Commentaries on Proverbs

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Order of Contents

Best  8
More
.      1500’s  3
.      1600’s  4
.      Intermediate  4
.      Advanced  3
A Poetical Commentary  1
Early Church  1
Medieval Church  1
Jewish  1
On Many of the Proverbs  2
Chapters in Proverbs
Topical Arrangements  10
Collections of Secular Proverbs  2

 

 

The Best Commentaries on Proverbs

Intermediate

1800’s

Arnot, William – Laws from Heaven for Life on Earth; Illustrations of the Book of Proverbs  1873, 1st ed. 1858

Arnot was of the Free Church of Scotland.

***“We wish Dr. Arnot had gone steadily through the whole book, for his mind was of an order peculiarly adapted for such a task.  Those passages which he dilates upon are set in a clear and beautiful light.  For a happy blending of illustrative faculty, practical sound sense, and spirituality, Dr. Arnot was almost unrivalled.” – Spurgeon

‘Perceptive studies of selected verses in the Book of Proverbs.’ – Cyril J. Barber

Bridges, Charles – An Exposition of the Book of Proverbs  1850

***“The best work on the Proverbs.  The Scriptural method of exposition so well carried out by Bridges renders all his writings very suggestive to ministers.  While explaining the passage in hand, he sets other portions of the Word in new lights.” – Spurgeon

‘First published in 1846, this work has become a classic of Protestantism.  Rich in thought and valued for its exposition.  Provides valuable material for the preacher.’ – Cyril J. Barber

Lange’s Commentary – Proverbs  by Otto Zockler

***‘We cannot say that we admire Zockler’s interpretation of the Song of Solomon.  The volume contains much that we do not like, but its value is considerable.  It is a pity that the value of the volumes in this series varies so much.’ – Spurgeon

Lawson, George – An Exposition of the Book of Proverbs, vols. 1, 2  d. 1820

Lawson (1749–1820) was a minister in the Seceder Church of Scotland (Burgher), who followed John Brown of Haddington in the professorial chair of theology.

**“A thoroughly sound and useful commentary.  Lawson wrote popularly and vigorously.” – Spurgeon

Wardlaw, Ralph – Lectures on Proverbs, vols. 1 (1:1-14:24), 2 (14:25-21:13, 3 (21:14 ff.)  1861

***“Wardlaw is diffuse, and his views upon ‘wisdom’ are peculiar; but he always repays the reader, and neither Bridges no Arnot have rendered him obsolete, for he works a different vein, and expounds in a manner peculiar to himself.”

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Contemporary

Kidner, Derek – The Proverbs  Buy  1964  in Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries

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Advanced

Keil & Delitzsch – Commentary on Proverbs 

Keil and Delitzsch are the best on academic, grammarian analysis, but are as spiritually satisfying as quenching your thirst on saltine crackers.

** – Spurgeon

Stuart, Moses – Commentary on Proverbs  1852

**  “We have not met with any English reprint of this useful volume.  Dr. Stuart purposely adapted his work to beginners in Hebrew study.  He has set himself to prepare a commentary of explanation only, believing that a hortatory and practical comment ever minister ought to be able to make for himself.  Stuart’s introductory matter is highly instructive, though no reader should blindly accept it all.” – Spurgeon

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More Commentaries on Proverbs

1500’s

Cope, Michael – A Godly and Learned Exposition upon the Proverbs of Solomon  1580

Cope was a minister in Geneva.

Muffett, Peter – A Commentary on the Whole Book of Proverbs  2nd ed. 1594

** “Homely, but not very striking.  Mr. Nichol’s choice of commentators for reprinting was not a wise one.”

Wilcox, Thomas – A Short, yet Sound Commentary written on that worthy work called the Proverbs of Solomon  ToC  1589

Wilcox (c.1549-1608) was a reformed puritan.

**  ‘Very old.  the notes are brief, but furnish many hints for sermons.’  ‘Wilcocks briefly sums up the teaching of the verses, and so aids in suggesting topics; in other respects he is rather wearying.’ – Spurgeon

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1600’s

Blair, Robert – [On Proverbs, but Title Unknown]  †1666

This work was part of the Scottish divines’ project to produce popular commentaries on difficult books of the Bible, which series included the authors: David Dickson, Alexander Nisbet, George Hutcheson and James Fergusson.  Blair finished this work in manuscript, but it was never published.

