箴8:22至31通常被指是子， 筆者查考了69本相關之書 所得資料列下:
(1) 標準本聖經伴讀 (浸宣出版社)
8:22 在耶和華造化的起頭， 在太初創造萬物之先， 就有了我: 這裡的智慧 並非是將神的一種本性人格化 或是將神對人最好旨意人格化 在虔誠人的心目中 這確實是指基督而言 箴8:22-26 與約1:1-3 西1:17。 除了指永生神的兒子之外， 別無所指。
(2) 聖經啟導本 (海天書樓)
8:22-31 這一段經文為本書讚美智慧的高峰， 用擬人式描寫智慧在宇宙創造時承擔的角色。《 箴言》 的性質在教導實際人生， 即不可以把種何因結何果當着神的應許， 也不可當作預言來解釋。 本段的目的在指出智慧為神的屬性， 在創造主眼中乃重要且必需。 智慧在宇宙被造前已經存在， 也是宇宙的基本； 且為喜樂之源。 造物主運用智慧創造時， 喜樂也便湧現(30-31節)。 不過， 本段的確為新約提供了一部份描寫基督的背景， 說明祂是太初就與神同在的道(約1:1-14)。 也是 “神的智慧”(林前1:24， 30； 西2:3。 參西1:15-17)。
8:30 “工師 ”是心裡有智慧的人， 創造時能匠心獨運， 完成神所吩咐的事(出31:7)。
8:31“踴躍 ” 是喜樂的極致。 人是照神的形像造的， 為創造大工的極峰。 智慧因世界造成 (“為人預備可住之的”)和人的出現(“住在世人之間”)而手舞足蹈， 歡樂無比。
(3) 聖經新國際版研讀本 (更心傳道會)
8:22-31 一首頌歌， 描寫智慧在創世過程中所扮演的角色。 智慧在此處
如1:20-33； 3:16-18； 9:1-12 一樣被擬人化， 所以不當將這些經文視為
是直接描寫基督的經文； 不過， 它們為新約聖經描繪基督為神的道(約
1:1-3)與神的智慧(林前1:24， 30； 西2:3) 提供了部份背景。 此處智慧
8:22 在耶和華造化的起頭: 參約伯裡對河馬的敘述 (伯40:19)。 就有了:
（编者注: 見原文註)希伯來文此動詞也用在創4:1 (“生了”) 14:19, 22 (“天地
的主”新國際版譯作 “天的地的創造者”)。 我: 智慧(見3:19 詩104:24)。
8:23 從亙古： 也是對基督的描述(見約1:1 參彌5:2)。 未有世界以前：
8:24 大水的泉源： 見詩104:10。 我已生出： 他處經文則只說到海(伯
38:8-9)，山和大地的 “出生”(詩90:2 伯15:7)。
8:27 立高天： 見3:19。 他在淵面的周圍， 畫出圓圈： 見伯26:10。
8:28 淵源： 地球的泉源與溪流(參創7:11)。
8:29 為滄海定出界限： 見創1:9； 伯38:10-11； 詩104:9。
8:30 工師: 工師有時被稱為智慧人。 有如設計建造會幕的比撒列(出
31:3)。 此處此字強調創造中所顯示的巧思。 為他所喜愛…….踴躍: 參天
8:31 也喜悅住在世人之間: (編者註:新國際版譯作 “也喜悅世人”) 參8:4。 人本是按神的形像造的， 代表創造的最高峰(見創1:26-28)。
(4) 聖經研讀版 (環球聖經公會)
8:22-31 這些經文描述智慧， 慶賀自己在創世之前的榮耀。 經文分成兩個
均衡的詩節。 第一詩節提到它在創世之前就已存在了(22-26節)， 第二詩節
(22-23節)， 從反面的角度說明創造(24-26節)， 從正面角度說明創造(27-29
詩歌有3個用意： 第一， 藉着追溯它的創世之前的遠古性， 說明赋於所羅
門的智慧具有崇高地位(22-26節)。 第二， 清楚指出智慧擁有全備的知識，
所以它有資格對告人。 唯有那親自觀察創造過程的， 才曉得所有的事實，
而它也有知識對人作出忠告(參伯38:1-4)。 凭着這智慧， 智慧帶有能力，
有系統的把真理闡明。 第三， “制定法記”(15節)和 “劃定”(27:29節)之間的
慶賀神創造的指令， 而這指令使宇宙的架構得以維持。 國家社會的秩序，
8:22 在耶和華創造的開始： 智慧是耶和華旨意的目的 (弗1:11)， 是建立一切的永恆的命令。 智慧維持着一切的正常關係， 也決定了一切的歷史進程。 智慧備受讚揚， 是我們與現實聯繫的媒介。 在太初創造一切以先： 智慧比神在與人立約和施行救恩前的目的自我啟示還要早。 就有了我： 所羅門的教導源自神本身的屬性。 見 ‘比利時宣言’ 8。
8:23 被立： 或作 ‘被形成’
8:24 我已經出生： 因為在深淵和泉源存在之前， 以及在大山小山被形成之前， 智慧已經存在了， 所以它比被造物更高一籌， 而它也與神有密切的關係。
8:27-31 當耶和華立定宇宙的結構， 目的是要使人能居住時 (27-29節)， 智慧已經在那裡了。 智慧時常歡喜快樂， 尤其是當神創造人類的時候 (30-31節)。
(5) 聖經簡釋本 (中國基督教協會)
8:1-36 “智慧頌”。 這是一篇以詩歌形式寫成的智慧頌， 它把智慧擬人化。
智慧好像街頭佈道家， 揚聲地呼喊， 要人聽其語， 守其道， 因為智慧比珍
珠寶貴。 人若有智慧， 一生受用無窮， 王子若有智慧， 必威鎮四方， 穩
坐寶座。智慧與神合一， 參與創世奇功。 智慧要求人作出非此即彼的選
8:28 或譯為 “他建立窮蒼， 使淵面穩定”。
(6) 牧靈聖經 (天主教國際聖經學會 聖母聖心愛子國際出版公司 聖言會國際出版
雅威在祂創造之初， 就造了我： 請注意這句子的詩意化， 好像智慧是天主
的女兒： 在祂面前， 終日因此而歡愉。 世界是我的歡樂場。 這種寫作方式
長久以來， 聖經一直堅持著一項事實， 即只有一位天主， 祂和無數的異教
神祇毫無關係。 然而， 信徒門現在察覺出他們對雅威的認識中有所不足。
如果天主將自己孤獨地鎖起來， 怎麼會是生命和愛的源頭呢？ 感謝聖經，
信徒們了解到天主是全能神聖的， 上主存在於民眾中， 聖殿裡和雲彩上，
因此， 在舊約的最後幾章中， 作者常提到聖神， 智慧， 力量， 天主的恩典， 好像這些都源自天主， 卻又不等同於祂， 好像有其他角色分享了天主神秘的生命， 而天主是透過這些角色， 參與了人類的事務。
這就是偉大的啟示作準備的方式， 啟示將隨著主耶穌的來臨而實現。 天主
三位一體從一開始， 萬物藉由其永恆的聖子而成， 而那來住在我們中間的
是與父同在的(見若1:1-4 哥1:15 和希1:2-3)。
因此， 智慧就是基督的形像。 但許多基督徒則把智慧當作他們的母親瑪利
亞的象徵。 事實上， 從一開始， 天主的計劃中有她， 她值得被稱為 “智慧
之后”， 因為她是如此親密地和天主的智慧-----聖子聯結在一起。 我們在智
7:21 德24:5 可讀到兩段相似的經文。
(7) 聖經 ---- 思高譯本 (南京愛德印刷有限公司)
22-31節堪稱為 “智慧贊”或 “智慧頌”。 作者描寫智慧為天主的屬性， 而且這屬性具有獨立的位格， 在天主創世以前， 她已存在； 在天主創世之時， 她如技師予以協助。 她愛一切造物， 卻特別愛世人。 對這有位格的 “智慧”， 只有天主第二位-----聖子-----降生人已後 ， 我們才可充分了解她的深義。 參見智慧書概論， 以及約28， 智7:22-30， 8:1-18； 德24， 哥1:15-20； 格前1:24， 若1:1-18 等相關處。
(8) 聖經靈修版 (國際聖經協會)
神說智慧是生命中最首要也是最基本的元素， 人的一生就建立在這基礎上。 保羅和約翰描述主基督在創世之初就存在(參西1:15-17 2:2-3 啟3:14)， 也可能暗指所羅門講的智慧。
(9) 證主21世紀聖經新譯 (福音證主協會)
8:1-36 智慧在真理和生命方面的教誨： 智慧再一次 站在公眾面前(1-3節)。 她像那任性的婦人一樣， 使別人注意她， 但她所提出的， 卻有所不同。 她的話語像以賽亞書55章那充滿鼓勵的邀請， 而不像被擄之先知那種對質性的指責(比較1:20-33)； 這篇訓誡採用了另一種形式， 以圖像傳達這論點。
智慧人在第4至36節 說話 ，是基於3個理由， 來鼓勵人留心聽取教訓。
首先是她所說的， 都是真理和公正的事(4-11節)。 這裡把1:7所提到的智
慧與是非觀念聯繫， 更有系統的列出來： 請留意對與錯和聰明與愚昧的
詞語不斷堆積起來。 這就是本段教訓珍貴之處(10-11節)。 同時， 她所說
第二個要留心的原因， 是她所說的都有實際的價值(12-21節)， 人可以運
在此看到(13節)， 但焦點仍在智慧與對錯的關係上。 作者假設權力是按
正直的方法行使(參13 15節)， 而財富是那關注公義和公平之人所得的恩
的， 並有時對一個像所羅門的王來說， 該是怎樣的。
第三個根據把論點帶至另一個層面： 智慧在創世之始便與神一起工作(22-31節)。 我們還可以想到比這更有力的理據， 叫人聽她嗎？ 我們要在智慧的門外等候(32-36節)。
因此， 神以太初開始， 在創造世界之前， 已經有智慧(22-26節)。 神在進行創造時， 使用了智慧-----心思， 常識(27-31節)。 我們對創造認識愈多， 就愈看見智慧的可貴。
在宗教裡，擬人化的智慧， 可能曾用來描寫許多神祇， 而箴言則按 “非神話化”的意思來使用那些術語。 箴言的語氣也勸勉以色列人不要在拜耶和華之餘， 在敬拜一位女神(比較耶44:17)： 要尊從的女神(只是寓意方面) 是智慧。 在基督徒時代， 人從字面義去理解這種擬人法， 並看智慧為神不同的一個真實人物， 而可以明白基督與神的關係， 這是約翰福音1:1-4和歌羅西書1:15-17節的根據。
“尋得”一詞(12節)在箴言中一般指 “得著”(例如1:5; 4:5,7)， 而智慧在此的用詞也採取這含義。 人若是認為是擬人化的(參上文)， 便會在22節選取 “生出”的翻譯(參新國際譯本旁註)； 我們從這觀點去理解基督更為適切， 因為祂像一個人出生， 而不是像一件物件被得著。 第24節也有一字解作 “生出”。 這與舊約的希臘文譯本不同， 因為希臘文譯本採取了 “被造” 的譯法。 在關乎基督位格的爭論中， 這翻譯方便了亞流派， 因為他們可用以證明他們的觀點， 即基督是被造的存在體。
第30節， 一個譯着 “工師”的字詞 ，在舊約中只在這裡出現過。 “小孩”(標準譯本旁註)或 “寵兒”(新英語譯本)的翻譯校切合30至31節的上下文， 那裡的重點在於創造工作像歡樂的遊戲， 而不是艱苦辛勞。 若那是正確的， 第22-36節便是指智慧的出生，再經歷女孩階段的戲耍， 而發展 成長至成人階段。
(10) 舊約聖經背景註釋 (校園書房出版社)
8:22-29 智慧在宇宙之先：正如約翰福音以 “太初有道”作為開始， 作者在
此也是宣稱智慧是神最先的創造， 時間開始之時已經與神同在。 宇宙萬物
被造， 智慧都從旁目擊， 埃及的造物者兼太陽神是說， 瑪阿特被行容為
他的扈從。 智慧和阿瑪特一樣， 似乎也是耶和華的使者， 最先被造的一
位。 這個對智慧的看法也可能與巴比倫的創世神話， 或烏加列文獻對伊勒
8:30 智慧為工程師： 墨菲(R. Murphy)正確的看出了本節和出埃及記3:14
“我是”一語的關係， 所指的是創造者神。 智慧如果是以 “工匠長”或創造
一方面， 智慧若是在神腳前玩耍的 “小孩子”的話(部份譯本取這翻譯， 不
譯作 “工師”)， 仍在的則是在神面前的 “欣喜”， 以及在別的無掛慮的年級
分享萬物逐漸成形的興奮。 埃及文獻中的阿瑪特亦被稱為 “諸神的還子”，
其遊戲使他們歡喜。 另一方面， 形容創造作為有如工匠作業的例證也有很
多， 巴比倫史詩 “埃奴瑪埃利什”中， 瑪爾杜克塑造人類， 和巴比倫 “阿特拉哈西斯史詩”中的寧圖瑪米(Nintu-Mami)與伊亞一思基(Ea-Enki)比賽用黏土創造人類， 都是其中的例子。 按照埃及來自孟斐斯的創世文獻， 創造神祇蒲他也被描繪為惠心從事創造工作的工匠。 此外， 亞喀得文學亦提到七位傑出的 “工匠”。 他們是古代的七位哲士， 在洪水之後來臨， 將智慧帶給早期的君王。
(11) The Jewish Study Bible (Oxford University Press, Inc.)
v22-26 Wisdom recounts her creation and presence during the creation and her presence during the creation of the world. She was the very first of God’s creations. An important Jewish interpretation, starting with Gen. Rab.1.2, 5 and found in the Rashi to Gen 1.1, uses Prov. ch 8 to argue that Torah (identified with wisdom) was created before the world and was used by God in creating it.
v22 created me: Since ancient times, interpreters have disputed whether the verb “kanah” means “created” or “acquire”. The latter allows for the possibility that wisdom existed from eternity and was coeval with God. Some Christian groups preferred this, since they identified wisdom with the Logos, which was in turn identified with the Christ. It is, however, clear from v.23 that wisdom is a created being. In fact, “kanah” refers to acquisition by any means, including creation, as here.
v24 According to Gen 1:2, the deep (the primordial sea) existed before creation began. Wisdom insists that she preceded in existence even this primordial of entities. I was brought forth: This word is usually used of birth. The background metaphor of device parenthood is reinforced by v30.
v25 The mountains were thought to rest on foundations or on pillars set (miraculously, see Job 38:6) in the abyss or the underworld. His word, like a child He was creating for. This fits the context best. Nowhere does the chapter imply that Lady Wisdom help God create the earth. On the contrary, vv30-31 emphasize that she played while God worked. Wisdom’s playing before God represents the “play” of the wise, which is study. Cf. Ps. 119:92.
v31 Just as God gets pleasure from wisdom, so does she delight in humankind.
(12) (Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible-KJV (Dake Publishing, Inc.)
The Lord possessed me in : Wisdom is not acquired by God , but by men, angels and other created beings. Wisdom existed before :
(a) God’s creation of old (v22)
(b) The creation of the earth (v23)
(c) The depths and fountains of waters (v24)
(d) The mountains and hills (v25)
(e) The earth, fields, and dust of the world (v26)
(f) The heavens and clouds (v28)
(g) The laws governing creation (v29)
v23 from : From the beginning of the ages.
v24 & 25 I was brought forth : I was produced of manifested in the plan of
God as well as in the creation of all things. By me（wisdom） God made all things (Ps 104: 24; 136:5).
v26 the highest part of the dust of the world： Before He made the first particle of
matter --- the primitive atom.
v27 When : This was before the creation of the earth (Gen1:1:1; Job 38:4-7)
v28 fountains of the deep: Gen 7:11; 8:2; Rev. 16:4.
v29 When: All this refers to the original creation of the heavens and earth long
before the 6 days of Gen. 1:3 – 2:25. Between this creation and Adam’s day the
earth was inhabited by pre-Adamite beings who were ruled by Lucifer for an
indefinite period in sinlessness, followed by a long period of rebellion before his
defeat and that the pre-Adamite beings, and the angels and demons who took part in
his invasion of heaven in the attempt to dethrone God (Isa14:12-24; Jer. 4:4:23-26;
Ez. 28:11-17; Mt.13:35; Lk 10:18; 2 Pet 3: 5-7).
v30 then I : Wisdom was by Him(God), as one brought up with Him, or as one
constantly with Him and under His constant care. Now wisdom is pictured as a
child ever near its parent and watching in His work. There is no proof here of the
deity and eternity of Jesus Christ. It is not needed to teach these doctrines, for they
are plainly expressed in many other scriptures directly on the subject (Isa. 9:6-7;
Mic. 5:2; Jn 1:1-2; Col. 1:15-18; Heb. 1:1-8; Rev. 1:8; etc.). Wisdom is simply
personified in this passage (8:1-9; 18) and it has no clear reference to Christ.
v31 In the habitable part of the earth wisdom is especially displayed in the works of
God in the affairs of men. God’s providence is over all and all are subjects of His
eternal care (v31).
(13) The Companion Bible-KJV (Kregel Publications)
v22 possessed = acquired, implying a definite act, as “constituted”. Septuagint Version and Syriac Version render it “created” (ektise). Compare the use of the verb in this book (1:5; 4:5,7; 16:16; 17:16; 18:15; 19:8; 20:14; 22:23). Hebrew kanah. Occurs eighty-six times in O.T; rendered “possess” only four times. Compare “wisdom” (Luke 11:49).
beginning….. Before: see Col. 1:15-17; 2:9; Rev. 3:14; John 1:1; 17:5. “begotten before the world…..born in the world”. Elohim taking creature form in order to create; as He, later, took human form (flesh) to redeem. Hence “creation” and “redemption” combined in Christ (Rev 4:11; 5:9). Man created in His likeness that in which He appeared to the patriarchs and to Joshua (5:13) was not temporary, or assumed for the moment, but was permanent.
