Poetry in the Hebrew world was different from what we think of when we hear the word poetry. Modern poetry is characterized by rhyme schemes and balance. Hebrew poetry was characterized more by parallel thought connected through stanzas. Hebrew poetry may be written more in what we would consider sing-song style today. While most Old Testament books employ some type of poetic feature, two are considered primarily poetry books—Psalms and Song of Songs.
Wisdom literature features wise sayings and the writer’s observations of the world around him. The purpose of wisdom literature is to provide the reader with short easy-to-remember statements that can enhance life skills that will lead to deeper relationship and understanding of who God is. Like poetic books, many Bible books contain wisdom statements, but the Books of Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes can be called primarily wisdom literature.
These poetry and wisdom books illuminate for kids who God is and how a believer can live in such a way as to honor God with their lives. Solomon’s, and other’s, short sayings in Proverbs can help kids to quickly remember ways to live for God. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, so as kids learn to live closer to Him, God will guide their steps.
Israel would have had access to many of these poetry and wisdom books to help guide their lives. Unfortunately for Israel, they did not heed the words of these men, so God sent other men to warn them of future events if they did not follow God’s commands, but that is a story for the Prophecy genre later.