. Perfection
- Gen. 6:9; 17:1; Deut. 18:13; Ps. 19:7; Matt. 5:48. Upright - Ps. 25:8;
II Job was happily
situated with great wealth. He had seven sons and three daughters,
a family of twelve, all alive and well. He had 7,000 sheep, 3,000
camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 she-asses and a very great household.
He must have had a great herd of common cattle, which, however,
is not mentioned. He was the greatest man of all that country (chief
Job's children were all grown
and seemed to feast around from one house to another of the sons, either
a day a week or on their birth-days or other special days. Job sacrificed
every morning for them. The children would have been present at these
morning sacrifices. At any rate, they were covered by the sacrifices.
Job lived under the Atonement (Gen. 3:15-21) and he had his children live
under the Atonement.
III. Thus, Satan said,
Job was paid for being good and loving God. God said Job loved Him
for God's own sake and that Job would be good whether he had much or nothing.
God was going to prove His contention in Job by bringing loss and destruction
There are two possible views of "Sons of God."
a. Angels, spirits, spiritual intelligence of some kind.
b. Sons or children of God. Luke 3:38 - Gen 4:26; 6:2. After Abraham's
time God's people were called Israelites.
There are two views concerning the place where God and Satan met.
a Heaven or a spiritual sphere.
b. Spiritual sphere at a religious meeting on earth conducted by
the Sons of God (1:6).(The term "the" day may indicate a set day when the
sons of God were to worship).
3 No matter which is meant or where the meeting was held, Satan came from
going to and fro in the world. From the beginning we have an adversary
against us and an advocate for us.
4 God challenged Satan to consider Job, who was perfect, upright, loved
God, and avoided evil. Satan admitted the fact, but declared that Job was
paid to do so. He was given wealth, family, and hedged around so
that no one could touch him. Remove these and he will renounce God
at once. Satan was given license to remove all he possessed but not
to touch Job's person. Satan could do nothing without permission.
All was rapidly removed, oxen, sheep, camels, children. God had given-God
had taken. Blessed be the name of the Lord. (No temptation can come
except when a way of escape is first provided.)
5 God's and Satan's second meeting. Satan admits defeat. But
Job is glad not to have his life touched; touch his body and he will renounce
God. Satan is permitted to touch Job's body but he must spare his
life. Job is brought down to the point of death and hovers between
life and death for some time. Job was apparently smitten with black leprosy
and sat on an ash heap and scrapped himself with potsherds. He could
have been in that condition for two or three years.
a. Intolerable itching (2:8)
b. It disfigured his face so that his own friends did not at first know
c. Tainted his breath until it drove people from his presence (19:17).
d. Sores were on his body from head to foot and broke open and bred worms
e. His body was swollen and emaciated alternately (16:8).
f. The disease caused his bones to burn and his limbs to feel as though
they were in stocks (30:30; 13:17).
In such a state he longed for death to come, but death, the grandchild
of the devil, took the side of the devil.
6 His wife advised him to curse God and die, his three friends came and
took somewhat the same line. They all lined up against Job on the
side of the devil. The three friends were Eliphaz, the Temanite,
Bildad, the Shumanite, and Zophar, the Noamathite. They made an appointment
to meet each other and then came to meet Job. They were later joined
by a fourth, Elihu.
a. When his three friends saw him from a distance they cried aloud, rent
their clothes and tossed dust into the air so it would fall upon their
heads. They sat down and silently watched for seven days and nights.
Job then broke the silence with a sorrowful lament that supplied the occasion
for the controversy that followed.
b. In all this he held to moral uprightness. He didn't associate
with sin. Job's claim of perfection must have been public knowledge
and the friends must have publicly proclaimed against it. Much is
hard to account for if this is not taken for granted. Even his wife
infers this--"dost thou still retain thine integrity?"
c. We must leave Job in his own day and therefore is conservative in his
The Poem Proper
3:1 - 42
Job's lament should probably
be after this division, as it belongs to the poem proper and not to the
cycle of speeches.
First Cycle of Speeches proper.
4:1 - 14:22
1. Eliphaz the Temanite (4:1 - 5:27). He was probably
the oldest and apparently the chief speaker. He sets the pattern
for the others. He is also the most considerate. He pointed
out that Job's punishment must be a result of sin, as God does not punish
the righteous. This is pretty much the contention of all three throughout
the poem. Eliphaz refers to nature to bear out his point (4:7-8).
The innocent never perish and the upright are never cut off. Job
was perishing and was cut off; therefore he was not innocent or upright.
Eliphaz then refers to revelation (4:13-20). He reads absolute perfection
into the statement, then declares that God alone possesses that, and then
proceeds to condemn everyone. The first religious argument in the
written word was over heart holiness. Those who contended for it
were in the minority; those against it in the majority. Eliphaz said
he had seen the wicked take root and grow, but he was soon cut off and
his children with him (Job 5:3-7). The obvious thing was that God
was correcting Job and Job should heed rather than being so stubborn.
His arguments are largely from nature - he does not refer to the ancients
2. Job's reply. Job declares that Eliphaz' remarks are
not appropriate to his case. He renews and justifies his complaints
and bemoans the heaviness of God's hand and wishes that he would die outright
(6:1-13). If he were rash in his remarks his language would be justified
by his miserable condition. Job continues to believe in his perfection
and declares on top of that that he had declared the full message of the
Holy One to the others (6:10). Then Job charged his friends in their
attitude toward him (6:14-15). Job then asked them wherein he had
erred (6:24-25). Job then turned from Eliphaz to God. "If I
have sinned what shall I do unto thee" (7:20-21). Here Job declares
that he has done all he could do and if he had sinned why did not God take
it away? Then he closes by declaring he hadn't sinned.
3. Bildad's reply. Bildad is less courteous and considerate
of Job than Eliphaz was. He commences his speech with a very harsh
reflection on the length of Job's speech (8:1-2). He also is more
narrow of mind and appeals to the ancients rather than nature (8:8-10).
His speech is short and padded with the sage of the ancients. He
drags Job's children in as possible co-evildoers with him (8:4, 20).
4. Job's reply (Ch. 9-10). In this reply Job states that
much that had been said was true, but truth misapplied is dangerous
stuff. Job disallows perfection in personality as God is perfect,
but he does claim perfection. In his reply he majors in the attributes
of God. He then returns to his own case and declares that he cannot
understand why God thus deals with him (10:5-7). Life and immortality
were brought to light by Christ and written by Paul. Job knew nothing
of this therefore we must judge him in his day (10:20-21).