His way: As distinct from His “works” (Ps. 103:7). Before: To this must be referred Eph 1:4, and Col. 1:17. Three times we have “before the foundation (or disruption; Gen1:2) of the world” (John 17:24; Eph 1:4, and 1 Pet. 1:20). Compare the expression “from (or, since) the foundation of the world”, seven times (Matt 13:35; 25:34; Luke 11:50; Heb. 4:3, 9:26; Rev. 13:8; 17:8). The former has to do with the “church”, the latter with the “kingdom”; the former with God’s “purpose”, the latter with His “counsels”.
v23 set up = founded. Hebrew nasak, as in Ps. 2:6, “set”. from everlasting = from the outset of the ages. Compare Hebrew 11:3.
v24 brought forth: same root as Job 15:7, 39:1; Ps.29:9, 51:5; Isa. 45:10, 51:2, 66:8. Hebrew hull. Not the same word as in v30.
v25 settled. Compare Ps. 104:8
v26 earth. Hebrew eretz. The highest part: or the first atoms or particles. world
= the habitable world. Hebrew tebel (not eretz = earth). The Talmud (Taanith
fol.10A) distinguishes ‘eretz’ as meaning the land of Israel, from the world as
meaning the outside lands. Compare Matt. 2:20.
v27 compass = a circle, of vault
v28 clouds = skies, or finer clouds. deep = abyss.
v29 appointed = fixed by statute, or marked out.
v30 I was by = I became beside Him. John 1:1. was = became. See Gen. 2:7, 4:3, 9:15, 19:26; Ex 32:1; Deut. 27:9; 2 Sam 7:24 & c. Also rendered came to pass, Gen 4:14, 22:1, 23:1, 27:1; Josh 4:1, 5:1; 1 Kings 13:32; Isa. 14:24 &.c. by = close by. as one brought up with Him = as one constantly with Him, or under His constant care. Hebrew amon, from root aman = to be constant or steady, and denoting : (1) The making constant or steady (Ex 17:12). (2) The being constant, as a river (Isa. 33:16; Jer. 15:18), as a house (2 Sam. 7:16; Isa. 7:9); of words (Gen. 42:20); of a prophet (1 Sam. 3:20); an allowance (Neh. 11:23). (3) The stability or faithfulness (Deut 32:20; Isa. 65:16; Jer. 51:15); hence “Amen”, affirming and confirming assent. (4) Of the constant and steady care of a nurse (Est 2:7, 20; 2 Kings 10:1, 5; Isa. 60:4; 66:12; Lam. 4:5). (5) Of the constant and steady resting of the mind as trusting, relying, or depending upon (Gen. 15:6, 45:26; Ex 4:5; Deut. 28:66; Judg 11:20). (6) Of the constant, steady hand required in a cunning workman (Song 7:1 = hands of steadiness, meaning work not hastily done. The Revised Version rendering of 8:30, “a master workman”, is made on insufficient ground). Rejoicing. Compare v31.
v31the habitable part of His earth. Hebrew tebel arez, see note on “world”, v26
(14) The King James Study Bible (Thomas Nelson Publisher)
1-36 In contrast to the evil woman of chapter 7, another “woman” is presented :
Wisdom personified again as a prophetess whose call the son should heed. After
calling to classes of men to come and be wise (vv.4,5), Wisdom praises in the first
person her own moral excellence (vv 6-9) and value (vv 10-21). Furthermore, the
Lord Himself did not begin to create the universe apart from Wisdom (vv, 22-31).
The climax of the passage is found in verses 32-36 : whoso findeth me findeth life
(v. 35). Only he who is wise is truly and fully alive.
Although some have associated verses 22-31 with the creative work of the
preincarnate Christ (cf. John 1:1-3; Col. 1:15-17) who is revealed as the Wisdom of
God (1 Cor. 1:24; Col. 2:3), the major emphasis of the context is on God’s own use
of Wisdom in creating the universe. Those who would urge a reference to Christ
here sometimes go on to point out that the Hebrew word translated “possessed” (v.
22) is rendered “created” in the Greek translation of the Old Testament, thus
inferring that Christ is less than fully eternal God. However, although the Hebrew
word (qanah) can at times is pressed to bear such a meaning (e.g., Ps. 139:13), it
basically means “acquired”, or possessed” (that which has been acquired). The
translation “possess” is clearly the meaning elsewhere in Proverbs, and best fit the
context here. Thus, the point is that in setting out to create the universe, God utilized
Wisdom as a basic principle of procedure.
(15) KJV Commentary Bible (World Publishing)
8:30-31 as one brought up with him. With Wisdom’s skill, God created the
universe. A proper study of the universe is a progressive study of God’s wisdom.
Her greatest choice comes --- in the finest of the work of God --- the sons of men -
-- that is, humankind.
(16) New Spirit Filled Life Bible – NKJV (Thomas Nelson, Inc.)
Christ Revealed : No direct references to Christ, prophetic of typological, are especially conspicuous in the Book of Proverbs. In fact, the personification of Wisdom is normally feminine throughout. Nevertheless some passages (such as 8:23-31) seem an unmistakable description of Jesus Christ, who was “in the beginning with God” (John 1:2), is “the wisdom of God: (1 Cor 1:24) and “became for us wisdom” (1 Cor 1:30).
Certainly the book performs a powerful service in whetting the human appetite for wisdom and understanding, a hunger that can only be fully satisfied in Christ.
Proverbs, much like the Mosaic Law, describes an ideal, an aspiration, longing for perfection. Yet even Solomon himself was not perfectly wise, or he would not have so flagrantly disobeyed and thus displeased God (1 Kin. 11:1-11). Only later, in Jesus Christ, came the full example of all that Proverbs extols, the One “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom” (Col. 2:3).
Point by point, the qualities of wisdom are the qualities of the Christ. Obedience to God, right behavior, patience, reliability, humility, diligence, the perception of things as they really are --- all these, plus love, are perfectly illustrated in the Savior.
8:22-36 God’s wisdom, which has been the focus of the preceding verses and which has been likened to a woman, is identified as the eternal One and the life-giver who, according to the NT, is Jesus (John 1:1, 2; 11:25). Of course, God is neither male nor female. God transcends the human characteristic of gender but is described throughout Scripture in both male and female terms.
(17) The Blackaby Study Bible – NKJV (Thomas Nelson, Inc.)
8:22-31 Wisdom is the proper application of knowledge. Here it is given
preeminence above all other attributes of God. Some equate this wisdom with the
Son of God (John1:1-14; 1 Cor. 1:24, 30; Heb 1:1-4), because of His role in
(18) NKJV Study Bible (Thomas Nelson, Inc.)
8:22-31 The section of chapter 8 describes wisdom’s role in creation. The Lord
possessed me at the beginning of His way: The Hebrew verb for possessed can
mean “brought forth” or “created”. Melchizedek used the same word to
identified God as Creator of the universe (Gen 14:19). God, who is ever wise,
produced wisdom; god, who possessed all knowledge, brought forth knowledge.
Wisdom had a beginning only in the sense that singled it out for special display at
that time; insofar at it is one of God’s perfections. It has always existed (v. 23).
These verses prove part of the background for the New Testament portrayal of
Christ as the divine word (John 1:1-3) and as in the wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24,
30; Col. 2:3).
8:30, 31: The term master craftsman speaks of an artisan or of a darling child.
Wisdom is both. With wisdom’s skill, God created the universe. A proper study
of the universe is a progressive discovery of God’s wisdom (see Rom 1:20).
Delight: In her playful, childlike exuberance, wisdom is a darling child. And her
greater joy comes in the finest of the word of God --- the sons of men --- that is
(19) The New American Bible (World Bible Publishers, Inc.)
8:1-36 Wisdom is here personified as in Prv 1:20-33, to confirm the words of the
teacher of wisdom. She exalts her grandeur and origin, and invites all (1:11) to be
attentive to her salutary influence in human society (12-21), for she was privilege
to be present at the creation of the word. Finally, the promises life and the favor of
God to those who find her, death to those who despise her.
8:22-31 An intelligent man understands and accepts them. Wisdom is of divine
organ. It was represented as a being which existed before all things (22-28) and
concurred with God when he planned and executed the creation of the universe,
adorned it with beauty and vainly, and established in wonderful order (27-30).
Here that plurality of divine persons is foreshadowed which was afterward to be
fully revealed when wisdom in the Person of Jesus Christ became incarnate.
(20) ESV Study Bible (Crossway Bible)
Personified Wisdom and Christ
Proverbs commends pursuing “wisdom”. portraying it as a virtue. In four poems in
chapters 1-9, wisdom is also personified as a noble lady whom one should pursue :
1:20-33; 3:13-20; 8:1-36; 9:1-18 (contrasted with Lady Folly). The poem of
chapter 8 seems to go beyond personification to describing a personality , which
has led to discussions of whether Christians should relate this description to Christ.
In the first few Christian centuries it was widely accepted that Christ was the
incarnation of Wisdom in chapter 8. The Septuagint translation of 8:22 was read
to mean “the Lord created me”, and thus the Arians (who denied the deity of
Christ found) found here a proof that the Logos (the “word” of John 1:1) was a
creature, and not God. But Athanasius , defending the deity of Christ, took the
text to refer to Christ’s incarnation, and not to his preexistence . The ESV renders
the Hebrew verb qanah as “possessed”, which is more accurate translation. The
verse means that wisdom is the character of God by which he created (cf. 3:19),
and therefore should not be taken as his creature; this is the wisdom he gives to
those who will learn from Proverbs. In this light, neither side of those who based
their discussion on the Septuagint had the correct understanding of the original
It would appear, however, that Proverbs 8 played a role in the way NT authors
described Christ. Paul’s “before all things” (Col. 1:17) seems to draw on Proverbs
8:23-36, with its repeated “before”. Wisdom in Proverbs 8 seems to be a
personality --- indeed, it seems to be what rationality would be if it were a person
--- by which God made the world. This is like Psalm 33:6, “By the word. of the
Lord the heavens were made”. The NT authors further expand this idea in texts
such as John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16-17; and Hebrews 1:3, 10-12, all of which
insist that Jesus Christ is the incarnation of that divine person through whom God
made the world.
8: 1-36 Second Wisdom appeal. This section begins with a personification of
wisdom as a woman calling out in the streets (vv. 1-3), followed by the very words
of her appeal (vv. 4-36). Her discourse consists of five main sections : an address
(vv,4-5), a call to listen to her instruction and the grounds for doing so (vv. 6-11), a description of her righteous character and purposes (vv12-21), and a concluding
description of her divine origin and use(vv.22-31), and a concluding appeal that again addresses the “sons” and thus evokes all the preceding paternal
appeals as integral to her instruction (vv. 32-36). As in 1:20-33, Wisdom is personified as a great lady, which helps illustrate the central message of Proverbs: the origin, existence, and purpose of true wisdom are properly framed in relationship with the covenant Lord, who is also the Maker of heaven and earth. As a result, the realm of wisdom on compasses every aspect of life in every corner of creation.
8: 22-31 the first of his act of old (v 22). The same wisdom that makes this invitation is the wisdom that was present with God when he created the world and established it as a coherent system, for Wisdom (personified) says, I was daily his delight (v 30; compare also 3:19-20). The wisdom that enters the lives of the faithful actually enables them to participate in the rationality at the heart of things. This is wise’ impious are called “foolish” or even “stupid’ (12:1); they are self-haters, (compare 8:36). On the question of whether the personification of wisdom here goes beyond personification and describes an actual person, see introduction: Personified Wisdom and Christ.
(21) The Literary Study Bible – ESV (Crossway Bibles)
The Book of Proverbs as a chapter in the master story of the Bible : From start to finish, the story of the Bible is how God wants us to live in a world that is cosmic battleground between good and evil and in which people must choose between them. Every individual proverb in the book of Proverbs is a tiny moment in that story. Just as God is the protagonist of the Bible’s master story, so, too, in the book of Proverbs God is the one who set the rules that he wants people to obey. Additionally, when the NT connects Jesus to wisdom (as in statement of Col. 2:3 that in Christ “are hidden all the treasure of wisdom”), it is drawing on what the OT says about wisdom.
(22) The Reformation Study Bible – ESV (Ligonier Ministries)
Proverbs, like the Law of Moses, bears witness to Christ by portraying His person and work. The Law presents the righteousness and holiness of Christ, the great descendant of Abraham who would inherit God’s covenant blessings and mediate to all nations (Gal.3:14). Proverbs and the other wisdom books display the wisdom and discernment of Christ. According to the New Testament, Jesus Christ is the wisdom of God incarnate (1 Cor. 1:24, 30; Col. 2:2, 3).
8:1-36 In chs. 1-7, the mouthpiece of wisdom is a teacher or sage. In this majestic poem, wisdom is personified as the supreme teacher who teaches on her own authority. The personification is most probably a poetic device to express more vividly the authority of wisdom. Although it is premature to see personified wisdom (especially in vv. 22-31) as a direct portrayal of divine being, there is no doubt that revelation of Jesus Christ as the wisdom of God shows us the significance of a wisdom that is its own absolute authority (1 Cor. 1:24, 30; Heb. 1:1-4; Col. 1:15, 16; John 1:1-18). The poem progress from a consideration of the human task of learning wisdom (vv. 1-11) to the powerful effects of wisdom in the world (vv. 12-21) --- and then to the divine origin of wisdom and its place in totality of creation (vv22-31). A final appeal equates wisdom with life (vv32-36). Behind human wisdom is the original, uncreated wisdom of God, by which He established all created things in their proper relationships to God and to one another. This means that human wisdom is valid and life-affirming insofar as it proceeds within the context provided by divine special revelation.
8:22-31 This hymn-like section presents wisdom as the basis of design in the universe. The focus is unusual, but this view of wisdom does not go against the theology of the covenant and God’s saving acts in Israel . The sages were also men of the covenant (1:7; 2:20-22). The method of wisdom is to emphasize the biblical theology of creation as the basis for understanding our lives as redeemed (Rm. 8-20-21; Col. 1-15-20; Rev 21:1).
8:22 The Lord. The proper name of God as the Redeemer and the Author of the covenant (Ex. 3:15 and notes). God’s redemptive covenant with Israel underscores His commitment to creation, for the covenant promises culminate in Jesus Christ --- the great seed of Abraham (Gen. 2:7; cf. Gal. 3:16) and Son of David (2 Sam. 7:16; cf. Luke 1:32) --- through whom the broken and fallen creation is redeemed (Rom. 8:20-22; Col. 1:15-20; Rev.21:1).
Possessed me: Wisdom is not a fourth divine person, but an attribute of God that is given expression in creation as well as redemption. In this chapter, wisdom is personified for poetic effect. The attributes of God are eternal, so the figure of wisdom is said to be from “the beginning”
At the beginning of his work. Wisdom is the prior counsel of God’s will (Eph. 1:11), the eternal decree that establishes all things in their relationships and determines the course of history.
The first of his act of old. Wisdom existed prior to God’s self-revelation in His covenant and saving acts.
8:23 Wisdom was also prior to the creation of the universe.
8:24-31 Job reminds us that creation wisdom ultimately belongs to God alone (Job 38, 39). The “cultural mandate”, assigning to humans the task of understanding creation and exercising dominion over it (Gen. 1:26-28) is the basis for wisdom’s interest in knowing the world of nature (1 Kin. 4:29, 33). This is pursued within the framework established by special revelation (the Scripture) and in the fear of the Lord (9:10).
8:24 I was brought forth. The wise plan of god precedes His action. Reference to being “brought forth” suggests that wisdom is uniquely the child of God, but this is still a poetic device and does not refer to a new divine being.
8:27 I was there. Wisdom was prior to creation and a participant in it. Creation is the first great demonstration of the wisdom of God.
8:30 fountains of the deep. See Gen. 7:11; 8:2.
8:31 rejoicing …..delighting. Wisdom reflects the satisfaction expressed in the divine declaration that creation is very good (Gen. 1:31). deep. See note 1:2.
(23) The Lutheran Study Bible – ESV (Concordia Publishing House)
8:22 or fathered ; Septuagint created. Possessed Me at the beginning. Just as Solomon’s students are encouraged to acquire or possess Wisdom (1:5;4:5,7). So the Lord possesses Wisdom in eternity, even before his act of creation. This
personification of wisdom points to the eternal nature of the pre-incarnate Christ, present at creation (Jn 1:1-3).
8:23 set up. Hbr word here is used elsewhere in the Bible only for God’s coronation of a king (Ps. 2:6). Variant of the word can also mean “to weave”, as woven or knit in the.womb (Ps139:13), here then referring to Wisdom begotten of God. For Christ as appointed Messiah before creation, confer Mi 5:2; Jn 17:5.
8:24-26 brought forth……brought forth. Special form of Hebrew verb chul. Term can describe various forms of movement, such as dancing or writhing in pain (as in giving birth). This anticipates the NT language describing Jesus as “begotten”, the eternal generation of the Son from the Father before time and space were created. Before….before….before. Threefold repetition shows Wisdom to be eternal (confer “before all things” [Col. 1:17], clearly not a part of creation).
8:26 dust: Plural in Hbr. The countless particles that make up the world.
8:27-29 Provides a picture of the first three days of creation (Gn 1:3-10), placing wisdom there from the creation of the heavens to the creation of the earth’s foundations. Wisdom saw it all, from the heights to depths of creation
8:27 circle. Confer Gn 1:7-8
8:30-31 delight….rejoicing…rejoicy ….delighting. Chiastic arrangement links the joy between the Lord and Wisdom to the joy between the Lord and humanity at creation. Athanasius: “In whom does the Father rejoice, except as seeing Himself in His own Image, is His Word?
8:30 beside Him. The universe was created by God’s word, a powerful companion to His presence. God said, “Let there be, “ and there was (Gn 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26). God spoke (wisdom), and things that never were came to be (Heb11:3), like a master workman. More than just an observer, Wisdom created creation. Earlier, wisdom crafted creation. Earlier, wisdom is depicted as a woman. However, in this poem (vv 22-31), the feminine imagery is replaced by a first-person address (“Me”, “I”) and depiction of wisdom as a “workman”. This points forward to the description of the man Jesus as God’s wisdom in the NT. I was daily His delight. Wisdom, Christ, the son of God, was and is object and pleasure for the Father (Mt 3:17), rejoicing before Him always. As the Father finds pleasure in the Son, the Son delights of His Father. The reciprocity within the Trinity is evidence here as the close mutual relationship between Father and Son is clear (Mt 11;27; Luke 10:22; Jn 5:19-21). This could also refer to the Son’s daily pleasure in creation, which his Father declared good. (Gn. 1:31).
8:31 delighting in the children of man. As the creation account ends with the creation recalls Wisdom’s please in seeing human being created in God’s image (Gn 1:31; Ps 8:3-5)
Christ as Wisdom
According to Proverbs, Wisdom was present already in eternity, before the creation of the world, and, consequently, before there even was such thing as time. Along the same lines, Jesus said, “And now, Father, glorify Me in Your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed” (Jn 17:5). In Pr 8, Wisdom is given birth by God, even though Wisdom was present from eternity. Likewise, Jesus is God’s only-begotten son; that is, “His only Son (Jn 3:16).
John’s Gospel begins with a description of Jesus as “the Word”. This description connects Jesus with the Wisdom of Proverbs, which calls out and makes its appeals. John declares, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God” (Jn 1:1-2). Wisdom was also present with God in the beginning (Pr 8:22).
An Ancient Yet Modern Controversy
In the forth century after Christ, a controversy broke out in the Christian churches . Focusing on this portion of Proverbs, the followers of the priest Arius that the Son of God was a created being and not eternal God. They argued that there was a time when the Son of God did not exist. Much of their argument rested on a faulty Greek translation of Pr 8:22, “The Lord created Me”, instead of “The Lord possessed Me”.
In our day, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have taken up this ancient heresy and contend that Jesus, the Son of God, is not true God. To support their false doctrine, they even mistranslate Scripture, such as Jn 1:1. Their New World Translation says, “The Word was a god,” instead of, “The Word was God.” Their false translation makes Jesus a second-level god alongside the heavenly Father. Clearly, this teaching does not fix with Holy Scripture, which teaches that there is only God (confer Is 45:18-21).
At the time of creation, Wisdom said, “I was beside [God], like a master workman (Pr 8:30). Passages in the NT attribute this to Christ, e.g., Col. 1:15-17, firstborn in this passage is used in a specific sense. It does not mean the first child been into a family. Rather, it refers to the inheritance rights of the one who held the honors of a firstborn son. (E.g., King David is called “firstborn” in Ps 89:27, even though he was the youngest son in his family [1 Sam 16:11-13]. In view of this, when Paul calls Jesus “The firstborn of all creation,” he means that Jesus rules all creation, not that He was created for “all things were created through Him and for Him.)
Faithful Christians in Early Church, led by the great Church Father Athanasius, carefully studies Pr 8 and other passages of Holy Scripture. They recognized that while the Son of God is begotten, He is also coeternal with God the Father. Out of this research into God’s Word came the Nicene Creed, by which Christians still confess faith in Jesus Christ as “the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.”
