Let Not the Davidic King Despise YHWH’s Discipline: The Use of 2 Samuel 7:14 in Proverbs 3:11–12

Evangelical scholarship rightly argues that the book of Proverbs coheres with the theology of the Old Testament. However, less attention has been given to the possibility that the authors of Proverbs utilized earlier OT Scripture, and in what ways they may have done so. Prov 3:11–12 provides one example of the book’s familiarity with prior revelation. It was examined recently by Ched Spellman in its connection to Deuteronomy and Hebrews in his essay, “The Drama of Discipline: Toward an Intertextual Profile of Paideia in Hebrews 12” (JETS 59.3 [2016]: 487–506), but another allusion in this passage awaits further inspection. In this paper, I will argue that Prov 3:11–12 alludes to the discipline clause of the Davidic Covenant (2 Sam 7:14). To accomplish this, first, I will show that Solomon, the author of Proverbs 1–9, was familiar with the Davidic Covenant (cf. 1 Kgs 2:1–4; 3:4–14; 9:1–9). Second, I will demonstrate that the vocabulary shared by Prov 3:11–12 and 2 Sam 7:14 is distinctive and unique, broadly following the principles on identifying inner-biblical allusion suggested by Jeffrey Leonard in his article, “Identifying Inner-Biblical Allusions: Psalm 78 as a Test Case” (JBL 127.2 [2008]: 241–265). Third, I will apply this allusive reading of Prov 3:11–12 to its quotation in Heb 12:5–6, suggesting what bearing the 2 Sam 7:14 allusion might have on how the author of Hebrews used Proverbs. This paper will participate in the growing body of research on inner-biblical interpretation in Proverbs (cf. Harris, Proverbs 1-9: A Study of Inner-Biblical Interpretation [1996]; Dell and Kynes, Reading Proverbs Intertextually [2019]), while also lending support to the thesis that Proverbs is integral to OT theology.

5 thoughts on “Let Not the Davidic King Despise YHWH’s Discipline: The Use of 2 Samuel 7:14 in Proverbs 3:11–12”

  1. Speculative, Not Good Fit
    Daniel shows good awareness of studies on inner-biblical allusion, but I think he is trying to do too much in this paper, tying Proverbs to 2 Samuel as well as engaging the use of Proverbs in Hebrews. (In truth, I am not convinced of the proposed allusion). More so, I don’t think it would be a good fit with the other papers.

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  2. Wisdom Session & Possible Theme Fit but Unconvincing Thesis
    Honest disclosure: Several years ago Daniel applied to our doctoral program, seeking to write a dissertation on this identical topic under my supervision. I was not convinced on his basic thesis either then or now, i.e., that Prov 3:11-12 involves an ‘inner-biblical interpretation’ of 2 Samuel 7:14. The explicit covenantal context of 2 Samuel 7 distinguishes its use of ‘father/son’ terminology from that of the sage, leaving only one shared word in common: the verb yakach. No one disputes the clear relationship between Hebrews 12:5-6 and Proverbs 3:11-12, but I do not think that connecting either Proverbs 3 or Hebrew 12 to 2 Samuel 7 enriches our understanding of these texts.

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  3. Poor fit for the Wisdom session, but possible theme fit
    The proposal does not evince an awareness of the amount of intertextual work on Proverbs. And, as others have noted, it operates on shaky intertextual connections with 2 Samuel 7.

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  4. Fits theme, but poor execution
    For coverage of biblical wisdom texts, it would have been nice to have a paper on Proverbs. However, the quality is not up to standard, especially with awareness of the breadth of secondary material.

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