5. Zophar's reply (Ch. 11). Zophar replies to Job and
is harder on him than the others. He accuses Job of a multitude of
words, boasting, and iniquity. Thus he reproves Job as 1. a mere
talker, 2. A vain and lying boaster, 3. As a proud despiser of others,
4 as a self-righteous pretender to perfection both in principle and practice
(11:2-6). There he adds heresy to the sins of Job. Job implies
that God punishes perfect men and that is heresy. Zophar further implies
that perfection is impossible for it demands perfection of knowledge (7-9).
He also accuses Job of transgression and informs him that if he repents
his calamities will be put away (11-17). Furthermore the wicked shall
not prosper this has already been settled (20).
6. Job's reply (Ch. 12-14). All three have spoken and
the last two that spoke were very impolite. Job sarcastically replies
(12:1-4). With regard to their conclusions Job said they were forgers of
lies and physicians of no value (13:4-5). Job then knew he had no
one to look to for help except God (13:15). He then compares himself
to a rotten thing and a moth-eaten garment (28). He then gives us
a great funeral reading (14). It has been read at funerals thousands
of times, especially v. 14. The question is fully answered by Jesus
in going our way, but we can't prove it. The first cycle and a lament making
seven. The battle was over holiness of heart. That was the battle
between God and Satan in the spiritual world. The problem of suffering
is now only a secondary one. Job is proving to Satan that he loves God
in weal or in woe. And he is proving to his three friends that he will
not go back on the fact that he is perfect and upright in heart. Thus the
book of Job's is the first written battle on heart holiness. Holiness
has its contenders for and against then, as now. Heart purity seems to
have been a common doctrine during the patriarchal age. Noah was,
and Job was. The problem of sin and suffering is a big one or why the righteous
suffer, but purity is a greater one. (A Christian man is courteous
and kind. The lack of this is more often due to lack of knowledge
Melchizedek is a manifestation of Christ in the O.T. Three views
that he was : Shem, Angel, Anthropomorphism (God in the form of man), Messiah
or Christ, and the last two are most generally accepted.
II. Second Cycle
of Speeches (15-21)
1. Ch. 15 - Eliphaz is again first to speak. He is more
vehement against Job and repeats some of his old contentions and accuses
Job of impiety and arrogance.
2.. Job replies to Eliphaz the second time (16-17). He states
that he has heard that stuff before and they are a lot of miserable comforters.
If they were in reverse conditions Job could speak just as they were doing.
Job then inferred that he had been delivered into the hands of the ungodly
to mock (16:11-16). He also declared that his prayer was pure and
his witness was in heaven (16:17, 19).
3. Ch. 18 - Bildad's second speech. He starts off with
a rebuke to Job for his violent language and a reassertion of the miserable
lot of the wicked. He also declares that they have become unclean
in the sight of Job. Yet said that their arguments were written in
the laws of nature and were not going to be rewritten for Job's special
a. The light of the wicked is to be put out.
b. His own counsel will destroy him
c. Disease would devour him (18:13, 15, 18, 19, 20).
5. Job's reply to Bildad - Ch. 19. He declared that if
he had erred his error was his own and of no concern to others. He
then declared that God was against him and had turned all others against
a. His brethren were separated from him.
b. His acquaintances were estranged.
c. His kinsfolk had failed.
d. His familiar friends had forgotten him.
e. His servants counted him as a stranger.
f. His wife had made herself scarce.
g. Young children despised him.
h. Those whom he had loved turned against him.
He escaped by the
skin of his teeth. He then expressed a wish that his words were written
in a book. And they were (Job 16:22-24).
6. Ch. 20 Zophar's second speech. Whether in jest or
in earnest Zophar admits that Job's request had put them to shame.
He still harks back to the ancients to validate his arguments. His children
were to seek the favor of the poor and to become beggars of beggars.
7. Ch. 21 - Job's sixth reply. All three of Job's friends
had insisted on the certain retribution for sin that befalls man in this
life. Job contradicts this and says that the wicked often go through
life in great prosperity and the righteous through adversity. Even the
children of the wicked prosper (7-9; 11-14; 23-25; 26). This last
chapter is not written on this side of the grave. This closes the
second cycle of speeches. We now move to the third and last cycle.
III. The Four Speeches
- Zophar fails to appear (22-)
1. Eliphaz vehemently accuses Job of great wickedness and brings
the vilest charges against him (v. 2-11). He is recklessly hot and
bitter at Job's attitude toward God and perfection.
2. Ch. 23-24 - Job's reply. He makes but slight reference
to Eliphaz's remarks. He declares that the way to find God and for
him is not repentance for there is no need of that. Yet he could
not find God (23:8-11). This is trusting God in the darkness.
This is the faith that pleases God.
3. Ch. 25 - Bildad's reply. He ignores Job's questionings
with regard to God's justice. But he declares God's perfection and
majesty and then breaks back to the arguments of the first cycle.
It is impossible for a man to be perfect (v. 4-6). This is often
quoted as good gospel but it is not even true in its setting.
4. Ch. 26-31. Job replies and closes the various cycles.
Job taunts Bildad with regard to the worthlessness of his remarks as a
solution to the problem (Ch. 26).
A. Ch. 27 - Job declares his sincerity and integrity (2-7)
B. V. 8-10 - Job states that the hypocrite is without hope and that the
blessings which the wicked enjoy are turned into cursings. When the
last chapter is written evil is destroyed. But Job refuses to grant that
all suffering is an indication of personal transgression.
C. D. Ch. 28. He declares that the mystery of divine
wisdom cannot be solved by man. Man's wisdom lies in loving God and departing
E. Ch. 29-31 - Job reviews his life and draws a picture of his past, prosperous
career. He then contrasts his present condition when men he once
despised now hold him in contempt. He is now in pain, sorrow and
disgrace. He then reasserts his innocency in 31.
IV. A young
man names Elihu, the son of Barachel and is called the Buzite now speaks.
His speech prepares the ground for the speeches of Jehovah. He is
not classed with the three friends of Job. However, he must have heard
their speeches. We are not told of him until he speaks in chap 32.
1. His speech was mostly a rehash of what has already been
said. He was ready to burst with words and possibly did burst.
He impressed himself greatly bu no one bothered to answer him as he said
nothing new. In spite of that he set himself up as a wonderful person.
No doubt he was brilliant for his age. He could have been bored and
he could not have associated with these giants of his age without being
2. He was angry with both Job and his three friends.
To him they were all wrong. He declared that wisdom did not necessarily
come with age. He knew that Job had the edge in the debate (32:6-10;
1. Elihu takes rather a superior attitude with regard to the
others (33:1, 4, 8-12). It is the same old argument that man
cannot be perfect and be inferior to God. Closing the chapter he
invites Job to speak - Job remained silent so Elihu went on.
2. Elihu objects to Job's having said that the same things
may happen to the righteous that happen to the wicked. This seems
to be condemning God (34:5-15). Note- the young man was with the
great and the wise and he was brilliant enough to judge who had the edge
though his arguments were not up to much.