When we come face-to-face with the eternally begotten Son and other mysteries concerning the Triune God, we are in realms beyond human comprehension. We can no more capture the eternal, omnipotent God within our minds than we can hold the ocean in a bucket. The wonder of it all is that the almighty Creator has come to us to save us. Jesus is God. He is also our Brother (Heb 2:11) who has suffered, died and risen for us.
Clear Through Christ
It is often said that the OT revealed in the NT, while the NT is concealed in the OT. In other words, what is not entirely clear in the OT becomes clear in the light of the coming of Jesus the Christ. That is what has happened with Pr 8.
The NT explicitly states that Jesus is the one “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3). Or, as St Paul puts it in 1 Co 1:24, Christ is “the wisdom of God.” As you read Proverbs, hear the voice of your Redeemer. As the “Word of God,” these are His words for you.
(24) The Holman Illustrated Study Bible (Holman Bible Publishers)
Christ in Proverbs : Wisdom as an attribute to God is pictured as a person in Proverbs. In light of the New Testament we know that Jesus Christ is the personification of
wisdom, the Word by whom the worlds were created and are sustained (Jn 1:1; Heb
(25) The Apologetics Study Bible (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
8:22 Throughout history critics have denied the deity of Christ, arguing from this verse that Jesus (identified as “God’s wisdom” in 1 Co 1:24, and as the Creator of all things in Jn 1:3 and Col 1:15-17) is a created being Himself. This is based on a possible translation of the verse, “The Lord created me at the beginning of His creation. However, the basic meaning of the Hebrew word for “made”, qanah means “to possess” or “acquire” rather than “to create”. Of even greater significance is the fact that the context suggests that the passage about wisdom is not a description of Jesus, but rather a personification of the wisdom by which the Lord created the universe. (This is common in the early chapters of Pr and is something that will again occur in Chapter 9, where both Wisdom and Folly are personified.
(26) The Scofield Study Bible – Holman Christian Standard Bible (Oxford
8:22 Many have seen in portions of vv 22-36 distinct descriptions of Christ. Thus wisdom is more than the personification of an attribute of God, or of the will of God as best for man. Of course, in no sense could it be said of Christ that he was “brought” (vv 24 and 25). Yet the ascription of eternality (v23) and presence at and participation in creation are certainly true for Him. Such statements, when read along with Jn. 1:1-3; 1 Co 1:23; Col. 2:3, can refer to no less than the eternal Son of God.
(27) NASB Quick Study Bible (Thomas Nelson, Inc.)
8:22-31 Master workman. With wisdom’s skill, God created the universe is a progressive study of God’s wisdom. Her greater joy comes in the finest of the work of God ---- the sons of men ---- that is, humankind.
(28) The Ryrie Study Bible – NASB (Moody Publishers)
8:22-31 This section has often been interpreted Christologically, as presenting a picture of Christ rather than simply the eternal character of wisdom. Though Christ is the revelation of God’s wisdom (1 Cor. 1:24) and possesses all wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2:3), there is no clear indication that Christ is revealed here. The passage shows that wisdom is older than creation and is fundamental to it (v.23), that it assisted in creation as a master workman (v. 30), and that it rejoiced in creation (vv. 30-31).
8:22 The Lord possessed me. I.e., wisdom is God’s; it came forth from Him.
8:23 from the earliest times of the earth. Literally, from the origins of the earth.
8:27 inscribed a circle. I.e., marked out the circle of the horizon. The sky appears as a vaulted canopy to the earthly viewer. Face of the deep. I.e., the ocean.
8:31 the world, His earth. Literally, the world of His earth; i.e., the inhabited earth.
(29) The Macarthur Study Bible – NASB (Thomas Nelson)
8:22-31 The Lord possessed me. Compare 3:19, 20. Wisdom personified claims credit for everything that God created, so that wisdom was first, as God was eternally first. Christ used His eternal wisdom in creation (Jn 1:1-3; 1 Co 1:24, 30).
8:24-26 Note how these verses parallel the creation account. The earth（v 23） with day one in Gen. 1:1-5; water (v 24) with day two in Gen 1:6-8, and land (vv.25, 26) with day three in Gen. 1:9-13.
8:27 circle on the face of the deep. The Hebrew word for circle indicates that the earth is a globe; therefore the horizon is circular (compare Isa 40:22). This “deep” that surrounds the earth was the original world ocean that covered the surface of the earth before it was fully formed and given live (compare Ge 1:2).
8:29 sea its boundary. In creation, God limited the waters on the earth (compare Ge 1:9 7:11, 8:2), commanding into existence shorelines beyond which oceans cannot go. Foundations. This figuratively denotes the solid structure of the earth (compare Job 38:4; Psalms 24:2)
8:30 master workman. As translated in Song of Solomon 7:1 and Jer 52:15, this term describes wisdom as competent and experienced in the craft of creation.
8:31 my delight. When God rejoiced over His creation (Ge 1:31, Job 38:7), wisdom was also rejoicing, especially in the creation of mankind, who alone in the physical creation has the capacity to appreciate wisdom and truth.
(30) The Open Bible – NASB (World Publishing)
The Christ of Proverbs : In Proverbs 8, wisdom is personified and seen in its perfection. It is divine (8:22-31), it is the source of biological and spiritual life (8:35, 36; 3:18), it is righteous and moral (8:8, 9), and it is available to all who receive it (8:1-6, 32-35). This wisdom became incarnate in Christ “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3), “But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemptive” (1 Cor. 1:30; compare 1 Cor. 1 :22-24).
(31) Life Application Study Bible – NLT (Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.)
8:22-31 God says wisdom is primary and fundamental. It is the foundation on which all life is built. Paul and John may have alluded to some of Solomon’s statements about wisdom to Christ’s presence at the creation of the world (Colossians 1:15-17, 2:2,3; Revelation 3:14)
(32) Discover God Study Bible – NLT (Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.)
True Wisdom: The church at Corinth made a mistake that is common among young Christian: equating knowledge with wisdom. Paul wrote, “Knowledge makes us feel important “ (1 Corinthians 8:1), but it is not the same thing as wisdom. True wisdom grows out of fear (respect, awe) of God, not infatuation with self or others. True wisdom leads to skills such as humility, fruitful relationships, sound financial practices, and gainful vocations. Therefore, wisdom is practical --- it is the expression of knowledge, not possession of it for its own sake.
8:22-31 Expanding upon 3:19-20, this poem shows Wisdom’s knowledge and participation in creation. The fact that wisdom existed before Creation implies her standing above it --- it is divine and eternal, not material and subject to the ravages of time. The order that wisdom imposed upon chaos in the creation is the same order that wisdom gives to family and society (8:12-21).
8:27-31 Wisdom’s role during creation and afterward is one of giving advice and support at God’s side (see 3:19-20). She was a craftsman who took the basic creation and did the “finishing” as a contractor would finish the walls and woodwork in a new house. Finally, she rejoiced over the created world and humanity in particular.
(33) The Transformation Study Bible – NLT (David C. Cook)
Wisdom speaks: Wisdom’s second message (see also 1:20-23) has four very clear points, including a call to decision. “you can trust my words” (Prov 8:6-9). Five adjectives are used here to describe the character of the message Wisdom declares.. Her words are “important“ (v.6), a word that is often translated “captain” or “ruler” in the Old Testament. Since God’s message is the Word of the king, it is indeed noble and princely.
Wisdom’s words are plain, spoken clearly and openly so that there can be no confusion. Of course, those who reject the Lord don’t understand what God is saying (1 Cor 2:12-16), but this isn’t because the Word of God is confusing or unclear. It’s because sinners are spiritually blind and deaf (Matt 13:14-15). The problem is with the hearer, not the speaker.
“You can receive true wealth” (Prov 8:10-21). This passage deals with enrichment, not riches in the material sense. Wisdom isn’t promising to put money in the bank for us; she’s urging us to seek eternal wealth instead of gold, silver, and precious stones (see vv. 18-29 as well as 2:4; 3:13-15; 1 Cor 3:12). This is an Old Testament version of Matthew 6:33: “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
How do we secure this satisfying and enduring wealth? Hear the word of God (Prov 8:6), receive instruction (v. 10), love truth and wisdom (vv. 17, 21), and seek God and his wisdom daily (v. 17). Many of God’s people have discovered how important it is to start worshiping him (see Ps 57:8 and 63:11; see also Gen 19:27; Exod 24:4, Mark 1:35).
“You can see my works” (Prov 8:22-31). We touched upon this in chapter 1 and found it to be an explanation of the wisdom of God at work in the creation of the universe. While it isn’t a description of Jesus Christ, for the eternal Son of God was never created, it does foreshadow Christ as the creative Word that brought everything into being (John 1:1-4; Col 2:3)
“You must make a decision!” (Prov 8:32-36). Having declared God’s truth, Wisdom now calls for a decision, as all faithful heralds must do. How people respond to God’s message is a matter of life or death, and it’s impossible to be neutral. Wisdom calls for a sincere, life-changing decision that involves turning from sin (repentance) and turning to Christ (faith). If the decision is real, it will result in a commitment to the Lord that leads to meeting with him daily, like a servant at the master’s door.
8-22-31 One of the lessons of this stanza is that the power and splendor of God, see all around us in creation, are evidence of what God’s wisdom can do. The same God who worked in the “old creation” also wants to work in the “new creation” (2 Cor 5:17; Eph 2:10, 4:24; Col 3:10). The Lord Jesus Christ, who holds the universe together (Col 1:17) and causes it to fulfill his will, can hold our lives together and accomplish his purposes for his glory.
When we belong to Jesus Christ and walk in his wisdom, all of creation works for us; if we rebel against his wisdom and will, things start to work against us, as Jonah discovered when he tried to run away from the Lord
(34) The Life Recovery Bible - NLT (Tyndale House Publishers)
8:22-36 Solomon portrayed wisdom as a personal being who existed with God
before the earth was created and who was “architect” for Creation. This may be
allusion to Jesus the Messiah, who, according to the book of John, was the Word that
not only “already existed……in the beginning with God,” but “was God,” and
“created everything” (John1:1-3). Colossians 1:16 says that “Though [Christ] God
created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth.” Those who in faith listen to
Christ and follow his wisdom will find eternal life and favor with God (see John
5:24). Following Christ’s instructions for our life is our only means of recovery.
(35) NLT Study Bible (Tyndale House Publishers. Inc.)
8:22-25 formed me from the beginning….I was appointed in ages past: God’s wisdom has always existed. His wisdom is here personified, but wisdom itself is not a person. Wisdom does not exist outside of God; wisdom is an expression of his character and nature. Unlike pagan gods, God needs no outside counselor to give him instruction (see Isa 40:13-14). Jesus is the apex of God’s wisdom (see Col 1:15-17; 2:3)
8:27-29 god used his wisdom to establish the created order, so wisdom can tell us how the world and testifies of God’s greatness.
8:30 architect: God’s wisdom guided the shaping of creation, bringing order out of chaos.
(36) The Orthodox Study Bible – NKJV (Thomas Nelson, Inc.)
Major Theme --- “ The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (9:10). Proverbs is thought to be the foundation for the Beatidudes (Mt 5). In the first nine chapters, the wisdom of God is personified as a companion of God from the beginning and is revealed in the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ. The personification of wisdom in 8:22-25 is applied to the Theotokos, The Mother of God, in the Church’s Divine Liturgy.
8:22 Wisdom knows all things.
8:23 The Lord is the Father, and created in this statement means the Father established Wisdom over his works; for the Father made all things through Wisdom (Athanasius the Great). “Created” as used here does not mean the Father made Wisdom Himself, for the next clause shows the Father established Wisdom over His works in the beginning before time. Therefore, “created” is used in this verse as a synonym of establish, for Wisdom, who is the Word and Son of the Father, is not a creature. He is “begotten from the Father before all time”. The beginning of His ways means two things. It means the Father made all things through wisdom and it also refers to the Incarnation, when the Wisdom and the Word of the Father became flesh (see also Jn 1:14). The phrase for his works refers both to the works of creation and to those accomplished by Christ for our salvation, which are outlined in the Creed. “In the beginning before time” is the same as “In the beginning was the Word” in Jn 1:1. For the Father “established” Wisdom “before time”. Therefore Christ the Wisdom and Power of God, is not a creature (1 Co 1:24).
8:24, 25 The word before occurs five times in these verses, and it emphasizes that Wisdom Himself exists outside creation. The words begot me show the relation of Wisdom to the Father. Wisdom is the Son of the Father, begotten from Him before and outside all times and ages (see also Creed).
8:26-28 Wisdom, the Son of the Father, was present (v 27) with the Father when He made the world; therefore, the Son exists with the Father outside creation. The Father is not a creature; therefore, neither is His Son.
8-29-30 The Son also created the world, for He was working beside the Father. The
Father is the Creator, and the Son is the Creator. How so? Because the working is
,one working. There are two distinct Persons, but the work of creation is one work.
Although He is not mentioned here by name, the Holy Spirit was also present and
working, for He, too, is the Creator (see Gn 1:2).
Three distinct Persons created the world with one working. This one working is emphasized in the statement: “The Father made the world through the Son in the Spirit.” Therefore, the Holy Trinity, our one God, made the world with one working, and They rejoice in one another (v 30).
8:31 When the Father completed creation, He rejoiced in it. He also rejoices in the sons of men. Those who respond to the Father’s joy, in turn, rejoice in Him.
(37) 1599 Geneva Bible (TolleLege Press)
8:22 He declareth hereby the divinity and eternity of this wisdom, which he magnifieth and praisth through this book: meaning thereby the eternal Son of God Jesus Christ our Savior, whom Saint John calleth that word that was in the beginning, John 1:1.
8:23 He declareth the eternity of the Son of God, which is meant by this work,
wisdom, who was before before all time, and ever present with the Father.
8:30 Some read, a chief worker: signifying that the wisdom, even Christ Jesus was equal with God his Father, and created, preserveth and still worketh with him, as John 5:17.
8:31 Whereby is declared that the work of the creation was no pain, but a solace unto wisdom of God.
By earth is maneth man, which is the work of God in whom wisdom took pleasure: insomuch as for man’s sake the divine wisdom too man’s nature, and dwelt among us, and filled us with unspeakable treasures: and this is that solace and pastime when of is here spoken.
(38) Starting Point Study Bible – GNT (Zondervan)
Wise up! Sophia stood quietly amid the swirl of noisy traders and shoppers. This bustling market place was unusual in that ideas were being “sold” alongside the fruits and vegetables.
The stall-holders loudly proclaimed their various wares: the dust of Marxism, the pride of humanism, the fatalism of Islam, the fears of paganism, the mists of the New Age and the endless nothingness of Buddhism and Eastern mysticism. Everywhere, people were bargaining for a way of life in the market place of ideas.
Sophia drew her breath and lifted her voice: “Choose my instruction instead of silver; choose knowledge rather than the finest gold. I am wisdom, and I have insight; words echoed with authority. Those hungry for the truth heard her, came near and found lasting riches.
The book of Proverbs personifies wisdom (Sophia in Greek) as a woman ---- “Lady Wisdom.” In the market place of ideas there are many half-truths and noble ideals, as well as some teaching that are pure delusion. But true wisdom comes from God alone. When we honor him as Lord, we are honor him as Lord, we are on the path to real understanding.
(39) The Modern Language Bible (Hensrickson Publishers)
(x) His way of creation.(8:22)
(y) From the Lord Himself (8:23)
(z) The Lord (8:27)
(a) compare these verses with John 1:1 ff., but here wisdom is feminine in gender, and comes into being. Although vitally related, logos (word) and chokmah (wisdom) cannot be equated without doing violence to the eternal pre-existence of the Christ.
(b) Lit. “his mouth”. See Gen. 1:9 (8:29).
(c) See S. of Sol. 7:1. Or “young child”. See Lam 4:4. The verbs that follow
usually apply to children’s play or laughter (as the name Issac from this root).
When applied to adults they usually describes frivolous merry making. Here
they describe unusual joy and happiness (8:30).
(40) The Oxford Study Bible - Revised English Bible (Oxford University Press)
8:1-9.18 Wisdom and Folly personified as two women and contrasted. Wisdom
seeks out individuals where they usually congregate, and hence is readily available
to, and clearly understandable by, all who wish to respond (8:1-13). Wisdom
enables monarchs to rule as befits true kings (vv. 14-16). Those who seek Wisdom
find the object of their search and gain wealth and rewards beyond wealth (vv. 17-
21). Created as the first of God’s works, Wisdom delights in people even as God
delights in Wisdom (vv. 22-36). Like a gracious host, Wisdom invites guests to
house and table (9:1-6). The insolent reject Wisdom, whom the wise accept (vv. 7-
12). By contrast, stupidity (here understood as Folly in its most pejorative sense (vv.
13-18), invites fools to destruction.
8:22: The emphasis on wisdom’s role before all else came into being is common in
Egyptian and Babylonian text; see also Col. 1:15-16 and 1:1-3. created: acquired,
8:30 Darling : the Hebrew is uncertain; perhaps the meaning is master worker of confidant. If darling, the figure is of child playing in the presence of a loving parent.. The personification of Wisdom is of profound theological significance, for it corrects a faulty notion that God was thought of in Wisdom literature as somewhat remote from creation. A development in the idea of personification can be traced from Job chapter 28, which asks about Wisdom’s hiding place, through 8:22-31 (and 3:19-20), to Ecclus. 24:1-22 and Wisd. 7:22-8.21. In Eccluss 24:23 Wisdom is identified with Torah; the Greeks typically understood Wisdom as emanation of God (see Wisd.).
(41) The NET Bible – New English Translation (Biblical Studies Press. L.L.C.)
8:22 There are two roots (qanah) in Hebrew, one meaning to “possess”, and other meaning “to create.” The earlier English versions did not know of the second root, but suspected in certain places that a meaning like that was necessary (e.g., Gen 4:1; 14:19; Deut 32:6). Ugaritic confirmed that it was indeed another root. The older versions have the translation “possess” because otherwise it sounds like God lacked wisdom and therefore created it at the beginning. They wanted to avoid saying that wisdom was not eternal. Arius liked the idea of Christ as the wisdom of God and so chose the translation “create.” Athanasius translated it, “constituted me as the head of creation.” The verb occurs twelve times in Proverbs with the meaning of “to acquire,” but the Greek and the Syriac versions have the meaning of “create”. Although the idea is that wisdom existed before creation, the parallel ideas in these verses (“appointed,” “given birth”) argue for the translation of “create” or “establish”.
8:22 Verbs of creation often involve double accusatives; here the double accusative involves the person (i.e., wisdom) and an abstract noun in construct.
8:22 Heb “his way”. The word “way” is an idiom (implied comparison) for the actions of God.
The claim of wisdom in this passage is that she was foundational to all that God would do.
8:23 The first parallel verb is nissakhti, “I was appointed.” It is not a common word; it occurs here and in Ps 2:6 for coronation of the king. It means “installed, set.”
8:23 The verb “existed” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied in the translation in the light of the context.
8:24 The summary statements just given are now developed in a lengthy treatment of wisdom as the agent of all creation. This verse singles out “watery deeps” (tehomot) in its allusion to creation because the word in Genesis signals the condition of the world at the very beginning, and because in the ancient world this was something no one could control. Chaos was not there first---wisdom was.
8:24 The third parallel verb is kholalti, “I was given birth.” Some (e.g., KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV) translate it “brought forth”---not in the sense of being presented, but in the sense of being “begotten, given birth to.” Here is the strongest support for the translation of qanah as “created” in v 22. The verb is not literal; it continues the perspective of the personification.
