Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society  35.4 (December 1992) 433-444




                      IN PROVERBS 10-15


                               TED HILDEBRANDT*


     Motivation is a critical issue for employers, administrators, teachers

and parents.  It is also a key topic in the book of Proverbs.  This paper will

attempt to make contributions to proverbial motivation studies in several

areas.  A methodology will be developed for digging out the deep semantic

motivational structures buried in the sentence literature (Proverbs 10-

15).  By applying this method of analysis to the sentence literature, a rich

diversity of motivational forces will be exposed even though there is a

dearth of explicit motive clauses.  Eight deep-structure categories will pro-

vide an initial framework for categorizing and understanding the underly-

ing thought structure of the proverbial sentences.  It will be suggested that

"approach/avoidance" motivation theory may provide a psycholinguistic

reason for the sages' frequent selection of antithetic parallelism as a me-

dium to express their instruction.  A dialogue will be initiated between

proverbial motivation study and the vast literature on the psychology of

motivation that lies untapped by Biblical scholars.  Such an integration

may yield fresh insights into a Biblical theory of motivation that may be of

use to educators, employers and parents.  Hopefully such a theory will al-

low us to expose the motivating forces that should and do drive us as we

pursue God and others (Prov 16:2).



      Gemser in 1953 first isolated the motive clause as a grammatically sub-

ordinate clause usually introduced by a particle (ki; le- plus infinitive;

lema'an; pen-) that provides motivation for a command (Law: Exod 20:7;

Deut 22:19; Prophets: Amos 5:4-5; Isa 34:5-8; Jer 4:6-8; Writings: Pss

2:11; 3:7; 95:3-7; Prov 3:1-2).  After surveying the ancient Near Eastern

law codes, Gemser concludes that motive clauses were unique to Israel.1

While the absoluteness of his original conclusion has been tempered by

the dissertations of Sonsino and Utti, they confirm a wide frequency gap

between the motives of Biblical law (30% are motivated; 375 of 1,238 com-

mands) and the ancient law codes (only 5%-6% are motivated).2


* Ted Hildebrandt is professor of Biblical studies and philosophy at Grace College! Winona

Lake, IN 46590.

      1B. Gemser, "The Importance of the Motive Clause in Old Testament Law. (VTSup 1; Lei-

den: Brill, 1953) 52, 62.

      2 R. Sonsino, Motive Clauses in Hebrew Law: Biblical Forms and Near Eastern Parallels

(Chico: Scholars, 1980) 153, 172-173,221; R. Utti, The Motive Clause in Old Testament Law

(dissertation; Chicago: Lutheran School of Theology, 1973).



     The motive clause is usually viewed as a later addition to the admoni-

tion (cf. Prov 22:28; 23:10-11).3  Sonsino, following Kitchen's advice, rejects

the idea of unilinear evolution from smaller, literary units to those larger

and more complex.4  He does affirm, however, that motive clauses are used

more frequently in the later Biblical law codes than in earlier codes (Book

of the Covenant = 17%; Deuteronomy = 50%; Holiness Code = 51%).5  Postel

harnesses this developmental pattern in Proverbs and concludes that the

substantially higher percentage of motive clauses in Proverbs 1-9 dates

the collection later than Proverbs 10-22.6  But Sonsino wisely notes that

content may also have a marked effect on the frequency of motivation (78%

of the law is cultic [27% motivated]; 12% treats civil matters [29% moti-

vated]; 8% is ethical/humanitarian [53% motivated]).7  Since wisdom is

largely of an ethical/humanitarian nature the frequent use of motive

clauses is not surprising, especially given wisdom's didactic Sitz im Leben.

The differences in form and content between the instructions (Proverbs 1-

9) and brief, pungent sentences (Proverbs 10-22) may better account for

the difference in the frequency of motive clauses than the date.

