Book of Proverbs


One of the Sapiential writings of the Old Testament placed in the Vulgate after the Psalms, in the Hebrew among the Sacred Writings. According to the official edition of the Vulgate, the Hebrews called it Misle. The Latin term Proverbium implies a sententious expression of a practical truth. The Hebrew Misle indicates rather the form of expression, viz., “sententious expression in parallelism of individual truths capable of general application.” The Book of Proverbs is a collection of practical rules for wise living set forth in poetical form, containing 31 chapters, divided as follows:

  • the exordium defines the purpose of the book, i.e., to impart wisdom which will enable men to understand all kinds of proverbs (1, 1-7)
  • a series of poems concerning wisdom, its pursuit, fruits, enemies, and glory (1-9)
  • the Proverbs of Solomon; disconnected sayings in couplet form, sometimes repeated (10-22)
  • other collections of proverbs: those regarded as an epilogue to the preceding (22-24)
  • proverbs of Solomon collected by the men of Ezechias, King of Juda (25-29)
  • the words of Gatherer (Agur), son of Vomiter (30)
  • the words of Lamuel, the king (31, 1-9)
  • and an alphabetic poem descriptive of brave and strong woman, used as the Epistle in the Mass of Holy Matrons (31, 10-31)

There is no question of individual authorship. The major portion is the work of Solomon, though the book in its present form may have been completed in the time of King Ezechias or even of Esdros. Its Divine origin (canonicity) is vouched for by its frequent use on the part of the rabbis and by the New Testament allusions and citations, , e.g., Romans, 12, 19 and 20.

MLA Citation

  • “Book of Proverbs”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 6 February 2013. Web. 26 January 2022. <>