Back from Camp and the work on Proverbs continues.
This short article has proved very helpful so far. It seems proverbs is a manual for ruling the world as God intended humans to - a 'how to be a good king' guide for idiots.
Or, put in slightly different language, proverbs is about how to live as humans were intended to in pursuit of the creation mandate to govern the earth as God's image-bearers.
Or, put in slightly different language, Proverbs is about how to live as 'a kingdom of priests' (Basic assumption behind this is that Eden = sanctuary, Adam/humanity = priest, wisdom = tree of life cf Proverbs 3:18, redemption as a restoration of Eden-pattern, Proverbs written at something of a key moment in the history of that redemption and written (at least mainly) by a king who resembles Adam (cf. 1 Kings 4:29ff.) and so on, you get the point).
This leaves me with a few things to think about, chiefly
1. The extent to which the promises of wealth and prosperity are eschatologically fulfilled (sometimes in this world you can work hard and be wise and you can end up poor, not really what Proverbs says is the norm) and therefore what the proper application of them is now. It seems a cop out to make them all about the new creation. Plus surely we don't want to have an under-realised eschatology in seeking to avoid a thoroughly over-baked one. (No doubt Postmillenialists will have an interesting take on this one?).
2. The christological importance of Proverbs 8. In what way does this passage testify of Christ? It undoubtedly does since John in John 1 and Paul in Colossians (and no doubt others whom I haven't thought of yet) draw heavily from it - the question is the shape of the route from Proverbs 8 to Christ. Is it right to see eternal generation in 8:22ff. as many have done?
3. The relationship between Proverbs 8:12-21 (which recommends wisdom because she makes things work well in the world of business and politics) and 22-31 (which recomments wisdom because she pre-existed creation and was involved in the creation process itself). The answer seems to be to do with order/rule (God ordered/ruled the creation in the first-place by wisdom, humanity rules well when doing so by the same wisdom).