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series: Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms

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"A very thorough and thought-provoking commentary from an experienced scholar in the field. The scholarly and church audiences are both clearly addressed here in a very readable writing style."--Katharine Dell, Review of Biblical Literature

In Proverbs, Old Testament scholar Tremper Longman III offers an accessible commentary on one of Scripture's most frequently quoted and visited books. With his deft exegetical and expositional skill, the resulting work is full of fresh insight into the meaning of the text.

In addition to the helpful translation and commentary, Proverbs considers the theological implications of these wisdom texts, as well as their literary, historical, and grammatical dimensions. Footnotes allow readers of varying interest and training levels to read and profit from the commentary and to engage the biblical text at an appropriate level.

This is the second volume in the Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms series.


"Proverbs is a fascinating book, and its instructions and aphorisms virtually compel readers to respond and interpret. Tremper Longman is a good reader and has given us a learned and vigorously argued commentary. I like the way he cites comparative material from the ancient Near East, interacts with fellow scholars, and moves creatively within the conservative tradition."--Richard J. Clifford, SJ, professor of biblical studies, Weston Jesuit School of Theology

"This volume is a real contribution to the academic study of Proverbs, both where Longman supports conventional views and also where he challenges them and prods further scholarly reflection. The academic dimension is complemented by his practical focus, seen not only in his easy writing style but also in his seasoned theological reflections that follow each exegetical section. The introduction addresses nearly every important issue concerning the reading of Proverbs, and the volume concludes with a hefty bibliography, complete indexes, and a handy appendix with the most important themes in Proverbs topically arranged and discussed. Longman's efforts have produced an excellent, independent piece of biblical scholarship that will benefit scholars, practitioners, and students."--Peter Enns, author of Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament

"Although life in modern, Western, and largely urban contexts becomes ever more complex and driven by technological gadgets, many Christians continue to find guidance for daily living in the ancient biblical book of Proverbs. The adage 'The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom' has never been more true or more relevant. Recognizing the profoundly theological message of Proverbs, Tremper Longman provides a thorough, up-to-date guide for readers. With his eyes on both the ancient Near Eastern world out of which the book arose and the broader biblical teaching, the author opens the door to a treasure house of biblical wisdom for lay people and professional teachers alike."--Daniel I. Block, professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College

"What sets this commentary apart from the myriads of others is that Longman keeps his audience firmly in mind: Christian scholars, pastors, students, and teachers in church school classes. Due to his wealth of knowledge, years of experience teaching theological students, and clarity of expression, Longman possesses the ability to engage readers at each of these levels by clearly articulating his understandings of the text and by pointing to its theological influence on the church of the present. Those seeking a commentary on Proverbs that addresses the issues of faith and life both in ancient Israel and Judah and in the present will find this study a rewarding adventure."--Leo G. Perdue, professor of Hebrew Bible, Brite Divinity School

"Tremper Longman has written the most accessible and useful commentary on Proverbs that I know of. The topical studies at the end of the book alone are extraordinarily helpful for teachers and preachers. I recommend it highly."--Tim Keller, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City

"Not long ago, Proverbs was sadly neglected by much of Old Testament scholarship. Happily, the situation has been rectified in recent years by the publication of several major interpretations of Proverbs. Tremper Longman's commentary is a welcome and substantial addition to this corpus. Readers will recognize his attention to detail and his knowledge of the scholarly literature. Students and teachers interested in doing serious research on Proverbs will not want to proceed without taking Longman's comments into account."--Duane A. Garrett, John R. Sampey Professor of Old Testament Literature, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

"Tremper Longman writing on wisdom is a man in his sweet spot. There is a reason why the ancients prized wisdom so much that they personified her, and Tremper ushers us into a spiritual reality where we too learn to love and pursue the greatest of human possessions."--John Ortberg, author of God Is Closer Than You Think

"This volume not only provides an accurate and vivid translation of the text of Proverbs, followed by textual notes and detailed commentary, but also concludes each section with a careful consideration of the theological implications of the text for the Christian interpreter today. Longman provides an elongated introduction, orienting readers to this biblical treasury of wisdom and equipping them to interpret it appropriately in its ancient context. Although it will be consulted by the best scholars, it is ideal for seminary courses on Proverbs and for anyone interested in teaching or preaching on the book of Proverbs for contemporary audiences."--Mark J. Boda, professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, McMaster Divinity College

The Author

  1. Tremper Longman III

    Tremper Longman III

    Tremper Longman III (PhD, Yale University) is Distinguished Scholar and Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at Westmont College. Before coming to Westmont, he taught at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia for eighteen years. He has served in...

