Walter Frederic Adeney William Henry Bennett.

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xix. 24; xxxL 5, in Luke xxiii, 46, and xxxiv. 20 in John xix. 36.^

(iii.) The Typical Man; viiL, the divinely appointed relation
of Mankind to Nature and the Angels, is applied to Christ,
Matthew xxL 16, Hebrews ii. 6, 7, i. Corinthians xv. 27.

(iv.) The Perfect Believer; xvi. 8-10, "Thou wilt not leave
my soul in hell, etc.," was applied to the Resunection by St
Peter at Pentecost, and by St Paul at Antioch in Pisidia,
Acts iL 25 fr., xiii. 35.*

The Psalter possesses a special Messianic character as con-
taining some of the loftiest and purest ideals, and most exalted
anticipations of O.T. religion, in some of which, at any rate,

^ Cf, also ii. I, Acts iv. 25 ; zviiL 49, Rom. zv. 9. Other psalms
sometimes included in this class are xx., rsi., zl., Izi., bodi,, Ixxxix.

' Cf, also xxii. 22, Heb. ii. 12 ; xxxv. 19 and Ixix. 4, John xv. 25 ; xlL
9, John xiiL 18, of Judas ; Ixix. 9, John IL 17, Rom. xv. 3 ; Ixix. 23, Rom.
XL 9 f ; Ixix. 25, Acts t 20, of Judas.

" (y. also xL 7, Heb. x. 5-7.

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the authors consciously express expectations whose complete
fulfilment lay beyond their own horizon.^

(g) Contents and Teaching. — As these are too rich and varied
to admit of detailed treatment, the Psalms have been arranged
in groups. But a single psalm often touches on several
subjects, so that the classification is only roughly accurate.

I., The appeal of the sufferer for deliverance.

(i.) The appeal of Israel against her oppressors, 44, 60, 74,
94, 129-132, 137.

(ii.) The appeal of the suffering saint — the Israelite or
Israel — against the oppression of sinners, mostly either the
Gentiles, or the Jews who ally themselves with them. Such
alliances are known between Jewish nobles and the Samaritans
in the time of Nehemiah, and between the hellenising Jews
and the Greeks in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, and
doubtless existed at other times, 3-5, 7, 10-14, 17, 22a,^ 26-
28. 3I1 35> 41-431 S3-S9> 62, 64, 69-71, 89b,' 109, 120, 123,

(iii.) The appeal of the sufferer for deliverance, 6, 39, 40,
61, 63, 86, 88, 90, 102.

(iv.) The appeal of the sinner for mercy, 25, 38, 51.

II., Praise and Thanksgiving.

(i.) For the actual or prospective deliverance of the righteous
and punishment of the wicked, the speaker being still in the
shadow of recent trouble, 9, 16, 21, 22b,* 23, 30, 32, 36, 52,
75, 116, 124, 138.

(ii.) Confident prayer and praise, and expressions of confi-
dent faith. There is a tone of unclouded brightness about

^ Cf, also X. 7, Rom. iii. 14 ; xiv. -liii., Rom. iii. ia-18 ; xiz. 4, Rom.
X. 18; xxiv. I, i. Cor. x. 26; xxxil i, Rom. iv. 7, 8; xxxiv. 12 f., I PeL
iii. 10 f. ; xxxvi. I, Rom. iii 18 ; xliv. 22, Rom. viii. 36 ; Ii. 4, Rom. iii
4 ; Ixviil 18, Eph. iv. 8 ; Ixxxil 6, John x. 34 ; Ixxxix. 20, Acts xiii. 22 ;
xc. 4, il Pet. iii. 8 ; xd. 11 f., Matt. iv. 6, Temptation; xdv. 11, I Cor.
iii 20; xcv. 7 ff., Heb. iii. 7 ffi ; xcvii. 7, Heb. i. 6 ; di. 25 f., Heb. I
10 f. ; dv. 4, Heb. I 7 ; dx. 8, Acts i. 20, Judas ; cxii. 9, ii. Cor. ix. 9 ;
cxvi. 10, il Cor. iv. 13; cxvil i, Rom. xv. 11 ; cxviii. 6, Heb. xiii. 6;
cxviii. 22, "The stone which the builders rejected " ; Matt, xxl 42, etc,
Acts iv. II, i. Pet. il 7 ; cxl. 3, Rom. iii, 13,

" Verses 1-21. » Verses 38-51. * Verses 22-31.