8:24 Heb “made heavy”.
8:26 Heb “open places”
8:26 Heb ro’sh means “beginning” with reference to time.
8:27 The infinitive construct (bekhuqo, “to cut; to engrave; to mark”) and the noun (khug, “horizon; circle”) form a paronomasia in the line.
8:28 to form a better parallel some commentators read this infinitive (ba’azaz), “when [they] grew strong,” as a Piel, causative, “when he made firm, fixed fast” (cf. NIV “fixed, securely”; NLT “established”). But the following verse (“should not pass over”) implies the meaning “grew strong” here.
8:29 Heb “his mouth”.
8:30 The verb form is a preterite with vav consecutive, although it has not been apocopated. It provides the concluding statement for the temporal clauses as well as the parallel to v. 27.
8:30 Critical to interpretation of this line is the meaning of ‘amon. Several suggestions have been made: “master craftsman” (cf. ASV, NASB, NIV, NRSV), “nursing child” (cf NCV), “foster father.” R.B.Y. Scott chooses “faithful”---a binding or living link. The image of a child is consistent with the previous figure of being “given birth to” (vv 24, 25). However, “craftsman” has the most support (LXX, Vulgate, Syriac, Tg. Prov 8:30, Song 7:1; Jer 52:15).
8:30 The world is a plural of intensification for “delight”; it describes wisdom as the object of delight. The LXX has the suffix; the Hebrew does not.
8:31 The two words are synonymous in general and so could be taken to express a superlative idea--- the “whole world” (cf. NIV, NCV). But (tevel) also means inhabited world, and so construct may be interpreted as a partitive genitive.
8:31 Heb “and my delights” [were] with in.
8:31 Heb “the sons of man”.
(42) The Evidence Bible – KJV (Bridge Logos)
8:22 Jehovah’s Witnesses. When Jehovah’s Witnesses maintain that Jesus was “made” of the seed of David (that Jesus was a god “created” by Jehovah to die for our sins), they may point to Proverbs 8:22-35 for justification. However, the Bible is speaking here of “wisdom” (v12).
They also may refer to John 14:28 in which Jesus said, “I go to the Father; for my Father is greater than I,” but they fail to show why Jesus said the Father was greater: “But we see Jesus, who was made a litter lower than the angels for the suffering of death, ….that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9, emphasis added).
In Romans 1:3, the word used to refer to the incarnation (“made”) is ginomai, which means “assembled.” A body was prepared for God to manifest Himself in the flesh---“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness. God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached to the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (1 Timonthy 3:16).
(43) The Dicipleship Study Bible – NRSV (Westminster John Knox Press)
8:22-36 Wisdom Traces Her Origins Back to Creation. Personified wisdom argues that she is well qualified to give advice, having been either present at or instrumental in the creative process.
8:22 Created Me – The ambiquity of the Hebrew make it difficult to tell whether wisdom describes herself as a creature(the first of God’s creative acts), as a possession of God, or as God’s first born child.
The Hebrew verb translated “created” might also mean “possess” as well as “beget/conceive.” In 23:23 it is translated “buy.” The translation “created” seems to give wisdom a degree of independent existence apart from God. But if the word had been translated “possessed” (implying that wisdom was personification of one of God’s attributes or qualities), this passage would convey the same thought as that in 3:19-20 (that God used God’s own wisdom in the creation of the universe).
This text played an important part in early church debates about the nature of Christ. Paul equates the “wisdom of God” with Christ (1 Cor 1:24). Other New Testament texts (e.g., 1:1-3) use language that resembles Prov. 8:22 to talk about Christ. Thus one group of early Christians (called the Arians) used this passage in Proverbs to support their claim that Christ, like Wisdom, was “created.” The Arians argued that as a creature of God, Christ was subordinate to God and not of the same substance as God. But the more powerful majority of Christians thinkers understood the verb Prov. 8:22 to mean “begot” me, meaning that wisdom (and therefore Christ) was God’s firstborn child. The Nicene Creed represents the opinion of the majority of those debated the issue at the council of Nicaea: Christ is “begotten” (not created), and thus is of the same substance and status as God.
(44) Christian Community Bible – Claretio Publication)
8:22 Yahweh created me first, at the beginning of his works. Note the poetic way of presenting wisdom as if it were someone, as if it were a daughter of God: I was his daily delight, forever playing in his presence; playing throughout the world. Such figures of speech contain a religious discovery of the last centuries before Christ.
For a very long time the Bible insisted on the fact that there is only one God and that he has nothing to do with the countless gods of the pagans. Now believers sense that there is something missing in their knowledge of Yahweh. How can God be a source of life and love if he is locked up in his solitude? Thank to the Bible, believers know that besides being the Almighty and Holy God, the Lord becomes present to his people. In the Temple and the Cloud, and that he reveals himself to the prophets to whom he sends his Spirit.
Thus, in the last books of the Old Testament, the authors speak of the Spirit, the Wisdom, the Power, the Providence of God as if they were both something of God and something, different from him, like characters sharing God’s mysterious life and though whom he is involved in human affairs.
This is a way of preparing for the great revelation which will happen with the coming of Jesus. God is one in three persons and from the beginning his eternal Son “through whom all things were made” and who came to live among us was with the Father (see John 1:1-4; Col 1:15 and Heb 1:2-3).
Thus wisdom is a figure of Christ. Christians came to see it as an image of their mother, Mary. In fact, more than any other creature, she was present in God’s plans from the beginning and deserves to be called “Throne of Wisdom” since she was so intimately united with the Son, the Wisdom of God.
Happy are those who listen to me (v. 34). Thus the Wisdom of God speaks to the beginner taking his first steps in search of Wisdom.
Who is this beginner? Perhaps the one who enrolled in a reading course because she wanted to better her situation; or one who dedicates his days off to taking a course in unions in order to serve better his fellow workers; or the one who studies at night after work: or the one who does not go to bed without having react a biblical passage with his wife, etc. The Wisdom you will gain comes from God himself, the source of all truth, who calls men and women to share in his wisdom.
This student may not reach a highly-prized knowledge, nor will he graduate with honors in this world. It does not matter. Because he decided to live more responsibly and to develop his human potential, God will see him as one of his children and one day, will give him the true wisdom which is in God.
(45) The Essential Study Bible – CEV (Penguin Group)
What’s the story behind the scene?
Proverbs is said to be a collection of wise saying --- primarily from Israel’s King Solomon (1:1; 10:1; 25:1), though other authors are quoted as well. The collection as we have it now probably came from a group known as Israel’s “wise people”(Jer 18:18). They were teachers of practical wisdom writings found in the literature of Israel’s neighbors.
This wise sayings in Proverbs share a view of wisdom commonly held in the ancient world, but they differ from other wisdom literature of the day on the key point of where wisdom comes from the Lord God, and was with the Lord at the beginning of time (8:22-31).
8:24-28 born…before God had made the earth: wisdom was present with God from the very beginning or was created before anything else was made.
(46) The Everyday Study Bible – NCV (Word Publishing)
Summary: Proverbs attracts much interest today because of its insightful, practical advice concerning daily life. Christians desire wisdom from God, and Proverbs offers it in abundance.
Much of the book’s teaching is addressed to young men about to embark on a career in government service. This might explain why there is so much advice on avoiding dubious women in the book. The principles of the book, however, apply to women as well, and so our translation takes that into account.
Solomon, who lived in the tenth century B.C., is the source of the wisdom found in the Book of Proverbs (1:1), though the book gives indication that others were also involved in the final version (25:1; 30:1; 31:1).
The book is more than just good advice. God is not mentioned explicitly, but the structure of the book points to the fact that people have a basic choice to make. They can either ally themselves with foolishness, who represents the “wisdom” of worldly gods (Proverbs 9:13-18) or wisdom, who represents God himself (Proverbs 8 and 9:1-6). A wise person is a good person --- that is, he is following God --- while a fool is a bad person who follows idols.
The Book of Proverbs encourages its readers to seek out and follow wisdom. Wisdom takes on a personal face in the New Testament. According to Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:30, Jesus is the one “who has become for us the wisdom of God.” In Colossians 2:3, he exclaims that it is in Jesus that “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are safely kept.”
8:23 The language of this chapter is highly figurative. God’s wisdom is personified as a woman. The antiquity of God’s wisdom is figuratively represented by her early birth. This language should not be taken literally.
(47) The New Jerusalem Bible (Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd)
The teaching of the Book of Proverbs has undoubtedly been far transcended by that of Christ, the Wisdom of God; even so, several maxims anticipate the moral teaching of the gospel. It should also be remembered that true religion can develop only on the foundations of human decency; while the frequent use of the book (fourteen quotations and about twenty allusions) made by the New Testament, commands the respect of Christians for these thoughts of the ancient sages of Israel.
8:22 The Hebr. verb (qanani) is translated ‘has created me’ by Gk, Syr., Targ., cf. Si 1:4, 9; 24:8, 9. The translation “acquired me” or “possessed me” (Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotion) was adopted by Jerome (Vulg.), probably with an eye to the heretic Arius who maintained that the Word (Wisdom) was a created being. The expression ‘first-fruits of his fashioning’ (lit. ‘first-fruits of his way’ or ‘of his ways’, according to the versions) is linked to the title ‘first-born of every creature’ given to Christ by Paul, Col. 1:15, and to the title ‘principle of God’s creation’, Rv 3:14.
8:22 ‘anointed’ according to one possible sense of nasak. Some prefer the unusual meaning ‘pour’, ‘found’(as of metal). Others correct it, to derive the word from the root sakak and understand ‘I was hidden’ or ‘held in reserve’.
8:24 The watery abyss on which rest both the earth’s disc and canopy of heaven, see Gn 1; Jb 38; Ps 104.
8:30 A rare Hebr. word. The meaning ‘artisan, artist’ (whence ‘master craftsman’) is attested by Jr 52:15; Sg 7:2, and confirmed by the Gk, Wisdom collaborates with the Creator, cf. Ws 7:22. Another translation, based on a slight correction, makes Wisdom the ‘beloved child’ or ‘faithful disciple’ of the creator.
(48) The Jerusalem Bible (Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd)
8:22 Thus the Greek, Syr., Targ., cf. Si 1:4, 9; 24:8, 9, translate the Hebrew verb (qanani). The translation ‘acquired me’ or ‘possessed me’ (Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotion) was adopted by St Jerome (Vulg.), doubtless with an eye to the heretic Arius who maintained that the Word (=Wisdom) was a created being.
8:24 The watery abyss on which rest both the earth’s disc and the canopy of heaven, cf. Gen 1, Ps 104; Jb. 38.
(49) The Wesley Study Bible – NRSV (Abingdon Press)
8:2-36 Woman Wisdom is again engaged in field preaching, standing “on the heights, beside the way, / at the crossroads…/beside the gates in front of the town, / at the entrance of the portals” (8:2-3). The first half of the chapter is a self-commendation of wisdom’s teachings and benefits, using familiar imagery of precious metals and jewels. Beginning with v.22, Woman Wisdom tells of her origins before the creation of the earth, when, as the offspring of the creator, she became the beloved child who was the mediator between heaven and earth. She says, “The Lord created me at the beginning of his work.” The nuances of the Hebrew verb indicate the Lord “fathered me,” “brought me forth,” or “ gave birth to me.” The Lord is presented as ‘both the father and mother of wisdom, who created her as the firstborn of creation. In v.30 she says she was “beside him, like a master worker,” and that she was “daily his delight.” Master worker indicates that wisdom was an architect. An alternative translation of this Hebrew word is “little child”. Whether the image is of God’s architect of the Lord’s little child, it conveys a linkage between the Creator and the created world.
It is not hard to see why early Christians, reflecting on the significance of Jesus after his death and resurrection, would have claimed wisdom as a theological framework within which to interpret his identity. Jesus was a teacher of wisdom, who used wisdom genres --- parables and proverbs --- to teach about the Kingdom of God. This connection between Wisdom from the eighth chapter of Prov and the understanding of Jesus’ identity informs the prologue to the Gospel of John (John 1:1-14).
Israel was not the only nation that developed a body of wisdom teachings. Israel’s ancient Near Eastern neighbors also developed sayings aimed at equipping people to navigate the twists and turns of life. The method by which the sages in every nation gained their wisdom was keen observation of daily life, discerning patterns of cause and effect, and drawing conclusions as to desirable (wise) and undesirable (foolish) attitudes and actions. Their sayings connect actions and consequences. The one who approaches God with awe and gratitude, earnestly seeking God’s guidance, will find wisdom and experience its benefits. Its individual nuggets of advice add up to a life characterized by the fair treatment of others, the avoidance of fools, fidelity to one’s relationships, industriousness, respect for the poor, restraint in one’s speech, and control of one’s temper and appetites. The sages sought to influence the young to maintain their identity and integrity in a period of post-exilic chaos. Israel’s temple had been destroyed, and the king had been deported. But the practical, down-to-earth observations of Israel’s wisdom teachers could not be destroyed by invading foreign armies.
Both Prov and Wesley have as their goal the shaping of character in the midst of daily life, in keeping with the character and purposes of God. Proverbs, though, is missing Wesley’s emphasis on forgiveness and divine mercy. Proverbs presents the path of wisdom and the path of folly, and then crosses its arms and stands back to see which one we will choose, leaving us to suffer the consequences if we make the wrong choice. Wesley also emphasizes the reality of judgment, but he presents it within the context of God’s promise of forgiveness and continuous offer of salvation.
(50) The Interpreters Study Bible - NASV (Abingdon Press)
Excursus: The Person of Wisdom.
In biblical thought, wisdom can be a skill, a body of knowledge, or an attribute of God. Occasionally in the first nine chapters of Proverbs, Wisdom is described in feminine, personal terms: Either she is speaking or there are feminine references to her. Wisdom appears in person in three extended passages of the first nine chapter: 1:20-33; 8:1-36; and 9:1-6. Additional, but less developed, personifications occur at 3:13-18; 4:5-9; and 7:4. There is a reminiscence of the personifications in 14:1.
Related to these are other images of women in Proverbs. Warnings about the dangerous woman and/or folly personified are the contrasting counterpart (2:16-19; 5:3-14; 6:23-25; 7:1-27; 9:13-18). The references to the desirable woman or ideal wife extend the symbolism of wisdom as a female figure (5:15-20; 31:10-31).
Interpreters have accounted for the presence of personified Wisdom in canonical texts in a variety of ways. To some she indicates an Israelite goddess, or at least Israelite flirtation with goddess worship --- e.g., the Egyptian goddess of wisdom. Ma’at; the Canaanite goddess Ma’at; the Canaanite goddesses Astarte and Asherah; and the Sumerian goddess Inanna. At the other extreme, some see the personal language as simply a literary device, akin to the image of righteousness and truth kissing each other in Ps 85:10. Between those extremes are interpreters who understand her as a hypostasis of one of God’s attribute --- essentially an adjective that took on human attributes. Whatever its origin, the presentation of Wisdom as a woman would have appealed to the audience of Proverbs. If the sages sought to describe wisdom as desirable and yet elusive to an audience of young men, then allusions to a woman would have been apt. The listeners are urged to seek Wisdom, find her, and make her their own as if she were a wife.
In Proverbs, Wisdom can sound like an angry prophet (1:20-33 but a prophet speaking on her own authority rather than saying “Thus says the Lord”), a goddess proclaiming her own power (most clearly in chap. 8), or an extraordinary woman hosting an extraordinary feast (9:1-6). The most clearly related text in the Hebrew Bible outside of Proverbs is Job 28, in which wisdom is desirable and difficult to find. Within the apocryphal/deuteroncanical books, the most striking personification occur is Sir 24:1-23; 51:13-28; and Wis 1-7. In the Wisdom of Solomon, she is more explicitly related to Israelite tradition and described in language reminiscent of the Greek Isis.
In Christian tradition, beginning with the NT, the personifications have most often been referred to Jesus. In John 1, “wisdom,” which is feminine in both Hebrew (Khokmah) and Greek (sophia), is transformed into “word” (Gr. Logos), which is grammatically masculine. Jesus is directly called the wisdom of God in 1 Cor 1:24. Prov. 8:22-31 is one of the readings for trinity Sunday in the Revised Common Lectionary. The biblical and ecclesiastical tradition, then, has allowed the personal language about Wisdom in Proverbs to function in relation to the persons of the Trinity --- but usually translated into male language to reflect Jesus as a man. Biblical interpreters and theologians have begun to use the personal descriptions of Wisdom as a model for talking about God in feminine terms. Some have developed this language, while others reject it because of its function in the patriarchal system reflected by Proverbs. The extent to which the personification passages provide appropriate language for contemporary God-talk is still under discussion.
8:22-31 Created. The verb is more often translated “get” or “acquire”; the meaning “create” is proposed only in a few passages and is disputed.
8:24 I was brought forth, meaning “birth”.
8:30 Master worker. The translation comes from the Septuagint; the meaning of
the Hebrew word is disputed; it may mean “master worker,” “nursing child,” or
(51) The Harper Collins Study Bible – NRSV (Harper One)
Woman wisdom. The figure of wisdom personified as a woman who reaches out to the human is another intriguing feature. The meaning of this exalted female figure in a strongly male-centered society has been much debated, for female imagery begins (Chs. 1-9) and ends (ch.31) the book, providing both the theological introduction and human postscript to the collections of individual sayings. Some find in this figure --- and in her direct opposites, Woman Folly (NRSV, “foolish woman.” 9:13-18), Woman stranger (NRSV, “loose woman”, 2:16-19), and the adulteress --- the remnant of a goddess once worshiped by Israelites. Others see her as an extension God’s attributes that have subsequently taken on independent life, or as a prophet. To others she is modeled after the real roles of teacher, counselor, and household planer played by Israelite women in their homes and societies. In the paternal rhetoric of Proverbs, Woman Wisdom provides an appealing antidote for young men to the allures of more dangerous women. More than this, though, she embodies for the sages the universal wisdom of which they see their own work as part, as she speaks with divine authority (1:20-33) and plays a role in creation (ch. 8). Resisting categorization as a simple literary device of personification, Woman Wisdom gains additional stature in the apocryphal/deuterocanonical books of Sirach and the Wisdom of Solomon, and even enters the New Testament canon in the masculinized from of the divine Logos (cf. Prov. 8:22-36, Jn 1:1-18).
8:1-36 The most fully developed poetic personification of Wisdom, standing in contrast to the strange Woman’s allures. Speaking in the first person, she praises herself to induce her listeners to heed her call.
8:22-31 A remarkable statement of Woman Wisdom’s antiquity and authority.
Depending on translation, one of two pictures emerges: Wisdom is a child born of the deity before the creation of the cosmos, or she is a preexistence being who aligns with God; see also 3:19-20; Jn 1:1-4.
8:22 Created. The Hebrew verb qnh is usually translated “acquire” (thus in;4.5, 7 get described the student’s approach to wisdom). Also possible is conceive, engender in the biological sense (Gen;1). “Create” is introduced by the Greek translation.
8:23 Set up. Used elsewhere only to refer to God’s installing of the king in Zion (Ps 2:6). The Hebrew verb can also mean “to weave” and a variant form portrays the divine weaving of baby’s sinews in the womb (Ps139:12, Job 10:11).
8:24-29 Cf. the account of creation in Gen 1.
8:24-25 Dept’s springs. Water was taken to be the original substance (Gen 1:2). Brought forth usually refers to the birthing of a child. If one reads “conceived/woven in the womb” for the ambiguous verbs in vv. 22-23 (see note 8:22; 8:23), then Wisdom is portrayed as born of God as mother (see Isa 49:14-15; 42:14). Mountains, hills, not just features of the natural landscape, but the home of the gods, and the peaks of the pillars that supported the earth; they are lit “sunk,” not shaped, and there precede the earth (v 26).
