Mishlei 22:17-21 - An Enigmatic (Egyptian?) Exordium (Part 1)
(יז) הַט אׇזְנְךָ וּשְׁמַע דִּבְרֵי חֲכָמִים וְלִבְּךָ תָּשִׁית לְדַעְתִּי׃ (יח) כִּי נָעִים כִּי תִשְׁמְרֵם בְּבִטְנֶךָ, יִכֹּנוּ יַחְדָּו עַל שְׂפָתֶיךָ׃ (יט) לִהְיוֹת בַּי"י מִבְטַחֶךָ, הוֹדַעְתִּיךָ הַיּוֹם אַף אָתָּה: (כ) הֲלֹא כָתַבְתִּי לְךָ [שָׁלִשִׁים] (שלשום) בְּמֹעֵצוֹת וָדָעַת. (כא) לְהוֹדִיעֲךָ קֹשְׁטְ אִמְרֵי אֱמֶת לְהָשִׁיב אֲמָרִים אֱמֶת לְשֹׁלְחֶיךָ.
This morning (9/21/22), in our morning Mishlei shiur, we tackled a confusing cluster of five perplexing pesukim. Because I knew we'd only have two days to work on these this week, and we wouldn't be back until Tzom Gedaliah, I thought it best to focus on the MAJOR questions and the MAIN idea without getting bogged down in the details. Before our analysis got underway, we got involved in an important tangent in answering the question: What do we make of the fact that the 30 pesukim beginning with Mishlei 22:17 bear an uncanny resemblance to the Egyptian wisdom literature text known as "Instruction of Amenemope," which seems to have been composed over a century before Shlomo ha'Melech wrote Mishlei? After that tangent, we managed to formulate three major questions, which we will endeavor to answer tomorrow (בג"ה).
משלי ג:ה; כא:ל-לא; כב:יז-כא
Robert Alter, translation of The Book of Proverbs, footnote to 20:17
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