      Contrary to the absence of motive clauses in ancient Near Eastern le-

gal materials, the use of motivational support is characteristic of the wis-

dom literature throughout the ancient Near East (Sumerian [Instruction

of Suruppak], Akkadian [Counsels of Wisdom], Ugaritic [Instructions of

Sube-Awilum], Egyptian [Ptahhotep, Ani, etc.)).8  Gemser suggests that

there is an intrinsic connection between the law and wisdom based on mo-

tive clauses (Exod 23:7 [cf. Prov 17:15]; Lev 19:35 [cf. Prov 11:1]).  The le-

gal/wisdom nexus is also found in the Bantu tribes of Africa that utilize

proverbial wisdom to clinch arguments in legal courtroom settings.9  Son-

sino highlights several distinctions in the form of legal, as opposed to wis-

dom, motive clauses (wisdom uses ‘al + second person, legal uses lo';

wisdom uses nonrepetitive format [contrast Lev 19:20]; wisdom uses parti-

cles to connect motives).10


     Gemser classifies the motive clauses into four categories: (1) explana-

tory character (Deut 20:5-8; 22:24, 26; Prov 19:25, 27; 22:6), (2) ethical


     3W. Zimmerli, "Concerning the Structure of Old Testament Wisdom," Studies in Ancient Isra-

elite Wisdom (ed. J. Crenshaw; New York: Ktav, 1976) 182-183; H. J. Postel, The Form and Func-

tion of the Motive Clause in Proverbs 10-29 (dissertation; University of Iowa, 1976) 107, 140, 142.

     4Sonsino, Motive 98-99, 193; P. Nel, "Authority in the Wisdom Admonitions," ZAW 93

(1981) 419.

     5Sonsino, Motive 98-99.

     6Postel, Form 138; contra C. Kayatz, Studien zu Proverbien 1-9 (WMANT 22; Neukirchen-

Vluyn: Neukirchener, 1966) 135.

     7Sonsino, Motive 99, 222-223.

     8Ibid. 153, 168-170.

     9Gemser, "Importance" 64-65; cr. Sonsino, Motive 28-29, 36; T. Hildebrandt, Proverbial

Poetry: Its Settings and Syntax (dissertation; Grace Theological Seminary, 1985) 89-91; cf. ap-

propriate cautions by J. Crenshaw, "Method in Determining Wisdom Influence upon 'Historical'

Literature," Studies (ed. Crenshaw) 481-494.

     10Sonsino, Motive 28, 171.



content (Deut 5:14-15; 19:21), (3) cultic/theological (Deut 17:1; 22:5; Prov

20:22; 22:24-25), and (4) historical (Lev 19:33-34; Deut 5:15).11  It is in-

teresting that neither the ancient Near Eastern legal codes nor Biblical

wisdom employs motives using historical events.12

      Sonsino isolates numerous motivational forces:  (1) human dignity (Deut

25:3), (2) compassion (Exod 22:26), (3) imitating God (20:11), (4) social value

(Lev 21:9), (5) special status of actor (21:7), (6) short value judgment

(20:17), and (7) characterization of prohibition (11:41, "it is loathsome").

These draw from four orientations:  (1) God's authority (Lev 19:3, 30), (2) al-

lusions to historical experiences (Exod 22:20; Deut 23:8), (3) fear of punish-

ment (Exod 30:20-21), and (4) promise of well-being (20:12; Deut 5:16).13

      Postel sets up a typology of motive content more fitting for wisdom

(T = Theological; E = Explanatory; C = Consequential) with motive valences

(P = Promissory; D = Dissuasive).14  The presence of promissory motives in

Proverbs warns that the often-cited statement "a proverb is not a promise"

is rather simplistic and an inadequate explanation of the consequentially

directed proverbial statements (Prov 3:1-2,5-6,9-10; cf. Deut 8:1).  Postel

connects his "consequential" category with von Rad's "act-consequence" (or-

der) relationship, supporting it as the center of wisdom literature.15

       In Proverbs the distribution of motive clauses is concentrated largely in

the instructions (Proverbs 1-9; 22:17-24:22; 31:1-9) as opposed to the sen-

tences (10:1-22:16; chaps. 25-29).  Admonitions are much more frequent in

the instructions (Proverbs 1-9 = 39) than in the sayings (Proverbs 10-22 =

13 [e.g. 14:7; 16:3; 19:18; 20:18-19; 22:6]).16  Postel notes that 13 of the 17

motive clauses in Proverbs 10-22 are in admonitions and only 4 are in

nonadmonitional sentences (13:14; 14:27; 15:24; 16:12).17  He further dif-

ferentiates between the instructions and proverbial sentences by noting

differences in the content of the motive clauses.  A clear contrast emerges in

the frequency of motive clauses in the instructions (77.5% in 22:17-24:22) as

opposed to the sentences (5.3% in Proverbs 10-22; 12% in Proverbs 25-29).

