Commentaries on Proverbs

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Order of Contents

Best  8
Commentaries  14
Poetical  1
Early & Medieval  8+
Jewish  3
Throughout Proverbs  2
Introduction to  1
Topical Arrangements  10
Bibliography  1
Secular Proverbs  2



The Best Commentaries on Proverbs



Arnot, William – Laws from Heaven for Life on Earth; Illustrations of the Book of Proverbs  (1853; 1873)

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.”



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



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



More Commentaries on Proverbs


Cope, Michael – A Godly & 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  (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



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.

Dod, John & Cleaver, Robert – A Brief Explanation of the Whole Book of the Proverbs of Solomon  (1616)  This is the same work as the commentaries on chapters of Proverbs listed at EEBO under John Dod.

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

Jackson, Arthur – Annotations upon Job, the Psalms, the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes & 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  Ref  (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 & Canticles  (1657)

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


Beginner & Simple

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

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



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




Dimock, Henry – Notes Critical & Explanatory on the Books of Psalms & Proverbs, Intended to Correct the Grammatical Errors of the Text from the Collations of the Mss. by D. Kennicott on the Psalms & by him & 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 & Canticles  (1772)

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



Holden, George – An Attempt Towards an Improved Translation of the Proverbs of Solomon from the Original Hebrew with Notes, Critical & Explanatory & a Preliminary Dissertation  (1819)  418 pp.  The commentary starts on p. 83.

Holden (1783-1865) was an orthodox Anglican.



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



The Early Church on Proverbs


ed. Wright, J. Robert – Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon  Pre  Buy  (IVP, 2005)  ToC



Hippolytus of Rome – On Proverbs (Preface, 4:2; 5:19; 7:26; 9:1)  at Patristic Bible Commentary

Hippolytus (c. 170 – c. 235)


Commentary on Proverbs–Fragments  trans. Justin Gohl  at

Origen (c. 185 – c. 253)

Remains of the Commentary on Proverbs  trans. Travis Fernald  at

Basil the Great – Homily 12 on the Beginning of Proverbs (Prov. 1:1-5)  trans. Justin Gohl  at

Basil of Caesarea (330–379)

Ambrosiaster – Questions & Answers on Proverbs (Prov. 10:27; 18:17; 22:2)  at Patristic Bible Commentary

Evagrius of Pontus – Scholia on Proverbs  trans. Justin Gohl  at

Evagrius (345–399)

Chrysostom – Commentaries on the Sages: Commentary on Proverbs & Commentary on Ecclesiastes  Ref  (Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2006)  246 pp.

Chrysostom (c. 347 – 407)



Medieval Church


Ps-Procopius of Gaza – Commentary on Proverbs, chs. 1-925-31  trans. Justin Gohl  (2020/2021)  at

Procopius (c. 465–528 AD) was a Christian sophist and rhetorician, one of the most important representatives of the famous school of Gaza.  Here he spent nearly the whole of his life teaching and writing and took no part in the theological movements of his time.

St. Albert the Great – The Valiant Woman: A Medieval Commentary on Prov. 31:10-31  Ref  Buy  (New Priory Press, 2013)  388 pp.

Albert (c. 1200–1280)



Jewish Commentaries

Rashi – On Proverbs  at Patristic Bible Commentary

The Arabic Translation & Commentary of Yefet ben ʿEli the Karaite on the Book of Proverbs, 2 vols.  in Karaite Texts & Studies  Pre 1  Ref 2  (Brill, 2016 / 2023)  ToC 1

Yefet (c. 914 – 1009) was perhaps the foremost Karaite commentator on the Bible during the “Golden Age of Karaism”.

Greenstone, Julius Hillet – Proverbs: with Commentary  Buy  Ref  (Jewish Publication Society of America, 1950)  354 pp.



Throughout Proverbs, on Many of Them

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 & 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



On Chapters in Proverbs


Proverbs 1-10

Taylor, Francis

An Exposition with Practical Observations upon the Three First Chapters of the Proverbs  (1645)

An Exposition upon Proverbs Chapters 4-9  (1657)

Taylor was a Westminster divine.

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

Hammond, Henry – A Paraphrase & Annotations upon the Psalms, as also upon the Ten First Chapters of the Proverbs  (1684)

Hammond (d. 1660) 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



Proverbs 31

Dod, John & William Hinde – Bathsheba’s Instructions to her Son Lemuel, containing a Fruitful & Plain Exposition of the Last Chapter of the Proverbs, Describing the Duties of a Great Man & the Virtues of a Gracious Woman  (London, 1614)



Introduction to Proverbs

Kidner, Derek – chs. 2-3  ToC  in The Wisdom of Proverbs, Job & Ecclesiastes: an Introduction to Wisdom Literature  (IVP Academic, 1985), pp. 37-56



Topical Arrangements of the Proverbs


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 & Plain Paraphrase upon the Song of Songs  (1609)



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

Brooks, Joshua William – A New Arrangement of the Proverbs of Solomon, Classified according to the Subject of Each; Together with Critical & Explanatory Remarks, Various Readings, etc.  Ref  (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 & Topical Arrangement of the Entire Book of Proverbs  (1877)  75 pp.



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)  140 pp.  ToC



Clarke, Thomas – A Topical Treasury of Proverbs  Buy  Ref  (Biblical Studies Press, 2013)  336 pp.

Davis, Sr., DeWayne – Topical Book of Proverbs: Wisdom at Your Fingertips  Buy  Ref  (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  Ref  (2011)  160 pp.


For Parenting

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




Putnam, Fred & Ted A. Hildebrandt – The Book of Proverbs: A Classified Bibliography  (2006)  421 pp.

4000+ works on Proverbs categorically arranged.  “Nearly exhaustive for publications in English through December 2008.”



Collections of Secular Proverbs

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

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




Related Pages

Whole Bible Commentaries

Old Testament Commentaries

New Testament Commentaries