One of the striking things that appeared to me in reading chapters 1-4 is how the themes of the 10 Commandments – fear God, honour your parents, don’t kill, steal, covet, commit adultery (both spiritual and physical), don’t bear false witness etc., are all covered within the guidance given within these proverbs.
Dell presents an Exilic / Post Exilic date for the writing of Proverbs; while maintaining the tension an oral authorship from a much earlier time frame – though doubts the authorship coming from King Solomon himself. He speaks of the various ways in which the book of Proverbs was taught; and my favourite being that it could be linked to the School of prophets in Kings. – My reasoning for this is that the prophets had a keen sense of being able to tell a story and weave the story within their prophecies. Such as Nathan; whose message convicted David of adultery through his telling a story of a stolen lamb which was killed!
I need to think through the idea of an Egyptian influence on the methodology of Proverbs. Surely this would either link Proverbs to Solomon who had much diplomatic ties with Egypt; or even an earlier date – such as 40 years wilderness experience in the desert, where the older generation instructed the younger…admittedly this latter thought has little to support it within the actual book of Proverbs- take “Wisdom calling out in the market place…” what market place was in the desert.
While Murphy’s doesn’t directly support my hypothesis regarding the 10 commandments; the reading does support it. Both Wisdom and the Law are referred to as being a gift of God. The reading makes the connection of the woman in Chap 2:16 and Chap 5-7 as possibly referring to idolatry and not physical adultery. If so – again this has connotations of prophetic warnings…and supports the idea of the proverbs being first taught within the school of prophets.
Finally Murphy’s concluding reflections on 1:1-6 in regards to them shaping a theological reflection on life / salvation within a Jewish context – is a reminder to the reader that Wisdom is a gift from God and in doing so again reinforces my idea in that the basis for the proverbs is the outworking of the 10 Commandments in day to day life.