Postel observes that the motive clauses in the instructions (22:17-24:22) are

heavily theological and those in Proverbs 25-29 are heavily consequential

while those in Proverbs 10-22 are evenly distributed.18



     Several lines of evidence caution against concluding that because the sen-

tences contain few motive clauses they are merely empirical observations


     11Gemser, "Importance" 55-56; Postel, Form 144, 151-157.

     12Sonsino, Motive 172; Postel, Form 146.

     13Sonsino, Motive 105-108; cf. Utti, Motive 92.

     14Postel, Form 58; P. Nel, The Structure and Ethos of the Wisdom Admonitions in Proverbs

(Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1982) 28, 46-48.

     15Cf. the ma'at concept; Postel, Form 72-73; G. von Rad, Wisdom in Israel (Nashville: Ab-

ingdon, 1972) 196; cf. F. Wicker, F. Lambert, F. Richardson and J. Kahler, "Categorical Goal

Hierarchies and Classification of Human Motives," Journal of Personality 52/3 (1984) 285-305.

      16Nel, Structure 65-66, has a handy listing of all admonitions in Proverbs.

      17Postel, Form 58, 90-93.

      18Ibid. 137, 170.



with little attempt to motivate (energize and direct choices).  (1) There seems

to be a clear relationship between admonitions and sentences in some of

the "duplicate" proverbs in which the same content is formatted as an ad-

monition (22:22-23; 27:11 with explicit motive clause) and as a sentence

(14:31; 10:1 without explicit motive clause but clearly motivational in in-

tent).19  Zimmerli recognizes the sentential deep-structure motivation when

he writes concerning the admonition/saying connection that the admonition

makes "explicit the implication, already lying hidden within the saying."20

(2) A naive reading of the sentences in Proverbs 10-15 (e.g. 10:1, 4, 5) reveals

that many of the sentences go beyond mere empirical observation to being

motivationally directive.  Thus one must be careful to dissociate the broad

deep-structure category of motivation from Gemser's grammatical motive

clause.  This distinction is critical.  When looking at motivation in the sen-

tences it is imperative to penetrate below the surface motive clauses in order

to isolate how the sages actually motivated.  A deep-structure analysis may

provide a link between the sentence (Aussage) and admonition (Mahnwort)

genres.  (3) Postel notes that "the to'eba [abomination] clause, so frequent in

Old Testament legislation, does not occur in the motive clauses of Prov-

erbs."21  Yet such "abomination sayings" are found in the sentences but not in

explicit motive clauses (11:1, 20; 12:22; 15:8, 9; 17:15; 20:10).22  A deep-

structure analysis would uncover the motivational intent of these abomina-

tion sayings, while Postel's surface motive clause analysis has missed the

connection.  (4) After a deep-structure analysis was performed on the sen-

tences, many of the same motivational themes arose that occurred in the ex-

plicit motive clauses of Proverbs 1-9.  This provides some verification for the

proposed methodology.



     Raymond Van Leeuwen has insightfully harnessed the deep-structure

binary analysis of Dundes by breaking the proverbial sentence into a topic

and comment (e.g. topic: "A wise son"; comment: "brings his father joy"

[Prov 10:la]).23  The semantic relationship between the topic and comment

is specified below.  A couple of examples will illustrate the method.  First,

the line is broken up into topic/comment and then the semantic deep-

structure relationship and valences (+/-) between the topic and comment

are identified:


     19Ibid. 28; Nel, Structure 29.