3. Ch. 36. Elihu declares that he is speaking on behalf
of God. It is hard to tell if Elihu ever finished his speeches.
Possibly God got tired of listening to him torment His servant and just
broke in on him. Neither Job nor God bothered to answer him.
He brought no new ideas into the debate. He said a lot of things
about himself, that he enjoyed, some things that were true about God, and
some things which were not correct about the interpretation of Job's sufferings.
When they sacrificed at the end he was not asked by God to attend.
Perhaps he was still in a state of innocency.
V Ch. 38 - Jehovah
breaks through and directly addresses Job. The change is very abrupt.
He does this from a whirlwind. He does not even hint that Job has
sinned. He does seem to correct him and to further impress him with
his greatness. The others apparently were not present when God broke
through on Job.
1. God reminds Job of his insignificance as man and the puniness
of his efforts. God then refers to His power and creation, v. 4,
6, 7. In the form of questions to Job, God rehearsed the laws of
2. Job then briefly and humbly replies to God.
3. God spoke again to Job. God tells him that he would
have to be equal to God Himself to save himself from this predicament,
v. 14. God points to behemoth monster of great power and Leviathan.
Those were made by God as well as man. Hence, Job was great, v. 15.
4. Job's last reply is brief and interesting. God draws
close to him. He must have been proud of Job, 42:2-6. Job refused
to give up his faith in God despite the tremendous pressure brought upon
him by Satan, his friends, and by nature. He would not give up his
confidence in God and go to the altar where his close friends wanted him
I God paid an
unexpected visit to Eliphaz and said, (vs. 7).
1. Here the picture dramatically changes. We have reached
the last chapter of things. The three friends said, "whatsoever a
man soweth, that shall he also reap in this life." Job said, "thus
so, but not necessarily in this life." Jesus put the whole thing
together in a parable - the rich man and Lazarus. The three friends
would have argued that the rich man was righteous and that Lazarus was
2. God then told Eliphaz to take seven bullocks, and seven
rams and have Job offer them as burnt offerings for themselves. As
Job did not have to offer for himself, he could act as priest.
They had to do what they had asked Job to do. (Mt. 18:6; Mark 9:42;
3. Either before that prayer meeting or during it God healed
him. There was no animosity in his heart; he still demonstrated that
he had a holy heart. It must be said to the credit of the three that
they were willing to go to Job and have him pray for them.
4. Job's captivity was turned and his former wealth was doubled
and he had the same number of children. He is a World Example of
heart-purity undefiled. Job contended all the way through that he
was perfect while his friends contended he was not.
5. The book started out to prove that a pure heart would serve
God without being said to do it. Job or the ash-heap at the point
of death proved it and he expects to die at that moment. The close
belongs to the other world - just thrown in by God for good measure. Job
had proved himself before that ever happened. Job at the jaws of
death proved that he would serve God without being paid for it. The
Epilogue was not necessary to this proof.
6. Watson's Expository Bible, Job, p. 30 - says Job is a perfect
person but made so by the author for effect. Whether by subtle intention
or an instinctive sense of fitness the writer has painted Job as one who
with all his perfectness spent his life as in a dream and needed to be
awakened. He is Pygmalious statue of flawless marble.
1. Huffman, J. A.,
A World Example.
2. Dummelow, J. R.
, One vol. Bible Commentary
3. The Expositor's
Bible - Article on Job by Watson
4. Butler's Bible
Works - Article on Job
5. Whedon's Commentary
- Job to Song of Solomon.
6. The Biblical Illustrator
- Article on Job
7. Morgan, G. Campbell
- Living Messages from the Books of the Bible - p. 9-25 - section on Job.
8. Pulpit Commentary
- Article on Job.
9. Clarke's Commentary
- Article on Job.
Book of Psalms
Psalms 1, 19, 23, 24, 91,
Called in the Hebrew, Tehillim
(Psalms of Praise).
Psalms - in Greek means metrical
compositions fitted to be sung. The book is sometimes called the
Psalms of David, because more are written by him than any other writer.
In II Mac. 2:13 also called the book of David. Some were compiled
in David's time, some in Babylon, some after the Exile. Solomon probably
arranged some of them, and Hezekiah's men probably compiled some more.
Ezra and Nehemiah finally arranged others, thus, completing the book.
Luke 20:42; Acts 1:20 it is referred to as the Book of Psalms.
The Book of Psalms is arranged
in five sections. Thus we have a Pentateuch of Praise as well as
a Pentateuch of the Law.
I Psalms 1 -
41 - Ends with a doxology and a double "Amen." The divine Being is
usually addressed as Jehovah.
II Psalms 42 - 72.
This section ends as the other sections with this addition: "The prayers
of David, the son of Jesse are ended." The divine Being is usually spoken
of as Elohim - translated God.
73 - 89. This section also ends with a doxology and a double "Amen."
The divine Being is again spoken of as Elohim - God.
IV Psalms 90 - 106.
Ends also in doxology and Amen plus a "Hallelujah." The divine Being
is usually addressed as Jehovah.
V Psalms 107
- 150. This section ends with a crescendo of Hallelujahs (praise
the Lords). The divine Being is usually addressed as Jehovah.
I The Book of
Psalms has various authors, David wrote 73; Asaph (the family of Asaph)
wrote 12; Korah wrote 10; Solomon 2; Ethan 1; Heman 1; Moses 1. Fifty
of them would be ascribed to no one in particular. The Septuagint
ascribes many more to David. This is true of the others (that they
may have written more).
P.C. - int 5 states
that 50 or 48 are anonymous if 9 and 10 and 42-43 belong together.
If that is true then 10 would be Davidic and would make fewer Psalms.
Note - Inscriptions of the Psalmist - these are older than the final rereduction
of the Psalmist and are of three kinds:
a. Giving the name of the author something especially the Davidic
Psalms - 7, 59, 56, 34, 52, 57, 142, 54, 3, 63, 30, 51, 60. Adds
also the historical occasion.
b. Giving the metrical-musical character of the Psalms.
90, 102, 142, 3-6, 8, 9.
c. Pointing out the liturgical use of the Psalms.
A. King David 1 -
73. Psalms which David wrote.
1. Psalms 3 - probably just after the rebellion of Absalom;
his belief in the salvation ofJehovah; his confidence in peril.
2. Psalms 4 - probably just after the rebellion of Absalom;
an evening song of peace; David appeals to God, to his enemies, and he
resolves to rest in God.
3. Psalms 5 - Jehovah will lead in time of persecution; David
imprecates his enemies; he prays for the triumph over his enemies.
4. 5. Psalms 6 - Jehovah will deliver in the time
of chastisement. He again prays for victory over his enemies, and
is called a penitential psalm.
