Proverbs Course

TEXT IN CONTEXT: The Book of Proverbs

Hybrid classes: November 25 – December 13, 2024
Instructors: Murray Salisbury and Ronit Maoz

The goal of this intensive, full-time course is to equip you with proverb-specific tools of exegesis and of poetry analysis that will help you make informed decisions about the most likely meaning.

More exegetical variations among the translations can be found for Proverbs 10-29 than for any other comparable stretch of Scripture. Translating from any poetic text is not easy. The challenge is even greater for these one-verse ‘poems’ – individual proverbs that offer little or no context for finding clues that might help us to disambiguate the many ambiguities.

Fortunately, the poets give us clues in other ways – often embedded in the poetry! We will discuss the functions of the poetic devices they use – and how they might point to
their intended meaning. You will also learn to examine the cultural, geographical, and historical contexts.

Much of what you will learn can be applied to other poetic parts of the Hebrew Bible, one third of which is written in such beautiful poetry that ambiguities abound.

Hybrid classes
We offer you two options. For the
fuller experience, we recommend
that you come to Israel and
experience the interactions and
field trips in person. If that is not
possible, then you can apply to
join the class by Zoom.

About the Instructors:

Murray Salisbury is a translation consultant with thirty-three years of experience training 1850 consultants and translators around the world.

Ronit Maoz is a licensed Israeli guide. She will take you out on five full-day field trips, giving you hands-on experience with some of the Bible’s metaphorical language: Israel’s flora, fauna, horticultural and farming practices, geography, weather, seasons, etc.

Students should ideally have an
advanced level of Biblical Hebrew.
Or intermediate if you can put in the
extra work to prepare to read poetic
texts in class with understanding.

Classes will be held Monday – Friday:
09:00 – 12:00 Israel time (07:00 – 10:00 UTC)
Plus, about 3 hours each day preparing for
the next class by completing the exercises.


Applications are open – closing on October 1st for in-person students and on October 31st for online students. The cost for in-person students is US$2000, including meals, housing, and trips (excluding airfares and visas). The fee for online students is US$350 to cover the administrative and technical costs. A limited number of scholarships for national consultants and translators are available on application. Class size (including online) is limited, so apply early.


  • “Nothing compares with personal experience of the settings of events about which I have been teaching and consulting for a lifetime. Every day I am using the resources gained.”
  • "Wonderful experience. The course has helped me to understand the scripture better, and also it has helped me to enjoy my daily Bible reading."
  • "This has been one of the best courses and it was good to see the geography, land, animals, vegetation, etc that of the Bible. Now when I read the Bible things are becoming live and interesting."
  • "Without knowing the context of the land, my knowledge or understanding of the Bible would have been wrong. Language in the context is the essential key to make all the knowledge connected so as to become clear."
  • "I have to say that my understanding of Biblical culture and context before the course was very superficial. However, I have seen the real soil of this land, I experienced the weather/climate, I felt what we cannot get form the pictures on the internet or information in books. I am sure that I will read the Bible with more vivid eyes."
  • I am very happy to go through this to say good evening to all who are in JCBT... I returned to Benin well, and I started the service in the translation team. I attended a Fulani conference in Benin, which took place from August 27 to 31, 2019. This conference brought together about a thousand people. All are Fulani Christians from Benin. In this lecture, I presented many images of the country of Israel, and we prayed for Israel and for JCBT and all those are in JCBT.