     20Zimmerli, "Structure" 183. Nel also mentions the need for a meaning-based analysis of

the motive clauses rather than merely a grammatical approach.

     21Postel, Form 146.

     22von Rad, Wisdom 115; R. Murphy, Wisdom Literature (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981) 69.

     23R. Van Leeuwen, Context and Meaning in Proverbs 25-27 (Atlanta: Scholars, 1988) 48-

52; C. Fontaine, Traditional Sayings in the Old Testament: A Contextual Study (Sheffield: Al-

mond, 1982) 34-38; A. Dundes, "On the Structure of the Proverb," Analytic Essays in Folklore

(ed. Dundes; The Hague/Paris: Mouton, 1975) 103-118.



Topic                                                   Comment                                 Prov 10:1

A wise son     (+ character)                   brings joy to his father   (+ consequence);

a foolish son  (- character)                    is a grief to his mother   (- consequence).

+ Character --> + Consequence (10:1a) (CS) ++

- Character -->   - Consequence (10:1b) (CS) --


It should be clear from Postel's categories listed above that the conse-

quence, while not in a Gemserian motive clause, acts as a motivation

drawing the son to be wise and driving him from becoming foolish.  Its mo-

tivational force is unleashed by exposing the son to the emotive conse-

quences, whether joy or sorrow, that his character will have on his parents

(expectational aspect of motivation).


Topic                                                               Comment                     Prov 11:5

He who puts up security for                              will surely suffer (- consequence);

another (- act)

whoever refuses to strike hands                         is safe (+ consequence).

in pledge (+ act)

-  Act -->   -Consequence (11:15a) (AS)--

+ Act --> + Consequence (11:15b) (AS)++

In Prov 11:15 there is no motive clause, and yet its clear motivational in-

tent is to avoid suffering harm (11:15a) and to maintain one's safety

(11:15b).  In the Appendix there is a semantic classification of the types of

deep-structure motives used in the sentence literature.  Many of the mo-

tives used in the explicit motive clauses of Proverbs 1-9 are reiterated,

confirming our hypothesis that the sentences are motivational in charac-

ter even though an explicit motive clause has not been employed.



      In specifying the relationship between the topic and comment, most of

the sentences fit into one of the following eight categories:24

Frequency        Examples

Character                    Consequence     (CS)     (152)                10:2b, 3a, 6a

           Act                    (CA)    (70)                  10:12a, 14a

           Evaluation          (CE)     (16)                  10:20a; 11:1a


Character                  Consequence       (CS)     (152)                supra

Act                                                       (AS)     (62)                  10:17a, 19a

Item                                                     (IS)      (12)                  13:2a, 8a


     24R. B. Y. Scott, Proverbs (Garden City: Doubleday, 1965) 5-7; J. Berezov, Single-Line

Proverbs: A Study of the Sayings Collected in Proverbs 10-22:16 and 25-29 (dissertation;

Hebrew Union College, 1987) 4-6 (see 53-55 for categories on basis of topic and syntax);

Fontaine, Traditional 66-68.



Item                   Evaluation                   (IE)                  (7)        10:15a; 13:19a

Act                                                       (AE)                 (13)      11:30b; 12:1a

Character                                            (CE)                 (16)      supra

Appearance        Reality                       (PR)                 (4)        13:7; 14:13


While von Rad and others have emphasized the Act -->Consequence connec-

tion (62 found in Proverbs 10-15) as wisdom's core, the statistics reveal

that other frameworks may be more central (e.g. Character -->Consequence

[152] or Character -->Act [70]). Thus the first major hypothesis of this paper

is that Character -->Consequence is closer than Act -->Consequence to the

central core of the proverbial sentences.25



      Looking at the list of motives, we may suggest another hypothesis.  The

binary valencing of the motivational items that Postel has labeled "promis-

sory" and "dissuasive" might better be coordinated with modern motivation

literature (promissory-->approach motivation; dissuasive-->avoidance mo-

tivation).26 This binary valencing, as Van Leeuwen and pareimologists

Dundes and Milner have noted, is descriptive of proverbial literature

cross-culturally.27  Many of the proverbial sentences are beautifully bal-

anced with an approach motivation drawing ("brings joy to a father,"

10:1a) and an avoidance motivation driving away ("is a grief to his

mother," 10:1b).

