These five books of the Old Testament are known as the Wisdom Literature, the Poetry, and
sometimes as the Hagiographa (although the Hagiographa as found in the Hebrew Bible
contains more than these five books). They speak of the problems of life, usually in Hebrew
poetic form, and the answers which inspiration gives.
Job answers the question: "Is suffering always a sign of wickedness?" Job is written in an
oriental dramatic style with a prologue of prose, and a main body consisting of speeches in
poetry. Job records the difficulties faced by a righteous man. It chronicles the comfort
attempted by Job's friends: Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar and Elihu; and Job's replies. Job's friends
place suffering as a sign of God's disapproval. Job declares his innocence of anything worthy
of his sufferings, but vindicates God of any wrong doing. Job shows why even the righteous
suffer. It shows the need for faith in God, even in the face of suffering.
Psalms addresses the human heart, its emotions and faith in God. Psalms is a collection of
poems, most of which were written by David, consisting of five books or divisions. As other
portions of the Bible are addressed to the intellect, Psalms is directed to the heart. It identifies
with fear and depression, guilt and repentance, thankfulness and exuberance, the entire
range of human emotions. Its songs can touch the heart, at times, like no other portion of
Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings written by Solomon. In cliches and clips that are
easily remembered, it gives advice on living righteously. These proverbs sometimes
disjointed in context with each other (each one being a separate unit in and of itself), give
practical insight into the problems of everyday life, from business to raising children.
Ecclesiastes addresses the purpose of life. Written by Solomon, the preacher searches for
the purpose of life in the various avenues that this world affords: pleasure, riches and
knowledge. All of these prove vain, or empty, for man is to prepare for eternity; and nothing
this world has prepares man for the next life. Ecclesiastes is generally considered one of the
more difficult books to study in the Old Testament.
Song of Solomon speak allegorically of the love of God for His people. It is also known as the
Song of Songs, or the Canticle of Canticles. Written by Solomon, the song speaks of the love
of a man for a maiden. The book becomes one of the most difficult of the Old Testament to
completely understand and follow.