Proverbs 8



Wisdom’s Call (8:1–36)

1–11 In this chapter the writer again personifies wisdom as a woman. In these verses, Lady Wisdom calls out to all people and offers them prudence37 and understanding (verse 5), instruction and knowledge (verse 10). What wisdom offers is more precious than silver, gold or rubies (verses 10–11)—more precious than anything else the world can offer (see Proverbs 3:13–15).

12–21 Here Lady Wisdom further describes herself and the benefits she can provide to those who seek her. The writer rephrases some of the thoughts he has presented earlier. In verse 13, we are told that to fear the Lord requires that we hate evil (see Proverbs 3:7). In verse 17, Lady Wisdom says: I love (bless) those who love me, and those who seek me find me (see Matthew 7:7–8; James 1:5). With her she has wealth and prosperity (verse 18) and she bestows it on those who love her (verse 21). These are some of the many blessings that ordinarily come to those who follow the way of wisdom (see Proverbs 3:1–2,16–17).

22–31 In these verses, the writer (taking the part of Lady Wisdom) outlines the role of wisdom in creation (see Proverbs 3:19–20 and comment). In verse 22, wisdom is said to be the first of [God’s] works; wisdom was given birth before the world began (verses 24–25). Because the writer refers to wisdom as a creation or “work” of God, he cannot be referring specifically to Jesus Christ, who has always coexisted with the Father. However, verses 22–31 do provide some background for the New Testament understanding of Christ.

Jesus (the Word) was the effective agent in creation (John 1:1–3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2). He is called the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24,30); in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3). He is also called the firstborn over all creation38 (Colossians 1:15). Jesus Himself said that He was with God before the world began (John 17:5). Therefore, verses 22–31 do point forward to Christ. In particular, in verse30, wisdom calls herself the craftsman at God’s side, who shared in the Father’s delight over what had been created; that “craftsman” was Jesus, the Father’s Son (see Colossians 1:16).

32–36 The writer concludes with a final exhortation to us—his sons—to listen to the instruction of wisdom. In verse 35, he says: For whoever finds me (wisdom) finds life (see Proverbs 3:18; 4:22) and receives favor from the LORD (see Proverbs 3:4). In Old Testament times, wisdom was the greatest treasure; it gave “life” to those who followed it. But in our time, Jesus Christ is a far greater “treasure” (Matthew 12:42), for He gives eternal life, eternal salvation, to those who follow Him (John 1:4; 3:16).