6. Psalms 7 - Cush, the Benjamite, apparently is an enemy of
David. David prays that God will defeat Cush and give victory.
7. Psalms 8 - Jehovah's power and excellency are set forth
in nature and in man.
8. Psalms 9 - The king has gained a victory over a national
enemy, for which thanks is given.
10. Davidic addition.
9. Psalms 11 - Jehovah's throne is the sure foundation.
He tries the righteous and destroys the wicked.
10. Psalms 12 - In spite of wickedness and persecution , God lives
and will yet deliver.
11. Psalms 13 - David expresses wonder that God does not come to
his help; he prays for grace; he rejoices in victory.
12. Psalms 14 - The natural man is corrupt and vile and wishes to
have nothing to do with God. David prays that God will turn the captivity
of the heart of man.
13. Psalms 15 - David describes the man that will dwell in the tabernacle
of the Most High. The matter of usury is discussed.
14. Psalms 16 - Jehovah is the portion of those who trust in Him.
Suggests the thought of immortality. Used as a prophecy in the N.
T. of the resurrection of Christ (Acts.2:25; 13:35).
15. Psalms 17 - Expresses his innocency and appeals to Jehovah against
the cruelty of his enemies.
16. Psalms 18 - Reviews the many deliverances which are wrought by
God on his behalf and blesses God.
17. Psalms 19 - Describes the glory of God in the heavenly bodies.
Then deals with the revelation of God by the Law, etc. It parallels
18. Psalms 20 - Jehovah is appealed to for help by the king through
19. Psalms 21 - Thanksgiving is rendered for blessings. Future
victories over enemies are promised; then God is praised.
20. Psalms 22 - God's help is sought in extreme trouble (1-21). He
then breaks into thanksgiving and praise (22-31). Undoubtedly the
cross is depicted here in v. 18.
21. Psalms 23 - Jehovah is the Shepherd of his own and they shall
22. Psalms 24 - Jehovah is to conquer. A great holiness text
is found in verses 3 and 4.
23. Psalms 25 - A humble prayer for defense, instruction, and forgiveness
(1-7). A meditation on the character and the ways of God (8-14).
A further prayer for deliverance from trouble (15-16). This is almost
an acrostic. 9 and 10 are also acrostic.
24. Psalms 26 - Jehovah is worshiped. The judgments of God
will not fail him.
25. Psalms 27 - Divided into two parts. 1. A fearless declaration
of confidence in God in the face of foes (1-6). 2. A trustful prayer of
one in deep distress and beset by false accusers.
26. Psalms 28 - Jehovah is appealed to, to separate him from the
wicked, and that he may escape from their fate.
27. Psalms 29 - A nature Psalm. The Angels are called upon
to praise Jehovah. Jehovah's power is in the thunderstorm and in
the flood and his people are to be favored.
28. Psalms 30 - This is a Psalm of Thanksgiving for a recovery from
a sever sickness which was almost fatal. The title and the context
have no connection.
29. Psalms 31 - He gratefully records past deliverances (1-8).
He appeals to Jehovah for help against present enemies (9-18). Ends
in thankfulness and serene assurance (19-24).
30. Psalms 32 - Here, confession is made to Jehovah. Joy follows,
confidence is expressed in God, and others are exhorted.
31. Psalms 34 - No title attached to this one. David feigned
madness before Ahimelech or Achish (I Sam. 21:13). In the latter part David
praises God for his deliverance at that time. It is near acrostic.
32. Psalms 35 - Jehovah is asked to confound David's enemies.
An account of their wickedness is given but no one is named. An appeal
to vindicate the right (19-28).
33. Psalms 36 - (1-4) The wickedness of the wicked set forth.
The goodness of God. A prayer that the Psalmist may enjoy God's blessings.
A confidence in the overthrow of the wicked.
34. 35. Psalms 37 - Acrostic. Jehovah is the confidence
of his people.
36. Psalms 36 - The person is in great bodily suffering. He
is deserted by his friends. He is beset by treacherous enemies.
He is conscious that the trouble is due to himself. The rest is an
appeal to Jehovah for healing and deliverance.
37. Psalms 39 - A Psalm of great pathos and beauty. Jehovah
is declared to be the hope of the afflicted.
38. Psalms 40 - God hears, and delivers, and is worshiped and praised
(1-11). In distress from evil and persecution, the Psalmist pleads
for the confusion of his enemies and asks deliverance for himself and other
39. Psalms 41 - The Psalmist is apparently sick, and he pleads for
restoration. One false friend seeks his end. This friend was
Ahithophel - Bathsheba's grandfather - followed Absalom because David had
disgraced his family. (He had raised Bathsheba). David had tried
his best to make things right, but Ahithophel would not forgive him and
later committed suicide. (The man who was sinned against refused
to straighten things out and was damned). Judas is the Ahithophel
of the N. T. Ahithophel was to David what Judas was to Christ, John
40. Psalms 51 - This is the chief penitential Psalm. (He prays
straight back to holiness, not just repentance). Psalm 41 goes with
this one. David confesses his sin and prays for forgiveness
and a cleansing (relative to the impurity of the heart).
41. Psalms 52 - A wicked tongue lashing is reproved. God will
punish him and others will laugh at him. Written against Doeg, the
42. Psalms 53 - God views wicked man and is disappointed. This
Psalms is somewhat like Psalms written for different instruments.
43. Psalms 54 - A prayer for deliverance from enemies. An expression
of confidence and praise.
44. Psalms 55 - Despair - indignation - trust - refers to the time
David fled from Jerusalem and Absalom.
45. Psalms 56 - The Psalmist with many enemies around him casts himself
upon God's mercy, to God who is a tender friend to the oppressed.
Written after he hid in the cave.
46. Psalms 57 - Written while he was shut up in the cave of En-gedi
47. Psalms 58 - Being persecuted by Saul's counselors, God is declared
to be a God of vengeance and judgment.
48. Psalms 59 - Saul's men were watching the house to kill David.
David prays and expresses confidence in God.
49. Psalms 60 - Apparently David's forces had had a temporary defeat
and then a victory. God was thus the help of his people.
50. Psalms 61 - David is at Mahanaim, beyond Jordan, during Absalom's
rebellion and again expresses his hope in God.
51. Psalms 62 - This Psalm expresses the strongest possible faith
in God and expresses it as the only home of man.
52. Psalms 63 - Fleeing from Absalom. David is in the wilderness
of Judah at a distance from the sanctuary, he longs for God and expresses
perfect hope in God.
53. Psalms 64 - The Psalmist's life is in danger. He describes
his enemies and foretells their overthrow and the righteous rejoicing in
54. Psalms 65 - This is a Psalm of rejoicing over the prospects of
a bountiful harvest.
