The Book of Proverbs by R. N. Whybray
Dr Whybray's volume, like the others in the series, contains the text in the New English Bible translation, with introductory material preceding, and a commentary directly following, each section of text. Dr Whybray describes the ancient Near Eastern tradition of producing collections of 'wisdom': instructions in the form of aphorisms and proverbs, for the education of the young for a happy and successful career. He indicates the dependence of Proverbs on this tradition, but also points out how the Israelite authors modified it. The book contains three kinds of material: sections whose form and character are hardly distinguishable from the instructions of Egypt and Mesopotamia; others where, in spite of a more specifically Israelite dress, the aim remains the achievement of a successful life; and finally passages in which the main purpose has now become the pursuit of a wisdom conforming entirely with the 'fear of the Lord'.