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Proverbs 8: The Character of Wisdom, Texts and Traditions, ed. Lawrence H. Schiffman, Ktav Publishing House, Hoboken NJ, 1998.

The Book of Proverbs draws much of its inspiration .from the ancient Near Eastern wisdom tradition. Whereas wisdom was understood in the ancient Near East in a universalistic manner, Jewish tradition came to understand it as an equivalent to Torah, itself perceived as a reflection of the divine intellect This passage, like many others, personifies wisdom as a woman and speaks of the happiness and riches of those who achieve wisdom. Later Jewish interpretators identified wisdom with Torah in its wider sense—the wisdom of God.

8-1 It is Wisdom calling,

Understanding raising her voice.

2 She takes her stand at the topmost heights,

by the wayside, at the crossroads,

3 Near the gates at the city entrance;

At the entryways, she shouts,

4 “O men, I call to you;

My cry is to all mankind.

5 O simple ones, learn shrewdness;

O dullards, instruct your minds.

6 Listen, for I speak noble things;

Uprightness comes from my lips;

7 My mouth utters truth;

Wickedness is abhorrent to my lips.

8 All my words are just,

None of them perverse or crooked;

9 All are straightforward to the intelligent man,

And right to those who have attained knowledge.

10 Accept my discipline rather than silver,

Knowledge rather than choice gold.

11 For wisdom is better than rubies;

No goods can equal her.

12 I, Wisdom, live with Prudence;

I attain knowledge and foresight.

13 To fear the Lord is to hate evil;

I hate pride, arrogance, the evil way,

And duplicity in speech.

14 Mine are counsel and resourcefulness;

I am understanding; courage is mine.

15 Through me kings reign

And rulers decree just laws;

16 Through me princes rule,

Great men and all the righteous judges.

17 Those who love me I love,

And those who seek me will find me.

18 Riches and honor belong to me,

Enduring wealth and success.

19 My fruit is better than gold, fine gold,

And my produce better than choice silver.

20 I walk on the way of righteousness,

On the paths of justice.

21 I endow those who love me with substance;

I will fill their treasuries….

32 …Now, sons, listen to me;

Happy are they who keep my ways.

33 Heed discipline and become wise;

Do not spurn it.

34 Happy is the man who listens to me,

Coming early to my gates each day,

Waiting outside my doors.

35 For he who finds me finds life

And obtains favor from the Lord.

36 But he who misses me destroys himself;

All who hate me love death.”

Posted in: Literary Prophecy

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