When Solomon became king of Israel, his only request of God was that he be given the wisdom to rule well. God gave him that gift as well as riches and power.

The books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes represent his report to the rest of humanity on what he learned with this gift.

This is an ongoing study an episode of which will be published every two weeks until we finish the book.

  • Proverbs 1-2, Encoding Biblical Wisdom

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    Introduction to the biblical way of encoding wisdom. Discussion of why the book seems to be directed primarily to men. Discussion of the three sorts of biblical fool and what the book says about each.
  • Proverbs 3, Knowledge, Understanding and Wisdom

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    In studying Proverbs, precision of language is important. Knowledge, understanding and wisdom are related, but they represent different concepts.
  • Proverbs 4-5, The Beauty of Wisdom

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    The chapter begins with a personification of wisdom as a good wife who will guard the young man so long as he is faithful to her. It ends with an admonition to be faithful to his actual wife.
  • Proverbs 6-7, The Voice of the King

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    According to Rabbi Sacks, there are three voices in Scripture: that of the priest, that of the prophet and that of the king. The voice of the king represents human experience and wisdom. So the Torah does not prohibit co-signing a loan, but prudence says it is not a good idea. Scripture does forbid adultery which human wisdom here explains and amplifies.
  • Proverbs 8-10, Wisdom - Present at the Creation

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    Wisdom, personified as a woman, is described as being present with God at the Creation. She is also the voice of the King. In this she is contrasted with the seductive voice of folly.
  • Proverbs 10 - The Power of the Tongue

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    This chapter of Proverbs deals extensively with the power of human speech. In the mouth of the wise is life; in that of the wicked is folly and calamity.