Jackson, Arthur – Annotations upon Job, the Psalms, the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon  1658

“In 1653, Arthur Jackson, Preacher of God’s Word in Wood Street, London, issued four volumes upon the Old Testament, which appear to have been the result of his pulpit expositions to his people.  Valuable his works would be if there were no better, but they are not comparable to others already and afterwards mentioned.  You can do without him, but he is a reputable author.” – Spurgeon

Jermin, Michael – Paraphrastical Meditations upon the Book of Proverbs  1638

Jermin (1590-1659) was a Reformed Anglican.

**“Very antique and full of Latin quotations.  Jermin does not err in excessive spirituality, but the reverse.  Those who can put up with his style will be repaid by his quaint learning.” – Spurgeon

Leigh, Edward – Annotations on Five Poetical Books of the Old Testament: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Canticles  1657

**  ‘Good, brief notes.  Antique, but still prized.’ – Spurgeon

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Beginner and Simple

Dalrymple, William – Solomon’s Ethics, or the Book of Proverbs Made Easy, a School Book, and Seasonable Present for the Youth  1799

Dalyrmple (1723-1814) was a Scottish religious writer, minister and moderator of the Church of Scotland.

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Intermediate

French, W. & Skinner, G. – A New Translation of the Proverbs of Solomon from the Original Hebrew, with Explanatory Notes  1831

**  “These translators endeavor to produce faithful renderings of the text, giving to each word the same sense in all places.  They are calm, dispassionate, judicious, and able.” – Spurgeon

Nicholls, Benjamin Elliott – The Book of Proverbs, Explained and Illustrated from Holy Scripture  1858

**  “Contains very sensible suggestions for the interpretation of proverbs, and gives instances of explanations by geography, natural history, etc.  It is a somewhat helpful work.” – Spurgeon

Noyes, George R. – A New Translation of the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Canticles, with Introductions and Notes, chiefly Explanatory  1846

**  “Of Noyes upon Ecclesiastes, Dr. Hamilton says: ‘This interpretation is clear and straightforward, but the American Professor gives to the book an air of theological tenuity and mere worldly wisdom which carries neither our conviction nor our sympathy.’  Noyes is a good literary expositor, but his theological views render him a very poverty-stricken commentator from a spiritual point of view.” – Spurgeon

Thomas, David – The Practical Philosopher: a A Daily Monitor for Business Men  1873

**  “Dr. Thomas of the ‘Homilist’ is a well-known writer, and a man capable of great things.  This work does not equal his ‘Genius of the Gospel’.  It contains a large amount of practical comment, written in a rather grandiose style.  We can hardly fancy men of business reading this book from day to day as the author proposes.” – Spurgeon

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Advanced

1700’s

Dimock, Henry – Notes Critical and Explanatory on the Books of Psalms and Proverbs, intended to correct the grammatical errors of the text from the collations of the mss. by D. Kennicott on the Psalms and by him and De Rossi on the Proverbs  1791

*  “The notes mainly concern the various readings, and exhibit considerable learning; but we do not think much of a homiletical kind can be got out of them.” – Spurgeon

Durell, David – Critical remarks on the books of Job, Proverbs, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and Canticles  1772

Durell (1728–1775) was an Anglican O.T. scholar.

1800’s

Holden, George – An Attempt Towards an Improved Translation of the Proverbs of Solomon from the Original Hebrew with Notes, critical and explanatory, and a preliminary dissertation  1819  418 pp.  The commentary starts on p. 83.

Holden (1783-1865) was an orthodox Anglican.  

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A Poetical Commentary on the Proverbs

Day, William – A Poetical Commentary on Proverbs  1862

*  “The author says, he has ‘a taste for building rhymes,’ and has here gratified it.  That is all we can say for his book.” – Spurgeon

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The Early Church on Proverbs

ed. Wright, J. Robert – Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon  Buy

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A Medieval Commentary on Proverbs 31

St. Albert the Great – The Valiant Woman: A Medieval Commentary on Prov. 31:10-31  Buy

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A Jewish Commentary on Proverbs

Greenstone, Julius Hillet – Proverbs: with Commentary  Buy  1950

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On Many of the Proverbs

Hunt, Thomas – Observations on Several Passages in the Book of Proverbs  1775

Hunt was an Anglican and Oxford scholar.

