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Latin Vulgate the title was Proverbia, from which the English name is derived. Proverbs is not merely an anthology but a “collection of collections” relating to a pattern of life which lasted for more than a millennium. It is an example of the Biblical wisdom tradition, and raises questions of values, moral behaviour, the meaning of human life, and right conduct. Proverbs” translates the Hebrew word mashal, but “mashal” has a wider range of meaning than the short catchy sayings implied by the English word.
Thus, while roughly half the book is made up of “sayings” of this type, the other half is made up of longer poetic units of various types. These include “instructions” formulated as advice from a teacher or parent addressed to a student or child, dramatic personifications of both Wisdom and Folly, and the “words of the wise” sayings, longer than the Solomonic “sayings” but shorter and more diverse than the “instructions”. 29, attributed to editorial activity of “the men of Hezekiah,” contrasts the just and the wicked and broaches the topic of rich and poor. 4, the “sayings of Agur”, introduces creation, divine power, and human ignorance.