Proverbs – Chapter 8

The Bible – Old Testament


Chapter 8


1 Does not Wisdom call, and Understanding raise her voice?


On the top of the heights along the road, at the crossroads she takes her stand;


By the gates at the approaches of the city, in the entryways she cries aloud:


«To you, O men, I call; my appeal is to the children of men.


2 You simple ones, gain resource, you fools, gain sense.


«Give heed! for noble things I speak; honesty opens my lips.


3 Yes, the truth my mouth recounts, but the wickedness my lips abhor.


Sincere are all the words of my mouth, no one of them is wily or crooked;


All of them are plain to the man of intelligence, and right to those who attain knowledge.


Receive my instruction in preference to silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold.


(For Wisdom is better than corals, and no choice possessions can compare with her.)


«I, Wisdom, dwell with experience, and judicious knowledge I attain.


(The fear of the LORD is to hate evil;) Pride, arrogance, the evil way, and the perverse mouth I hate.


4 Mine are counsel and advice; Mine is strength; I am understanding.


By me kings reign, and lawgivers establish justice;


By me princes govern, and nobles; all the rulers of earth.


«Those who love me I also love, and those who seek me find me.


With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity.


My fruit is better than gold, yes, than pure gold, and my revenue than choice silver.


On the way of duty I walk, along the paths of justice,


Granting wealth to those who love me, and filling their treasuries.


5 «The LORD begot me, the first-born of his ways, the forerunner of his prodigies of long ago;


6 From of old I was poured forth, at the first, before the earth.


7 When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no fountains or springs of water;


Before the mountains were settled into place, before the hills, I was brought forth;


While as yet the earth and the fields were not made, nor the first clods of the world.


«When he established the heavens I was there, when he marked out the vault over the face of the deep;


When he made firm the skies above, when he fixed fast the foundations of the earth;


When he set for the sea its limit, so that the waters should not transgress his command;


8 Then was I beside him as his craftsman, and I was his delight day by day, Playing before him all the while,


playing on the surface of his earth; and I found delight in the sons of men.


«So now, O children, listen to me;


instruction and wisdom do not reject! Happy the man who obeys me, and happy those who keep my ways,


Happy the man watching daily at my gates, waiting at my doorposts;


For he who finds me finds life, and wins favor from the LORD;


But he who misses me harms himself; all who hate me love death.»


1 [1-36] Wisdom is here personified as in ⇒ Proverb 1:20-33, to confirm the words of the teacher of wisdom. She exalts her grandeur and origin, and invites all (⇒ Proverb 8:1-11) to be attentive to her salutary influence in human society (⇒ Proverb 8:12-21), for she was privileged to be present at the creation of the world (⇒ Proverb 8:22-31). Finally, she promises life and the favor of God to those who find her, death to those who despise her.
2 [5] Simple ones . . . fools: see note on ⇒ Proverb 1:4.
3 [7-8] The truth and sincerity of wisdom are absolute because they are divine. They can neither deceive nor tolerate deception. An intelligent man understands and accepts them.
4 [14] What is here predicated of wisdom is elsewhere attributed to God (⇒ Job 12:13-16).
5 [22-31] Wisdom is of divine origin. It is here represented as a being which existed before all things (⇒ Proverb 8:22-26) and concurred with God when he planned and executed the creation of the universe, adorned it with beauty and variety, and established its wonderful order (⇒ Proverb 8:27-30). 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.
6 [23] Poured forth: the exact meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain; the expression must imply the equivalent of «born.» The Hebrews liken the movement of air and of spirit to that of liquids.
7 [24-26] The formless mass from which God created the heavens and the earth; cf ⇒ Genesis 1:1-2; ⇒ 2:4-6.
8 [30] His craftsman: furnishing God with the plan, as it were, for the creation of all things; cf ⇒ Job 38:1-2; ⇒ Wisdom 7:22-⇒ 8:1. I was his delight: the ever-present object of God’s complacency.