Jacox, Francis – Scripture Proverbs, Illustrated, Annotated, and Applied  1874

**  “This work illustrates many of the proverbs scattered throughout the Scriptures, and some of those collected by Solomon.  Mr. Jacox seems to have read everything good and bad, and hence he pours forth a medley of fact and fiction more entertaining than edifying.  He reminds us of the elder Disraeli and his ‘Curiosities of Literature’.” – Spurgeon

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Proverbs 1-3

Cleaver, Robert – A Plain and Familiar Exposition of Proverbs chs. 1-2  1614  

**“Both Dod and Cleaver were popular as preachers, and their joint works were widely circulated.  this book can rarely be met with entire.” – Spurgeon

Taylor, Francis – An Exposition with Practical Observations upon the Three First Chapters of the Proverbs  1645  An Exposition upon chs. 4-9  1657

Taylor was a Westminster divine.

*** “Two volumes (in one) of rich, old fashioned Puritan divinity.” – Spurgeon

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Proverbs 1-10

Hammond, Henry – A Paraphrase and Annotations upon the Psalms, as also upon the Ten First Chapters of the) Proverbs  1684  d. 1660

Hammond was an Arminian, Latitudinarian Anglican.  Matthew Henry was able to quote from Hammond throughout his commentary.

** “Much esteemed, and deservedly so.  Hammond’s weighty tome is somewhat dry, and many of his remarks are rather those of a linguist than of a divine, but he touches on many matters which others omit, and is, upon the whole, an expositor of singular merit.”  – Spurgeon

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Proverbs 13-14

Dod, John & Cleaver, Robert – A Plain and Familiar Exposition of Proverbs chs. 13-14  1608-9  The authors also at least commented on chs. 9-20 & 28-30 as well.  References to a number of these works can be found at EEBO.

**“Both Dod and Cleaver were popular as preachers, and their joint works were widely circulated.  this book can rarely be met with entire.” – Spurgeon

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Topical Arrangements of the Proverbs

1600’s

Hall, Joseph – Salomon’s Divine Arts, of: 1. Ethics, 2. Politics, 3. Economics that is; the government of: 1. Behavior, 2. Commonwealth, 3. Family.  Drawn into method, out of his Proverbs & Ecclesiastes.  With an Open and Plain Paraphrase upon the Song of Songs  1609

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1800’s

Hopkins, Louisa – Lessons on the Book of Proverbs, Topically Arranged, forming a System of Practical Ethics…   1843  110 pp.

Brooks, J.W. – A New Arrangement of the Proverbs of Solomon, classified according to the subject of each; together with critical and explanatory remarks, various readings, etc.  1860

*  “We do not see the use of the arrangement; but those who want the Proverbs classified have the work done for them here.” – Spurgeon

Stock, John – Inspired Ethics, being a Revised Translation and Topical Arrangement of the Entire Book of Proverbs  1877  75 pp.

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1900’s

Wightman, F.A. – Golden Words from the Book of Wisdom  1918

Voorwinde, Stephen – Wisdom for Today’s Issues: A Topical Arrangement for Today’s Issues  Buy  1996

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2000’s

Clarke, Thomas – A Topical Treasury of Proverbs  Buy  2013  336 pp.

Davis, Sr., DeWayne – Topical Book of Proverbs: Wisdom at Your Fingertips  Buy  2010  210 pp.

Dunigan, Jack – Solomon’s Advice: A Topical Guide to the Book Of Proverbs for Pastors, Parents, Counselors, and Students of Human Behavior  Buy  2011  160 pp.

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For Parenting

Decker, Barbara – Proverbs for Parenting: a Topical Guide for Child Raising from the Book of Proverbs  Buy  1989

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Collections of Secular Proverbs

Mavor, William – Proverbs, or the Manual of Wisdom, being an Alphabetical Arrangement of the Best English, Spanish, French, Itallian and other Proverbs…  1802  160 pp.

Shearer, William – Gems of Wisdom from Bible, Literature and Proverbs, Arranged Topically for Moral Lessons in School and Home  1904  280 pp.

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Related Pages

Whole Bible Commentaries

Old Testament Commentaries

New Testament Commentaries