The lack of context sometimes clouds the interpretation.
But occasionally a verse is partially repeated elsewhere, where the variant form clarifies the meaning (cf. Its Stage in Progressive Wisdom The Scripture book which in both the Hebrew and the Greek arrangements of the immediately succeeds the Psalms. Title and Headings: At the beginning, intended apparently to cover the whole work, stands the title: "The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel." It seemed good to the compilers, however, to repeat, or perhaps retain an older heading, "The proverbs of Solomon" at still another heading occurs: "These also are proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied out." All these ascribe the proverbs to Solomon; but the heading (30:1), "The words of Agur the son of Jakeh; the oracle," and the heading (31:1), "The words of king Lemuel; the oracle which his mother taught him," indicate that authorship other than that of Solomon is represented; while the mention of "the words of the wise" (1:6; ), as also the definite heading, "These also are sayings of the wise" (), ascribe parts of the book to the sages in general. : It is hazardous to argue either for or against a specific authorship; nor is it my intention to do so.
Two distinct questions are involved in the dating of Proverbs. It is reasonable therefore to understand this title of the as designating rather a literary species than a personal authorship; it names this anthology of Wisdom in its classically determined phrasing, and for age and authorship leaves a field spacious enough to cover the centuries of its currency. All the proverbs in this, the longest section of the book, are molded strictly to the couplet form (the one triplet, 19:7, being only an apparent exception, due probably to the loss of a line), each proverb a parallelism in condensed phrasing, in which the second line gives either some contrast to or some amplification of the first.
The first concerns the date of the writing of each section. Perhaps also the proverb of this type was by the term "of Solomon" differentiated from mashal of other types, as for instance those of Balaam and Job and Koheleth. This was doubtless the classic art norm of the Solomonic mashal.
Some find Christ personified in the wisdom cited in , the same contrast appears in single-verse aphorisms.
Here the personification of sin and righteousness does not appear, but the same synonyms for virtue and vice are repeatedly used and should be understood as such.
A “mocker” is not just supercilious, but is a rebel against wisdom.
The Hebrew author, however, has given instruction on life and holiness in proverbial form. There are countless examples of secular poetry and melody combined in ordinary song. Sin and Righteousness Personified and Contrasted (-) III.