In preparing my Sunday School talk on the nature of wisdom, I came across a fun fact in Roland Murphy’s book The Tree of Life. In turns out, there is a clever wink in the first line of Proverbs.
Proverbs starts like this: “The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel.” This seems straightforward enough, but if you calculate the three names, Solomon, David, and Israel, according to gematria, the names add up to 930. And 930 is the exact number of lines in Proverbs! You can see this for yourself if you copy and paste the names, דָּוִד ,שְׁלֹמֹה, and יִשְׂרָאֵל into this gematria calculator. Murphy’s full argument is on page 28 of his book.
If this is right, it is very clever and a perfect way to start the book. It would encourage from the get-go one of the major lessons of proverbs: Wisdom is found when it is sought, patterns are everywhere, pay attention!