1-3Can’t you hear the voice of Wisdom? # 8:1–3 Wisdom is personified throughout the book of Proverbs. Lady Wisdom is a figure of speech for God himself, who invites us to receive the best way to live, the excellent and noble way of life found in Jesus Christ. Jesus is wisdom personified, for he was anointed with the Spirit of Wisdom. See Isa. 11:1–2; 1 Cor. 1:30; Col. 2:3.
From the top of the mountains of influence
she speaks into the gateways of the glorious city. # 8:1–3 As translated from the Aramaic. The church is also a gateway, the house of God, the portal to heaven, and as Jesus calls it, a “city that stands on a hilltop” (see Matt. 5:14). Christ is the head of the church, where the wisdom of God is revealed. See 1 Cor. 1 and Eph. 3:10–12.
At the place where pathways merge,
at the entrance of every portal,
there she stands, ready to impart understanding,
shouting aloud to all who enter,
preaching her sermon to those who will listen. # 8:1–3 In chapter 7 it was the harlot calling out to the simple; here it is Lady Wisdom. True wisdom is easy to find—we only have to listen to her voice. Though it comes from above, it is found on street level. Creation and conscience are two voices that speak to our hearts. To discover wisdom, we don’t need a brilliant intellect but a tender, attentive heart.
4“I’m calling to you, sons of Adam,
yes, and to you daughters as well.
5Listen to me and you will be prudent and wise.
For even the foolish and feeble can receive an understanding heart
that will change their inner being.
6The meaning of my words will release within you revelation
for you to reign in life. # 8:6 The Hebrew word is literally translated as “princely” or “noble” things. The implication is that these words of wisdom are for ruling and reigning in life.
My lyrics will empower you to live by what is right.
7For everything I say is unquestionably true,
and I refuse to endure the lies of lawlessness—
my words will never lead you astray.
8All the declarations of my mouth can be trusted;
they contain no twisted logic or perversion of the truth.
9All my words are clear and straightforward to everyone
who possesses spiritual understanding.
If you have an open mind, you will receive revelation-knowledge.
10My wise correction is more valuable than silver or gold.
The finest gold is nothing compared to the revelation-knowledge
I can impart.”
11Wisdom is so priceless that it exceeds the value of any jewel. # 8:11 Literally “corals” or “pearls.”
Nothing you could wish for can equal her.
12“For I am Wisdom, and I am shrewd and intelligent.
I have at my disposal living-understanding
to devise a plan for your life. # 8:12 Or “to discover clever inventions.”
13Wisdom pours into you
when you begin to hate every form of evil in your life,
for that’s what worship and fearing God is all about.
Then you will discover
that your pompous pride and perverse speech
are the very ways of wickedness that I hate!”
The Power of Wisdom
14“You will find true success when you find me,
for I have insight into wise plans that are designed just for you.
I hold in my hands living-understanding, # 8:14 Or “I am living-understanding.” courage, and strength.
15I empower kings to reign and rulers to make laws that are just. # 8:15 We have been made kings and priestly rulers by the grace of redemption.
16I empower princes to rise and take dominion,
and generous ones to govern the earth. # 8:16 As translated from many Hebrew manuscripts and the Septuagint. Other Hebrew manuscripts have “and all nobles who govern justly.” The word nobles can also be translated “generous ones.”
17I will show my love to those who passionately love me. # 8:17 Wisdom is not found by the halfhearted. One must love wisdom to gain it. A superficial desire will yield only a superficial knowledge.
For they will search and search continually until they find me.
18Unending wealth and glory
come to those who discover where I dwell.
The riches of righteousness and a long, satisfying life
will be given to them. # 8:18 Or “riches and righteousness.” The phrase “a long, satisfying life” is from the Aramaic.
19What I impart has greater worth than gold and treasure,
and the increase I bring benefits more than a windfall of income.
20I lead you into the ways of righteousness
to discover the paths of true justice.
21Those who love me gain great wealth # 8:21 The Aramaic is “I will leave great hope as an inheritance to my friends.” and a glorious inheritance,
and I will fill their lives with treasures.”
Wisdom in the Beginning
22“In the beginning I was there,
for God possessed me # 8:22 The Aramaic and the Septuagint read “The Lord created me at the beginning.” The Hebrew verb translated here as “possessed” has two basic meanings. One is “acquired,” the other is “created.” Poetically, it is a statement that the existence of Wisdom (Christ) was not independent of God at creation but was manifested and possessed by God as he created all things. Otherwise, it would sound like God was without wisdom before he created it. even before he created the universe.
23From eternity past I was set in place,
before the world began.
I was anointed # 8:23 The Hebrew word translated “anointed” here literally means “poured out” and is often used to describe the anointing oil poured out over a king. from the beginning.
24Before the oceans depths were poured out,
and before there were any glorious fountains
overflowing with water, # 8:24 The Hebrew uses the word kabad, which means “glory,” to describe the fountains. It could also be translated “fountains of glory” or “glorious fountains.”
I was there, dancing! # 8:24 Many translations have “I was born [or brought forth].” The Hebrew word for “born” is taken from a word that means “to kick and twirl” or “to dance.”
25Even before one mountain had been sculpted
or one hill raised up,
I was already there, dancing!
26When he created the earth, the fields,
even the first atom of dust,
I was already there.
27When he hung the tapestry of the heavens
and stretched out the horizon of the earth,
28when the clouds and skies were set in place
and the subterranean fountains began to flow strong,
I was already there.
29When he set in place the pillars of the earth
and spoke the decrees of the seas,
commanding the waves
so that they wouldn’t overstep their boundaries,
30I was there, close to the Creator’s side # 8:30 See John 1:1. as his master artist. # 8:30 Or “architect.”
Daily he was filled with delight in me
as I playfully rejoiced before him. # 8:30 The Hebrew word translated here as “rejoiced” can also be translated as “joyfully playing” or “laughing.”
31I laughed and played,
so happy with what he had made,
while finding my delight in the children of men.” # 8:31 What a beautiful picture we find here of Wisdom (Christ), who finds his fulfillment in us. See Pss. 8:4–9; 16:3; Eph. 2:10; 19–22; Heb. 2:10.
Wisdom Worth Waiting For
32“So listen, my sons and daughters, to everything I tell you,
for nothing will bring you more joy than following my ways.
33Listen to my counsel,
for my instruction will enlighten you.
You’ll be wise not to ignore it.
34If you wait at wisdom’s doorway, # 8:34 Or “Guard the door of my entrances.”
longing to hear a word for every day,
joy will break forth within you as you listen for what I’ll say.
35For the fountain of life pours into you every time that you find me,
and this is the secret of growing in the delight
and the favor of the Lord.
36But those who stumble and miss me will be sorry they did!
For ignoring what I have to say will bring harm to your own soul.
Those who hate me are simply flirting with death!” # 8:36 To hate wisdom is not only a sign of stupidity, but it is also a mark of depravity.