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The Gifts of Wisdom


Does not wisdom call,

and does not understanding raise her voice?


On the heights, beside the way,

at the crossroads she takes her stand;


beside the gates in front of the town,

at the entrance of the portals she cries out:


“To you, O people, I call,

and my cry is to all that live.


O simple ones, learn prudence;

acquire intelligence, you who lack it.


Hear, for I will speak noble things,

and from my lips will come what is right;


for my mouth will utter truth;

wickedness is an abomination to my lips.


All the words of my mouth are righteous;

there is nothing twisted or crooked in them.


They are all straight to one who understands

and right to those who find knowledge.


Take my instruction instead of silver,

and knowledge rather than choice gold;


for wisdom is better than jewels,

and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.


I, wisdom, live with prudence,

and I attain knowledge and discretion.


The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil.

Pride and arrogance and the way of evil

and perverted speech I hate.


I have good advice and sound wisdom;

I have insight, I have strength.


By me kings reign,

and rulers decree what is just;


by me rulers rule,

and nobles, all who govern rightly.


I love those who love me,

and those who seek me diligently find me.


Riches and honor are with me,

enduring wealth and prosperity.


My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold,

and my yield than choice silver.


I walk in the way of righteousness,

along the paths of justice,


endowing with wealth those who love me,

and filling their treasuries.

Wisdom’s Part in Creation


The Lord created me at the beginning of his work,

the first of his acts of long ago.


Ages ago I was set up,

at the first, before the beginning of the earth.


When there were no depths I was brought forth,

when there were no springs abounding with water.


Before the mountains had been shaped,

before the hills, I was brought forth—


when he had not yet made earth and fields,

or the world’s first bits of soil.


When he established the heavens, I was there,

when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,


when he made firm the skies above,

when he established the fountains of the deep,


when he assigned to the sea its limit,

so that the waters might not transgress his command,

when he marked out the foundations of the earth,


then I was beside him, like a master worker;

and I was daily his delight,

rejoicing before him always,


rejoicing in his inhabited world

and delighting in the human race.



“And now, my children, listen to me:

happy are those who keep my ways.


Hear instruction and be wise,

and do not neglect it.


Happy is the one who listens to me,

watching daily at my gates,

waiting beside my doors.


For whoever finds me finds life

and obtains favor from the Lord;


but those who miss me injure themselves;

all who hate me love death.”


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Pr 8:1-36. Contrasted with sensual allurements are the advantages of divine wisdom, which publicly invites men, offers the best principles of life, and the most valuable benefits resulting from receiving her counsels. Her relation to the divine plans and acts is introduced, as in Pr 3:19, 20, though more fully, to commend her desirableness for men, and the whole is closed by an assurance that those finding her find God's favor, and those neglecting ruin themselves. Many regard the passage as a description of the Son of God by the title, Wisdom, which the older Jews used (and by which He is called in Lu 11:49), as Joh 1:1, &c., describes Him by that of Logos, the Word. But the passage may be taken as a personification of wisdom: for, (1) Though described as with God, wisdom is not asserted to be God. (2) The use of personal attributes is equally consistent with a personification, as with the description of a real person. (3) The personal pronouns used accord with the gender (feminine) of wisdom constantly, and are never changed to that of the person meant, as sometimes occurs in a corresponding use of spirit, which is neuter in Greek, but to which masculine pronouns are often applied (Joh 16:14), when the acts of the Holy Spirit are described. (4) Such a personification is agreeable to the style of this book (compare Pr 1:20; 3:16, 17; 4:8; 6:20-22; 9:1-4), whereas no prophetical or other allusions to the Saviour or the new dispensation are found among the quotations of this book in the New Testament, and unless this be such, none exist. (5) Nothing is lost as to the importance of this passage, which still remains a most ornate and also solemn and impressive teaching of inspiration on the value of wisdom.

1-4. The publicity and universality of the call contrast with the secrecy and intrigues of the wicked (Pr 7:8, &c.).

5. wisdom—literally, "subtilty" in a good sense, or, "prudence."

fools—as Pr 1:22.

6. excellent things—or, "plain," "manifest."

opening … things—upright words.

7. For … truth—literally, "My palate shall meditate," or (as Orientals did) "mutter," my thoughts expressed only to myself are truth.

wickedness—specially falsehood, as opposed to truth.

8. in righteousness—or, "righteous" (Ps 9:8,11:7).

froward—literally, "twisted," or contradictory, that is, to truth.

9. plain … understandeth—easily seen by those who apply their minds.

that find—implying search.

10. not silver—preferable to it, so last clause implies comparison.

11. (Compare Pr 3:14, 15).

12. prudence—as in Pr 8:5. The connection of "wisdom" and "prudence" is that of the dictates of sound wisdom and its application.

find … inventions—or, "devices," "discreet ways" (Pr 1:4).

13. For such is the effect of the fear of God, by which hatred to evil preserves from it.

froward mouth—or, "speech" (Pr 2:12; 6:14).

14. It also gives the elements of good character in counsel.

sound wisdom—(Pr 2:7).

I … strength—or, "As for me, understanding is strength to me," the source of power (Ec 9:16); good judgment gives more efficiency to actions;

15, 16. of which a wisely conducted government is an example.

17. early—or, "diligently," which may include the usual sense of early in life.

18. durable riches … righteousness—Such are the "riches," enduring sources of happiness in moral possessions (compare Pr 3:16).

19. (Compare Pr 8:11; 3:16).

20, 21. The courses in which wisdom leads conduct to a true present prosperity (Pr 23:5).

22-31. Strictly, God's attributes are part of Himself. Yet, to the poetical structure of the whole passage, this commendation of wisdom is entirely consonant. In order of time all His attributes are coincident and eternal as Himself. But to set forth the importance of wisdom as devising the products of benevolence and power, it is here assigned a precedence. As it has such in divine, so should it be desired in human, affairs (compare Pr 3:19).

possessed—or, "created"; in either sense, the idea of precedence.

in the beginning—or simply, "beginning," in apposition with "me."

before … of old—preceding the most ancient deeds.

23. I was set up—ordained, or inaugurated (Ps 2:6). The other terms carry out the idea of the earliest antiquity, and illustrate it by the details of creation [Pr 8:24-29].

24. brought forth—(Compare Ps 90:2).

abounding—or, "laden with water."

25. settled—that is, sunk in foundations.

26. fields—or, "out places," "deserts," as opposite to (habitable) "world."

highest part—or, "sum," all particles together,

27. when he set … depth—marked out the circle, according to the popular idea of the earth, as circular, surrounded by depths on which the visible concave heavens rested.

28. established … deep—that is, so as to sustain the waters above and repress those below the firmament (Ge 1:7-11; Job 26:8).

29. commandment—better, the shore, that is, of the sea.

foundations—figuratively denotes the solid structure (Job 38:4; Ps 24:2).

30, 31. one brought up—an object of special and pleasing regard. The bestowal of wisdom on men is represented by its finding a delightful residence and pleasing God.

32-36. Such an attribute men are urged to seek.

34. watching … waiting—literally, "so as to watch"; wait, denoting a most sedulous attention.

35. (Compare Lu 13:23, 24).

36. sinneth … me—or better, "missing me," as opposed to "finding" [Pr 8:35].

love death—act as if they did (compare Pr 17:9).