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these psalms. Many are expressly national, and some cele-
brate the triumph of Israel over its enemies, 2, 20, 24b,^ 34,
46-48, soa,2 65-68, 76, 84, 85, 91, 92, 95, loi, 103, 108, no,
III, 113, lis, ii7» ii^> i«i> 122, 125, 128, 134, 144, 146,


(iii.) Praise of God in Nature and Providence, 8, 19a,' 29,
93, 104, 107, 145-147-

(iv.) Praise of the Law, 19b,* 119.

(v.) Praise of Zion, 87.

III., Historical Retrospects, 78, 81, 89a,* 105, 106, 114,

IV., Exposition of the Doctrine of Rewards and Punish-
ments, parallel to Proverbs, i, 15, 243,^ 37, 49, 5ob,''^ 112.

v., Discussion of the apparent failure of Divine Justice,
parallel to Job, 73.

VI., Marriage Ode, 45.

VII., Eulogy of a Kang, 72.

Probably when 45 and 72 were included in the complete
Psalter, a spiritual or Messianic interpretation had been given
to them. It is often supposed that in most of the psalms
which use the first person singular the speaker is the com-
munity — 2L view supported by the long and widespread use
of the Psalter in public worship. Yet such psalms would
be based on personal experience, since the Psalter has also
proved to be a perfect manual of private devotion.

(h) Form of Hebrew Poetry, — Hebrew verse is distinguished
from prose not by the use of rhyme or alliteration, or of
special arrangements of accents or quantities, but by a
correspondence of sense, and, in a secondary degree, of
form, called parallelism. The unit of Hebrew verse is
usually a couplet, less often a triplet, and occasionally
a set of four, five, or six lines. The correspondence of
sense between two members of a couplet is of the most
varied description.

Each of the two members may express the same or a very

* Verses 7-10. * Verses 1-15. • Verses 1-6. * Verses 7-14.
» Verses 1-37. • Verses 1-6. ' Verses i6-r23.

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similar idea, in which case we have synonymous paralkHsnit
e.g,y Psalm Ixix. 8,

*' I am become a stianger unto my brethren,
And an alien onto my mother's children."

Sometimes the two members express contrasted truths,

which both illustrate the same general principle, in which

case we have antithetic parallelism^ e,g.^ Psalm xxxii. lo,

** Many sorrows shall be to the wicked :
But he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about "^

Sometimes the second member of a couplet merely com-
pletes or supplements the sense of the first, in which case
we have synthetic parallelism^ e,g.^ Psalm ii. 6,

" Yet I have set my king
Upon my holy hill of Zion."

Such couplets are only distinguished from prose by the
context, and, perhaps, by a certain similarity of length and
sound between the two members \ the general rhythm of a
psalm would guide a singer or punctuator in dividing a verse
into its two halves.

The subdivisions of these kinds of parallelism have been
variously named by different scholars. Two striking peculiar-
ities are: (i.) the actual repetition of a phrase from (a) in
(b), e,g,<i Psalm xcvii. 5,

" The hills melted like wax at the presence of Jehovah,
At the presence of the Lord of the whole earth."

and (ii.) 'the implied repetition of a word or phrase from (a) in

(b), c.g,^ Psalm xviii. 41,

" They cried, but there was none to save :
Even unto Jehovah, but he answered them not."

* Two common forms of the relation of the two members (a), (b) of a
couplet in antithetic parallelism may be illustrated mathematically.
We may have —

(a) A is equal to B.

(b) A is not equal to -B, ^^., Proverbs xvi. 10,

"A divine sentence is in the lips of the king :
Or again ^^ mouth shall not transgress in judgment**

(a) A=R

(b) -A- -B, tf./;, Proverbs XV. 18,

"A wrathful man stirreth up contention :
But he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife."

