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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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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).