So here we are… the third section of Proverbs! Today just might be your favorite all-time read so far this year!
The value of wisdom 1:1—9:18
The examples of wisdom 10:1—22:16
The application of wisdom 22:17—24:34
NOW the rubber meets the road! Do you apply it?? How do you apply it??
The first 16 “maxims” (do I sound smart using “scholarly words??”) Ha! Anyway, verses 1-16 are great! I only got tripped up on a few…and I don’t plan on being in a public square with a lion anyway 😜
Verse 17-major shift- The Thirty sayings of the Wise. This section can be subdivided into 4 sections:
- introduction (22:17–23:11)
- teaching children to obey (23:12–24:2)
- adversity (24:3–12)
- evildoers (24:13–22).
This portion of Proverbs is similar in form and content to the “Instruction of Amenemope”, and that has led some to assume a connection between the two. In 1888 a British archaeologist purchased an Egyptian papyrus for the British Museum. It wasn’t translated until after World War II.
The Instruction of Amenemope is a list of thirty wise sayings for his son, teaching him how to live to receive blessings from the Egyptian god of justice and truth. The papyrus in the British Museum is twelve feet long, ten inches high, and broken into twenty-seven pages.
If you compared Solomon’s Proverbs to Amenmope’s, both sets of proverbs contain 30 sayings each, both use the “my son” terminology and both follow the same structural design. However, a difference between these two collections is significant. The writers of the biblical proverbs said their purpose was: (22:19)
So that your trust may be in the Lord,
I teach you today, even you.
However, Amenemope did not express hope in a personal God. So obviously we find a huge debate over which one was written first. Did Solomon use Amenemope’s as a blueprint or vice versa? There are three possible explanations of the parallels between Proverbs and the Instruction of Amenemope:
1. Solomon discovered the Instruction of Amenemope and used it as a blueprint.
2. The dating of the artifacts is wrong, and the Egyptian text was copied from Solomon’s original.
3. Both texts were written independently, and the parallels are either the result of common source material or the fact that similar purpose and form (wisdom literature was quite popular in the ancient world) naturally leads to similar subject matter.
So why did I tell you all that? Because there is a world out there that would love to devalue the Bible in a debate. Prove its lack of authenticity. Like when the movie Noah came out (Russell Crowe), and the story was clearly different. You know why I loved that….because people actually opened their Bibles and READ IT to find the differences. ANYTHING that sends believers and non-believers to the direct Word of God I am all for!
“But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this, I rejoice.” Philippians 1:18
I was sad to leave 1 Kings and switch to Proverbs….now I am sad to leave Proverbs to go back to 1 Kings! Back to History tomorrow!