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Wisdom Literature

(2,295 words)

Author(s): Kaiser, Otto | Myers, Allen C.
1. Term The Hebrew word ḥokmâ originally meant technical and intellectual understanding resting on experience. While statutes were associated with the priests, and the Word of God with the prophets, counsel typified the wise (Jer. 18:18). The quest for wisdom involves reflection on universal human concerns: the place of humanity within the world, especially the potential and limitations of the individual. In the Bible, it is the attempt to ascertain the meaning of life, to explore its difficult and painful mysteries, to engage i…

Zephaniah, Book of

(598 words)

Author(s): Myers, Allen C.
Zephaniah is the ninth book of the Minor Prophets. Although the precise circumstances of the prophet’s life are unknown, his prophecies suggest that he was of Judean origin, a member of a prominent and possibly royal family, and active during the first half of the reign of Josiah (639–609 b.c.). Zephaniah’s preaching falls within the tradition of Amos, Isaiah, and Micah, his eighth-century predecessors. His utterances in turn may have influenced the prophecy of Jeremiah, a contemporary of his. The book consists of three chapters. Although some scholars find evidence of exi…

Zechariah, Book of

(642 words)

Author(s): Myers, Allen C.
1. Text The 11th and largest book of the Minor Prophets, Zechariah, divides into two distinct parts. Chapters 1–8 contain eight night visions concerning the restoration of Judah and Jerusalem, arranged chronologically beginning with October/November 520 b.c., and a series of oracles of the coming messianic age. Zechariah son of Berechiah son of Iddo was probably of priestly and possibly aristocratic background. He was likely among those who recently returned from captivity in Babylon and ministered until 518 b.c. during the reign of the Persian king Darius I. Concerned ab…

Solomon

(535 words)

Author(s): Myers, Allen C.
The second son of David and Bathsheba, Solomon was Israel’s third king and ruled over its golden age (ca. 970–930 b.c.; Israel 1.4). Solomon consolidated his father’s kingdom, dividing all except Judah into districts that cut across the old tribal boundaries, thus consolidating the government at Jerusalem. He built the temple (§2; 1 Kings 5–7; 2 Chronicles 2–4), accomplishing what his father had only envisioned, as well as his own magnificent palace (1 Kgs. 7:1–8). He levied heavy taxation and employed forced labor, largely of foreign captives, in an extensive building program (5:13–18…