How widely accepted is the idea of a 130-proverb collection based on the value of Hezekiah’s name?

Q. Are you the only one who teaches the 130 proverbs of Solomon compiled by Hezekiah’s men? My focus is on the 130 number. I have found others that teach the 135 proverbs of Solomon in another section of the book, but I cannot seem to find anyone else teaching the 130 number in the Hezekiah section.

I think you are probably referring to this post, in which I say that there are 130 sayings in the section of the book of Proverbs that was compiled by “Hezekiah and his men” because 130 is the value of Hezekiah’s name in Hebrew. And I think you are probably actually referring to the 375, rather than the 135, proverbs by Solomon that are in another section of the book that is entitled “The proverbs of Solomon.”

I’ve looked around a bit online and I do find others who teach that there are 375 proverbs in that other section because that is the value of Solomon’s name in Hebrew. For example, a post on Bible.com says, “There are 375 proverbs in this section, and wouldn’t you know it, the numerical value of the word “Solomon” (שְׁלֹמֹ) in Hebrew is 375! Someone has thoughtfully curated these sayings for us to read and ponder.” Similarly, a post from GCI.org observes, “It would seem that Solomon, or someone else later, deliberately made a collection of 375 of the Solomonic proverbs to correspond to the numerical value of Solomon’s name.”

However, in a quick search at least, I don’t find others who make the same claim about the 130-proverb collection later in the book and the numerical value of Hezekiah’s name. But it seems to me that if the first claim makes sense, then the second one does, too. I must admit that it has been so long since I first learned about this likely reason for the number of proverbs in those two collections that I don’t actually remember where I heard it first. So I will just have to leave it to thoughtful readers and interpreters of the Bible to consider what they think of the idea. Thanks for your question.

Author: Christopher R Smith

The Rev. Dr. Christopher R. Smith is an an ordained minister, a writer, and a biblical scholar. He was active in parish and student ministry for twenty-five years. He was a consulting editor to the International Bible Society (now Biblica) for The Books of the Bible, an edition of the New International Version (NIV) that presents the biblical books according to their natural literary outlines, without chapters and verses. His Understanding the Books of the Bible study guide series is keyed to this format. He was also a consultant to Tyndale House for the Immerse Bible, an edition of the New Living Translation (NLT) that similarly presents the Scriptures in their natural literary forms, without chapters and verses or section headings. He has a B.A. from Harvard in English and American Literature and Language, a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Gordon-Conwell, and a Ph.D. in the History of Christian Life and Thought, with a minor concentration in Bible, from Boston College, in the joint program with Andover Newton Theological School.

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