OTS 501 OLD TESTAMENT INTRO AND LITERATURE Dr. Esa Autero Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs 1.1 Introduction to Proverbs What are some ways that Proverbs are used in churches? What are some peculiarities of Prov (cf. other OT books)? Little on history or theology of covenants, Exodus, worship Focus on practical wisdom based on the fear of the LORD What does proverb mean? the ideas of comparison, code of behavior, discovery of hidden truth etc. Proverbs is a collection of sayings based on observations and reflection with the intent to guide in the right behavior
Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs 1.2 Historical and Critical Issues in Proverbs Authorship, date, composition Preface (1:1-7) + 8 collections of sayings Five of the collections have a preface w/ an author Solomon as an author (1:1; 10:1; 25:1 [10:1-22:16; 25:1-29:27]) Solomon the father of Israelite wisdom (1 Kgs 4:29-34) 3000 proverbs and 1005 songs Other authors in Proverbs the wise (22:17; 24:23); Agur (30:1); Lemuel of Massa (31:1) Sons of Ishmael from Arabia (Gen 25:14; 1Chr 1:30);
Universality of wisdom (cf. Job 1:1 country of Uz) Anonymous sections (1:8-9:18; 31:10-31) men of Hezekiah copied some proverbs (25:1) Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs Some critical scholars the legend of Solomon Solomon connected to Prov due to his legendary wisdom Popular opinion attributes whole of Prov. to Solomon (1:1) Some attribute the sayings of the wise to Solomon (1:8-9:18) Jewish tradition men of Hezekiah (Baba Bathra 15a) Dating Proverbs Solomonic sections (10:1-22:16) 10th century BC Prov 25-29 also old (c. 10th or 9th century BC) Hezekiahs men c. 700 BC as redactors/editors
Was this the final editing or only Solomons proverbs? What about the sayings of the wise etc.? Prov 30-31 exilic time Final redaction during the Exile or just before Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs 1.3 Background, purpose, literary structure Some Background ANE wisdom and Israelite wisdom see earlier class Leaders in the ancient Israel King, priest, prophet, the sage (cf. Jer 18:18) Three basic institutions of wisdom Family/clan, royal court, scribal schools Family instruction of wise living
Royal court & scribal school: creation & preservation of wisdom Purpose of Proverbs Life according to fear of the LORD Practical covenant living covenant presupposed Life of integrity, blessing, honor, and success (1:33; 2:7; 3:2, 8) Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs Literary structure of Proverbs Preamble (1:1-7) Purpose of the book impart wisdom, fear of the LORD Way of the wisdom (1:8-9:18) Teacher addresses his sons Invitations and instructions of Lady wisdom & Lady folly
Long wisdom discourses & practical instruction Sayings of Solomon (10:1-22:16; 25:1-29:27) Short lines and antithetical parallelism invites reflection E.g. contrast b/w wise and fool; righteous and wicked (15:28) How wisdom shapes the practical decisions of the wise Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs Sayings of the wise (22:17-24:34) Similar topics to Solomons section Sensitivity toward the poor (22:22-23) Transitory nature of riches (23:4-5) Avoiding wayward woman (23:26-28) Ridicule of the lazy (24:30-34) Also some longer discourses
Connection to the Instruction of Amenemopet (Egypt) Prov 22:28 Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your ancestors Instruction of Amenemopet, ch. 6 Do not carry off the landmark at the boundaries of arable land nor disturb the position of the measuring cord More examples in ANET, 424-446 International character of wisdom
Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs Sayings of Agur (30), Lemuel (31:1-9) & wise woman Skeptical section and disparate sayings (Agur) (31:10-31) Oracle by kings mother: women, wine, justice (Lemuel) Acrostic poem about wise woman (31) Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs 1.4 Themes in Proverbs The fear of the LORD Fear of the LORD connected to wisdom & knowledge Fear of the LORD & inscrutability of wisdom
Retribution principle Blessing for wisdom and misfortune for folly Two assumptions of wise living and blessing Relationship w/ YHWH firmly established pattern of life Consistent practical conduct in what is right, just, and fair Importance of character development and social harmony Proverbs not absolute promises but patterns of life observed by the Israelite sages (cf. Job and Eccl 9:11-12; Ps 73) Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs Human speech use and abuse of the tongue Seven sins abuse of the tongue Life and death in the tongue (18:21) Healing or wounding (12:18; 15:4)
Shape attitude, perceptions (18:8; 29:5) Forms beliefs and convictions (10:11, 21; 11:9; 15:2-7; 16:27-28) Futility of words w/o actions mere talk (14:23; 24:12) Wisdom, character, and words (10:14; 12:17; 14:5; 15:1, 23; 16:13) Human sexuality monogamous marriage & folly of license Wisdom as antidote to sexual sin (2:16) Love and sexuality within marriage (5:15-23; 18:33) Need to guard eyes and mouth (5:1-6; 7:21-23) Jealousy and consequences of adultery (6:20-35) Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs Wealth and poverty Wealth, honor, and blessing as result of wise living (22:4) Moderation better than wealth (30:7-9)
Poverty and laziness connected slack hand; sleep; mere talk; love of pleasure Neglect of instruction (13:18) (10:4; 14:23; 20:13; 21:17) Importance of caring for the poor Poor are generally shunned and hated (14:20; 19:7) Poor are victims of oppression (13:23) lending to poorlending to God (14:21; 19:17; 21:13; 22:9; 28:27; 31:20) Warnings against oppressing the poor (22:16; 29:7; 29:14) God the defender of the poor (22:22-3; 17:5) Setting of Prov perspective of the royal court (cf. Jer 18:18) Perspective of people in charge of their destiny & social stability Laziness, folly, and drunkenness as causes of dishonor and poverty
