Poetic and Wisdom Literature

Dr. W. Noble  King
All Rights Reserved
These notes were taken by students and reviewed by a former colleague.

Class Requirements:
     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 Critical Commentary. 
       New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1906.
     Davidson, W. T.  The Praises of Israel.  London: Charles H. Kelley, 1898.
       Delitzsch, F. S. Biblical Commentary on the Psalms.  2nd. ed.  3 vols.  Edinburg: T. & T.
       Clark, 1890. 
       ------.  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 Co., 1936.
       Jowett, John H.  Springs in the Desert: Studies in the Psalms.  Grand Rapids: Baker Book
       House, 1924.
     Halley, H. H.  Pocket Bible Handbook.  15th ed., 1941.

       Huffman, Jasper. A.  Job: A World Example.  Rev. ed.  Salem, Ohio: Allegheny
       Publications, 1899.
       Kirkpatrick, A. F.  The Book of Psalms.  Cambridge Bible Commentary.  Cambridge:
       Cambridge University Press, 1902.
       Leslie, Elmer. A.  Poetry and Wisdom.  New York & Nashville: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press,
     ------.  The Psalms.  New York and Nashville: Abingdom-Cokesbury Press, 1949.
       Meyer, F. B.  F. B. Meyer on the Psalms: Bible Readings.  Grand Rapids: Zondervan
       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.
       Revell, 1911.
     Murphy, James G.  A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Psalms.
       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: Revell, 1890.
       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, it 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 from:
          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° of latitude.
          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 Shemites.

VIII . Opinion is divided as to when the book was composed and by whom.  The possible authors are:
          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.
          3.   Isaiah.
          4.   Hezekiah.
          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 may be.)

     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 for ours.
          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 Holy.
       .  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. Job, p.2).
       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 in prose.

     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 made.

        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; 92:15; 37:37.

  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 of nobles).

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 to him.
 1    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.
 2    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. 
     His disease:
       a. Intolerable itching (2:8)
       b. It disfigured his face so that his own friends did not at first know him (2:12).
       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 (7:5).
       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 speech.[sic]

                        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 so much.
     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 than experience).
     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 case.
       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 him.
       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 from evil.
       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 brilliant.
     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; 11-14, 15).
     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 nature, (40:3-5).
     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 to go.

                       Conclusion 42:7-17

  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 the sinner.
     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; Lk. 17:2).
     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, 150, 121

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.
  III  Psalms 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 Psalm 8.
     18.  Psalms 20 - Jehovah is appealed to for help by the king through the sanctuary.
     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 not want.
     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 like-minded people.
     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 13:18.
     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 Edomite.
     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 their fate.
     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 historic area.
     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 Mark 12:36.
     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).

  II.  Authorities 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 is commendable.

                           Section I

  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 (3:19-26).
     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.

                           Section II

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 himself" (11:25).
     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."
  II.  Chapters 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 appeaseth strife."
  III  Chapter 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 - 22:16.
     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 author.
     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 quality.
     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
Ch. 24:23-34.

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 (24:23-27).
     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 evil (24:28-29).
     3.   Closing this appendix is a serious charge against the slothful.  To such poverty would come as a robber (24:30-34).

                          Section III

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 maxim. 
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 destructive (30:10-17).
     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 a rock."
"The way of a ship on the sea."
"The way of a man with a maid."
     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 summer."
"Coveys which make their house in rocks."

"Locusts which go forth without a leader."
"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 and swift.
"A he goat."
"A king."
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 in administration.
     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 sections.
     "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 - 2:26).
     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 (2:17-19).
       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 (3:21; 3:17-22).
     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).

Closing Notes.
     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 Pharaoh's daughter.
     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 omitted).
     1.   Solomon returns. 6:4-9 - sings her praises.

  F. Canto Six.  6:10 - 8:4.
  G. 1.   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 (6:19).
     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 love.
     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 you daughters...."

  H. Canto Seven. 8:5 - 14
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 brother.
     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.


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