December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 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."
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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  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  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  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  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.
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