55. Psalms 68 - One of the grandest of the Psalms. It had borrowed
expressions from Moses. God is declared to be the strength of his people.
56. Psalms 69 - A prayer by one in deep distress. Wrongfully
persecuted by enemies and was conscious that he was being persecuted for
righteousness sake. He pleads for deliverance. He then asks God to
revenge, then he closes in triumph.
57. Psalms 70 - A close repetition of Psalm 40. God is the
hope of the despairing.
58. Psalms 86 - Contains a general supplication for help in time
of trouble. It breathes of the spirit of gratitude to God.
59. 60. Psalms 101 - Jehovah is recognized in public and private
life. Holiness standards and ethics are mentioned. May be connected
with the return of the Ark.
61. Psalms 103 - Praise to God for grace, mercy and love. No
62. Psalms 108 - Psalm of Praise. God is an anchor of hope.
It is a good Psalm for Ascension Sunday.
63. Psalms 109 - God is a vindicator. The persecuted and the
family are to be judged. A section is used to prophesy of Judas.
64. Psalms 110 - Luther said this Psalm was worthy of a frame of
gold and diamonds. It is messianic. The Psalm is quoted in
65. Psalms 122 - David recalls a trip to the city of Jerusalem and
the Sacred memories. Jehovah is the glory.
66. Psalms 124 - Jehovah delivers the pilgrim. This was sung
at the feast of rejoicing over their deliverance from Haman (In Esther).
67. Psalms 131 - Jehovah is the satisfaction of the Pilgrim.
Sung in childlike resignation as one committed to God.
68. Psalms 133 - Jehovah is the gatherer of the Pilgrims.
69. Psalms 138 - Could be Post-exilic. After Babylonian exile,
Jehovah is the perfection.
70. Psalms 139 - One of the Greatest Psalms. The omniscience
and omnipresence of God are emphasized.
71. Psalms 140 - Jehovah is the defender of the defenseless.
72. Psalms 141 - Prayer in time of trouble. Strength sought
to escape temptation and thus avoid the life and fate of evil man.
73. Psalms 142 - Prayer of David probably said in the cave.
74. Psalms 143 - Jehovah is the confidence of the desolate.
75. Psalms 144 - Jehovah is the Rock of Strength.
76. Psalms 145 - Jehovah is the Object of Perfect praise.
THE BOOK OF PROVERBS
I. The Hebrew word
Mishel (Proverbs) and its singular form Mashel is a broader root than our
word proverb. Our word refers to apethic (a pointed saying).
The Hebrew use of the word is much broader. The satire of Isaiah
14:4 is called a proverb. Balaam's prophecy and a parable of Ezekiel
are also proverbs (Ezek. 17:2; 20:49). The root meaning of proverb
is "to be like" or a comparison or a simile. Peak's and Dummelow's commentaries
are quite good on this subject. When Solomon says "trust in the Lord with
all thine heart and lean not on thine own understanding" he utters a moral
sentence. When he says "drink waters out of thine own cistern" he
utters a parable in the strictest sense of the word. He means "meddle
not with that that belongs to others" (Butler 228).
date the book from Solomon's time down to Post-exilic times. David
wrote most of the Psalms so the book is fitted for him. So Solomon
wrote most of the Proverbs so the book is ascribed to him. Some divide
the book into five sections, some in six, and some in nine sections and
some into three with two appendices. We shall follow the latter and
thus agree with the Biblical Commentary. Butler and Peak.
III. To obey God and
to keep his commandments is the highest wisdom and is the secret to lasting
happiness and prosperity for the Hebrews. This is the subject of
the book. Dummelow says the motto of the book is "true morality is
based on a right relation to God." To fear God as a punishing judge
is unhealthy. To fear to do what God disapproves of because we do
not wish to grieve Him is the healthy O. T. view of the fear of God that
I. Covers Chapters
1-9. The teacher gives his pupils a connected series of admonitions,
cautions, and encouragement to the study of wisdom. This introductory
section is written to the simple, to the young, and to the middle age so
that they might have wise counsel. It is written in praise of wisdom.
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."
1. A warning against companionship with robbers, or with those
who are overly anxious to get gain (1:7-19).
2. Wisdom is personified and represented as a messenger out
on the streets and in the highways calling men and threatening man and
reminding them of the law of retribution (1:20-33).
3. Wisdom promises Godliness and knowledge to her followers.
The Godless will ultimately be cut off from the earth and the transgressors
shall be rooted out of it (ch. 2:1-22).
4. The young man "my son" is exhorted to heed the law and to
keep the commandments, and blessings would follow. Divine chastisement
is profitable and will if responded to properly eventuate into wisdom (3:1-18).
5. Wisdom and understanding were manifested in Creation by
God. Therefore keep sound wisdom and discretion before thine eyes
6. Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due.
Be kind and good to your neighbors. Do not strive without cause and
envy not the oppressor (3:27-35).
7. Wisdom is passed on from generation to generation "get wisdom
and forsake her not." By exalting her you will be promoted and brought
to honor. The right and wrong ways are then set forth and contrasted.
The wrong must be shunned and the right chosen. "Keep thy heart with
all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life" (4:23).
8. 9. This wisdom and knowledge will keep one from
strange women and enable one to love his own family and friends.
"Drink waters out of thine own cisterns and running waters out of thine
own well." In other words pay attention to your own home and business
and keep out of other people's affairs (5:1-23).
10. Do not be surety, neither for friend nor stranger. He is
very definite about this (6:1-5).
11. Slothfulness is severely condemned. The ant is used as
an example of industry (6:6-10).
12. Falseness is condemned and seven things hated by the Lord are
mentioned. They are of a proud look, a lying tongue, shedding of
innocent blood, wicked imagination, mischief, false witness, sowing
discord among brethren.
13. Heed the instructions of fathers and mothers - keep the laws
which they pass on. It will be a lamp to guide your feet aright and
thus you will miss the evil ways. There is heavy retribution attached to
immorality as it reduces to poverty and wounds the soul (6:20-35).
14. 7:1-27 - the longest and most elaborate description of the adulteress
that we have in Proverbs and the certain fate of her victims. Wisdom
is set forth as a safeguard against this tragedy.
15. 8:1-56 is dramatic. Wisdom speaks and sets forth her own
majesty and glory as though she were a person (Butler and Dummelow). Her
works is seen in the marvels of the universe and the wonders of life, and
is set forth as coeternal with God and is with Him, working out His will.
16. 9:1-18. Wisdom and folly have houses and set tables and
invite people in to partake of their menus. The consequences of accepting
either invitation is described. One is life and good. The other
is death and evil.
10:1 - 22:16. This
section is attributed directly to Solomon and is the Proverbs of Solomon.