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Correspondence of form naturally arose out of that of
sense, and sometimes, as we have seen, was accepted as a
substitute for it, though, as a rule, there is a relation of
sense between the two members of such couplets, which
produces the feeling of balance or parallelism. The con-
nection of form and sense is best illustrated by Psalm xix. 7-9,
where there is a correspondence of "noun to noun, verb to
verb, adjective to adjective."

** The law
The testimony
The precepts
The commandment
The fear
The judgments

of Jehovah is perfect,
of Jehovah is sure,
of Jehovah are right,
of Jehovah is pure,
of Jehovah is clean,
of Jehovah are true,


making wise





the soul ;
the simple ;
the heart ;
the eyes ;
for ever ;

In triplets and larger groups of lines the different kinds
of parallelism are variously combined in much the same
way as the rhymes in the various stanzas of English poetry.
In the same psalm the parallelisms may be of different
kinds, but there is a tendency either to use lines of about
the same length throughout a psalm or strophe, or else to
arrange the lengths on some regular principle. The con-
clusion of strophes is often indicated by a refrain, e.g,y
Psalm xlvi. 7, 11,

" Jehovah Sabaoth is with us ;
The God of Jacob is our refuge."

The psalmists occasionally composed alphabetic acrostics ;
the most striking is cxix., which consists of twenty-two six-
lined strophes. In each strophe each of the six lines begins
with the same letter ; in the first strophe with Aleph, in the
second with Beth, etc. Hence in the English versions each
strophe is headed with the name or symbol of its Hebrew
letter. Other more or less perfect alphabetic acrostics are
ix. + x., XXV., xxxiv., xxxvii., cxi., cxii., cxix., cxlv. Psalm ex.
has been read as an acrostic on Simon the Maccabee.^

Numerous attempts have been made to discover hexameters
and similar metres in the O.T., but none of them are generally

1 Cf. (a).

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regarded as successftil. The poetry of the O.T. is not con-
fined to the books which are specially called ''Poetical/'^
but is found in the Prophets, and in the songs, etc in the
historical books.^

3. Proverbs.

(a) Composition^ Daie^ and Authorship. — ^Proverbs in many
ways resembles the Psalter. It is a collection of collections
of short poems, assigned by headings to different authors \ the
tendency has been to give the. titles Solomon and David to the
complete books, because these two kings were typical repre-
sentatives of the wisdom and psalmody of Israel Just as
the Psalter contains two earlier collections with the title
"David," separated by psalms with other titles; so here
there are two earlier collections with the title "Solomon,"
separated by proverbs ascribed to '*the Wise." These fects
suggest that Proverbs and the Psalter had similar histories.

Thus Proverbs, as the national storehouse of proverbial
wisdom, would be likely to receive additions as long as
Hebrew was a living language, or at any rate till some edition
of it had been current long enough to receive a canonical
status. The production of a new collection of proverbs in
Ecclesiasticus instead of an enlarged edition of our book
shows that the latter was completed some time before b.c

According to the analogy of the titles in the Psalter
and elsewhere, the headings may have been added by late
editors. The prologue, " Proverbs of Solomon, etc.," i. 1-6, was
probably prefixed by the compiler of the last edition* ; neither
here nor in x. i, xxv. i, need the title imply that all the pro-
verbs were composed by Solomon.

So far, we may place the final editing of Proverbs at some
date between the formation of the last collection and c, b.c.
250. We have therefore to see within what limits we can fix

* Psalms, Job, Cant, Eccles., Prov,

' Cf, Lamentations, pp. 212 f., and Prov., pp. 15a, 156.

' But XXX. f., may have been added later still.

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the dates of these cx>llections. The d^ree of certainty attain-
able is lessened not only by the presence of proverbs much
older than the collections in which they stand, but also by the
probability that some proverbs were inserted and others
brought up to date even after a collection had been formed
and a title prefixed to it.

The following table states a form of the prevalent view as
to Proverbs ; titles in inverted commas : —

A, i. 1-6, Prologue by final editor referring to the book as

"Proverbs of Solomon."