     It is interesting that Kersovec's monograph on antithesis failed to treat

antithesis in the proverbial sentences.  Although he acknowledges that

Proverbs contains "the greatest number of antithetic parallelisms," he de-

murs that they are "neither stimulating nor rewarding."28  Why should the

sages in producing wisdom literature show such a preference for antithetic

structures (90% of Proverbs 10-15; cf. also Psalms 1, 73)?29  Several hy-

potheses may be suggested. Atkinson and the massive literature on the

psychology of motivation conclude that there is an additive relationship

between approach and avoidance motivation.30  This paper contends that

antithesis provides a perfect psycholinguistic structure for doubling the

motivational potency of the sentences by combining in an additive sense


      25Cf. Berezov, Single-Line 84; J. Gladson, Retributive Paradoxes in Proverbs 10-29 (disser-

tation; Vanderbilt University, 1978).

     26J. Atkinson and D. Birch, An Introduction to Motivation (New York: D. Van Nostrand,

1978) 239, 288-289.

     27Van Leeuwen, Context 48; Fontaine, Traditional 34-36; G. Milner, "Quadripartite Struc-

tures, Proverbium 14 (1969) 379-383.

     28J. Kersovec, Antithetic Structure in Biblical Hebrew Poetry (Leiden: Brill, 1984) 17.

     29U. Skladny, Die altesten Spruchsammlungen in Israel (Giittingen: Vandenhoeck und

Ruprecht, 1962) 68; Berezov, Single-Line 84.

     30Atkinson and Birch, Introduction 50-52.



approach and avoidance motivations (10:1, 3, 5; 142/184 = 77% of Proverbs

10-15 are approach/avoidance type).  Rather than being nonmotivationally

oriented because the sentences lack surface motive clauses, the deep-

structure analysis suggests that the sage's use of antithetic structure is

extremely potent motivationally.



     The final area of discussion involves the nature of motivation in Prov-

erbs in light of the vast literature on the psychology of motivation.31  A

brief browsing of the Appendix reveals the wide range of ways in which

the sage/father motivates his student/son. It is interesting, for example,

how well Bandura's social learning theory of modeling fits the sage's ap-

proach: attention processes ("Listen, my son") --> + retention processes ("do

not forget") --> + motor reproduction processes (Proverbs 5 and 7 walk the

son through the situation with the admonition "do this") and motivational

processes (abundance of motive clauses in Proverbs 1-9).32



     Motivational studies treat the initiation, intensity, direction and per-

sistence of behavior.33  Motivational theory has gone far beyond naive he-

donism (pleasure/pain as motivators) through Hullian drive reduction

theory (drive x habit) to the more cognitive value x expectancy (incentive)

theories, including achievement, attribution, and intrinsic motivational

theories.34  Proverbs does not ignore the basic motivational drives (hunger,

10:3b; 13:25; 15:15b, 17a; harm, 10:7b, 15b, 16b, 29b, 31b; death, 10:21b,

27b; 11:3b, 19b; 13:9b).  Indeed Maslow's hierarchy of needs and motiva-

tion in Proverbs intersects at many points.35  Heider noted that man has

two basic needs: to understand his world, and to control it.36  Both of these

are employed motivationally in Proverbs.

      Proverbs, however, goes beyond drives to tap the student's cognitive

evaluations.  Proverbs affirms man's ability to choose and unleashes a


     31D. McClelland, Human Motivation (Glenview: Scott, Foresman, 1985); B. Weiner, Human

Motivation (New York: Holt, 1980); J. Houston, Motivation (New York: Macmillan, 1985); At-

kinson and Birch, Introduction.

     32Cf. Houston, Motivation 334; A. Bandura, Social Learning Theory (Englewood Cliffs:

Prentice-Hall, 1977) 23.

    33Houston, Motivation 6-7; Atkinson and Birch, Introduction.

