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'.
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