Authorship and Audience

The titles of this book in the Hebrew bible and Septuagint (LXX) name Solomon as the author of this book. Solomon likely wrote chapters 1 - 22:16 and 25 - 29. Proverbs 22:17-24:34 are from an unknown author "an uncertain date before Solomon’s reign" and were likely compiled by Solomon.1 Proverbs 30 and 31 are attributed to Agur and Lemuel respectively (Proverbs 30:1 and 31:1).

The first section of proverbs (chapters 1 - 9) is addressed directly to someone known as "my son". Given the fact that the author was a king in David's line (see 1:1), his son would ostensibly be a prince in line for the throne.

Date and Historical Context

Assuming Solomonic authorship, Solomon's reign is the backdrop for this book (1 Kings 1 - 11 which spanned from 971 to 931 B.C.). Apart from the ethos Solomon holds as the wisest man apart from Christ (see 1 Kings 3:12), there is very little historical context given or alluded to in the text.

Literary Context

The proverbs are part of a section of scripture known as "Wisdom literature". It is often lumped in with other books like Job, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon (and sometimes Psalms too). There is a discussion of how wisdom literature into the Bible here. Proverbs specifically provides practical advice for living well in daily life in light of the realities of creation and the law.


  • When reading and studying Proverbs, take your time! Read Proverbs with a pen and paper and write down the proverbs you don't understand. Think about each one later and see if you can understand it. Proverbs not only gives us instruction for how to understand "the words of the wise" (Proverbs 1:6), but they also give us practice. Some of the proverbs are intentionally like a puzzle to challenge the reader in his/her ability to understand wise sayings (this is a common theme throughout the books of wisdom literature as discussed here). Proverbs were meant to be pondered and not just read.


1. "Proverbs." Grace to You. February 12, 2010. Accessed February, 11 2018.

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