Who was the author? The book of Proverbs contains writings that are likely from several authors: King Solomon, Agur son of Jakeh, the non-Israelite King Lemuel (which could be a penname for Solomon), and other wise men.
What is the book? One of the books classified as "Writings" in the Old Testament, Proverbs also is part of the Old Testament's wisdom literature, writings which, at least on the surface, seem to concentrate more on practical and philosophical matters, although they are not devoid of spiritual content.
Where was it written? Most of the book was probably written in Israel's capital, Jerusalem, although some of the work could originate outside of Israel and be included by the later editors in Jerusalem.
When was it written? If genuinely Solomon's work, then most of Proverbs probably dates from the 10th century B.C., although the reference to compiling and editing under King Hezekiah suggests that the book did not come to exist as we know it until Hezekiah's reign, about 715-686 B.C.
Why? Salvation is by grace through faith, but a person with faith undergoes a change of life, and Proverbs can be seen as mostly instruction for those who would be wise in the way of the Lord and not only show their faith in the way they live their lives but strive to keep the way they live their lives from luring them out of the faith.
How? The book of Proverbs contrasts well the wise who believe in God with the fools who do not believe in God. The way of wisdom is shown to be better than the way of folly, and both are personified as inviting people to follow them.
For further reading on the book of Proverbs:
- Keil, C.F. and F. Delitzsch. Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume VI: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, translated by M. G. Easton and published as three volumes in one. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, reprinted August 1984. (There are more than 700 pages on Proverbs.)
- Kretzmann, Paul E. Popular Commentary of the Bible: The Old Testament, Volume II, The Poetical and the Prophetical Books. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1924. (This volume, one that is in our Grace library, has 47 pages on Proverbs.)