This chapter has provoked a lot of debate because of serious variations between different manuscripts, though mostly in the introductory portion. While our translation here (Green’s Modern King James) adheres to common traditions, it’s not hard to find other translations that take a different approach. And frankly, an ancient Hebrew scholar would consider most of that debate downright silly. Where Solomon got this material is not important, nor even if it was added by later editors. It would seem obvious that it represents non-Hebrew thinking, perhaps more Arabic in the sense of Abraham’s other sons. Even if the thoughts are from outright pagan sources, as other material in this book surely does, it shouldn’t be too difficult to see how the wisdom reflects Solomon’s habit of finding God’s truth everywhere because he operated above the mere intellectual legalistic nit-picking more common of the Post-Hellenist rabbis of Jesus’ day.
We note that the author of this material is fond of Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) structures not common in Hebrew literature. There is heavy use of the three and then four, which is meant to portray completeness in moral terms.
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