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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Proverbs 8

Verses 1-5

II. WISDOM AND FOLLY PERSONIFIED

(Proverbs 8:1 to Proverbs 9:18)

INTRODUCTION

As in 1:20-32, chapters 8 and 9 present wisdom personified, speaking or acting as a person, and in feminine form. The significance of presenting wisdom in this manner is debated. Some regard wisdom as an attribute of God and the personification as a way of emphasizing the importance of wisdom to those being repeatedly admonished to seek wisdom. Those holding this opinion stress that as God utilized wisdom in everything, including creation, so man should realize that nothing right can be accomplished without wisdom. Others, however, view the personification as a reference to Christ, who was later clearly revealed as the wisdom of God in the New Testament, Colossians 2:2-3; 1 Corinthians 1:24; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 1 Corinthians 2:6-8; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:15-17. In the opinion of this writer the divine person and divine attribute are so intertwined it is perhaps best to think of wisdom as related to both. Whatever is true of the wisdom of God is also true of the wisdom of God manifest in the person of Jesus.

Wisdom Seeks

Verses 1-5 reveal that wisdom actually seeks all, including the simple (naive, easily led) and the foolishly obstinate, Vs. 4-5. She appeals for a hearing in all the various places people may be found, the high places, gates, public places, Vs. 1-3; Proverbs 1:20-21; Proverbs 9:3.

Verses 6-13

wisdom’s Objective

Verses 6-9 declare WHAT wisdom seeks to impart: That which is EXCELLENT (Vs. 6), RIGHT (Vs. 6), TRUSTWORTHY (Vs. 7) and UNDERSTANDABLE (Vs. 9). Nothing perverse is included, Vs. 8.

Verses 10-11 explain that wisdom’s benefits of instruction (discipline), knowledge and wisdom are of far greater value than silver, gold or rubies. Things can be misused, 11:22. Wisdom’s worth is incomparable, Job 28:12-19; Proverbs 3:13-15; Proverbs 4:5-7; Proverbs 16:16.

Verses 12-13 further emphasize the excellence of wisdom. With the personal "I" wisdom declares affinity with prudence, knowledge and discretion. She is free of the traits of evil, pride, and perverse speech which all who fear the LORD hate. Hate appears twice in Verse 13 and signifies that in which the LORD has no pleasure, and from which He separates Himself, Proverbs 4:24; Proverbs 6:16-19; Psalms 19:9; Zechariah 8:17; 1 Peter 5:5.

Verses 14-21

Wisdom’s Achievements

With frequent use of "I," ME and MINE, wisdom cites her far reaching achievements:

Verse 14 assures that wisdom understands all needs and has the strength and resources to meet all situations, Proverbs 2:7; Ecclesiastes 7:19; Psalms 92:5; Isaiah 28:29.

Verses 15-16 declare that kings, princes, judges and nobles rule by grant of wisdom’s insight and power, Job 12:12-13; Daniel 2:20-21.

Verse 17 declares wisdom’s love and accessibility for all who seek her while opportunity is extended. She is actively seeking man at the same time men are called to seek her, and will not be hard to find by those in earnest, Proverbs 1:20-23; Proverbs 8:1-11. However, she can be missed, and with a sad consequence if persistently avoided or refused, Proverbs 1:24-32; Job 27:9-23; Job 35:12; Isaiah 1:15.

Verse 18 declares that riches that endure, honor and righteousness, are with wisdom.. To some extent material prosperity is bestowed upon those who seek and find wisdom, Proverbs 3:16; Proverbs 8:21; Psalms 37:25; Matthew 6:33.

Verse 19 however, declares, as Vs. 10-11 also, that the spiritual benefits of wisdom are far greater than the material; better than fine gold or choice silver, Proverbs 3:14-15.

Verses 20-21 affirm that wisdom leads in the way of righteousness and justice to cause those who love her to inherit substance, that which will endure. Verse 21 further affirms that wisdom will fill the treasures (depository) of those who love her; fill with that needed, Psalms 23:1; Philippians 4:19.

Verses 22-31

The Eternity of Wisdom

Verse 22 reveals that wisdom was with the LORD in the beginning, before His creative works. Proverbs 3:19; Psalms 104:24; Psalms 136:5.

Verses 23-26 declare that wisdom was in place from everlasting, before the earth was (Vs. 23); when there was no waters (Vs. 24), no mountains, no hills (Vs. 25), no dry or habitable land (Vs. 26). ’

Verses 27-29 emphasize the prior existence of wisdom with her testimony: "I was there" when He (1) prepared the heavens (Vs. 27); (2) set a compass (stretched the canopy of the heavens) above the seas (Vs. 27); (3) established the clouds above (Vs. 28); (4) set bounds beyond which the seas should not pass (Vs. 29a); Genesis 1:9; Job 38:10-11; Psalms 104:6-9; Job 5:22; (5) laid the foundations of the earth (Vs. 29b), Job 38:4-6.

Verse 30 is not clear in the KJV. The ARV has it, "Then I was by him as a master workman; and I was daily his delight (margin, had delight continually), rejoicing always before him."

Verse 31 suggests even greater rejoicing experienced by wisdom as the created world was inhabited by the sons of men and the wonders of creation were displayed before them.

Verses 32-36

Importance of Wisdom’s Appeal

Verse 32 renews wisdom’s appeal to the sons of man to claim the benefits offered by wisdom in verses 1-21 of this chapter. The appeal is to hearken, for they that keep the ways of wisdom are blessed or happy, Psalms 119:1; Psalms 128:1-4.

Verse 33 presents a three-fold admonition: (1) hear the instruction; (2) be wise, consider the instruction carefully; (3) heed, do not neglect it.

Verses 34-35 describe the benefits for those who heed the admonition of Vs. 33: First, they shall be blessed, which means to be happy, Vs. 34; Proverbs 3:13-18. Second and the reason for happiness, they find life and favor of the LORD, Vs. 35; Proverbs 4:10; Proverbs 9:11; Proverbs 12:28; Proverbs 19:23; Psalms 16:11.

Verse 36 warns that they who sin against wisdom, by ignoring or refusing her call, wrong their own soul. The call of wisdom is reported in Proverbs 1:20-23; Proverbs 8:1-11. The sad consequence of ignoring or refusing the call is described as opportunity withdrawn, 1:24-32; and death without hope, Proverbs 20:2; Proverbs 14:32; Luke 16:22-26.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Proverbs 8". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/proverbs-8.html. 1985.