    34For Hullian theory cf. Atkinson and Birch, Introduction 47, 15-16; Houston, Motivation

192-209; for value expectancy theory cf. Houston, Motivation 238; Atkinson and Birch, Intro-

duction 75; for achievement motivation cr. McClelland, Human; for attribution theory cf.

Weiner, Human; for intrinsic motivation cr. E. Deci and R. Ryan, Intrinsic Motivation and Self-

Determination in Human Behavior (New York: Plenum, 1985); M. Lepper and D. Greene, The

Hidden Costs of Reward: New Perspectives on the Psychology of Human Motivation (Hillsdale:

Erlbaum, 1978).

     35Houston, Motivation 215-216.

     36Ibid. 255.



whole cluster of motivational incentives-not only rousing personal drives

but also social concerns (friendships, 14:20; honor/disgrace, 12:8; 14:18;

15:33; status, 12:24; blessing/curse, 11:26; 14:17b, 21b, 22b), altruistic con-

cern for others (10:21a; 12:18; 15:4) and theological motivations (14:2;

14:31; cf. Appendix).37  Gordon is correct that the ultimate motive is life

(8:32-36).38  Self-preservation, the desire for well-being and the avoidance

of harm underlie much proverbial motivation.  Rather than demeaning

such motivational forces by labeling them as adolescent or crassly egocen-

tric, such "worldly" motivations need to be embraced as having been uti-

lized in Proverbs, the law (Deuteronomy 28; Leviticus 26), and even the

NT (cf. Austgen's demonstration of such "worldly" motivation in the

Pauline epistles: 1 Tim 5:23; Titus 2:5; cf. Matt 6:33; Acts 16:3).39



     Atkinson's “value x expectancy” theory may be summarized by the for-

mula Ms x Ps x Ins ([individual's motive for success = Ms] x [probability of

success (task difficulty) = Ps] x [incentive = Ins]).40 When the Mf> Ms (mo-

tive to avoid failure > motive to achieve success) a person will attempt to

avoid failure.  On the other hand when the Ms > Mf a person will strive for

success.  Motivational theorists have discovered an inverted U-shaped

curve relating optimal arousal level, task difficulty, and risk levels.41  If

tasks are too easy (Ps high) or impossible (Ps too low) motivation will be

minimal, but if the task is mid-range the motivational challenge will be

maximized.  Wisdom is both challenging and costly (Prov 4:7-8).  She is

not, however, unattainable but graciously offers herself to those who will

pursue her (1:20-33; 9:1-5).  In order to shape character, wisdom digitizes

reality into discreet, well-defined choices.  This helps the son to recognize

more easily characterological patterns of behavior, making choices more

accessible although by no means easily attained.

     The proverbial sentences use approach/approach incentives (better-

than proverbs: Prov 22:1, 4), avoidance/approach (most antithetic sen-

tences: 10:1, 3, 5), and avoidance/avoidance (22:16; 21:27; cf. Atkinson's

concept of "negaction" or inhibitory motivation).42  Through the use of an-

tithetic parallelism the sages maximize the motivational forces by pre-

senting the negative and positive consequences of both wisdom and folly.

Thus the approach motivation draws the son to the desired wise choice

(10:la), while the avoidance motivation in the next line drives the son

away from the corresponding foolish choice (10:1b).


     37R. N. Gordon, "Motivation in Proverbs," Biblical Theology 25 (1975) 55-56.

     38Ibid. 54.

     39R. Austgen, Natural Motivation in the Pauline Epistles (South Bend: University of Notre

Dame, 1966).

     40Atkinson and Birch, Introduction 94-96; Houston, Motivation 242.

     41Atkinson and Birch, Introduction 65, 106; Houston, Motivation 83.

     42Atkinson and Birch, Introduction 50-53.