8:27-29 God is portrayed ordering and regulating, rather than creating substance; in particular God commands and limits the primordial waters as an essential part of maintaining the earth’s viability in the face of ever threatening chaos (cf. Job 38:8-11).
8:30-31 Master worker, or “little child”; the embiguous portrait in wisdom persists. Delight, rejoicing, delighting. Repeated verbs in a “mirror pattern” unite Wisdom’s playful activity with God to her delight in humans on earth.
(52) Archaeological Study Bible – NIV (Zondervan)
Maat and Lady Wisdom. Proverbs 8. In ancient Egypt Maat was the abstract
principle of truth, order, justice and harmony --- as well as the name of the goddess who personified those virtues. Kings were enjoined to practice Maat in order to ensure a long reign (cf. Pr 8:15-16). When Maat held sway in the land, Egyptians believed, the Nile flooded properly to ensure good crops, there was justice for all and the classes of society coexisted in harmony. When Maat was ignored, the land fell into chaos, crime and ruin. Some funerary paintings depict a balance scale on one side of which is placed the heart of a recently deceased man and on the other side a feather, representing Maat. If the balance is in equilibrium, the sole of the deceased enters the paradise of the realm of Osiris. Should the individual’s heart fail the test, a monster called Eater stands ready to devour his soul.
Scholars naturally wonder to what degree the Egyptian concept of Maat influenced Israelite thinking on justice and order in society. Specifically, the feminine personification of Wisdom in Proverbs 8 has been suggested to have been derived from the Egyptian goddess Maat. It is, of course, important to realize that Israel did not exist in isolation; to the contrary, the Bible speaks a great deal about the Egyptian influences on Israel. The sojourn in Egyptian was obviously a time when Israel would have been exposed to culture and religion, and Solomon’s era was also a period of close cultural exchange between these two societies.
Nevertheless, it is difficult to posit a direct line of influence from Egypt to Israel on the subjects of order, justice or Maat. Both Israel and Egypt understood that justice and harmony are necessary for life to function smoothly. But Wisdom, in Proverbs 8, is a personification --- not a goddess. She exemplifies the order and justice God has built into creation. Lady Wisdom appears elsewhere in Proverbs; for example, in 1:20-33, she called upon people to heed her teachings and so to find life. The embodiment of wisdom as a lady who invites people to follow her is a distinctively Israelite idea, with no analogy in Egyptian teaching.
(53) NIV Study Bible (Zondervan)
8:1-36 Wisdom is personified as she addresses humankind in preparation for the final plea from both “Wisdom” and “Folly” in ch. 9.
8:22-31 A hymn describing wisdom’s role in creation. Wisdom is here personified, as in 1:20-33; 3:13-18; 9:1-12. Therefore these verses should not be interpreted as a direct description of Christ. Yet they provide part of the background for the NT portrayal of Christ as the divine Word (Jn 1:1-5) and as the wisdom of God. Here, wisdom is an attribute of God, personified and depicted as involve with him in creation.
8:22 brought….forth. The Hebrew for this verb is also used in Ge 4:1; 14:19, 22 (“Creator”); Dt 32:6 (“Creator”). Me. Wisdom (3:19 and note; Ps 104:24). as the first of his work. c.f. Job 40:19.
8:23 from eternity. Descriptive also of Christ (see Jn 1:1; cf. Mic 5:2). Before the world began. Wisdom was already there before God began to create the world (cf. Christ’s statement in Jn 17:5).
8:24 I was given birth. Elsewhere it is the sea (Job 38:8-9) and the mountains and earth are “brought forth” (Job 15:7; Ps 90:2). Springs abounding with water. See Ps 104:10.
8:27 set the heavens in place. See 3:19. when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep. See Job 26:10.
8:28 fountains of the deep. Earth’s springs and streams (see note on 3:20; cf. Ge. 7:11).
8:29 the sea its boundary. See Ge. 1:9 and note ; Job 38:10-11, Ps 104:9. foundations of the earth. See note on 3:19.
8:30 craftsman. Those skilled in various crafts were sometimes called “wise”. See e.g., Bezalel. who designed and built the tabernacle (Ex 31:3; see note on Pr 1:2). Here the term stresses the skill demonstrated in creation. Filled with delight ……. Rejoicing. cf. the joyful shouts of the angels at the time of creation (Job 38:7).
8:31 delighting in mankind. Cf. v 4, Humans, made in the image of God,
represented the climax of creation (see Ge 1:26-28; Ps 8:5 and note).
(54) Concordia Self-Study Bible –NIV
8:22-31 A hymn describing wisdom’s role in creation. Wisdom is here personified, as in 1:20-33, 3:15-18, 9:1-12. In addition, these verses have traditionally been understood as a Messianic prophecy, a description of the preincarnate Christ. They provide some of the language for the NT portrayal of Christ as the divine Word (Jn1:1-3) and the wisdom of God (1 Co 1:24, 30; Col 2:3). Here, wisdom is attribute of God involved with him in creation.
8:22 brought ….. forth. The Hebrew for this verb is also used in Ge 4:1, 14:19, 22 (“Creator”). Me. Wisdom (see 3:19; Ps 104:24). As the first of his works. Cf. Job’s statement about the behemoth (Job 40:19).
8:23 from eternity. Description also of Christ (see Jn 1:1; cf. Mic 5:2). Before the world began. Wisdom was already there before God began to create the world (cf. Christ statement in Jn 17:5).
8:24 I was given birth. Elsewhere it is the sea (Job 38:8-9) and the mountains and earth that are “brought forth” (Ps 90:2; Job 15:7). Springs abounding with water. See Is. 104:10.
8:25 mountains. See Ps 90:2.
8:27 set the heavens in place. See 3:19. when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep. See Job 26:10.
8:28 fountains of the deep. Earth’s springs and streams (see note on 3:20; cf. Ge :11)
8:29 the sea its boundary. See Ge 1:9; Job 38:10-11; Ps104:9. foundations of the earth. See note on 3:19.
8:30 craftsman. A craftsman was sometimes called a wise man. See. E.g., Bezalel, who designed and built the tabernacle (Ex 31:3). Here the term stresses the skill demonstrated in creation. Filled with delight …. Rejoicing. Cf. the joyful shouts of the angels at the time of creation (Job 38:7).
8:31 delighting in mankind. Cr. v 4. Man, made in the image of God, represented the climax of creation (see Ge 1:26-28).
(55) The NIV Study Bible (Zondervan)
8:22 brought …. forth. The Hebrew for this verb is also used in Ge 4:11; 14:19, 22 (”creator”）. me. Wisdom (see 3:19; Ps 104:24). As the first of his work. cf. Job’s statement about the behemoth (Job 40:19).
8:23 from eternity. Descriptive also of Christ (see Jn 1:1; cf. Mic 5:2). before the world began. Wisdom was already there before God began to create the world (cf. Christ’s statement in Jn 17:5).
8:24 I was given birth. Elsewhere it is the sea (Job 38:8-9) and the mountains and earth that are “brought forth” (Ps 90:2; Job 15:7). Springs abounding with water. See Ps 104:10.
8:25 mountains. See Ps 90:2.
8:27 set the heavens in place. See 3:19. when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep. See Job 26:10.
8:28 fountains of the deep. Earth’s springs and streams (see note on 3:20; cf. Ge 7:11).
8:29 the sea its boundary. See Ge 1:9; Job 38:10-11; Ps 104:9. foundations of the earth. See note on 3:19.
8:30 craftsman. A craftsman was sometimes called a wise man. See e.g., Bezalel, who designed and built the tabernacle (Ex 31:3). Here the term stresses the skill demonstrated in creation. filled with delight…..rejoicing. cf. the joyful shouts of the angels at the time of creation (Job 38:7).
8:31 delighting in mankind. Cf. v 4. Man, made in the image of God, represented the climax of creation (see Ge 1:26-28).
(56) Life Application Study Bible NIV (Tyndale House Publishers)
8:22-31 God says wisdom is primary and fundamental. It is the foundation on which all life is built. Paul and John mad have alluded to some of Solomon’s statements about wisdom to describe Christ’s presence at the creation of the world (Colossians 1:15-17; 2:2,3; Revelation 3:14).
(57) The Learning Bible – NIV (American Bible Society)
8:24-26 When there were no oceans, I was given birth : Wisdom was present with God from the very beginning or was created before anything else was made (see also 3:19, 20). The idea that wisdom was one with and yet distinct from God probably had some influence on Christian understanding of Christ as God’s Son, who was also said to be present with God at creation (John 1:1-3; Col 1:15-17). See also Rev 3:14.
8:27,28 set the heavens in place …. Fixed securely the fountains of the deep: See Gen 1:1-19. The Hebrew people understood the sky to be a dome on bowl stretched over the flat earth and sea (see the note at 3:20). Lakes and oceans were thought to be filled by water springing up from the great ocean that was under the surface of land and sea.
8:29 gave the sea its boundary: In the Caanite religion, the sea was a force of chaos
and disorder. According to Job 38:8-11, God took the sea prisoner by setting its
(58) The Christ Study Bible – NIV (Zondervan)
How Does Jesus Relate To The Portrait Of Wisdom In Proverbs?
Proverbs 2:1-11 extols the value of wisdom and the necessity of searching for it as “hidden treasure” (Proverbs 2:4). It is the Lord who initiates the search. He gives us wisdom and knowledge, as well as discretion and understanding to guard and protect us.
Jesus is wisdom incarnate. As the Word of God, he is the very nature of truth (see John 1:1, 14). Because Jesus came from God and in one with him, he embodies the spirit of truth and wisdom. Jesus is called “wisdom from God” (1 Corinthians 1:30), and in him are hidden “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge: (Colossians 2:3). Jesus himself said that he is greater than Solomon, who composed much of the book of Proverbs and whose wisdom the queen of Sheba came to listen to (see Matthew 12:42).
Witnesses confirmed that Jesus’ words were beyond anything they had heard before (see Mark 1:21-22). When Jesus was only 12 years old, he engaged the teachers in the temple and asked them insightful questions, astonishing the crowds with his understanding and answer. This episode was followed by a rare comment on Jesus’ childhood: “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52).
The book of Proverbs shows what a life of true wisdom looks like, and only one person has ever lived it: Jesus. Wisdom guards us from foolish choices, helping us to navigate the temptations of this world and to avoid sin and its consequences. We look to Jesus to show us wisdom’s hidden treasures.
(59) Fire Bible Global Study Edition – NIV (Hendrickson Publishers)
Survey : The unifying …. family relationships. Although Proverbs is a very practical book (in that it applies to everyday life and situations), it also contains a deep and insightful view of God. Here wisdom proclaims its source (e.g., 8:22-31). God is the Creator (e.g., 3:19-20, 8:22-31, 14:31, 22:2). He is also characterized as omniscient, or all-knowing (e.g., 5:21, 15:3, 11, 21:2), just and fair (e.g., 11:1; 15:25-27, 29; 19:17, 21:2-3). Proverbs concludes with an impressive tribute to a wife of extraordinary and ideal character (31:10-31).and sovereign, or having absolute power and authority to do as he desires e.g., 16:9, 33; 19:21; 21:1). Proverbs concludes with an impressive
tribute to a wife of extraordinary and ideal character (31:10-31).
New Testament Fulfillment : Wisdom is personified (i.e., spoken of as though it were a living being, a person) in ch. 8 much like the apostle John speaks of the logos (“word”) in the Gospel of John (ch. 1:-18). Proverbs describes wisdom as being (1) involved in creation (3:19-20, 8:22-31), (2) related to the beginning of both biological and spiritual life (3:19, 8:35), (3) the basis for right, honorable and moral living (8:8-9) and (4) available to those who search for it (2:1-10, 3:13-18, 4:7-9, 8:35-36). The wisdom of Proverbs finds its fullest expression in Jesus Christ, who is described as “greater than Solomon” (Lk 11:31), the one who “has become for us wisdom” (1 Co 1:30) and “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:3).
(60) New Bible Commentary (Inter-Vasity Press)
8:1-36 Wisdom’s offer of truth and life.
Once more Ms Wisdom herself takes her stand in public (1-3). She draws attention to herself like the wayward woman, but makes a quite different offer. Her words are more like the encouraging invitation of Is 55 than the standard confrontational rebuke of a pre-exilic prophet (compare 1:20-33); the sermon takes yet another form in an effort to get the point over.
Ms Wisdom herself speaks in vv 4-36, urging attentiveness on three grounds. The first is the truth and justice of what she says (4-11). Here, the link between wisdom and morals stated in 1:1-7 is worked out more systematically: note the heaping up of terms for right and wrong alongside the words for sense and folly. It is that which makes the teaching so valuable (10-11). At the same time everything she says contrasts with the false promises of lying men and unfaithful women.
The second ground for attentive is the practical value of what she says (12-21). It is she who makes possible the exercise of power and the production of wealth. Here the other link in 1:1-7, between wisdom and religion, is also noted (13), though the focus remains on the connection between wisdom right and wrong. It is assumed that power is exercised in a right way (see vv 13, 15) and that wealth is the gift of one who is concerned for righteousness and justice (18-21). Ms Wisdom is the king’s key adviser. Here more than anywhere we see what wisdom was supposed to be, and sometimes was, for a king like Solomon.
The third ground takes the argument onto a different plane : Ms Wisdom was involved with God in the very creation of the world (22-31). What more impressive argument for heeding her could be imagined? Ms Wisdom’s door is the one to wait at (32-36). It is not an oversolemn business, however (30-31).
So God had wisdom from the beginning, before creating the world (22-26). God used wisdom-mind, intelligence, common sense-in undertaking the creation (27-31). The more we know of creation, the more impressive we find wisdom to be.
The image of wisdom as a person may have been used literally in religions which featured many gods, whose terms Proverbs then uses in a ‘demythologized’ sense. Its language would also encourage Israelites not to worship a goddess alongside Yahweh (cf. Je 44:17): the real (but metaphorical) goddess to revere is wisdom. In Christian times, by taking the personification literally and thinking of wisdom
as an actual person separate from God, people gained a way of understanding
Christ’s relationship to God. It underlies Jn 1:1-4 and Col 1:15-17.
The word for possess (12) usually means ‘acquire’ in Proverbs (e.g. 1:5; 4:5, 7), and Ms Wisdom’s words here pick up that usage. Taking the personification of wisdom literally (see above) led people to prefer the translation brought forth in v 22, which is more appropriate to Christ because he was brought forth as a person rather than acquired as an object. A word meaning ‘brought forth’ certainly comes in v 24. That contrasted with the Greek translation of the OT, which had taken it to mean ‘created’. In the controversies over the person of Christ, this played into the hands of Arians who could use it as evidence for their view that Christ was a created being.
In v 30, the word translated craftsman comes only here in the OT. ‘Little child’ or ‘darling’ fits the context of vv 30-31 better where the emphasis is on the joyful play of creation rather than the hard work involved in it. If it is right, vv 22-36 may take Ms Wisdom from birth via the play of girlhood to the stature of adulthood.
(61) The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible – NIV (AMG Publishers)
8:1-9:6 “Wisdom,” the key term of Proverbs, is personified in chapters 8 and 9. It is available even to the simplest individual (Pr 8:5).
(62) The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible – KJV (AMG international, Inc.)
8:22-31 This passage has been understood by many scholars to referring directly to Christ because of similar passage in the NT. The characteristic which belong to this personality called “Wisdom” do coincide with those of Christ : He existed before creation (Col. 1:16; Rev 3:14, cf. W. 23-30). He was with the Lord at creation (John 1:1, cf. v.30), and His “delights were with the sons of man” (John 1:14, 13:1, cf. v. 31). Another factor which suggest that Deity is being spoken of is that the preposition “by” in the phrase “I was by him” (v. 30) has been found in every other case where it is used in the OT (more than 60) to indicate the close spatial relationship between two specific persons or substances. Another view expresses the simple explanation that this is figurative poetic language which personifies the concept of wisdom. This interpretation does not necessarily demand, however, that pointing out similarities to the person of Christ is improper. A third view proposes that while it is wisdom that is being discussed, it can be regarded as typical of Christ.
(63) The Word In Life Study Bible – NKJV (Thomas Nelson, Inc.)
Wisdom At Work And Play
8:30-31 Proverbs personifies wisdom as a companion and associate of the Lord when He created the heavens and the earth. Wisdom was both a master craftsman and a delightful colleague in enjoyable, even playful work (Prov. 8:30-31).
It is easy to see wisdom’s mastery as a worker. Every aspect of creation reveals infinite insight and genius (8:27-30; compare Ps 19: 1-4, 104:24). But wisdom is not all work; it has a playful side as well. At the creation, wisdom was God’s daily delight, always rejoicing (literally “playing”) before the Lord. Apparently God enjoyed both the product (Gen 1:31) and the process of creation. Like any act of creativity, forming the universe was play as well as work.
(64) The Message of Proverbs (Inter-Varsity Press)
The third paragraph of chapter 8(22-31) takes us right to the heart of things. Wisdom claims that she was Yahweh’s firstborn (22) before the world began (23-29). She was not only the craftsman at his side (30), but also Yahweh’s delight (30), sharing his joy in the whole world (31).
This autobiographical paragraph stands apart in style and language from the rest of this chapter. This paragraph, perhaps more than anywhere else in the Bible, couples the wonder of God’s creation with its excitement, exuberance, exhilaration and delight. There is little that can compare with the excitement we relive if we can look back on some great event, perhaps a royal wedding, the launch of a space shuttle, or the day our team won the super bowl or the World Cup, and say, ‘I was there.’ These are wisdom’s words in 8:27: I was there when God set the heavens in place.
This fine section begins with God : The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works. This reads like an extended elaboration of Proverbs 3:19-20. Here we see the intimate relation between the Lord and Wisdom, whom God brought into being before the work of creation began. Wisdom is Yahweh’s own. Wisdom can offer knowledge about human life and its ways, she can advise on the government of society and she can give the rewards of health and justice, because from the very beginning she has been at the heart of things; she was present when the world was made. The picture here is of Wisdom as the principle by which God ordered the world; God’s firstborn, who was present with God in the world’s creation, and the enlightenment of all human life. Our minds are immediately turned back to Genesis 1 and the poem reflecting on the order of God’s creation. Our minds are also moved on to the prologue of John’s gospel, in which the Logos is described : ‘In the beginning was the Word……’ (Jn 1:1-4).
In Proverbs 8, the first thought (22-23) is of Wisdom’s place in the mind and purpose of God. The Lord brought me forth (or the text might better be translated ‘possessed me’) as the first of his works, before his deeds of old; I was appointed from eternity, before the world began. The writer is suggesting that wisdom was ‘brought forth’ at a point in time, but whether this means ‘created’ or ‘coeval with the beginning of God’s creative work’ is not altogether clear. All we are told is that before the beginning of the world. Wisdom was a partner in the life and purpose of God.
The next verses (24-26) describe Wisdom’s birth before the creation of the physical world. The picture of oceans, springs abounding with water, mountains, hills, the earth and its fields and dust, recalls the emergence of creation in Genesis 1:6-10. Before any of this happened, says Proverbs, Wisdom was there.
She was thus present as the world was made (27-29). Once again, the setting of the heavens, the marking out of a horizon for the deep, establishing the clouds and setting boundaries for the sea, are all reminiscent of the creation poem in Genesis.
