Was Solomon Wise?
Derek Kidner’s book The Wisdom of Proverbs, Job & Ecclesiastes is a helpful read for those wishing to know more about the Wisdom Literature writings in the Old Testament. The root of the entire book was stated well when the author said “Increasingly he [Solomon] set himself to outshine his fellow potentates, marry into their dynasties and give house-room to their gods. As a king, his legacy is disastrous; his grandiose achievements miserably short-lived for it was his words, and those of his successors, which triumphed where his actions failed.” (pg. 17) The wisdom this king seeks to impart is that which is forged over an extended period of doing the exact opposite.
Derek Kidner gives a helpful overview of all three books. In Job he does a great job of pointing out that suffering does not necessarily imply any guilt in the victim, nor any failure in his faith. He also observes that Job’s friends overestimate their grasp of truth, misapply the truth they know, and close their minds to any facts that contradict what they assume.
Perhaps the most beneficial chapter was chapter 8 in which the author compares and contrasts the three books. This was helpful since they are all in the same genre. A further help was that of the author’s mention of wisdom and the personification of wisdom in Proverbs. Although it was a given that Proverbs deals with wisdom, it was helpful to see the progression.
There are some real gems in this book but sometimes it is a bit too repetitive. Thirty pages or more could have been edited out and the book would have been better for it. For the preacher and Biblical counselor, much help is given.