     Weiner and others have stressed the importance of attribution theory

in motivational studies.43  The basic premise of the theory is that man is

motivated to seek causes.44  This aspect of motivational theory is sensitive

to the personal attributions made after a task success or failure (why I

succeeded/failed = ability, effort, luck, task difficulty).45  It is noted that

success for males leads to effort attributions while they favor ability

praise as informational.  Females, on the other hand, make ability attribu-

tions more naturally but they prefer effort praise, perceiving ability praise

as controlling.46  Thus, some tasks are ego-involving (resulting in attribu-

tions about ability, feeling controlled and high personal risk), while others

are merely task-involving (attributions made about task difficulty, more

informational, less risky).47

      Though Proverbs relates many tasks to character (10:3, 5) and hence is

ego-involving, one must clearly note that the sentences' third-person style

is more informationally directive, leaving the choice to the son.  These

choices result in character attributions and consequences (10:5, 18, 23, 32;

11:12-13; cf. Appendix, evaluations section).  By teaching these proverbial

sentences the sage builds an attributional set into his student.  When the

student engages in a particular behavior, having internalized the evalua-

tive wisdom grid, he will be able to reward himself by evaluating his

choices as wise or foolish.48

     Proverbs also builds the son's internal locus of control.49  He must choose.

The outside forces do not determine his character.  Thus the father avoids

a learned helplessness response where the son gives up because the situa-

tion has a locus of control beyond his ability.50  This internal control builds

the son's self-esteem, which is critical to all forms of motivation as the son

realizes he must take charge of his world through making responsible


     43Weiner, Human 275-277.

     44Houston, Motivation 254-255.

     45Ibid. 256.

     46R. Koestner, M. Zuckerman and J. Koestner, "Attributional Focus of Praise and Chil-

dren's Intrinsic Motivation: The Moderating Role of Gender," Personality and Social Bulletin

15/1 (1989) 61-72; C. Dweck, "Motivational Processes Affecting Learning," American Psycholo-

gist 41/10 (1986) 10-43; C. Sansone, "A Question of Competence: The Effects of Competence

and Task Feedback on Intrinsic Interest," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 51/5

(1986) 918-931.

     47S. Harter, "A Model of Mastery Motivation in Children: Individual Differences and Devel-

opmental Change," Aspects of the Development of Competence: The Minnesota Symposia on

Child Psychology 14 (ed. W. A. Collins; Hillsdale: Erlbaum, 1981) 252; Koestner, "Attribu-

tional" 384.

     48Sansone, "Question" 918.

     49Atkinson and Birch, Introduction 140; B. Earn, "Intrinsic Motivation as a Function of Ex-

trinsic Financial Rewards and Subjects' Locus of Control," Journal of Personality 50/3 (1982)

360-363; D. Tzuriel and H. C. Haywood, "Locus of Control and Child Rearing Practices in In-

trinsically Motivated and Extrinsically Motivated Children," Psychological Reports 57 (1985)

888; J. Condry, "Enemies of Exploration: Self-Initiated Versus Other-Initiated Learning," Jour-

nal of Personality and Social Psychology 35/7 (1977) 459-477.

     50Houston, Motivation 276.



choices. The ultimate results/consequences, however, must be released in

the fear of the Lord, whose ways are beyond calculation (1:7; 21:31; 20:24).



     Deci has championed the notion of the possible undermining effects of ex-

trinsic motivation.51  It has been found that if a child is paid money (extrinsic

reward) to engage in a particular behavior (puzzles) he will make the mental

attribution that he is doing the puzzles not because they are enjoyable but

because he is being paid (overjustification).52  Once the payments stop, the

behavior will be quickly extinguished.  But if the child does a puzzle without

pay, he will tell himself that the reason he is doing it is because it is inter-

esting.  This intrinsic motivation leads to greater creativity and persis-

tence.53  At the core of intrinsic motivation is a feeling of self-determination

and autonomy.  Some of this seems to be developmental since young children

are more intrinsically motivated than adolescents.54

       Superficially, Proverbs appears to be extrinsic in its motivational orien-

tation (10:3).  The notions of self-determination are highlighted, however,

as each sentence presents the student with a choice whereby he is able to

determine his own character and consequences.  While Proverbs utilizes

the potency of extrinsic rewards (e.g. wealth/poverty), it highlights such

intrinsic benefits of character development as that its own reward is more

valuable than rubies (4:7; 31:10; cf. evaluation section in the Appendix).