And then we come to the climax of this section. Verses 30-31 celebrate Wisdom’s joyous delight in being God’s intimate associate (which is what the craftsman at his side probably means). There is a thrill, a delight, a dance in these verses. I was filled with delight could even mean ‘I was a source of delight to God’; ‘I was God’s delight.’ Wisdom is so excited and energized by God’s creative work that she ‘rejoices’ in God’s presence, a word which could mean ‘sports’ or ‘laughs’. The poet here is conveying the sense of a little child at play. ‘Like a gleeful kid, wisdom is so excited by the majesty and power of the creation, that she jokes and laughs about it daily with the Creator, who takes exquisite in her jollity.’ That joy is in his whole world, and especially in mankind (31).
This is remarkably fresh and vibrant picture of creation. This is more intimately personal than the majestic poem of Genesis 1. This is much more positive and joyous than the struggle among the gods which fills some of the other creation stories of the ancient Near East. This is much more vibrantly alive and hopeful than the evolutionary philosophies which depict the emergence of life as just one thing after another. To follow Wisdom is to follow the way of exuberance, creativity, laughter and joy, what Horton calls ‘exultant cheerfulness’, or what Thomas Traherne meant when he urged his readers to ‘enjoy the world’.
No wonder this picture of Wisdom filled out for the New Testament writers, and notably St. Paul, some of what they wanted to say about Jesus, the Christ, the Wisdom of God. There are hint of Wisdom in Colossians 1:15-18, for example:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created : things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
W.D. Davies is typical of many in his comment on how both aspects of twofold function of Wisdom in Proverbs 8-9, in the cosmos and in the world of human beings, are transferred to Christ in Paul’s discussion in this passage. Christ is depicted not only as creator of the physical universe, but as the agent of the re-creation of humanity. There are hints, too, in the opening of the letter to the Hebrews (1:1-3):
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the majesty in heaven.
There are more hints, of course, in the opening of the forth gospel (Jn 1:1-5):
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
Proverbs 8 was often used by early Christian theologians in the controversies surrounding the discussion of the second Person of the Trinity; it was used by Augustine in his controversy with the Arians. Later Calvin sought to rebutt Servetus’ refusal to accept that Jesus Christ was the eternal Son of God by citing this passage: ‘the eternal begetting of wisdom of which Solomon speaks is annihilated [in Servetus’ account]’ And Matthew Henry applies the passage directly to Jesus:
That it is an intelligent and divine Person that here speaks seems very plain, and that it is not meant of a mere essential property of the divine nature; for wisdom here has personal property and actions; and that intelligent, divine Person, can be no other than the Son of God himself, to whom the principle things here spoken of wisdom are attributed in other scriptures.
Now there has been considerable controversy as to whether Wisdom in this passage is a true Person, or rather the personification of one of God’s attributes. Most commentators take the latter view, and probably the text itself does not allow anything more. However, to read these words of the sages as part of the ongoing self-revelation of God, culminating in the incarnation of Jesus, means that we are not too far off track if we find very close parallels between the character of Wisdom here, and the character of Jesus in the gospels. Indeed, Matthew Henry was right to say: ‘The best exposition of these verses we have in the four first verses of St. John’s Gospel.’
And how appropriate to understand Jesus in the terms in which Wisdom is described : God’s delight! This is perhaps the sense which is captured (though the Hebrew word is different) when Isaiah speaks of God’s servant (42:1) ‘Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight.’ And this theme is picked up in the narrative of Jesus’ baptism, when the heavens open, the Spirit of God descends, and a voice from heaven is heard : ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased (Mt 3:17). Jesus is God’s delight.
(65) Proverbs (Inter-Varsity Press)
8:22-31 Wisdom’s role in creation. The section is ushered in by the emphatic The Lord. Here is wisdom’s prime credential, presented with wonderful artistry.
First, wisdom is what Yahweh as Creator counted primary and indispensable. Second, wisdom is both older than the universe, and fundamental to it. Not a speck of matter (26b), not a trace of order (29), came into existence but by wisdom. Third, wisdom is the spring of joy, for joy breaks out whenever (30b) and wherever (31) the Creator’s wisdom is exercise. Joy of creating and joy of existence --- the Maker’s and the creature’s delight --- both flow from the exercise of divine wisdom; that is, from God’s perfect workmanship.
The important and keenly-debated question arises : Is wisdom here conceived as a hypostasis (i.e. an abstraction, made personal for the sake of poetic vividness)?
To the present commentator, the context points to the latter. Not only does the next chapter proceed immediately to a fresh portrait of wisdom, in a new guise (as a great lady (9:1-6) whose rival (13-18) is certainly no hypostasis), but the present passage makes excellent sense at the level of metaphor: i.e. as a powerful way of saying that if we must do nothing without wisdom, God Himself has made and done nothing without it. The wisdom by which the world is rightly used is none other than the wisdom by which it exists.
But if this is how the poem should be read in its immediate context, there is also a wider setting. The New Testament shows by it allusions to this passage (Col. 1:15-17, 2:3; Rev 3:14) that the personifying of wisdom, far from overshooting the li teral truth, was a preparation for its full statement, since the agent of creation was no mere activity of God, but the Son, His eternal Word, Wisdom and Power (see also Jn. 1:1-14; 1 Cor. 1:24, 30; Heb. 1:1-4).
Further details call for comment.
22 possessed (Vulg., AV, RV), or created (LXX, Targ., Rev)? The Arians (who denied the deity of Christ) appealed to LXX’s ‘created’, to prove the Christ, the Wisdom of God, was not eternal. But our concern must be with the word’s normal meaning, and with the general sense of the passage.
Elsewhere this verb (qana) predominantly means ‘get’ and hence ‘possess’ (see, e.g., Pr. 4:5,7, where wisdom is the object, as here). Of its 84 Old Testament occurrences, only six or seven allow the sense ‘create’ (Gen 14:19, 22; Ex 15:16; Dt 32:6; Pss. 74:2, 139:13; Pr 8:22), and even these do not require it. The derived nouns still more strongly emphasize possession.
Ugaritic literature, however has recently swung opinion towards ‘create’ (in spite of Keret : 11:4), because of the phrase qnyt’elm, translated by C.H. Gordon as ‘creatress of the gods’. But W.A. Irwin points out that both this expression and Eve’s in Genesis 4:1 imply parenthood, not creation (cf. Dt. 32:6); and C.H. Gordon has accepted this, adding, ‘I agree fully …… that Gn. 4:1 and Pr. 8:22 refer primarily to bearing or begetting children’.
To sump up: this word expresses getting and possessing, in ways that vary with the context. Goods are possessed by purchase, children by birth (cf. our idiom, to ‘have’ a baby). Wisdom – for mortals --- by learning. And wisdom for God? To say that at first He lacked it and had to create or learn it, is both alien to this passage and absurd. It comes forth from Him; the nearest metaphor is that of birth (cf. 24, 25). But possessed is perhaps (as Irwin concludes) the most serviceable word for the translator here. Leaving the succeeding verses to speak more explicitly.
In the beginning of his way (AV, RV). Beginning can mean what is first in importance (cf. 1:7) or first in sequence (cf. Gn. 1:1), and the two senses often coexist. The latter seems to predominate here (cf. ‘before…….before’, 25); but there is no preposition, and the phrase could mean “As the beginning….’. Way is gratuitously changed to work by RSV, perhaps under the influence of the Ugaritic drkt, ‘power, dominion’.
23-25 While verse 22 has stolen the limelight, the adjacent verbs state the matter in terms of wisdom’s installation in office (23a; cf. Ps 2:6) and its birth (24, 25). The latter verb, indeed, by its repetition, is the predominant one; and the passage as a whole may be meant to bring to mind a royal birth.
Depths (24) is the plural of the word telom (cf. 28, and Gn. 1:2), which, with beginning (22), is an echo of the creation narrative.
26b. Beginning (RV; not, as AV, highest part) is the same word as found in 23b.
30. ‘Craftsman’ (amon): this meaning (cf. RV, RSV) is supported by tradition (LXX, Syr., Vulg.), by Jeremiah 52:15 (cf. RSV rvmg; but AV, RV emend), and perhaps by Song of Solomon 7:1 (Heb.,2). It also makes good sense, since without it there would be no mention of wisdom’s instrumentality. ‘Nursling’, cf. AV, is also possible, and would fit into a sequence from birth (24) to happy play (30b, 31). But it makes wisdom’s role completely irresponsible; and if this is done to avoid unduly exalting her, it is overdone.
His delight: ‘his’ is lacking in the Heb. text. Perhaps (as in the expression ‘ I am prayer’, Ps109:4) the meaning is ‘I was happiness itself.’
(66) Word Biblical Commentary – Proverbs (Thomas Nelson)
22-31 This striking passage describes , in a mysterious way, the relationship of woman wisdom to the Lord. There is a strong emphasis on her origins and age. She was begotten of the Lord, any before anything else in creation. The style is unusual in its constructions: four times the use of the preposition “form” (“of old,” etc., in vv 22-23), and five times the implication of “not yet” (“when,” “before,” in vv 24-26). These constructions underlie Wisdom’s origins before all else. But where was Wisdom? She was already present with God, at the very least witnessing if not cooperating in the creative acts that were taking place (vv 27-29); in addition to her special relationship with God, she finds delight in human beings (vv 30-31). This description is not only unexpected, but mysterious.
22 The beginning of the Lord’s ways would mean what woman wisdom is the firstborn, and therefore preexistent to anything else, despite the various translations. ‘Way” indicates the divine pattern of creative acts. The text uses a plethora of expressions to designate antiquity, but the meaning is clear : Wisdom was there before anything else. Her preexistence is not only and simply a sign of her dignity. It has everything to do with wisdom as knowledge. Thus, in Job 15:7-8 Eliphaz taunts Job as those he were claiming to be firstborn, created before the hills, and thus able to listen in on God’s council; all this is an indication of possessing the highest wisdom. But only woman wisdom is in such a position.
23 The meaning of the main verb is uncertain. But the temporal indication of
preexistence is clear; cf. v 22.
24 The ‘not yet’ style begins; “deeps” and “fountains” are parallel, indicating that the primeval waters, when split (cf. Prov 3:20), yielded these fountains, or sources, that provide water for the earth.
25 After the abyss come the mountains, which are described as being “sunk” (translated as “set up” the presupposition). The presupposition here is that the mountains/hills have their bases or roots in the water below (cf. Joh 2:7), just as is the case with the pillars of the earth (Job 38:4-6). This has been explained as a kind of “word-axis,” which keeps the world stable. But the emphatic point of this verse is the repetition of the verb “born, brought forth (vv 24-25) --- a bold claim, even if metaphorical.
26 There seems to be an ascending order : the depths, then earth, and in heavens. The precise distinction of various parts of the earth in v 26, e.g., the earth and the fields, in not clear. The parallelism calls for something like “clods” or “clumps” (plural of “dust”) of earth in v 26b.
27 The ‘circle’ that is drawn on the face of the deep indicates either the flat earth or its horizon; cf. Isa 40:22, “the vault or the earth,” and Job 26:10, 22:14. It is difficult to reconstruct the exact understanding of the created world on the basis of the varied references in the Old Testament. Again, the presence of wisdom is emphasized; she is present before and during this divine activity: “there, I” in v 27.
28 The direction of the divine activity goes down from heaven, from the clouds (cf. Job 37:18), to the deep, the sources of water. The translation of v 28b is uncertain: Did God strengthen the sources, or simply, were the sources strong?
29 The reference to the “sea” may be a faint echo of the mythical battle between the Lord and sea which is supposedly featured in other creation narratives. Here sea is
tamed by the word of the Lord. The live in v 29 portrage the earth on its
foundations below; the earth rests on its “pillar”; cf Job 9:6.
30 The meaning of this famous verse depends on the translation(s). Even the very beginning is marked twice by a solemn “I am”, which recalls the mysterious revelation of Exod 3:14, where “I am who I am” occurs twice and “I am” once more. However the mysterious aura surrounding these verbs is to be understood, there can be hardly any doubt that v 30 alludes to that passage. This is worthy of note in view of the general tendency in Proverbs to avoid the verb “to be” in favor of juxtaposition or simple comparison. Thus the description of wisdom’s presence at creation contains a deliberate recall of the active presence of the Lord for his people. In any case, there can be no denying Wisdom’s presence with the Lord; she is “at his side,” or “with” him, once more emphatically stated; cf. also “there, I” in v 27a. The issue is : Just what was she doing? Two dominant interpretations are (1) She somehow aids the Lord as “crafts (wo)man” (cf. 3:19), and also she ‘plays,” (2) Or, she is a “child” who plays before him. In any case, she describes herself as “delight,” which the LXX, followed by many translation, interpreted as being “his” (God’s) delight. This seems to mean that she is of herself sheer delight, and implicitly a delight to God. The notion of playing is emphasized by its repetition in v 31. One can only conjecture what this consisted in. Was it like the joyous singing of the morning stars, when God created, as in Job 38:7? Even more imaginatively, O, Keel (Die Weisheit spielt vor Gott [Universitatsverlag Freiburg Schweiz, 1974] 68-74) co-relates this “playing” with figures who are doing cartwheels in the processions of Egyptian divinities, as evidence in Egyptian in iconography
31 If wisdom plays before God, presumably at his side, she also plays on earth, and there is a “play” on the morning of “delight”. Now her “delight” is with human beings; in v 30a she seemed to be God’s delight, or at least, she played daily before him. There is a new twist here: She plays with human beings who live on God’s earth. Interestingly, she says nothing more; there is no mention of any admonition or correction. She just plays, almost as if these humans were fitting playmates. In this a kind of paradise experience? It is hard to imagine a bolder claim: to operate joyfully both before God and before humans. Just who is she, and what is she up to? See the Excursus on Woman Wisdom and Woman Folly.
(67) The Expositors Bible Commentary (Zondervan)
22-23 In this next part wisdom focuses on her place in primodial time; here the motivation for receiving wisdom precedes the invitation. The first two verses provide a summary: Yahweh possessed wisdom before the creation of the word (v 23). With the verb qana (GK7865) we must choose between hamonyms and translate either ‘possess” or “create”. The order versions have “possess”; otherwise it might sound as though God lacked of wisdom and so created if before the world began. Their translators wanted to avoid saying that wisdom was not eternal. Arius liked the idea of Christ as the meaning of wisdom and chose “create” as the verb. Athanasius read “constituted me as the head of creation.”
The verb qana occurs twelve times in Proverbs with the idea of acquire; but the LXX and Syriac have the idea of “create”. Although the idea is that Wisdom existed before creation, the parallel ideas in these verse (qanani, “brought me forth,” v22; nissakti, “I was appointed,” v23; and holalti, “I was given birth,”, v24) argue for the idea of “create/establish”. The point of the metaphor of wisdom comes from God’s essential being unlike the rest of creation, which came into existence outside of him. And because this wisdom existed before creation, it is not accessible to humanity and cannot be control by humans but must be revealed.
24-31 The summary statement is now developed in a lengthy treatment of wisdom as the agent of creation. Verses 24-26 reiterate that wisdom was established before creation (tehomot, “oceans” [v24] or “deeps,” recalling creation); vv. 27-29 declare that wisdom was present when God created (notice the same progress of preexistence to world-creating acts for the Logos in Jn 1:1-3; Col 1:15-16); and vv. 30-32 tell how wisdom rejoiced in God’s creation (“delight day after day” [v 30] recalls that “God saw that it was good” [Ge 1:4, 9, 12 etc.]).
Critical to the interpretation of this section is the meaning of amon (“craftsman”) in v 30,” R.B.Y. Scott (“Wisdom in Creation: The amon of Proverbs 8:30,” VT 10 : 213-23) surveys the possible in interpretation; he rejects “master craftsman “, “nursing child”, “foster father”, etc., and chooses rather the idea of faithful” – a binding or living link. The image of “child” does fit the metaphor of birth. Although “workman/craftsman” has the most support and is chosen by most commentators (LXX; VUL; Syr, Targ. SS7:; Jer 52:15; see also Patrick W. Skhehan,” structures in poems on wisdom: Proverbs 8 and Sirach 24”, CBQ 41 : 365-70), it is not without problems in the meaning of the passage, the primary one being that the emphasis is on God the creator and not a separate agent. The translation “continually, faithfully” does harmonize with the contextual emphasis on wisdom’s faithful presence and daily delight.
(68) The NIV Application Commentary – Proverbs (Zondervan)
Wisdom Was There Before Anything Else (8:22-26)
The First Challenge to the interpreter is establishing a translation of 8:22, as the
NIV footnotes indicate. The first note on 8:22 tells us that “his works” translates literally as “his way”, that is, a course of action, consistent with the use of “way” in Proverbs, which may have the derived sense of divine “dominion”. The second note on this verse reflects the decision to translate Hebrew qanani as “brought me forth,” echoing Eve’s words in giving birth to Cain (whose name makes a pun on the word, Gen. 4:1). But the word can also mean “create” (NRSV; cf. Gen. 14:19, 22; Deut 32:6: Ps 139:15) or acquire (Gen. 25:10; 33:19; Prov. 20:14); this latter meaning is used throughout Proverbs, particularly with reference to acquiring wisdom (4:5,7; 15:32; 16:16; 17:16; 18:15; 19:8; 23:23).
By itself, “acquire” can imply that Yahweh acquires wisdom like a wife or as a preexistence being, neither of which fits the context of creation or latter references to wisdom’s being born. Many interpreters find it theologically problematic that Yahweh would have a consort on that there are other uncreated eternal beings beside him. Readings that takes “acquired” in this way press the imagery into service for which it was not design; the repetition of birth images speaks against the marriage view. Most likely, some association with Proverbs’ use “acquire wisdom” is intended, so that Yahweh himself acquires her before setting out to do anything else, course wisdom recommends to her human pupils. This understanding of “acquire” need not imply that wisdom is an eternal presence, only that some association with creation and birthing imagery is intended.
The “first of his works” can also be translated “beginning”, for the Hebrew resit appears here as it does in 1:7, but also in 4:7, as first in importance: “Wisdom is supreme [resit]; therefore get [qnh] wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”
Two other terms describe Wisdom’s origins in 8:23-36, each set in the context of the time before creation. (1) Wisdom says in 8:23, “I was appointed [nsk] from eternity, before the world began,” using a word that in some context described the casting of a mold (thus the NIV footnote “fashioned”; this verse also repeat resit (“beginning”) and qedem (“before”) from 8:22. (2) Continuing the thought in 8:24, she speaks of a time when there were no oceans or gushing springs, saying that then she was ‘given birth”(hyl). Similarly, before the mountains, before the hills, before the earth of fields or any of the dust of the earth, she was ‘given birth” (again, hyl). The birthing, of course, is figurative, for the same word is used of bringing forth or birthing weather in 25:23; “As a north wind brings rain, so a sly tongue brings angry looks.”
Coming through every one of Wisdom’s statements is the claim that “I was here first”; Wisdom comes on the scene at the beginning, before Yahweh did anything else. This observation should guide our reading of all that follows, for the stress here is on Wisdom’s coming forth as a work of Yahweh, not on the work she herself does. Nowhere in this text does it say that Yahweh did these things by her, although this is the message of 3:19-20. Later wisdom writings such as Sirach will also make the claim, but it is not to be found in this text.
Moreover, the text apparently makes no fine distinction between Wisdom’s being created or birthed, both images ending up at the same destination of “first”. The challenge for Christian readers is to avoid over reading this text on the basis of later biblical and theological distinctions. To pre-Christian readers and hearers, the birthing image was repeated to emphasize that before doing anything else to give form to heaven and earth, Yahweh first brought forth Wisdom.
