in Baker Commentary on the Old Testament

by Tremper Longman III

4.9 Rank Score: 6.42 from 11 reviews, 2 featured collections, and 23 user libraries
Pages 608
Publisher Baker Academic
Published 2006
ISBN-13 9780801026928
In Proverbs, Old Testament scholar Tremper Longman III offers an accessible commentary on one of Scripture's most frequently quoted and visited books. With his deft exegetical and expositional skill, the resulting work is full of fresh insight into the meaning of the text.

In addition to the helpful translation and commentary, Proverbs considers the theological implications of these wisdom texts, as well as their literary, historical, and grammatical dimensions. Footnotes allow readers of varying interest and training levels to read and profit from the commentary and to engage the biblical text at an appropriate level.

This is the second volume in the Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms series.


This book appears in the following featured collections.


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G Ware G Ware May 27, 2016
My first choice on Proverbs. Longman's expertise in the Wisdom literature continues to shine in this volume (as well as his volume on Job in this series, and the series as a whole of which he is the general editor). The intro is thorough, and accessible, laying out the important details without being bogged down with the secondary literature. The translation and exegesis is reliable, and helpful, with great help for pastors to present application of the text.
Tim Challies Tim Challies October 28, 2013
Longman is a notable Old Testament scholar who also pens a helpful Old Testament Commentary Survey that I’ve relied on for this “Best Commentaries” series. His volume on Proverbs is said to be detailed but still readable, scholarly and yet still accessible. At 608 pages, it is quite thorough and its main focus is on the theological and ethical message of the book. [Full Review]
Neal Piwowarski Neal Piwowarski April 17, 2010
Tremper Longman III already has produced excellent commentaries on Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, and Daniel. This commentary on Proverbs (for the BCOTWP, for which Longman serves as editor) is no exception! The introductory section on the authorship and compilation of Proverbs is extremely informative and will undoubtedly change many readers' preconceived notions about this book for the better. Longman's theological insights are excellent, especially for Christian readers. He fully interacts with other Proverbs commentators such as Fox, Waltke, Murphy and others (It's a shame that Fox's commentary on Proverbs 10-31 was not available for Longman to interact with when he was writing this commentary). Longman's interaction with other commentators is so exhaustive that this commentary is easily the BEST single-volume option currently available. He skillfully extracts the most informative insights from each of the other works. In addition, he uses insights from other scholars to support many of his interpretations and graciously disagrees with some of their exegesis when warranted. Longman wisely restrains his own interpretations of many passages and reminds readers that the original context in which many Proverbs were first written is uncertain. He stresses the importance of Proverbs as a book whose verses are to be applied wisely after one has pondered the context of a given situation. Only then can a Proverb be employed. This commentary models careful, cautious interpretation and application beautifully! Pastors and teachers will find the topical appendix at the end of the book extremely helpful. As with the other volumes in this series, the linguistic insights are eye-opening and the tone of the writing is extremely pastoral and readable. I greatly appreciated his occasional reminders that although Proverbs was historically addressed to a male Jewish audience, its message is equally applicable to females as well. He carefully demonstrates how to tailor certain passages to both males and females a few times throughout the book. Pastors and rabbis addressing mixed congregations will find this helpful. His discussion of the epilogue in Proverbs 31:10-31 concerning the ways in which wisdom affects all aspects of life for anyone who typologically makes her their 'wife' is outstanding! It will surely allow that beautiful chapter to serve a greater purpose throughout the year instead of relegating it to hackneyed Mother's Day sermons! Excellent illustrations are provided throughout the text that will make preaching and teaching from Proverbs a delight rather than a burden. Crafting substantial lessons and sermons just became MUCH easier given the immense assistance with making legitimate application that Longman provides throughout the book. At times, it seemed like I was being taught how to properly interpret and apply Proverbs by a seasoned expositor, which is a definite plus for any commentary! This volume is a repository of penetrating insight and theological reflection that rescues Proverbs from being an alleged book of supposed timeless 'promises' akin to the cliched slogans that one encounters in fortune cookies. Readers desiring more detail should consult the two-volume Proverbs commentaries from Bruce K. Waltke (NICOT) and Michael V. Fox (Anchor Bible). They offer more exhaustive linguistic discussion from a Christian (Waltke) and a Jewish (Fox) perspective.
Longman is the general editor of the Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms, and the contributor of the volume on Proverbs. Longman deals not only with the details of the text, but also with literary and theological questions. This does not mean, however, that the book is overly technical and inaccessible to laymen. It is quite readable. All in all, I find this commentary very helpful in getting to the heart of the matter of the text. [Full Review]
John Glynn John Glynn September 20, 2008
John Dyer John Dyer July 8, 2008
Longman has some great commentaries out there and the Baker series is usually very good at balancing technical details with significance. However, this work didn’t quite strike the right balance in my use. The background and introductory material are helpful, but because the work is neither fully technical (not much Hebrew interaction) and not fully pastoral or expositional, I personally found that much of the commentary didn’t offer me the depth I needed to move beyond the surface of the text.
Most useful one-volume Evangelical study for the practical application of well informed exegesis. [Full Review]
Unnatributed-d Unnatributed-d May 26, 2008
Chicago Theological Seminary Chicago, Illinois Tremper Longman III’s commentary is the second in the Baker Commentary on the Old Testament and Psalms series. Longman, who is also the series editor, notes in the series preface that the intended audience of the commentaries includes “scholars, ministers, seminary students, and Bible Study leaders,” although they target especially clergy and future clergy (12; see also 16). Besides an author’s preface and a list of abbreviations, Longman’s work also includes an introduction, a discussion of Proverbs divided into five parts, an appendix that discusses various topics in Proverbs, a bibliography, subject and author indices, and an index of Scripture and other ancient writings. Longman’s introduction treats a wide range of the usual topics, including authorship, date, social setting, ancient Near Eastern background, and more. It likewise includes discussions of matters such as “Reading Proverbs in the Light of the New Testament” and the “Afterlife.” These topics, along with the author’s institutional setting (Westmont College), the general orientation of Baker, and other clues (e.g., the interest in pointing out the unorthodox christological views of Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses [71]), suggests that Longman’s primary target audience is not merely pastors and seminarians but especially evangelical Christian pastors and seminarians. [Full Review]
Cambridge, United Kingdom Tremper Longman III is the general editor of this commentary series on wisdom books and Psalms. The stated audience is scholars, ministers, seminary students, and Bible study leaders, and hence there is a Christian focus to the interpretation. This manifests itself in a section in the introduction on Proverbs and the New Testament, drawing out Jesus’ role as a wise man and his links to the Woman Wisdom figure. It also influences Longman’s view that “life” in Proverbs, taken in a fuller canonical context, may have the overtone of “afterlife.” Longman makes a particular point of emphasizing Proverbs’ theological contribution. He states in the preface that, while Proverbs has been widely regarded, and more so in recent times, “as a source for navigating life and imparting advice about how to live life wisely” (15), its theological contribution has been given no more than a “grudging acknowledgement.” He notes that “fear of God” is first mentioned in the prologue in Prov 1:7 and is a leitmotif throughout the book, the prologue being regarded as a hermeneutical lens for reading the whole (and probably later in date than the rest of Prov 1–9). Another rather innovative emphasis of Longman in this commentary is his stress on the connection between wisdom and law and through that connection an important link with covenant and the covenant community (see initial discussion on 82). [Full Review]