It is composed of 375 proverbs - each a text. The special feature
of this section is that each proverb is complete in itself having no intimate
connection with what goes before or what follows. Usually each proverb
is the other antithetically. This section is divided into four areas.
The P. C. Introduction p. 33 has good work on it. Several proverbs
are repeated elsewhere.
I. Chapters 10-12
1. Ch. 10 - deals with the blessings that attends the righteous
and the penalty that follows sin and slothfulness (10:27).
2. 11 - deals with false weights and just balances. "The
liberal soul shall be made fat and he that watereth shall be watered also
3. 12 - righteousness is set forth as that establishing quality
in mankind and wickedness is an unseating power. "The lips of truth
shall be established forever but a lying tongue is best for a moment."
13:1 - 15:19
1. 13 - deals somewhat with the results of right and wrong
courses. "Whoso despiseth the word bringeth destruction to himself
but he that feareth the commandments shall be rewarded" (13:13).
2. 14 - To be righteous brings personal good and to be wicked
results in personal misfortune
(14:1). "Every wise woman buildeth her house but the foolish plucketh
it down with her hands."
3. 15:1-19 - deals with the affect of our actions upon others.
"A wrathful man stirreth up contention but he that is slow to anger
15:20 - 19:25
1. 15:20-33 - the value of wisdom, understanding, and correction
are set forth. "He that refuseth correction despiseth his own soul
but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding."
2. 16 - among other things it is pointed out that the Lord
has his way in the ultimate thought perhaps not in the particular. "The
Lord hath made everything for its own end, yea even the wicked for the
day of evil" (16:4).
3. [evidently not copied - duplication of 3 above]
4. 5. 18 - We have selfishness becoming exclusive
and extreme and breaking through bounds to ratify itself. "He that
separateth himself seeketh his own desire" (18:1).
6. 19:1-25. We have wealth as a factor in the creation
of friendship. "Many will intreat the favor of the liberal man and
every one is a friend of the man who gives gifts."
IV Chapter 19:26
1. 19:26-29 - We have a wicked son described in part: "He that
despoileth his father and chaseth away his mother is a son that bringeth
shame and reproach" (19:26).
2. 20 - the evils of wine re introduced. Apparently wine
is set forth as a cause of strife. "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging:
and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise" (20:1).
3. Even in the book of Proverbs we have the heart attitude
as superior to sacrifices. "To do justice and judgment is more acceptable
to the Lord than sacrifice" (21:3).
4. 22:6 - We have the well known saying of doubtful interpretation
but known the world around. "Train up a child in the way he should
go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Has to do with
vocation and not spiritual. This is an ethical maxim not moral.
Appendix A. to Section II
P.C. - A. B. C.
22:17 - 24:22
There is no specific heading
or caption to this appendix but it is called the words of the wise (22:17).
The maxims are not in complete but in quatrains (4 lines) or strophes.
Sometimes there are longer admonitions as regard the drunkard (23:29-35).
The style changes quite definitely. This would suggest a different
1. The writer has high regard for his own saying, "Have I not
written unto thee excellent things of knowledge and council." Remove
not the landmarks...22:28-29. A famous well known saying of ethical
2. Excellent advice is given with regard to social and ethical
conduct. He repeats the advice to remove not the ancient landmarks
(23:10). There is most excellent advice in this chapter. Common sense
- not religious but ethical and social.
3. The writer swings back to admonitions to seek wisdom and
to keep away from evil people. When the righteous fall they rise
again seven times. But the lamp of the wicked will be put out (24:1-22).
Appendix B. to Section II
There is no specific heading
to this section. Of it is also said "These also are the sayings of
the wise" (24:23).
The literary style is the
same as A.
1. It is not good to have respect to persons in judgment.
Those who uphold the wicked as righteous will be abhorred by the nation
2. Do not witness against thy neighbor without cause and do
not deceive with thy lips and do not recompense in kind with regard to
3. Closing this appendix is a serious charge against the slothful.
To such poverty would come as a robber (24:30-34).
Consists of a further definite
stated collection of sayings by Solomon. This section was collected
by "the men of Hezekiah." That is, compiled by his scribes or the
prophets of Hezekiah's reign. Many of this section occur earlier
in Proverbs hence, there is some duplication (Chapters 25-29).
I Chap. 25 - Observations
and judgments about kings and avoiding quarrels. There is also a
fine maxim (25:21-22) "Heap coals of fire upon their heads."
II Chap. 26 - Observations
about fools, sluggards, and busybodies. Vs. 20 is a good maxim.
III Chap. 27 - Observations
about self-love and of care to avoid offences. Vs. 1 is a well known
IV Chap. 28 - We have a
few general observations regarding petty impiety and religious integrity.
Vs. 1 - excellent maxim.
IV Chap. 29 - A few observations
regarding public and private government and then a great text in vs. 1,
"He that being often reproved..." Has reference to moral destruction
of the heart. Has nothing to do with the scare story but the destruction
of the heart.
Appendix A to Section III
Chapter 30:1-33 - Called
"the words of Agur to Ithiel." It is declared to be a prophecy but nothing
is known of him. He uttered some of the most profound statements
of the book. 30:8 - "Remove
far from me vanity and lies.
Give me neither poverty nor riches."
1. He depreciates himself very much declaring that he has not
the understanding of an animal (30:1-9).
2. Things that devour and consume are never satisfied and are
3. Four things he declared too wonderful for him (30:18-19)
"The way of an eagle in
the air," no chart or compass.
"The way of a serpent upon
"The way of a ship on the
"The way of a man with a
4. Four things the earth cannot bear.
"A servant who rules," get
rich quick fellow.
"A fool filled with food."
"An odious woman who is
married," poor little girl married to the rich.
"A servant girl who is heir
to her mistress."
5. Four things that are little but exceedingly wise.
"The ants which lay up in
"Coveys which make their
house in rocks."
"Locusts which go forth without
"The spider taketh hold
with her hands, and is in kings' palaces."
6. Four things which go well and are comely.
"A lion which is strongest
among beasts, and turneth not away for any."
"A greyhound" - stately
"A he goat."
Author must have had a brilliant
mind. This is a most interesting chapter to read and study.
Appendix B to Section III
Chapter 31:1-31 - Ascribed
to Lemuel. Who he was is much disputed. Of this king, of his
country, of his mother we know nothing unless it could be Solomon.
1. In the first nine verses Lemuel's mother warned him to stay
away from women and wine. The latter leads to slackness and unfairness
2. In v. 10-31 - we have a beautiful poem written in description
of the beautiful and perfect woman. Some separate it from Appendix
B as a complete and separate section. It is an acrostic. It
is a beautiful poem and it concludes the whole book.
