Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
Contrasted with sensual allurements are the advantages of divine
wisdom, which publicly invites men, offers the best principles of life,
and the most valuable benefits resulting from receiving her counsels.
Her relation to the divine plans and acts is introduced, as in
Pr 3:19, 20,
though more fully, to commend her desirableness for men, and the whole
is closed by an assurance that those finding her find God's favor, and
those neglecting ruin themselves. Many regard the passage as a
description of the Son of God by the title, Wisdom, which the older
Jews used (and by which He is called in
&c., describes Him by that of Logos, the Word. But the passage
may be taken as a personification of wisdom: for, (1) Though described
as with God, wisdom is not asserted to be God. (2) The use of personal
attributes is equally consistent with a personification, as with
the description of a real person. (3) The personal pronouns used accord
with the gender (feminine) of wisdom constantly, and are never changed
to that of the person meant, as sometimes occurs in a corresponding use
of spirit, which is neuter in Greek, but to which
masculine pronouns are often applied
when the acts of the Holy Spirit are described. (4) Such a
personification is agreeable to the style of this book (compare
3:16, 17; 4:8; 6:20-22; 9:1-4),
whereas no prophetical or other allusions to the Saviour or the new
dispensation are found among the quotations of this book in the New
Testament, and unless this be such, none exist. (5) Nothing is lost as
to the importance of this passage, which still remains a most ornate and
also solemn and impressive teaching of inspiration on the value of
1-4. The publicity and universality of the call contrast with the
secrecy and intrigues of the wicked
5. wisdom--literally, "subtilty" in a good sense, or, "prudence."
6. excellent things--or, "plain," "manifest."
opening . . . things--upright words.
7. For . . . truth--literally, "My palate shall meditate," or (as
Orientals did) "mutter," my thoughts expressed only to myself are truth.
wickedness--specially falsehood, as opposed to truth.
8. in righteousness--or, "righteous"
froward--literally, "twisted," or contradictory, that is, to truth.
9. plain . . . understandeth--easily seen by those who apply their
that find--implying search.
10. not silver--preferable to it, so last clause implies comparison.
Pr 3:14, 15).
12. prudence--as in
The connection of "wisdom" and "prudence" is that of the dictates of
sound wisdom and its application.
find . . . inventions--or, "devices," "discreet ways"
13. For such is the effect of the fear of God, by which hatred to evil
preserves from it.
froward mouth--or, "speech"
(Pr 2:12; 6:14).
14. It also gives the elements of good character in counsel.
I . . . strength--or, "As for me, understanding is strength to me,"
the source of power
good judgment gives more efficiency to actions;
15, 16. of which a wisely conducted government is an example.
17. early--or, "diligently," which may include the usual sense of early
18. durable riches . . . righteousness--Such are the "riches," enduring
sources of happiness in moral possessions (compare
Pr 8:11; 3:16).
20, 21. The courses in which wisdom leads conduct to a true present
22-31. Strictly, God's attributes are part of Himself. Yet, to the
poetical structure of the whole passage, this commendation of wisdom is
entirely consonant. In order of time all His attributes are coincident
and eternal as Himself. But to set forth the importance of wisdom as
devising the products of benevolence and power, it is here assigned a
precedence. As it has such in divine, so should it be desired in human,
possessed--or, "created"; in either sense, the idea of precedence.
in the beginning--or simply, "beginning," in apposition with "me."
before . . . of old--preceding the most ancient deeds.
23. I was set up--ordained, or inaugurated
The other terms carry out the idea of the earliest antiquity, and
illustrate it by the details of creation
24. brought forth--(Compare
abounding--or, "laden with water."
25. settled--that is, sunk in foundations.
26. fields--or, "out places," "deserts," as opposite to (habitable)
highest part--or, "sum," all particles together,
27. when he set . . . depth--marked out the circle, according to the
popular idea of the earth, as circular, surrounded by depths on which
the visible concave heavens rested.
28. established . . . deep--that is, so as to sustain the waters above
and repress those below the firmament
29. commandment--better, the shore, that is, of the sea.
foundations--figuratively denotes the solid structure
30, 31. one brought up--an object of special and pleasing regard. The
bestowal of wisdom on men is represented by its finding a delightful
residence and pleasing God.
32-36. Such an attribute men are urged to seek.
34. watching . . . waiting--literally, "so as to watch"; wait, denoting
a most sedulous attention.
Lu 13:23, 24).
36. sinneth . . . me--or better, "missing me," as opposed to "finding"
love death--act as if they did (compare