Written within the historical-critical paradigm, this commentary on Proverbs 1-9 ventures to overcome the bifurcation of “historical” and “literary” perspectives in biblical interpretation. Avoiding novel propositions about composition as well as claims for alternative reading strategies, it strives to take the text seriously at the philological, structural and compositional levels in order to indicate the book’s amplitude and potential. This is done in dialogue with recent and traditional Jewish and Christian readings. The self-description of Wisdom, which has had a hugely eventful reception in the history of Christian doctrine, is particularly striking in this respect. Usually taken to fit uncomfortably into Israel’s “salvation history”, the universal scope of the edited poems directs the reader’s eye beyond the history of one nation and turns wisdom’s putative dearth into a theological asset. The sages knew the limits of their practical advice and aimed it at ethically living the Fear of God.