The word Koheleth is Hebrew
and comes to us from the Greek through the Septuagint, and the Latin Vulgate
through Jerome as Ecclesiastes, meaning assembly speaker or orator.
Even from the fundamental
or conservative the book is dated all the way from Solomon to 200 B.C.
If it were written later than Solomon's time then the author put the words
into Solomon's mouth for effect. There is much that would point to
a later author than Solomon. With this we are not overly interested.
P.C. (one of the most scholarly works on the work) gives six reasons for
it having been written by Solomon. Luther doubted the Solomonic origin.
The book is a discussion
on the problem "can the world without God meet man's needs? Can man
truly live without God?" The conclusion is "Vanity of vanities, all
is vanity," without God. Those melancholy words are repeated forty
times [?? only 5 times in 5 verses in KJV or ASV, 'vanity' singular or
plural 37 times]. The words "under the sun" meaning on the earth are repeated
twenty-five times. [29 times in 27 verses - KJV or ASV] Life is a weary
monotony, and endless treadmill, new discoveries are but rediscoveries.
Man's spirit seems to transcend
his sphere and calls for God. We shall deal with the book under six
"It wasn't until 196 A.D. that people began to believe the earth was flat.
A scientist took the "four corners of the earth" literally. Job and
Isaiah even said the earth was round." [source not cited]
I The Prologue
in which the Problem of the Book is indirectly dealt with (Eccles. 1:1-11).
1. Man's labor is profitless. Generation follows generation
again and passes to the sea.
2. Nature like man repeats itself in monotonous succession.
The wind blows and then returns. The sun rises, passes across the
sky, passes under, and rises again. Rivers flow from the mountains
to the sea, rise, goes to the mountains again and passes to the sea (1:4-7).
3. That which hath been shall be. Everything repeats
itself in an endless round. There is no remembrance of former things
(1:8-11). This is the Prologue and the rest of the book is taken
up with the writer's experiences and deductions therefrom.
II The quest for the
Summum Bonum (the Highest Good) is wisdom and is pleasure (1:12 -
1. Availing himself of his position, he set his heart to know
wisdom in the social or human relations field, but "that which is crooked
cannot be set straight, and that which is missing cannot be made up" (1:15).
There is always something vital that eludes the grasp. In the ultimate
there is no profit.
2. He then turns from wisdom to pleasure and mirth. He
appears to stay in a certain moderation as though he were experimenting.
He also built great works, houses, vineyards, parks with trees, pools with
water. He acquired servants and singers of all kind, gold and silver
in great number, wives and concubines, but all were vanity and vexation
of spirit. Not necessarily these things but the acquiring theses
things without a higher good (2:1-11). These are the things.
3. Wisdom and folly are then compared. Wisdom far excels
folly and pleasure. But the same fate falls upon both the wise and
the foolish (2:12-16).
a. Life and the gains of life become hateful to him as he had to leave
all to his successor and perhaps he would be a fool and wreck his property
b. He then gave himself up to despair in this field. His hard works
and gain were handed over to another who did not labor for it (2:20-21).
c. A man should eat and drink and enjoy the results of his labor.
But the ability even to enjoy these comes from God. To the good man
(morally good) God gives wisdom and joy - to the evil man he gives
the task of gathering to bestow upon the good man. All this is vanity
and vexation of spirit (2:22-26).
III The quest
of the Summum Bonum is sought in the devotion to the affairs of business
(3:1 - 5:20).
1. God is a God of order and law and wisdom lies in adopting
ourselves to that order. (Common sense laws of business). Thus there
is a time for everything "under the sun." Much is ordained of God
and cannot be altered by man. Observe that which is ordained and
one will profit. It is wise to adapt oneself to those laws (3:1-15).
2. Man and beast (physical) come from the dust and return thereto.
Both have the same chance, as both die the same way and go to the same
place (grave) (not speaking of the spirit). The spirit or life of
the beast goes down to the earth, as does physical animation in man, but
the spirit of man itself goes upwards. He also says that God has
put eternity in their hearts
(3:11b) and that God will judge both the righteous and the wicked - the
inference being after the spirit of man has goes up. The spirit goes
up while the soul (physical animation) and body goes down as the animals
3. Seeing then that man dies as does the beast - the best thing
that he can do is to rejoice in his labors, for he does not know what will
be after him. Furthermore, there is so much misery and persecution
that the dead are better off dead than the living are living (4:1-3).
4. Human industries originate with toil, but success only brings
envy. The sluggard eats just the same as the industrious. High
places have no assurance of permanence (4:5-8). Thus devotion to
business finds to produce a temperament ever grasping for more and the
miser is never satisfied. (This is fear as much as greed 4:8).
5. By means of four proverbial sayings Koheleth shows the profitable
advantages of partnership. Gives security. He closes the area
with the saying, "A threefold cord is not quickly broken" (4:9-12).
6. There is no permanence anywhere - old and foolish kings
are supplanted by younger and wiser ones. The earlier and good deeds
of the older kings are quickly forgotten (4:13-16).
7. Disorders in the religious and political fields bring trouble.
Formal religion is profitless. Further, increase of goods brings
loss of sleep. Property may go at a stroke and nothing is left to
the children. The power to enjoy what we have comes from God.
IV The quest for the
Summum Bonum is sought in wealth and in the Golden Mean (moderation) Ch.
6:1 - 8:15).
1. There are wealthy men who are not socially or physically
able to enjoy life. Furthermore, appetite and desire are never satisfied
and the future forever remains unknown (6:1-22).
2. Koheleth now applies the truths that he has been establishing.
"Life should be solemn and earnest. The house of mourning teaches
better than the house of feasting. The rebuke of the wise man
is better than the mirth of fools." Strike a golden mean and if anything
lean to the sober side of life (7:1-14).
3. He had seen the righteous die before his time and the wicked
live on, therefore, be not overly righteous or overly wise, or overly wicked,
or overly foolish, lest you die before your time (7:15-17).
4. Be discreet with regard to a ruler with despotic power.
There is no section of the book more decidedly at variance with the possibility
of Solomon's authorship (8:1-9). Better obey a tyrant like that,
but retribution awaits all. He had seen the wicked buried who had
come from the place of the Holy (8:10). Because a sentence is not
executed speedily on the wicked, thus hearts are set to do evil (8:11-12).
In the end it will be well with the righteous and ill with the wicked.
V The quest
for the Summum Bonum achieved as far as time is concerned. (8:16 - 12:7).
1. The chief good in time is not to be found in wisdom (8:16
- 9:6). Wisdom is certainly superior, but death comes to all, hence
it is better to be a living dog than a dead lion (9:2-6).
2. The chief good is not found in pleasure (9:7-12).
Death is coming and we should enjoy life to the full in every legitimate
way. Whatever we do we should do it with all our might (9:11-12).