B, L 7-ix., Late addition, placed at the beginning as suitable


C, X. i-xxii. 1 6, "Solomon," oldest main collection.

D and E, xxiL 17-xxiv. 22, "the Wise"; and xxiv. 23-34,
"the Wise," two appendices to C, combined with it
before the other parts of the book were added.

F, xxv.-30dx., "Solomon, copied out", by the "Men of

Hezekiah," second main collection, added to CDE
as supplement.

G, H, and I, xxx., "Agur"; xxxi. 1-9, "Lemuel" xxxi.;

10-31, three appendices, the two former post-exilic, the
last perhaps pre-exilic.

Thus C is commonly regarded as the oldest collection,
though some^ would assign the priority to F.

C is often ^ assigned to the early monarchy, to which period
it must, of course, belong if it is older than F, and if the title
which assigns F to the time of Hezekiah is correct. Very
many of the proverbs in C imply the historical situation of
the period ; the king is spoken of with respect and apprecia-
tion,' the general situation seems one of settled order and
moderate prosperity, such as prevailed in the Israelite states
before the social evils denounced by Amos, Hosea, and Isaiah
came to a head. A contentious woman is one of the most
serious troubles of life.

* rf./-., A. B. Davidson, Encycl Brit,

* Davidson, Encycl, Brit,\ Chbynb,/^?^, etc., p. 133,

* xvL 10-15, xix. 12, XX. 8, 26, 28, xxi. i.

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On the other hand there are features which seem to belong
to a later period.^ It is strange that we find no traces of the
fierce polemic of the prophets against Baal-worship and
idolatry. Even if the collection was formed before these
controversies arose, would it have passed through them un-
altered ? Again, advanced ethics need not be a sign of a late
date, benevolence and pity, widiin limited circles, have always
been popular ; but such sayings as

"Jehovah hath made everything for its own end :
Yea, even the wicked for the day of evil " (xvL 4),

''The spirit of man is the lamp of Jehovah,"

'' Searching all the innermost parts of the belly " (xx. 27),
point to a period when long reflection had been devoted to
the problems of theology and the spiritual life. They may,
however, have been added after the collection was formed.

The almost uniform use in C of couplets in antithetic
parallelism is not necessarily due to the compiler, but may
be due to a traditional convention. The repetition of the
same or part of a proverb in different places ^ indicates that C
was compiled from earlier smaller collections.

If the heading xxv. i is accepted, the appendices D, £
to C might naturally, but not necessarily,^ be placed between
C and the time of Hezekiah. These appendices would very
well reflect the vice, extravagance, and oppression of the
eighth century. Repetitions occur ^ in D, £, which also
repeat parts of proverbs from C.^ The introduction to D,
xxii. 17-21, resembles i. i~6, and may also have been added
by the final editor.

The heading of F, "These also are the Proverbs of
Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah . . . copied out,"
would be a most satisfactory pivot for the criticism of
Proverbs, if it could be certainly relied on. It gives us a

1 CoRNiLL, post- exilic.

3 tf.^., xiv. lasxvi. 25, Cheynb, /tfd, etc., 133, enumerates nineteen

" F may have existed long before its comHnation with CDE.
* e^»t xxiii. I7as:xxiv. la. ' «.^., xxiv. 2ob=xiii. Qb.

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date for F, and as the ''also" implies another collection,
which can scarcdy be other than C, it shows that C is
still older. If F is the older collection, the heading will
still be later than C, and therefore not contemporary, but
the work of the editor who combined CDE and F, who
may be the final editor. The Chronicler mentions no such
literary activity on the part of Hezekiah, though we might
expect that he would have done so, if this heading lay
before him.^ The proverbs in F imply less settled and
prosperous times than those in C, and the king or ruler
is sometimes spoken of as an oppressor.^ The collection
may reflect the troubled days when Samaria was tottering
to its fall, and Jerusalem was expecting to share its fate.
Yet the evils dwelt on are rather those of a society under
an iniquitous government, which uses part of the people as
instruments of its oppression ; and the contentious woman is
still prominent We do not seem to be on the verge of great
catastrophes. The antithesis between the righteous and the
wicked, and the qualities assigned to them remind us of
post-exilic psalms, and the references to the law suggest a
post-exilic date.' Cheyne, however, regards F as of the
age of Hezekiah, or, at any rate, pre-exilic,* and Driver*
writes : "The title (xxv. i), the accuracy of which there is
no reason to question."