Is Wisdom who speaks here the gift to humans of skill and insight (personified as a teacher and guide), or is she a personification of divine wisdom that put the world into order, or both? Immediate context does not grant many clues, but the larger context of the speech favors the former, that the Wisdom who speaks is she who can be both acquired and passed on from generation to generation, even as she herself teaches. With the claim that she was there before the waters were gathered and hills settled, Wisdom can claim access to the knowledge she offers to teach. If she were asked the question God asked of Job, “Were you there when I laid the earth’s foundation?’ (Job 38:4), she would answer ‘”Yes!”
In other words, here Wisdom enhances her authority and credibility by means of an ancient motif of knowledge. Only the one who knows how the world came to be and how it works is able to claim real knowledge, all else is limited at best, puffery at worst. To summarize, in this first section of the speech, Wisdom is the focus of all the action, although the action is accomplished by “the Lord” (Yahweh), whose name is the first Hebrew word in 8:22. Yahweh is the one who brought forth Wisdom before all else, making her appearance unique.
Wisdom Was Present When the Orders of Creation Were Set in Place (8:27-31).
Wisdom now moves from her own “coming forth” in 8:22-26 to her presence as the heavens and waters were divided (cf. Gen. 1:1-13), from a time when “there was not” to the time when the waters were gathered. This, her second reminder to readers that “I was there,” leads them to her celebration of creation in Proverbs 8:30-31. Each line of her report turns the spotlight on Yahweh’s handiwork, a structured place for all that lives to dwell safely and thrive. The emphasis on place omits any mention of organic life apart from a side reference to humanity in 8:31. In stark contrast to the Genesis account, Wisdom’s description of creation makes no mention of the lights, the plants, or any creatures of land or sea. Instead, she focuses on the physical environment and the proper location of its component parts. Readers will also notice that the terms she uses for God’s work are assembled to create a picture of stability and order, even fixity.
Verse 27-28 more from the heights where Yahweh has set the heavens up in place and fixed the clouds to the depths where the seas are “marked”. The term for that marking (hqq) is used twice in 8:29, “when he gave the sea its boundary …. and when he marked out the foundations of the earth,” drawing a circle the way one uses a compass, setting boundaries so that the waters do not move past his command (lit., pass over his mouth”). So Isaiah spoke of Yahweh who sits above the circle of the earth (Isa. 40:22). As we noted previously, the same term for that marking is used in Proverbs 8:15 for the enactment of just laws, as Yahweh sets boundaries for the seas that they dare not cross, so rulers enact boundaries of life that give it order and security.
In other words, Wisdom, who watched Yahweh set the boundaries of creation, shows kings how to do the same for the social order. By fixing of heavens and drawing a circle on the deep, Yahweh puts a limit on the waters, stopping what in times of flood seems unstoppable. This sign of orderly creation echoes what was said in 3:19-20 about making a place for life to thrive. As the heavens are fixed above the skies and the seas fixed at their boundaries, so this place of life is stable and secure.
After the long series of “when’s” comes the climax: “Then I was the craftsman at his side” (8:30), the double use of the Hebrew verb of being (“I was”) man at his side” adding emphasis. Gender considerations aside, the term ‘craftsman” is not the only plausible translation of Hebrew amon. Scholarly debate has presented three renderings (“artisan,” “counselor,” or “child/nursing”); we will first consider the larger context and then return to discuss this contested term. What is clear in 8:30-31 is that Wisdom recalls the joy of those days; for reports having been filled with delight daily, rejoicing before Yahweh at all times and rejoicing in the whole world, the human creation (8:31; lit., “the son of in adam”; cf. 8:4) is her special delight. The two terms of joy are repeated in reverse order:
A delighting day after day
B rejoicing at all times before the Lord
B’ rejoicing in the world of his earth.
A’ delighting in the children of Adam
The world “delight” (sasuim) is rare, the root used most often in Psalm 119 for the delights of the torah (119:16, 24, 77, 92, 143, 147). The prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah use this word for Yahweh’s delight in his children in spite of there waywardness (Isa. 5:7; Jer. 31:20). Here in Wisdom’s speech, there is some question over who takes delight. The LXX and some contemporary interpreters would translate that Wisdom is “his delight”. If so, Wisdom’s word might be paraphrased, “His delight was in me, my delight in his (creation of) humanity.” Either way, the central meaning of the text, delight that culminates in Wisdom pleasure in the sons of adam, remain constant.
Wisdom also rejoices (8:30-31, msaheqat), the parallel lines noting her joy in God’s presence and the new world he has made. Some take the Hebrew term to mean that Wisdom is playing or frolicking like a child. In this view, Wisdom first report her metaphoric birth and then speaks of her children, playing while Yahweh works or setting up the world. Play fits the hypothetical context of a child’s development, but simple rejoicing before the work of Yahweh is more consistent with the extended description of the creation.
Thus, the primary sense of mesabeget shows Wisdom rejoicing before Yahweh, with possible secondary overtones of childhood play as a kind of wordplay. But it should also be noted that the same Hebrew verb appears in 1:26, where Wisdom “laughs” (root shq) at the calamity of the wicked. Just as Wisdom rejoices and celebrates the new and orderly world in Chapter 8, she laughs at wicked scoundrels who disturbs the social order. In sum, while the translation of 8:30-31 is difficult, it is clear that when the world and humankind came into being, Wisdom was beside the One who brought it about, rejoicing and taking delight in what she saw.
So is the amon of 8:30 an artisan (cf. Song 7:1), a counselor, of a nursing child (cf. Lam. 4:5)? The strongest images of the poem show God’s setting up the boundaries of creation waters, this work is framed by his bringing forth Wisdom like a birth (8:24-25) and her rejoicing at Yahweh’s creation of the world and humankind (8:30-31). If she were an artisan, it would be the only case in Proverbs in which she functions as an agent of creation, for by “wisdom” at 3:20 presents her as an instrument at most; again the focus is an Yahweh’s activity. And while it is true that she speaks of her birth and that “rejoicing” can refer to play, this is slight evidence that we are watching a child busy at games or frolicking as Yahweh creates. But we have seen that she teaches rulers to do what Yahweh does, that is, to set out boundaries and their order for the sake of life on earth (8:14-16; cf. 3:13-20 and the repetition of “life”). We also know she rejoices in the “sons of adam” (8:31) and turns to address them as “my sons” (8:33).
Therefore, the image of a sages or counselor to humankind stands out as the most fitting in the context, even while there may sound overtones of an artisan or a child who grows up to build her own house (cf. 9:1). For this reason, our comments will focus on her claims that she was there as a counselor, expressing delight. To summarize, in this section of the speech, Yahweh is the only actor until Wisdom forcefully states “I was” twice in 8:30, artistically turning the spotlight to her role of counsel and her celebration of God’s work of creation. Because she delights in the way the world was ordered, she offers her counsel concerning that order to the humans she also finds delightful.
(69) Believer’s Bible Commentary (Thomas Nelson Publishers)
8:22 His eternal generation: “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His Way.” We must not understand the word “possessed” as implying that Christ ever had a beginning. God never existed without the quality or attribute of wisdom, and neither did He ever exist without the Person of His Son. The meaning here is exactly the same as in John 1:1 “In the beginning…the Word was with God….”
8:23 His appointment from eternity. “Established” means anointed or appointed. Long before creation took place, He was appointed to be the Messiah of Israel and the Savior of the world.
8:24-26 His pre-existence. The words “brought forth” must not be taken to mean that He was ever created and thus had a beginning. They are poetic language describing the Son’s eternal existence and His personality as being distinct from that of God the Father.
The primal dust refers to the beginnings of the world.
8:27-29 His presence at creation. He was there when the heavens were stretched over the land and sea, when clouds were formed, and fountains and springs began gushing forth. He was there when the boundaries of the oceans were decided upon, the waters being commanded not to pass beyond the limits set. He was there when the foundations of the earth were made, including the internal structure that supports the outer crust.
8:30a His activity in creation. Here we learn that the Lord Jesus was the active Agent in creation. The NKJV correctly renders the first part of verse 30, “Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman…….” This agrees, of course, with John 1:3; Colossians 1:16; and Hebrews 1:2.
8:30b His position of affection and delight…..before God. The eternal and infinite love of the Father for His Son increases the marvel that He would ever send that Son to die for sinners.
8:30c His personal delight before God. This magnifies the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ --- that He would ever leave that scene of pure and perfect joy to come to this jungle of shame, sorrow, and suffering.
8:31 His rejoicing in the inhabited world. It is amazing that out of all the vast universe, He should be especially interested in this speck of a planet.
His special delight in the sons of men. The final wonder is that He should set His affection upon the rebel race of men.
綜觀上述參考書， 可知幾乎全是主張三位一體論的註釋家所註釋的。 他們在不能否認智慧擬人化之下， 又欲証明子在舊約中已有子的記載。 結果是， 他們一方面說這是針對子而言， 另一方面又指箴8:22 之 S7069非指 “創造”， 所以才翻譯為 “就有了我”。 查考聖經原文字典(浸宣出版社)， 其義為購買， 擁有， 取得， 創造， 促成。 根據他們說， 七十士譯本將此字譯為S2936是錯的； 因為此字義為創造或創造者。
根據Mounce’s Complete Exposition Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words (Zondervan), 其義的確如他們所講的：
bfc ara in Old Testament, GK1343, S1254. bara means “to create.” While there is some scholarly difference of opinion about the meaning of this verb, it is fair to say that it occurs exclusively with God as the subject or the implied agent of creation.
(1) bara is used 5xin Gen.1 (1:1, 21, 27[3x] ;cf. 2:3-4; 5:1-2; 6:7) for the great creative act of God “in the beginning.” While the expression “out of nothing” does not appear here (but cf. Heb. 11:3), most scholars accept this as the nuance behind the creation story, namely, That God did not use any previously made material in order to create “the heavens and the earth” (an expression that denotes all of reality). Because God has created everything, all things belong to him; heis the sovereign Creator and Lord. Several passages in the Psalms (e.g., Ps. 89:12; 104:30; 148:5) and many in Isaiah (e.g., Isa 40:26, 28; 42:5; 45:18) affirm the same thing.
(2) But God’s creation is not limited to physical stuff; he also created a people for himself, the nation of Israel, whom he created for his own glory (Isa. 43:1, 7; Mal.2:10). This theme carries over into the NT in the creation of “the one new man” in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:15; see discussion of ktizo, GK3231).
(3) God’s creative activity does not end with creation in Genesis. He remains the Creator. Since the world he created has been soiled by sin, God promises that the day will come when “I will create new heavens and a new earth” (Isa. 65:17), which includes a new Jerusalem (65:17-25) and a new humanity. This, too, is a NT theme (cf. 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1).
(4) Finally, the verb bara can also be applied to more abstract concepts. Isa. 45:8, for example, indicates that God “creates” and rains down righteousness and salvation. In fact, 45:7 indicates that god “creates evil.” The word for “evil” used here does mean that God is the originator and author of moral evil and sin; rather, it denotes “disaster”; that his, God creates events that can serve as warnings of and as judgments upon his people, and indeed on the entire human race. Once again, this is a demonstration that God is ultimately in charge of all that he has made; he is sovereign over all the events of history.
Verb: qana GK7864, 7865, S7069. Qana appears to bear two distinct meanings in the OT: “to buy, purchase, redeem”; also “to create.”
There are several places in the OT where qana means “create” (e.g., Ps139:13). Upon giving birth to Cain, Eve said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man” (i.e., “created,” Gen. 4:1). When Melchizedek blessed Abram, he said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth” (i.e., “possessor,” Gem 14:19; see also 14:22; Deut. 32:6). In Deut. 32:6, Moses says to Israel, “Is this the way you repay the Lord, O foolish and unwise people? Is he not your Father, your Creator, who made you and formed you?” Wisdom states, “The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old” (Prov. 8:22).
Create in New Testament, GK3231, S2936. Verb ktizo: In the NT, kitzo (“to create “) is used exclusively of God’s creative activity. It may refer to God’s activity in relation to the physical world (Rom. 1:25; Rev. 10:6; cf. Mk. 13:19), food (1 Tim. 4:3, people (Mk. 19:14; 1 Cor. 11:6), and all things (Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:16; Rev. 4:11),
Ktizo is also used of God’s creative activity (Eph. 2:10) in forming the new self in believers (Col. 3:10), which is “created after the likeness of God” (Eph. 4:24). Moreover, through the cross of Christ, God brought about reconciliation in the human race and “created” one new man out of Jew and Gentile (Eph. 2:15).
Verb poieo, GK 3231, S4160. This verb, generically translated as “to do,” has a wide range of meanings, including the idea of “creature” the world.
S2936之義為 “創造” 或 “創造者”, 沒有其他意義
The Apostolic Bible Polyglot ( The Apostolic Press), 字義為 to built, make create.
Gen 14:19, 22; Ex 9:18; Lev 16:16; Dt 4:32; Ps 33:9, 51:10, 89:12, 47, 102:18, 104:30, 148:5; Pr 8:22; Ecc 12:1; Is 22:11, 44:2, 45:7, 8, 46:11, 54:16; Jer 31:22, 32:15, Eze 28:14, 15; Am 4:13; Hag 2:9, Mal 2:10, Mk 13:19, Rm 1:25; 1 Co 11:9, Eph 2:10, 15, 3:9, 4:24; Col 1:16, 3:10; 1 Ti 4:3, Rev 4:11, 10:6.
七十士譯本之譯者不可能把箴 8:22譯錯。 如不是創造， 他們大可用其他字來代替。如Pr 8:22是創造， 是否表示子是被造的？ 答案固然不是。 箴 8:22 至8:27 是以詩歌體裁寫成的； 每節節尾都是互相對照。 8:22之 “就有了我”； 8:23之 “我已被立”； 8:24 25和26之 “我與生出”，可看出 所謂的 “被造” (就有了), 純粹是詞句的修辭而已。
筆者認為， 此處只是把智慧擬人化， 別無他指。 理由如下：
(1) 譯為 “創造” 的七十士譯本之讀者， 即只懂希臘文的猶太人， 也有彌賽亞觀
伯利恆的以法他啊， 你在猶大諸城中為小。 將來必有一位從你那裡出來， 在以色列中為我掌權的； 他的根源從亙古， 從太初就有。
猶太人之彌賽亞觀是 “從亙古， 從太初就有，” 但他們卻不承認 “智 慧”是
神， 更不相信她是指三位一體第二個位格的 “子” (他們根本不相信三一
論)， 那箴8:22 的 “被造的” 之 “我” 又怎會是指子呢? 難道七十士譯本的譯者
(2) 如仔細讀箴8:22-31, 便會發現智慧只是在創世時存在而已， 並沒說她
參與創造工作。 智慧只是工師(8:30)， 她所作的只是 “常常在他面前踴
躍， 踴躍在他為人預備可住之地， 也喜悅住在世人之間(8:31)。 正如伯
那時， 晨星一同歌唱； 神的眾子也都歡呼。
(3) 在箴言中， 智慧常與愚蠢對比； 如果智慧是預表子， 那愚蠢又預表誰呢 ？把
智慧與愚蠢分開， 然後再解釋智慧為子， 似乎有斷章取義之嫌。 如果把智慧
與愚蠢當着擬人化的兩個人， 在箴言整本書中互相對照， 那就不會有 “愚蠢是
(4) 三一論者常以創1:1-3指出， 在舊約中， 也有三個位格共同創世的記錄， 即創
1:1 之 “神”， 創1:2之 “神的靈”， 和創1:3 之 “神說”。 但箴言中之8:22-31，
只有智慧或 “她” 和耶和華或 “他”， 少了第三個位格 即神的靈
(5) 查考整本聖經， 從未有以陰性代明詞指神的(筆者可能有所遺漏， 但就是有的
話， 肯定也是少數。) 有關經文全用陽性 (經文引自NIV)：
(1) 創1:4: God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light
from the darkness.
(2) 出6:13: Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron about the Israelites
and Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he commanded tem to bring the
Israelites out of Egypt.
(3) 利 10:3: Moses then said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke of
when he said: ‘Among those who approach me I will show myself holy;
in the sight of all the people I will be honored.
(4) 數9:23: At the Lord’s command they encamped, and at the Lord’s
command they set out. They obeyed the Lord’s order, in accordance
with his command through Moses.
(5) 申6:13: Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in
(6) 書5:14: “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the
Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in
reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his
(7) 士6:8 he sent them a prophet, who said: I brought you up out of Egypt,
out of the land of slavery.
(8) 得1:6: When she heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of
his people by providing food for them, Naomi and her daughters-in-law
prepared to return home from there.
(9) 撒上3:9: So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say,
“speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” So Samuel went and lay
down in his place.
(10) 撒下22:3: my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and
the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my
savior – from violent men you save me.
(11) 列上5:5: I intend, therefore , to build a temple for the Name of the
Lord my God, as the Lord told my father David, when he said, “Your
son whom I will put on the throne in your place will built the temple for
(12) 王下8:19: Nevertheless, for the sake of his servant David, the Lord was
not willing to destroy Judah. He had promised to maintain a lamp for
David and his descendants forever.
(13) 代上 16:14 He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth.
(14) 代下 20:21: After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to
sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as
they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the Lord,
for his love endures forever.”
(15) 拉3:11: with praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: “He is
good; his love to Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a
great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house
of the Lord was laid.
(16) 尼1:5: Then I said: “O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome
God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and
obey his commands.
(17) 伯37:5: God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things
beyond our understanding.
(18) 詩23:3: He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
(19) 箴3:6: in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths
(20) 傳12:13: Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of
(21) 賽3:13: The Lord takes his place in court; he rises to judge the people.
(22) 耶5:12 They have lied about the Lord; they said, “He will do nothing.
No harm will come to us; we will never see sword of famine.
(23) 哀2:1: How the Lord has covered the daughter of Zion with the cloud
of his anger! He has hurled down the splendor of Israel from heaven to
earth; he has not remembered his footstool in the day of his anger.
(24) 結2:1: He said to me, “Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will
speak to you.
(25) 但 2:20: and said: “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.
(26) 何12:5: the Lord God Almighty, the Lord is his name of renown!
(27) 珥2:18: Then the Lord will be jealous for his land and take pity on
(28) 摩3:7: Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his
plan to his servants the prophets.
(29) 拿3:10: when God saw that they did and how they turned from their
evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the
destruction he had threatened.
(30) 彌6:8: He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the
Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk
humbly with your God.
(31) 鴻1:2: The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord takes
vengeance on his foes and maintains his wrath against his enemies.
(32) 哈3:3 God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. His
glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth.
(33) 番1:18: Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on
the day of the Lord’s wrath. In the fire of his jealousy the whole world
will be consumed, for he will make a sudden and of all who live in the
(34) 亞2:13: Be still before the Lord, all mankind, because he has roused
himself from his holy dwelling.
