Proverbs 22–24—Wasn’t this section of Proverbs copied from the Egyptian work titled “The Wisdom of Amenemope?”

Problem: An Egyptian document containing a book titled “The Wisdom of Amenemope” was discovered in 1888. Many of the sayings are similar to those found in Proverbs chapters 22–24. However, if these chapters in Proverbs are simply a copy of this Egyptian book, then at least this section was not written by Solomon, as it claims to be (cf. 1:1; 25:1).

Solution: First, there is no reason why God could not guide Solomon to use other human sources in writing God’s Word. Other authors of Scripture did this (cf. Luke 1:1–4). However, it is not clear that Solomon used this Egyptian source. For, although there are sentences and contents that are quite similar, the fact is that the differences outweigh the similarities. The two books deal with the same general subject matter, and this fact alone can account for the similarities. Furthermore, closer examination by scholars has revealed that, if there was any borrowing, it was more likely that the Egyptian author borrowed from the Hebrew author. Ultimately, of course, God is the source of all truth, wherever it is found. Thus the proverbial wisdom found in these chapters of Proverbs is from the Holy Spirit whatever human source He employed.

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.