Less reflection on the socio-political causes of poverty Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs 2.1 Introduction to Ecclesiastes What are some peculiar features in Ecclesiastes? Absence of covenant, history, redemption, worship etc. What are some characteristics of Ecclesiastes? How many sermons have you heard on Ecclesiastes? How does Eccl. fit into the canon? Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs 2.2 Historical and Critical Issues Author, composition, date Ecclesiastes is anonymous Traditional author Solomon based on
Qohelet (=assembler, teacher, preacher) equated w/ Solomon Qohelet son of David, king in Jerusalem (1:1) Solomons life stages in 1 Kgs harmonized w/ Eccl. Some sections fit Solomons life (e.g. wealth, wisdom, women) Some problems w/ Solomons authorship Son of David could be any of Davids sons or later descendants Awkward sayings if by Solomon (1:16; 2:9; see also 8:2-8) 1 Kings account does not harmonize well e.g. Solomon is never said to recover from his apostasy (compare w/ Eccl 12:8-14) The prologue and epilogue frame by a third party (1:1-2; 12:8-14) Qohelet is not the author (even if Qohelet is idenfied as Solomon) Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs
Who wrote Ecclesiastes then? Qohelets experiences were narrated by unnamed sage Possible date of the book 10th century BC if by Solomon [unlikely] 8th or 7th century BC 3rd or 4th century BC Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs 2.3 Background, purpose, literary structure Ecclesiastes and ANE wisdom Dialogue of Pessimism master & slave (Mesopotamia) Harpers Song enjoy life b/c its uncertain (Egypt) Qohelet and ANE insufficiency of received wisdom Purpose
God-centered life despite lifes unpredictability Death is awaiting all under the sun No predictable pattern that is observable (7:14) Anything good comes from God enjoy it Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs Literary structure Prologue and introduction (1:1-11) Main themes of the book introduced Long monologue by Qohelet (1:12-12:8) Lifes frustrations problems and solutions Wisdom, pleasure and wealth, unfairness, reverence toward God Epilogue (12:9-14)
Fear God and keep commandments as the duty of human beings Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs 2.4 Themes in Ecclesiastes Retribution principle (3:16-22; 8:10-14; 7:15-17; 9:1-6) Retribution accepted in principle but Unable to predict or explain current situation or specifics God will judge the righteous and the wickedtime for every matter Anticipation of fuller revelation of justice - resurrection Is Ecclesiastes a single or two-level narrative? Pessimistic Qohelet is corrected by the frames? (cf. Job) God-centered worldview evident in the entire book?
Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs 3.1 Introduction to Song of Songs What does the title means? Comparison to other OT books similar/different? Absence of covenant, redemption, worship etc. What role does Song play in the Bible? Any sermons on Song? Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs 3.2 Historical and Critical Issues Author, date, composition Traditional authorship suggestions Solomon (1:1, 5; 3:7, 9, 11; 8:11-12) late 10th century BC Literary skills, love of women, flora & fauna (1Kgs4:33; 11:1-13)
Hezekiah (cf. Prov 25:1; 2 Chr 32:27-29) c. 700BC Some issues w/ Solomons authorship Hb. le Solomon by, about, of, for/to Solomon as author, main figure or dedicated to Solomon? Monogamous love in Song but what about Solomon? (cf. 1kgs11:1-11) Solomon in Song pictured from distance (3:6-11; 8:10-12) Additional feature Song as 2 or 3 character story/drama? Solomon and the Shulamite from wickedness to monogamy Solomon-Shulamite-shepherd Solomon as villain Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs Song as a collection of love poems (not drama) Solomon may have written parts
Anonymous author completed and edited Dating difficult: from Solomons time to Persian period Background, purpose, structure Difficult to pinpoint historical situation Portrays the time during Solomon Song and ANE love poems My beloved is sweet as honey, she is as fragrant to the nose as wine (Old Babylonian love poem) Similar imagery and topics love b/w man and woman Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs Purpose of Song & interpretative paradigms Dramatic approach ancient Hebrew play
Analogous w/ Greek drama Two or three character drama No precedents in ANE or Hebrew literature Typological approach historical aspect subordinated Literal account secondary: God-Israel --- Christ-church Cultic approach adaptation of ANE fertility cult liturgy Associations to fertility cult changed or forgotten Wedding cycle poems approach per Arabian parallels Honorary poems of bride and groom in a wedding ceremony Didactic approach instructional value Moral education on sexual purity, faithfulness, simplicity
Allegorical approach oldest and most popular Similar interpretation to typological Song does not affirm or deny this as the correct method Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs Literal approach love poetry b/w man and a woman Sensual and passionate account of love and sexual intimacy Purpose of Song depends on the interpretative option Literal the most accurate Purpose as the celebration and instruction on human love, sexuality, and intimacy Three-character story instructional aspect more intense:
Solomons polygamous relations vs. pure and simple monogamous relationship w/ Shulamite and the shepherd Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs 3.3 Themes in Song of Songs Sensual love within the confines of marriage Celebration of physical love b/w man & woman Lovemaking: sight (7:1); smell (4:13-14); taste (5:1); hearing (5:2); touch (7:8) Sexual intimacy (6:2-3; 7:10-13; 8:1-3) Erotic imagery: well/garden of aromatic spices (vagina; 4:12-15); promiscuous women door (8:9-10)
Faithfulness and chastity Love as strong as death (8:6-7) Virtue of chastity in the young lovers (4:12; 6:3; 7:10-13; 8:10) Integrity, loyalty, commitment (4:12-16; 7:11-14; 8:10-12) Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs f
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* * Pitch accents are local pitch movements (e.g. rising, falling) or pitch maxima/minima that accompany these metrically strong syllables. The intonational "tune" is the melody that is created by sequences of pitch accents over an utterance.