Proverbs 8:1-36 . 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 Proverbs 3:19 Proverbs 3:20 , 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 Luke 11:49 ), as John 1:1 , &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 ( John 16:14 ), when the acts of the Holy Spirit are described. (4) Such a personification is agreeable to the style of this book (compare Proverbs 1:20 , Proverbs 3:16 Proverbs 3:17 , 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 wisdom.
1-4. The publicity and universality of the call contrast with the secrecy and intrigues of the wicked ( Proverbs 7:8 , &c.).
5. wisdom--literally, "subtilty" in a good sense, or, "prudence."
fools--as Proverbs 1:22 .
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" ( Psalms 9:8:11:7 ).
froward--literally, "twisted," or contradictory, that is, to truth.
9. plain . . . understandeth--easily seen by those who apply their minds.
that find--implying search.
10. not silver--preferable to it, so last clause implies comparison.
12. prudence--as in Proverbs 8:5 . The connection of "wisdom" and "prudence" is that of the dictates of sound wisdom and its application.
find . . . inventions--or, "devices," "discreet ways" ( Proverbs 1:4 ).
14. It also gives the elements of good character in counsel.
sound wisdom--( Proverbs 2:7 ).
I . . . strength--or, "As for me, understanding is strength to me," the source of power ( Ecclesiastes 9:16 ); 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 in life.
18. durable riches . . . righteousness--Such are the "riches," enduring sources of happiness in moral possessions (compare Proverbs 3:16 ).
20, 21. The courses in which wisdom leads conduct to a true present prosperity ( Proverbs 23:5 ).
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, affairs (compare Proverbs 3:19 ).
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.
24. brought forth--(Compare Psalms 90:2 ).
abounding--or, "laden with water."
25. settled--that is, sunk in foundations.
26. fields--or, "out places," "deserts," as opposite to (habitable) "world."
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.
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.