The book of Proverbs is a collection of essays, poems, and sayings expressing the wisdom of ancient Israel. Some of the material probably originated as folk wisdom, circulating in the family or the clan. Other parts reflect the life of the royal court. Arrangement began during the time of Solomon (about 961-922 B.C.), and the final edition was likely produced during the exile in Babylon (about 587-539 B.C.). Jeremiah 18:18 refers to the priest, the wise, and the prophet as leaders in Israel; the book of Proverbs is the product of the work of “the wise.”
The genre of Psalms is Songs and Poetry of all kinds. It is written by multiple authors; David wrote 73, Asaph wrote 12, the sons of Korah wrote 9, Solomon wrote 3, Ethan, and Moses each wrote one (Ps. 90), and 51 of the Psalms are anonymous. They were written over the span of approximately 900 years (Beginning at the time of Moses 1440 B.C. and through the captivity in 586 B.C.).
The Psalms include praises of joy, laments, blessings, and thanksgivings. They are directed at God and they help us to express and communicate ourselves to Him. We read about the Psalmist’s emotions from one extreme to another, from praising, delighting in and worshiping God with fervor, to repentance and crying out to Him in despair. Mainly, the Psalms were written to help us deliver praise to God who is worthy of such. As psalms 150:6 reads, €Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.€
The Song of Solomon (or Song of Songs) is a unified collection of poetry on the theme of human love, following the relationship of a man and a woman from courtship and onward. This book has frequently been read as an allegory of God’s love for Israel (in Jewish communities) or of Christ’s love for the church and for individual believers (in Christian communities).
The book of Job is Narrative History. Its author is unknown yet it is possible that Job himself wrote it. It is possible that Job is the oldest of any book of the Bible written approximately 2100-1800 B.C. Key personalities of this book include Job, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, Zophar the Naamathite, and Elihu the Buzite.
In Job, we see a man who God allows to be directly attacked by Satan. He is an example of faithfulness as he loses everything important to him yet remains faithful to God. Its purpose is to illustrate God’s sovereignty and faithfulness during a time of great suffering.
The author of Ecclesiastes is unable to find meaning in life by living for work, by searching for the answers to life’s big questions, or by pursuing more and more sophisticated pleasures. All of these efforts result in a sense of emptiness. Life has its perpetual problems, such as injustice and evil, the whims of chance, the impossibility of understanding what God is doing or is about to do, and the inevitability of death. In view of these realities, Ecclesiastes counsels enjoying the everyday gifts God gives, such as times with family and friends, and faithfully remembering and worshiping God.