"Proverbs are generalisations, rather than invariably true".
The wisdom literature such as Proverbs emphasises wisdom through godliness. This is precisely what Joseph models for us. Even fine details in Proverbs such as restraint of emotion (Proverbs 14:30) can be found in the life of Joseph (Genesis 42:34 and Genesis 45:1). Underlying it all is the sense of God's purpose coming into effect through the unfolding of events, in Proverbs 16:9 and Genesis 45:5, Genesis 50:20. Some take this as an indication that Genesis was edited or compiled by someone active in the Wisdom tradition, such as one of the court secretaries in Solomon's time, who admired Joseph as a model administrator among other things.
Solomon is credited wth great wisdom and for compiling these proverbs, but it is clear from Proverbs 25:1 that some of them were compiled in other king's reigns. The basic structure is:
Chapters 1–9: Proverbs of king Solomon
Chapters 10–24: Proverbs of king Solomon
Chapters 25–29: proverbs compiled for King Hezekiah
Chapter 30: Proverbs of Agur the son of Jakeh
Chapter 31: Proverbs of king Lemuel, from his mother
© David Billin 2002–2021