The Structure And Significance Of Prov 9:7-12 -- By: Rick W. Byargeon

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 40:3 (Sep 1997)
Article: The Structure And Significance Of Prov 9:7-12
Author: Rick W. Byargeon


The Structure And Significance Of Prov 9:7-12

Rick W. Byargeon*

The following paper raises the question of why Prov 9:7–12 is located in its present position. Is it accidental or purposeful? If it is purposeful, then what is the reason for its presence in Proverbs 9? What are the various perspectives of scholars regarding the nature of 9:7–12?

The primary perspective of critical commentaries in this century is that 9:7–12 is intrusive within the context of Proverbs 9. The reason for its intrusiveness varies from commentator to commentator. C. H. Toy argues that 9:7–12 was originally a part of 10:1–22:16 and therefore has been inserted as a result of scribal error. 1 Other scholars such as H. Ringgren argue that 9:7–12 is intrusive because it inserts a pessimistic tone into the text that is radically different from the optimism of 9:1–6. 2 Perhaps the most comprehensive list of reasons for seeing 9:7–12 as intrusive is found in B. Gemser’s work. His argument for intrusiveness derives from a difference in meter, text-critical matters (for example, the critical apparatus of BHS indicates the absence of vv. 9–10 in one Hebrew manuscript and vv. 10–12 in another), a lack of continuation of thought from 9:6 to 9:7, and issues already mentioned such as the pessimism of 9:7–12 and its similarity with the sentence literature of 10:1–22:16. 3 These perspectives on the intrusive nature of 9:7–12 often lead scholars to the assumption that the original text of Proverbs 9 did not contain 9:7–12 4 or that the text is nothing more than proverbial debris that often collected at the end of various instructions in Proverbs 1–9.

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