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Old Testament Commentary Survey

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A Survey of Commentaries on the Book of Proverbs

14th January 2006

OK, so I’m on a Proverbs kick tonight. In advance of the online colloquium entitled on recent trends in the interpretation of the Book of Proverbs on the Biblical Studies discussion list, I thought I could offer a modest survey of commentaries available on the Book of Proverbs.

Proverbs is one biblical book that is better to take in small doses, rather than read straight through. That being said, there have been some recent scholarship on the composition and redaction of the book of Proverbs that suggests it was not compiled haphazardly (see my post on the compilation and redaction of the Book of Proverbs here). Most of the more recent commentaries also explore the connections and smaller collections within the book of Proverbs. In this regard note especially Garrett, Van Leeuwen, and Waltke.

When we turn to commentaries on the book of Proverbs there are a lot of different options. Murphy is one of the preeminent scholars on the wisdom literature of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. His three works on Proverbs are all worth consulting, though his WBC is perhaps the best of his work. Fox is also excellent for scholars and pastors, as is Clifford. I would be remiss to not mention the excellent and extremely thorough (albeit somewhat conservative) commentary by one of my former professors, Bruce Waltke. I highly recommend it. Hubbard is a good popular commentary, and I have been impressed with Farmer and Koptak. Wright‘s volume is invaluable for a historical perspective.

For more listings and evaluations of commentaries on other biblical books, see my Old Testament Commentary Survey.

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