    Continue reading about Tremper Longman III


"[A] rather innovative emphasis of Longman in this commentary is his stress on the connection between wisdom and law and through that connection an important link with covenant and the covenant community. . . . Longman also refreshingly challenges recent arguments . . . about a structured arrangement to the sayings in Prov 10-31. . . . The introduction is very full and gives considerable space to an interesting listing of Egyptian and other parallels from the ancient Near East . . . to which Longman rightly attaches considerable importance as the background for this material, and to cross-reference with other Old Testament books. . . . The body of the commentary contains a fresh translation with footnotes containing translational notes. . . . This is a very thorough and thought-provoking commentary from an experienced scholar in the field. The scholarly and church audiences are both clearly addressed here in a very readable writing style."--Katharine Dell, Review of Biblical Literature

"Commentaries on wisdom literature are often few and far between. Therefore, preachers will welcome the publication of Proverbs. . . . [Longman] sets the record straight, arguing that the book of Proverbs is indeed a book about theology as well as prudential wisdom."--R. Albert Mohler Jr., Preaching

"Longman is always insightful and easy-to-read. Whenever possible, his work should always be consulted for your OT preaching and teaching. Longman's expertise in Ancient Near Eastern literature is especially valuable. Also, this book contains a helpful appendix of proverbs arranged topically."--Semper Reformanda

"Given that this commentary series sees pastors as its primary readership, it is good to see that the introduction not only addresses the normal questions of date, authorship, etc., but also provides a hermeneutic on how to read Proverbs. . . . Pastors looking for a commentary on Proverbs will be well served by this volume, though scholars will also benefit from the clear and accessible way in which it draws together contemporary research on the book."--D.G. Firth, Society for Old Testament Study Book List

"Longman offers fresh insight into various theological dimensions of proverbial thought and sentence literature. . . . Longman's commentary is provocative and accessible. His wealth of knowledge, years of experience, and fluid writing style make this commentary an engaging read. He offers stimulating insights on individual proverbs probing the depths of those proverbs that on the surface appear mundane. He leaves no proverb 'unturned.' Longman has produced an extremely helpful and readable commentary."--Dave Bland, Stone-Campbell Journal

"Longman's commentary possesses a number of strengths. First, his exposition and style of writing is clear and accessible throughout. The commentary also possesses the virtue of keeping his primary audience of especially (evangelical) Christian pastors and seminary students in mind. These readers will likely appreciate Longman's concern regularly to draw connections between Proverbs and the New Testament and his efforts to point to the significance of different aspects of Proverbs' teaching for Christians today. Longman's translation of Proverbs is also fresh and lively. . . . Lay Bible study leaders, seasoned Hebrew Bible scholars, and everyone in between will benefit from consulting Longman's translation. . . . Longman is also in conversation with much of the best Proverbs scholarship available . . . and offers a clear and reliable guide to the various issues in Proverbs studies. . . . Longman is to be congratulated for producing a valuable translation of Proverbs and a user-friendly commentary that takes seriously the needs of the contemporary audience for which he writes. Pastors and seminary students will gain much from studying Proverbs with an expert interpreter who is attuned to the rhetoric of the text, its ancient context, and its possible contemporary import. Scholars, too, will profit from Longman's often provocative and creative work. Indeed, his commentary will join those others on my shelf that I regularly consult."--Timothy J. Sandoval, Review of Biblical Literature

"The Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms offers a series of substantial volumes on these OT books. . . . Useful tools for study and teaching."--PreachingNow

"The series is primarily intended for people with seminary training, although an attempt is made--as a rule quite successfully, in my opinion--to keep the discussion accessible to laypeople. . . . [Longman] is well positioned to write a full-fledged commentary such as this. . . . The quality of the notes is extremely high throughout and will prove stimulating for the critical student. . . . An excellent resource many will find useful in preparing sermons and lessons on the biblical proverbs. I highly recommend this commentary to serious students of the book of Proverbs. It would be a useful addition to the library of any pastor or seminarian."--Max Rogland, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

"I often find myself wandering into Proverbs and in need of a commentary and Longman's will become the first one I go to."--Scot McKnight,

"Proverbs presents ministers and seminarians, as well as informed laymen, with a welcome addition to the growing number of recently published commentaries on Proverbs. Wise expositors will utilize a variety of these commentaries as guides in the study of this important section of God's written revelation."--William D. Barrick, Master's Seminary Journal

"Longman has brought his experience to a helpful and practical commentary on the book of Proverbs. . . . While the series admits to seek as its target pastors and seminary students, the book demonstrates a simple outline and is replete with practical application that any Bible student will find helpful. The text is marked by a thorough and helpful use of Hebrew, highlighting both the speakers and the intended audience while revealing the proverbs in their context whenever possible with the balance of Scripture and New Testament application. Frequent use of footnotes allows interested readers the chance to engage in further study of significant topics and the bibliographical section is impressive. . . . The strength of the work is the strong exegetical commentary throughout. Readers will find the topical studies section in the appendix especially helpful. . . . This commentary leaves the reader with a greater appreciation for God's Word, a greater understanding of this magnificent book, and access to the wisdom it seeks to convey. It will be an excellent asset for pastors, teachers, seminary students, or anyone interested in a detailed discussion of Proverbs."--Deron J. Biles, Southwestern Journal of Theology

"The [Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms] series provides a bridge between the word of God and the God-seeking community. . . . The preface is useful in that it sets the tone for the rest of the commentary by stating that the target audience is that of scholars, Bible-study leaders, and, most importantly, clergy and future clergy. By placing the bulk of the technical details with secondary literature references in the footnotes, the commentary becomes even more use-friendly for nonscholars as well. . . . The rendering of the Hebrew text is enriched with the occasional footnote on translational matters. Furthermore, after the interpretation of every pericope, the reader finds helpful sections under the title 'Theological Implications.' One of the key values of this commentary is the fact that it does not end with a mere conclusion but with an appendix of topical studies."--Bálint Károly Zabán, Review of Biblical Literature