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Dear friends,

Welcome to my blog. I am honored to have you visit. I hope you'll find my articles a blessing. I welcome your input and especially comments and questions.

I write as a Christian from Jerusalem, Israel about Biblical subjects.

I am particularly interested in the subjects of children, families, women's issues, corporal punishment, science and nature as these subjects relate to the Holy Scriptures.

For more information, see my website: www.biblechild.com

With every good wish - Samuel Martin

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Some General Outline Thoughts on the Book of Proverbs

Some General Outline Thoughts on the Book of Proverbs

Note: The information in this post has been partially adapted from material in my late father's book, Restoring the Original Bible" Appendix Two pg. 483 - 492 - ASK Publications; Portland, OR: 1994) Note that all of the material herein dealing with the feminine voices in Proverbs is my own research.

Before getting into some of my more specific latest thoughts on the feminine voices in Scripture (with a beginning focus on the book of Proverbs), I thought it good to give some general outline to the book of Proverbs as a whole. 

Generally speaking, most people just assume that the book of Proverbs was, as a whole, just composed by King Solomon. This is interesting especially among those who quote Proverbs 23:13,14 as being Solomonic in its advice in favor of corporal punishment, yet the internal evidence of Proverbs itself shows in fact that this section of Proverbs was authored by someone else besides Solomon.

“Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, (Hebrew: wise ones) and apply your heart to my knowledge, for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, if all of them are ready on your lips. That your trust may be in the LORD, I have made them known to you today, even to you. Have I not written for you thirty sayings of counsel and knowledge, to make you know what is right and true, that you may give a true answer to those who sent you?” (Proverbs 22:17-21 ESV)

As I have shown in my book, this small section of Scripture is well known in ancient Egyptian literature and while it appears in Proverbs under the title of being authored by Solomon, it is certainly the work of some other philosopher who was a worshipper of the LORD. Get my free ebook which includes this information by free download from here -


 Yes, Solomon is considered the author of the book as Proverbs 1:1 says:

“The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:” (Proverbs 1:1 ESV)

However, if we look at the book of Ecclesiastes which also seems to have some been compiled by Solomon, we have some other information which can be useful in perhaps having a greater understanding of the book of Proverbs:

“Besides being wise, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs with great care. The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth. The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” (Ecclesiastes 12:9-12 ESV)

This text indicates a number of things about the author if it was Solomon.

1.       The author weighed, studied and arranged many proverbs 
2.       The author sought out words of delight 
3.       The author was a writer in his own right 
4.       The author was a prodigious publisher of written materials

This is a pretty good description of Solomon himself according to what Scripture tells us. He also had massive resources to be able to collect written texts and to promote an environment of learning in Jerusalem when he was the king.

“And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore, so that Solomon's wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all other men, wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol, and his fame was in all the surrounding nations. He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005. He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall. He spoke also of beasts, and of birds, and of reptiles, and of fish. And people of all nations came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all the kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom. (1 Kings 4:29-34 ESV)

A couple of things to keep in mind are that when we think of 1005 songs, let us note that the book in the Bible, the Song of Songs, which is generally also attributed to Solomon, is only one song and it is eight chapters long. It is like a dramatic opera and this is just one of over a thousand such pieces he wrote.
He also spoke 3,000 proverbs. Note that the book of Proverbs itself only contains 915 verses and some proverbs take up more than one verse. Note also that some sections have to be considered separated from the others which I will address shortly.

Note the following seven divisions of the book which follow the books first six verses. 

DIVISION ONE     =    Proverbs 1:7 to 9:18.

DIVISION TWO   =    “The Proverbs of Solomon” - Proverbs 10:1 to 22:16.
Note: Proverbs 22:17-21 is an introduction to a new section.

DIVISION THREE   =    “The words of the wise [ones]” - Proverbs 22:22 to 24:22.

DIVISION FOUR    =    “These also belong to the wise [ones]” - Proverbs 24:23 to 24:34.

DIVISION FIVE     =    “These are also proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied” - Proverbs 25:1 to 29:27.

DIVISION SIX    =    The words of Agar the son of Jakeh – Proverbs 30 (the entire chapter).

DIVISION SEVEN   =    The words of king Lemuel - Proverbs 31 (the entire chapter).

I think these divisions should be fairly clear to any Bible student looking at Proverbs and they are well documented in academic considerations of the book.