Indeed, wisdom itself is used as a motivating goal (11:2b; 13:20a; 14:6-7,

18, 23; 15:33).  Again the point is to build informational Gestalts for mak-

ing self-attributions rather than to control, which will result in resentment

and lack of internalization.55

      Some have empirically established that the impact of others-oriented

motivation leads to more empathic and altruistic behavior.56  Proverbs

clearly employs this type of motivational strategy (10:21; 12:18; 13:22;

14:25; 15:4; cf. Appendix).



     Lastly, the bond between emotions and motivation links the affective do-

main with values motivation at the levels of the individual (10:28a; 12:20b;

15:23a), others (10:1; 11:10; 15:30a) and even for Yahweh (11:1, 20; 12:2,22;


     51Deci and Ryan, Intrinsic; Lepper and Greene, Hidden; Condry, "Enemies."

     52M. Lepper, D. Greene and R. Nisbett, "Undermining Children's Intrinsic Interest with

Extrinsic Reward," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 28/1 (1973) 129-130.

     53T. Amabile, "Motivation and Creativity: Effects of Motivational Orientation on Creative

Writers," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 48/2 (1985) 393-399.

     54Harter, "Model" 237.

     55M. L. Hoffman, "Parent Discipline and the Child's Moral Development," Journal of Per-

sonality and Social Psychology 5 (1967) 45-57.

     56L. Kuczynski, "Reasoning, Prohibitions, and Motivations for Compliance," Developmental

Psychology 19/1 (1983) 126-128.



15:8-9, 26) Emotional anticipation is a key factor in the motivation of be-

havior.  The connection of values motivation and affective responses warns

against a cognitive belittling of the emotions.  Wisdom also includes such re-

sponses as desirable and functional in motivational contexts.57



     This paper has proposed a methodology for exposing the motivational

forces hidden in the sentence literature deep structures that often lack ex-

plicit Gemserian motive clauses.  It has been suggested that rather than

seeing act --> + consequence as the core of the proverbial sentences, charac-

ter --> + consequence may be closer to its center.

      A motivationally based explanation was given for the sages' frequent

use of antithetic parallelisms.  This poetic structure often unleashes a pow-

erful motivation combination: approach (10:1a) + avoidance (10:1b).

      While the discussion of the psychology of motivation and proverbial

motivation has merely been introduced, it is hoped that it will be found to

be a fertile frontier for further exploration.  Drive reduction, cognitive ex-

pectancies, characterological attributions, and intrinsic/extrinsic motiva-

tional strategies, as well as the nexus between emotion and motivation,

provide rich areas for further study.

      Much of the motivation literature reveals the need for a value-based

motivational theory that can promote moral/faith development.58  Proverbs

presents a value-based motivation that includes a rich variety of intrinsic

and extrinsic motivations including personal this-worldly, altruistic/socio-

logical and theological motives.  Indeed, both God and the teachers/sages of

Israel were concerned about what motivates the heart (Heb 4:12; Prov 16:2).


       57 Houston, Motivation 272-273; H. A. Simon, "Motivational and Emotional Controls of Cog-

nition," Psychological Review 74 (1967) 29-39; I. J. Roseman, "Cognitive Determinants of Emo-

tion: A Structural Theory," Review of Personality and Social Psychology 5 (1984); N. L. Stein

and L. J. Levine, "Making Sense Out of Emotion: the Representation and Use of Goal-

Structured Knowledge," Psychological and Biological Approaches to Emotion (ed. Stein, B. Lev-

enthal and T. Trabasso; Hillsdale: Erlbaum, 1990) 45-73.

     58 L. Kohlberg, Essays on Moral Development: The Philosophy of Moral Development (New

York: Harper, 1981, 1984); B. Clouse, Moral Development: Perspective in Psychology and Chris-

tian Belief (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1985); J. Fowler, Stages of Faith (San Francisco: Harper,

1981); C. Dystra and S. Parks, Faith Development and Fowler (Birmingham: Religious Educa-

tion, 1986).