10:1–32 As is often the case in the Bible, the chapter divisions are rather arbitrary and do not aid the analysis of the text. The individual sentences can be classified according to their literary structures and their themes. Chapters 10–15 consist mainly of contrasts between opposites, as indicated by the conjunction “but” introducing the second line of most of these proverbs. This common literary device uses contrasting pairs such as “righteous” versus “wicked” and “wise” versus “fool.” Occasional grouping of sentences according to theme and form is evident in the book, a method that aids memorization but does not assist the interpretation of the mostly independent sayings. Each sentence has its own social setting and special aim. Much like folk sayings in our Western societies, some of the sayings have been separated from their contexts in order to provide concise, practical guidelines for living.
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