(35) 瑪3:3: He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the
Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have
men who will bring offerings in righteousness
(6) 神以 “父”來顯示自己 子以男人的身份降臨到世間 主也以陽性來描述聖靈 如約
But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go
away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
相反的， 聖經也提到女神， 但皆是外邦人之神。 有關經文如下：
(1) 耶44:17： 我們定要成就我們口中所出的一切話， 向天后燒香， 澆奠祭， 按着我們與我們的列祖， 君王， 首領 在猶大的城邑中 和耶路撒冷的街市上素常所行的一樣； 因為那時我們吃飽飯， 享福樂， 並不見災禍。
(2) 王上15:13： 並且貶了他祖母瑪迦的太后的位， 因她造了可憎的偶像亞舍拉。 亞撒砍下她的偶像， 燒在汲淪溪邊，
(3) 徒19:27： 這樣， 不獨我們這事業被人藐視， 就是大女神亞底米的廟也要被人輕忽， 連亞細亞全地和普天下所敬拜的大女神之威榮也要消滅了。
(7) 人可以擁有智慧， 那智慧又怎能是指子呢？ 下列經文可証之：
箴 1:2: 要使人曉得智慧和訓誨， 分辨通達的言語，
1:3: 使人處事領受智慧， 仁義， 公平， 正直的訓誨，
14:33: 智慧存在聰明人心中； 愚昧人心裡所存的， 顯而易
31:26 她開口就發智慧； 她舌上有仁慈的法則。
(3) 所羅門把智慧與仁義， 公平， 正直相提並論；
(4) 智慧只在聰明人當中， 不在愚人中；
綜觀上述5點， 智慧所牽涉到的只是人而已， 並未涉及神。 如把箴8:22-31 孤立起來解釋， 似乎有斷章取義之嫌。
路 2:40 孩子漸漸長大 ，強健起來， 充滿智慧， 又有神的恩在
2:52 耶穌的智慧和身量， 並神和人喜愛他的心， 都一起增
性， 並非耶穌本身。 所謂擁有智慧， 是從其外表之聰明
同樣的， 身量長大強健及被人喜愛的心， 都是從耶穌外表可以看出的。
約17:21 使他們都合而為一。 正如你父在我裡面， 我在你裡面，
如把子與智慧等同， “我在父裡面”可理解為智慧在父裡面， 這解釋還說得過去 。但 “父在我裡面”，等於父在智慧裡面， 這就說不通了。
(8) 至於林前1:24和1:30， 應從1:24讀到1:30節。 茲將經文列下：
1:21 世人憑自己的智慧， 即不認識神， 神就樂意用 [人所當作] 愚挫的道理 拯救那些信的人； 這就是神的智慧。
1:22 猶太人是要神蹟， 希利人是求智慧，
1:23 我們卻是傳釘十字架的基督， 在猶太人為絆腳石， 在外邦人如
1:24 但那蒙召的， 無論是猶太人， 希臘人， 基督總為神的能力， 神
1:25 因神的愚拙 總比人智慧， 神的軟弱總比人強壯。
1:26 弟兄們哪， 可見你們蒙召的， 按着肉體有智慧的不多， 有能力
1:27 神卻揀選了世上愚拙的， 叫有智慧的羞愧； 又揀選了世上軟弱
1:28神也揀選了世上卑賤的， 被人厭惡的，以及那無有的， 為要廢掉
1:29 使一卻有血氣的， 在神面前一個也不能自誇。
1:30 但你們得在基督耶穌裡是本乎神， 神又使他成為我們的智慧， 公
義， 聖潔， 救贖。
1:31 如經上所記：“ 誇口的， 當指着主誇口。”
保羅把第1:21之兩個智慧和愚拙，1:22之智慧， 1;23之絆腳石和愚拙， 1:24能力和智慧 ，1:25節之愚拙和智慧， 軟弱和強壯， 1:26 智慧， 能力和尊貴， 1:27 之愚拙， 智慧， 軟弱和強壯， 1:28之卑賤， 被人厭惡， 無有的， 那有的， 1:29之一切有血氣的， 1:30之智慧， 公義， 聖潔和救贖相提並論， 並互相對比。 我們只能說這些只是人和神的屬性， 或說是神把祂的屬性， 包括智慧， 賜給人而已， 根本和 “智慧是耶穌” 毫無關係。
耶和華用能力創造大地， 用智慧建立世界， 用聰明鋪張穹蒼。
這裡再一次証明所謂的能力， 智慧和聰明只是神的屬性， 並非指另有一位神的位格參與創造工作。 如智慧是指子這一位位格參與創造工作， 那能力和聰明又何指？
2:2 要叫你們的心得安慰， 因愛心互相聯絡， 以致豐豐足足在悟性中有充
足的信心， 使他們真知道神的奧秘， 就是基督；
2:3 所計積蓄的一切智慧知識， 都在祂裡面藏著。
按上下文來看， “祂”乃指2:2的基督， 而智慧卻能藏在基督裡面， 那智慧又怎會是基督本身呢？
如果我們留意三一論者所提出在新約中的智慧， 就是箴8:22-31的智慧； 而這智慧又是指子神的第二位格， 我們便會發覺他們只取神與智慧作為根據， 而把其上下文排斥了。 壁如路2:52之身量， 林前1:24之能力和 1:31 的公義， 聖潔及能力。
再重讀上述經文， 如去掉神的其他屬性， 只留下神和智慧 (神的第二位格)； 那神的“神”又是只那個位格呢？ 這說明三一論者對神沒有一個真正的定義。 他們的“神”有時可指全部三個位格， 有時又可指兩個或一個位格； 如上述之章節， 智慧即是子， 故“神”只能指父或靈一個位格， 或父和靈兩個位格。 到底是怎樣？ 三一論者也說不清楚。 他們所跟據的解經原則又是甚麼？
(9) 在聖經中， 智慧是可以向神求的。. 在新約中， 神或子是來尋找人。 下列經
王上 3:9 所以求你賜我智慧， 可以判斷你的民，能辨別是非。 不然，
3:12 我就應允你所求的， 賜你聰明智慧， 甚至在你以前沒有像你
代下 1:10 求你賜我智慧聰明， 我好在這民前出入； 不然， 誰能判斷這
傳 8:16 我專心求智慧，要看世上所做的事 (有晝夜不睡覺不合眼的。)
太 9 :13 經上說：“我喜愛憐恤， 不喜愛祭祀。” 這句話的意思， 你們且
去揣摩。 我來本不是召義人， 乃是造罪人’。
9:38 所以， 你們當求莊稼的主打發工人出去收他的莊稼。”
11:25 那時， 耶穌說: “父啊， 天地的主， 我感謝你！ 因為你將這些事
11:27 一切所有的， 都是我父交付我的； 除了父， 沒有人知道子； 除
18:12 一個人若有一百隻羊， 一隻走迷了路， 你們的意思如何？ 他豈
可 1:38 耶穌對他們說：“我們可以往別處去， 到鄰近的鄉村， 我也好
約 1:10 他在世界， 世界也是藉著他造的， 世界卻不認識他。
1:11 他到自己的地方來， 自己的人倒不接待他。
3:16 “神愛世人， 甚至將他的獨生子賜給他們， 叫一切信他的， 不
6:65 耶穌又說： “所以我對你們說過， 若不是蒙我父的恩賜， 沒有
15:16 不是你們揀選了我， 是我揀選了你們， 並且分派你們去結果
子， 叫你們的果子常存， 使你們奉我的名， 無論向父求甚
17:6 “你從世上賜給我的人，我已將你的名顯明與他們。 他們本是
你的， 你將他們賜給我， 他們也遵守了你的道。
神親自道成肉身， 到這世界， 讓人認識他， 而不是人尋找認識神。 同樣的， 神選召色列人作他的選民， 並非以色列人先認識他。
(8) 三一論者為了証明智慧是子， 硬把約1:1-14的道等同於智慧。 但依據Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words (Zondervan) 此兩字意義如下
Wisdom in Old Testament. Noun: hokma, GK 2683, S2451.
Hokma has a wide variety of meanings, covering both physical skill and intellectual wisdom. It can be translated as “wisdom, aptitude, experience, good sense, skill.”
(i) The prideful Assyrians boasted of their military skill (Isa. 10:13). Such
skill is manifested in technical work, such as the women with hokma who
make furnishings for the tabernacle (Exod. 35:26) and the vestments for the
priests (28:3). Hokma can be understood as political shrewdness, such as
when a woman of Tekoa assists Joab in quelling a revolt against King David
led by Sheba (2 Sam. 20:22). An able leader is filled with administrative
wisdom (Deut. 34:9).
(ii) But the majority of the usages of hokma refer to intellectual wisdom. Wisdom is coupled with such qualities as understand (Prov. 10:23) and knowledge (2:10). Wisdom has its source in God and in the fear of the Lord. Job asks, “From where, then, does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding?” (Job 28:20), and then answers, “God understands the way to it, and he knows its place” (28:23). The psalmist writes, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Ps. 111:10). As to its entry in human beings, it finds its seat in the heart (see Ps. 90:12; Prov. 2:10; 14:33). Such wisdom involves not just knowledge, but especially life siklls. “Wisdom is found in those who take advice” (Prov. 13:10). The books of Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs are sometimes called “Wisdom Literature.”
(iii) By far the most exalted view of wisdom is found in Prov. 8, where hokma is
personified in a hymn that links wisdom closely with the Lord God. Even before creation took place, wisdom was already there in the heart of God and was involved in the creative process (Prov. 8:22-31). She was “the craftsman at [the Creator’s] side” (8:30). Such speculations became increasingly important in Jewish thinking between the time of the OT and NT, producing to two books of the Apocrypha called The Wisdom of Solomon and The Wisdom of Jesus Son of Sirach.
Wisdom in New Testament Noun: Sophia, GK 5053, S4678. Sophia is a word meaning“wisdom”. It denotes the capacity to not only understand something (Acts 7:22) but also to act accordingly (Col. 1:9; 4:5). It is the latter that separates wisdom from knowledge.
There is a natural wisdom; Moses was instructed in “the wisdom of Egypt” (Acts 7:22). But there is also a special wisdom that can come only from God, especially through the Holy Spirit. The seven men chosen to help the apostles were “full of the Spirit and wisdom” (Acts 6:3), and believers receive God’s wisdom through the Spirit (1Cor. 2:5-16). There is also a false wisdom, but it is of no value (Col. 2:23).
God’s wisdom stands in marked contrast to the world’s wisdom, which is ultimately doomed to destruction. This is especially true in preaching : “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, not with words of wisdom [i.e., the world’s wisdom] lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart” (1 Cor. 1:17-19, ESV). This is why the proclamation of the gospel must not be done in lofty words of worldly wisdom but in the simple proclamation of a crucified Jesus (1 Cor. 2:1-2).
Wisdom is an attribute of God (Rom. 11:33; 1 Cor. 1:21; Eph. 3:10) and a possession of Jesus (Mt. 13:54; Lk. 2:52; 1 Cor. 1:30; Rev. 5:12). Wisdom is personified in the NT (Mt. 11:19; Lk. 7:35; 11:49) just as it is in the OT (Prov. 8:12-36). Wisdom is a gift from God (Eph. 1:17; Jas. 1:15) and specifically can be a spiritual gift (1 Cor. 12:8). Paul’s prayer for the Colossians is that they may be filled with “ a knowledge of God’s will through all spiritual wisdom” so that they may walk in a manner worthy of him, bearing fruit, and being strengthened (Col. 1:9-11); wisdom is, therefore, part of the believer’s spiritual growth (Col. 1:28). It is a way of living (Col. 3:16; Jas. 3:13-17; it is practical rather than speculative.
Noun sophos, GK 5055, S4680. The natural meaning of sophos applies to one who knows how to do something skillfully, such as a master builder (1Cor. 3:10) or an arbitrator of disputes (1 Cor. 6:5). It is true that a certain amount of wisdom can be gained through intelligence and experience (Mt. 11:25; Rom. 1:14; 1 Cor. 1:19-20, 26-27; 1 Cor. 3:20), but to be truly wise, one must use that wisdom in the service of God. Paul uses sophos with both meanings in 1 Cor. 3:18: “wise by the standards of this age” is the trained kind of wisdom; “so that he may become wise” is the divine kind of wisdom (cf. Lk.10:21; 1Cor. 1:20, 25-27).
Sophos is also used of God (Rom. 16:27) or of the wisdom that comes from God (Mt. 23:24). Divine wisdom can be seen in one’s actions (Rom. 16:19; Eph. 5:15; Jas. 3:13). God’s wisdom is to characterize the life of a disciple: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise” (Eph. 5:15)
Word in Old Testament. Verb: dabar, GK 1819, S1696. Noun: dabar, GK 1821, S1697. .The verb dabar (“say, speak”) and the noun dabar (“word”) are both used hundreds of times for the human and the divine activity of speaking. The verb occurs in speaking in dialog within a narrative (Gen. 8:15, “Then God spoke to Noah”; Gen. 21:1; 27:6; 44:6-7; 32:20; Exod. 6:10, 12, 13; 32:7; Lev. 6:19). It is also is used in the formula found numerous times in the prophets, “The Lord has spoken” (Isa. 1:2; 24:3; 40:5; 58:14; Jer. 13:15; Joel 3:8; Obad. 18; Mic. 4:4; cf. Isa 21:17).
(i) Joseph “spoke” harshly to his brothers in Egypt at first (Gen. 42:7) but later spoke a kind word to them (50:19; cf. 37:4, “when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him”). Jonathan “spoke” well of David to Saul in hopes of tempering his father’s murderous desires toward David (1 Sam. 19:4)
(ii) It is a central theological imperative that God’s people use their speech in such a way that reflects the dabar of God. God threatens judgment on Israel because her “lips have spoken lies and your tongue mutters wicked things” (Isa. 59:3). In Isa. 58:13 one honors the Sabbath by refusing to speak empty dabar (NIV “idle words”). In Deuteronomy God’s word is a promise: “May the Lord, the God of your fathers, increase you a thousand time and bless you as he has spoken” (Deut. 6:3; 9:3; 11:25; 18:2; 26:18; 27:3; 29:13; cf. Gen. 28:15; 1 Ki. 8:24).
(iii) Proverbs states that a “word” (dabar) fitly “spoken” (dabar) is like apples of gold in settings of silver (Prov. 25:11). The psalmist writes that he who “speaks” the truth from his heart does what is right (Ps. 15:2), which stands in contrast to someone who “speaks” with his neighbors nicely to their face while at the same time holding malice in his heart against them (28:3). There should be integrity in our speech, such as when the psalmist speaks vows when he is in trouble and later fulfills his word after God rescues him (66:13-14). Prov. 16:13 states that “kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value a man who speaks the truth.” God declares through Isaiah that the one who “speaks” what is right finds refuge with the Lord (Isa. 33:15-16).
(iv) Zechariah is instructed to proclaim that the Lord “says” that he is a very jealous for Jerusalem and Zion (Zech. 1:14). We are reminded that true prophets speak the word of the Lord regardless of the kind of response they receive (Jer. 25:3: “the dabar of the Lord has come to me and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened”). Israel is instructed to listen to the dabar that the prophets speak in his name (Deut. 18:19); however, the prophet is in mortal danger if he speaks his own dabar in place of God’s work (18:20). Nevertheless, all humanity will be held responsible to God because his word is not secret and the truth of his work has been made manifest to all creation (Isa. 45:19; cf. Rom. 1:20)
Noun: neum, GK 5536, S5002. Neum is used of an utterance, word, or revelation. It is often translated as “oracle” (NIV), “parable” (KJV), “declaration,” “word.” This term refers to the “oracles” of Balaam (Num. 24:3,4), the last “words” of David (2 Sam. 23:1), and, most commonly, a “declaration” of the Lord (especially in prophetic literature; cf. Num. 14:28; Isa. 14:22; 37:34; Ezek. 13:7; 16:58; Hos. 2:16; Joel 2:12)
(i) The neum of the Lord is proclaimed through his prophets (e.g., Zech. 1:1) and refers to actions he hates (Zech. 8:17, “’Do not plot evil against your neighbor, and, do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,’ neum of the Lord cf. Amos 6:8) and action he honors (1 Sam. 2:30, “but now neum of the Lord …. Those who honor me I will honor”). The Lord’s word can be either judgment (Isa. 1:24; 14:32; Jer. 48:15; Nah. 2:13; Amos 3:13; Obad. 8; Zeph. 1:2; 12:1-2) or reconciliation (Isa. 56:8). While the neum of the Lord is filled with hope, it also reveals the stain of sin that cannot be easily washed away (Jer. 2:22: ‘”Although you wash yourself with soda and use much soap, the stain of your guilt is still before me,’ neum of the Sovereign Lord”).
(ii) Amos warns that days are coming when God will send a famine through the land, not of food or lack of water but of “the word of the Lord”(Amos 8:10). People will go from sea to sea searching for words from the Lord but will not find it (8:12). Therefore, when one hears a message from the Lord, there is no guarantee it will come again at a later time. We must respond to God’s word while it is still available.
Word in New Testament: Noun :logos. GK3364, S3056. logos means “word, message, report” and sometimes even “deed.” It has similar meanings as dabar in the OT,
(i) The NT uses logos to express many forms of communication, both verbal and physical. This flexibility has its root in the use of logos in Greco-Roman literary culture, where it could stand on its own for the spoken word, “a message,” as well as what one does, “a deed.” The term is used by Paul to refer to all human speech (1Cor. 1:5). It can be used for any statement (Mt. 5:37), question (Mt. 21:24), prayer (Mk. 14:39), or manner of presentation (1 Cor. 2:4).
(ii) It is not surprising to find that the NT uses logos to mean Jesus himself. The
Synoptic Gospel identify Jesus’ preaching as the proclamation of the “logos of God,” reminiscent of the OT use of the prophetic “word” (“word of the kingdom,” Mt. 13:19; “word of God,” Lk 5:1). But in Jn. 1:1, the logos is not only from God, and is God. According to John, this logos was in the beginning, was with God, and was God himself. As the logos, God himself (Jn. 1:1-2) in his divine glory assumes the flesh of humanity in historical time and space (1:14-15). Jesus, the logos, signifies the presence of God in the flesh. No religious or philosophical parallel to Jesus the logos has been found. The logos from God is his own Son (Jn. 3:16). Jesus is the fullness of God (Col. 1:19; 2:9).
(iii) Paul calls the “message” that is to be proclaimed in the churches the “word of God” (1 Cor. 14:36; 1 Thess. 2:13). Like the prophetic “word” in the OT, this proclamation comes from God. But even more, the “word” is focused directly on the revelation of the Son of God (Gal. 1:1, 15-16), with a focus on “the message of the cross” (1 Cor. 1:18). As the author to Hebrews explains, in the past God spoke his “word” through the OT prophets, but now he has spoken through his Son, Jesus Christ, the final “Word” of God (Heb. 1:1-4).
(iv) It common for modern Christian to use the term “word” as a synonym for the Bible. While there is no NT usage of logos for the written OT (the more typical word to use was nomos, “law”), the term does fit well the proclamation of the Bible. Like Paul and the author of Hebrews, when we read the Bible Christians are reading a message from the prophets and the apostles, as well as the final message of Jesus himself. This message of the “word,” therefore , carries the authoritative and living voice of God. That these “words” can be written is especially prominent in Revelation (see Rev. 22:7, 9, 10, 18, 19).
Noun : rhema, GK4839, S4487). Rhema means a “word” or “matter”.It has at least two distinct uses in the NT.
(i) It may refer to something that is said, “a word, saying, expression, or statement or any kind.” Although rhema overlaps semantically with logos even in the LXX (Exod. 24:27-28; 2 Sam. 14:20-21), the terms in the NT can have distinct nuances depending on context. “Whereas logos often designates the Christian proclamation as a whole, rhema usually relates to individual words and utterances.” “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Mt. 4:4; cf. 12:36; 18:16; 26:75; 27:14; Mk 9:32; 14:72).
(ii) rhema may also refer to an event that can be talked about, “a thing, object, matter.” This use of rhema follows the Hebrew way of speaking. Luke says that “throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things” (Lk. 1:65). “For nothing is impossible with God” (1:37). Luke also uses the term to refer to an event, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened” (2:15).