F also repeats proverbs or parts of proverbs from C.^

The three concluding appendices, Agur, Lemuel, and the

Capable Woman, are generally regarded as post-exilic.''

Agur's meditation on the Divine Transcendence belongs

to a very late period of Jewish theology.^ His quaternions

* CORNILL. " e.g,, xxix. 2.

' xxyiii. 4-^, xxix. 18, the passages do not seem to be additions, and to
render tdrd ** instruction " or "revelation " is hardly in accordance with the
concrete, practical nature of the proverbs in this section.

* /od, etc., pp. 145-149 ; cf. Origin of Psalter^ pp. 409, 457.
' Introduction^ p. 383, similarly NowACK, p. xxvii.

* Chsynb,/?^, etc, p. 143, enumerates 11 cases.
' DniVBltfp. 382, "doubtless."

* xzx. 5-9 almost reads like a maiginal gloss, the protest of a pious
reader, who prayed that he might be kept from such dangerous speculations
as those of Agur.

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remind one of similar groups in the rabbinical sayings in
Pirq^ Abdth. The few verses addressed to Lemuel contain
striking Aramaisms.

A post-exilic date is suggested for ''the Capable Woman ''^
by its being an acrostic — the other O.T. acrostics* are, as
far as we know, post-exilic — and by its position in the book.^
Otherwise the quiet, prosperous circumstances implied in this
picture of a strenuous housewife might be those of the early
monarchy. The language of the poem would be consistent
with such a date.

The date of A and B, which are probably by the final
editor,^ is another crucial point of the criticism of Proverbs.
Their similarity to Deuteronomy has led many to place them
in^ the closing period of the Jewish monarchy. But other
considerations point to a post-exilic date;^ the personification
of Wisdom is a great advance on Job xxviii., and is closely
akin to Ecclesiasticus xxiv. and the Wisdom of Solomon ; the
account of the divine working in Creation and Providence
is an advance on Genesis i. The elaborate structure of some
of the sentences, especially in ii.,^ suggests the influence of a
knowledge of Greek.®

Thus the general conclusion indicated is that the complete
work is post-exilic, not later than c. B.C. 250; and that
probably C and perhaps F were compiled before the Exile,
and A + B after the Exile.®

When we come to the contents of these collections, we

^ *Esheth hayil^ for which there is no English equivalent. ''Virtuous
VToman " quite misleads the reader, to whom it suggests absence of vices,
especially one particular vice, and not the active, successful well-doing
denoted by the Hebrew. "Excellent Woman" has also been weU

T Pages 151 f. • But see p. 153. *.So Cornill, etc

• A. B. Davidson, EncycL Bnt. ; Driver; Cheyne, in/06, etc.,
p! 168, but cf, below.

* So Cornill; Cheyne, Founders, etc., p. 340; Kautzsch, Bibel,
iL 212 ; KoNiG, Smend, p. 510.

' Sometimes spoken of as a single sentence.

^ The dependence of i.-ix. on Job, and of Job on i.-ix., have been
asserted with equal positiveness ; ^ p. 132.

" According to Wildeboer, the book -was compiled at the beginning
of the Greek period ; the older collections at the close of the Persian
period. So Toy ; but xxx., xxxi., second century.