With this general outline in mind, we can now better consider the information in Division One of the book of Proverbs in looking for Scripture’s feminine voices.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Feminine Voices in Proverbs?

Feminine Voices in Proverbs?

Note: It is important to note that all of the information in this post is closely linked to a larger work that my late father, Dr. Ernest L. Martin, wrote titled: "Restoring the Original Bible" (ASk Publications: Portland, OR: 1994) That book closely linked the idea of the five books of the 'Megillot' mentioned below as being closely linked to femininity. For more information, please see that book. In this post, I am building on the foundation laid in that book.

Of late, I have been doing a great deal of thinking on the feminine voices of Scripture and now the thinking has moved into the research phase.

If you read my recent post (http://samuelmartin.blogspot.co.il/2012/07/the-original-order-of-old-testament.html) on the original order of the Biblical books and how a specific section of books are sectioned off focusing on feminine themes, you be expecting me to talk about the books of:

  1. Song of Songs
  2. Ruth
  3. Lamentations
  4. Ecclesiastes
  5. Esther

Yes, these books are known in ancient times by the Hebrew name, Megillot (meaning festival scrolls because they were read on specific festivals in the Hebrew calendar) and they appear in this order in the Hebrew Bible. We’ll have much more to say about this in future posts because I believe these books are full of feminine voices.

However, a major feminine voice appears in the book of Proverbs, which merits investigation. This text, in fact, is so obvious and presents us with an urgent blinking light telling us to pay attention, I think. So, of late, I’ve given Proverbs a fresh look and I am indeed glad that I did.

Before we get into that though, let’s look at this obvious text with a specific feminine voice. It is found in Proverbs 31 and I think it provides a type of a key of understanding.

No, it is not the “perfect woman” text per se that I want to draw your attention to. No! It is who the author of it is! The source of that section of Scripture is a woman! The evidence cannot be clearer.

“The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him:” (Proverbs 31:1 ESV)

Much more research is needed on this issue because not only did Lemuel’s mother teach her son some exceedingly beautiful and inspiring teachings, she did it in such a way that the English reader might not catch.

This is because the last 22 verses of Proverbs 31 are written in acrostic form. This is a fancy word for which describes a type of poetic structure used which is also known as abecedarian poetry.

Abecedarian poetry means exactly what it says. The structure of the poem is in an A,B,C to X, Y, Z style, except in the case of the last 22 verses of Proverbs 31, the A, B, C’s are not English letters, but Hebrew letters. For that reason, this issue is not so apparent, but many Bible versions point this out to the reader.

“The earliest examples are Semitic and often found in religious Hebrew poetry. The form was frequently used in ancient cultures for sacred compositions, such as prayers, hymns, and psalms. There are numerous examples of abecedarians in the Hebrew Bible;” http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/5767

Each verse of this poem in the last 22 verses of Proverbs 31 begins with a separate Hebrew letter starting with the first Hebrew letter and ending with the last Hebrew letter.

Now, what was the purpose of using abecedarian poetry? CBTEL tells us in the article “Abecedarians” the following:

In imitation of the 119th Psalm. it was customary in the early Church to compose psalms of this kind, each part having its proper letter at the head of it: the singing of the verses was commenced by the precentor, and the people joined him in the close. … This custom was probably introduced into the Christian church from the Hebrew service, and was intended to aid the memory.” (CBTEL, Vol. 1, pg. 27)

Now, if we take a look at this abecedarian poem in Proverbs 31 through Mediterranean eyes a bit, what we may see here is a glimpse of a song/poem that a mother made up for her son (which is exactly what the text of Proverbs 31;1 says) with the idea that it would help him remember the qualities of a woman that she hoped him to find.

And who better to know the desirable qualities of a woman than a woman herself? A mother knows and cares more than anyone else about the type of woman that their sons marry! This is especially the case in a patriarchal society where daughters would leave the home and join the families of their husbands whereas wives would enter the home from outside of the immediate family and become a part of a new family.

The investment and interest that a mother has over who her future daughter in law is in such a society is of prime importance because it is her son who will be caring for her in her old age as she will probably outlive her husband. So, this is no small point for the future harmony of households in ancient and even modern times.

Now, this is just a taste of where I am going with this, but in the next post I will do, we are going to look at Proverbs 1-9 anew.

Read that text and ask yourself: Do I hear the voice of a mother? We’ll revisit this question shortly and I think you will agree with me that the answer may very well be “Yes!”