3. 4. The chief good is not to be found in devotion
to public affairs and in the rewards attendant thereto (9:13 - 10:20).
A poor wise man may save a city in the time of war but he goes unnoticed.
A little folly in the wise is like a fly in the ointment - it spoils the
whole thing (10:1-3). Wisdom advises caution and moderation under
all circumstances. Yielding pacifieth anger greatly (10:4).
It is an evil when a (moral) fool is elevated to a high position and the
wise man put down to a low position (10:5-7). To lay a net for others is
to lay a net for one's own self (10:3). Furthermore do not deceive
a person in secret, else a bird or something will instantly carry the thing
to them (10:10-20).
5. The chief good in time is to be found in a wise use and
a wise enjoyment of the present life (11:1-20). Koheleth seems to divest
himself of his accustomed pessimism and seems to enjoy just living and
having the benefits of that rebound to good. "For even if a man should
live many years he ought to rejoice in them all." One is to be diligent,
cheerful, and pious.
6. Combined with the wise use and wise enjoyment of the present
life is a steadfast faith in the life to come. Youth is naturally
cheerful - it is proper that he be so, but there is necessary something
to check them that they remember that the divine judge will punish sinful
indulgence in this life or the next. The breakdown of the physical
is commonplace. "Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth."
You will need him when you are young and when the breakdown begins and
you return to dust (11:9).
VI The Epilogue or
the Summum Bonum with regard to both time and eternity (12:8-14).
1. Anything that has to do with life only may be of good in
this life, but it cannot be the chief good in view of the fact that the
spirit is given to return to the God who gave it. The Summum Bonum
must pass into that eternal order - anything and everything this side of
that is fleeting.
2. "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God,
and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall
bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be
good, or whether it be evil." Fearing and loving God and keeping
his commandments will guarantee the most happiness in time and glory when
the spirit goes to its eternal home (12:13).
A. Adam Clarke says, "That vanity of vanities" is an exclamation
and means "an emptiness of emptiness".
B. Wisdom for most Hebrew sages refers to the recognition of
God's world plan for the individual and the society - A.B.C.
C. Koheleth or coheleth, or qoleleth is a feminine noun from
the root Kohal meaning to collect - to gather together, to assemble.
THE SONG OF SOLOMON
I The "Song
of Songs" or the "Song of Solomon" or the "Canticles" (Vulgate) is an exquisitely
beautiful, idyllic song (Butler) with enchanting imagery, rare appreciation
of nature's beauty. It was not written by Solomon, but was
written about Solomon during Solomon's time. He wrote 1,005 songs
and 3,000 proverbs. It is written in the purest possible Hebrew almost
the apex of Hebrew literature - with a few foreign words uncommon.
It is undoubtedly Solomonic.
II There are several
views with regard to the book.
1. The Allegorical view. Jehovah and his people are the
speakers in the poem. All references to an actual earthly king and
his bride are denied.
2. The Literal view. The poem is a collection of
love songs put together to be sung at weddings, or, Solomon trying to win
the love of a beautiful, country girl who remains true to her shepherd
love. Or, the time love between a man and woman without any allegorical
or type meaning. Or, an ode composed at the marriage of Solomon to
3. The Typical view. The poem is actually about Solomon
and his bride, but they are types of Jehovah and his people in all ages.
The Jew regarded it in this manner and hence hold it holy and sacred.
The Prophets did use marriage as a symbol of Jehovah and his people.
Paul used marriage as a symbol of Christ and the church. It is true
that it is written with oriental freedom of description and familiarity
(this must be remembered).
III There are
four characters or groups of persons who are the speakers. King Solomon,
the Shulamite maiden, the brothers of the Shulamite, the daughters of Jerusalem.
It is not always clear where the divisions are. We shall divide the
Song into seven canticles and try also to make subdivisions.
A. Canto One.
1:2 - 2:7. Here we have a rural bride, darkened by the sun (not a
Negro) and tanned having looked after vineyards with no time to care for
herself too much. She declares her ardent affection for her husband
(oriental custom after engagement) and she deprecates the town's women's
criticism of her beauty and desires to know where she may find her lover.
The lovers then praise each other.
1. Ch. 1:2-3 were uttered by the Shulamite and then v. 4a is
stated by the daughters of Jerusalem. 4b by the Shulamite.
4c by the daughters of Jerusalem. 5-7 were uttered by the Shulamite.
2. The royal lover then sings in rapturous joy her praises
and her beauty (6-11). The Shulamite then chimes in and sings of
the beauty of the king as he sits at the table (12-14). Vs. 15 is
also uttered by Solomon in further praise of her beauty. Vs. 16 is
uttered by the Shulamite who describes a resting place in the forest on
green turf with tall cedars and firs. She then says, "I am a rose
of Sharon, a lily of the valley." Solomon replies by saying, "as
the lily among thorns so is my love among the daughters" (2:2). Vs.
3-7 the Shulamite describes the delight of being in the banqueting house
with Solomon enjoying protection and care. She closes the Canto with
"I adjure you oh daughters of Jerusalem by the rose and the hinds of the
field that you stir not nor awake my love while he sleeps."
B. Canto Two.
2:8 - 2:17. She relates a visit Solomon once paid to her and the
invitation he gave her (Dummelow). By others this section is called
"A Serenade in the Springtime" (A. C. Commentary).
(Canto Three and Four are
left out of the notes).
(Canto Five, 1 thru 5 are
1. Solomon returns. 6:4-9 - sings her praises.
F. Canto Six.
6:10 - 8:4.
The daughters of Jerusalem break forth in renewed praise of her beauty.
They sing "who is she that loveth..." Picture of God's people marching
2. The Shulamite then went down in the garden to see if the
fruit and flowers had budded and stayed a little while (6:11-12).
3. 7:1-9 Spoken by King Solomon as he approaches. He
praises her attraction. It is a description of the experience of
4. 7:10 - 8:4. Response of the Shulamite to the praise
of her beauty by Solomon. She invites him forth to roam the fields
and vinery with her. Then she closes with the famous refrain "I adjure
H. Canto Seven. 8:5
The bride and the bridegroom
are together in the joys of simple country life.
1. 8:5 - response by Solomon.
2. 8:6-7 - uttered by the Shulamite and has in it some immortal
lines "for love is strong as death..."
3. 8:8-9 - sung by the brother they appear to regard their
sister as an ugly duckling. They have her out in the field and now
they belittle her. She grew up like a Cinderella in spite of her
4. 8:10-12 - spoken by the Shulamite. She declared in
response to the slurs that Solomon was an excellent keeper of the vineyards.
5. 8:13 - courteous exclamation by Solomon.
6. 8:14 - Close of the Idyllic and is uttered by the Shulamite.
The poem thus begins by the Shulamite.