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raise the question of the share of Solomon in the book.
Solomonic proverbs and Davidic psalms present very similar
problems. Both are supported by ancient tradition;^ are
very probable when all the evidence has been considered,
and are naturally to be looked for in the oldest collections
bearing the names of David and Solomon. But in neither
case is it likely that even the oldest collection is wholly or
substantially David's or Solomon^ and definite criteria for
Solomonic proverbs are more entirely absent than for
Davidic Psalms. The contents of C suggest that the
compiler was rather a man in moderate circumstances
moving in middle-class society than a magnificent and
luxurious king surrounded by a splendid court Sayings
of Solomon would reach such an editor, but are not now
distinguishable from his other material. Where the evidence
is so vague, critical opinion naturally varies widely. Professor
A. B. Davidson writes ^ of Proverbs : " Much " in the book
"may be referred to the age of Solomon, particularly the
sayings in chapters x.-xxii., though much even in this division
may be later" ; on the other hand, a distinguished critic denies
Solomon any share in Proverbs.*

(b) Texf.— The LXX. differs very widely from the Hebrew ;
it makes numerous additions, some of which are also found in
the Vulgate or Syriac For instance, after vi. 6-8, which
commend the ant as an example, the LXX. adds a similar
passage on the bee. The order of some sections is different,
the most important change being the insertion of xxx. 1-14
(part of Agur) between xxiv. 22 and 23; and xxx. is-xxxi. 9
(rest of Agur, and Lemuel), between xxiv. 34, and xxv. i.
This arrangement indicates that the three appendices G, H, I
were combined with the rest of the book in different ways by
different editors.

The headings, x. i, "Proverbs of Solomon," xxiv. 23, "These

^ L Kings iv. 32.

*y<^, C.B.S., p. Ix. ; Strack speaks of C as substantially {inhaUlich)

* Smsnd, A,T, Theol, p. 510 n., *'Mit den kanonischen Proverbien
hat Sak>mo freilich nichts zu thun."

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also are of the Wise,"^ xxx. i, " Words of Agur," etc., xxxi. i,
« Words of Lemuel," etc., are omitted, in order that the
" Proverbs of Solomon " in i. i, may be understood to extend
to the whole book.

(c) C(mtents. — I. i-6, General Heading.

"The Proverbs of Solomon, the son of David, King of
Israel," and statement of purpose of book.

I. 7-IX., In Praise of Wisdom.

Chiefly in couplets and synonymous parallelism.

L 7-vii., A series of didactic poems, mostly beginning '' My
son," exhorting the reader to practise virtues and avoid vice,
and thus follow wisdom«

viii., ix., Wisdom invites men to her banquet ; warns them
against folly. Wisdom as God's agent in creation and provi-

X. i-XXII. i6, "The Proverbs of Solomon."*

A collection of miscellaneous aphorisms on life and con-
duct, for the most part secular rather than distinctly re-
ligious; almost entirely in couplets, and chiefly in antithetic

XXII. 17-.XXIV. 22, "The Words of the Wise."»

xxii. 17-21, Purpose of collection, stated in first person by

xxii. 22-xxiv. 22, A similar collection to x.-xxiL 16. The
grouping of the lines is very varied, from couplets to a set of
eight clauses, but quatrains are most frequent. The parallel-
ism is chiefly synonymous.

xxiv. 23-34,. " These also are the sayings of the Wise."*
Appendix to above, including " the Parable of the Sluggard."
Grouping of lines varied, parallelism synthetic or synonymous.

XXV.-XXIX., "Proverbs of Solomon."

"These also are the Proverbs of Solomon, which the men
of Hezekiah, king of Judah, copied out" Another similar

^ Replaced by an exhortation sunilar to xxii. 17.

^ This heading is omitted by LXX. and Syr.

» xxiL 17.

^ LXX. omits and replaces by a hortatory clause lil^e xxii 17.


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collection ; couplets preponderate, but both grouping of lines
and parallelism are varied.

XXX., "The Words of Agur, the Son of Jakeh, the

Nothing is known of Agur, the name may be symbolic,
"hireling" or "collector of wisdom."^

A series of epigrams, from two to ten lines each» on the
Divine Transcendence, four wicked generations, four insatiable
things, four wonderful things, four intolerable things, four
things that are little but wise, four stately things, etc.

XXXI. 1-9, "The Words of King Lemuel."^

"The oracle which his mother taught him."

Nothing is known of Lemuel, possibly a symbolic name,
" belonging to God." Unless it is thought necessary to claim
every verse of the book for Solomon, there is no ground for

Online LibraryWalter Frederic Adeney William Henry BennettA Biblical introduction → online text (page 14 of 44)