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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Proverbs 8

 

 

Verses 1-36


Wisdom's Cry

Wisdom now reappears as a preacher, holding forth in all the places where men most do congregate. After expounding in varied ways the excellence of the gifts which she can bestow, she asserts that she was the first of all God's creatures, who stood at His side when He formed our world, and took part in His work as a master workman, whose delight has always been in the lives and affairs of men. In Proverbs 8:1-21 we find only the ordinary kind of personification, in which a quality is spoken of as though it were a living individual. In Proverbs 8:22-31, however, it is almost as though Wisdom were an actual person, distinct from God. No one can wonder that in the 4th cent, of our era theologians of diverse schools made considerable use of this chapter in the controversies respecting the Second Person in the Holy Trinity. But there is no convincing force in the arguments which either side derived from this source. The object of the writer was to recommend that wisdom which is his constant theme, which manifests itself in the right conduct of life, by showing that it is exhibited and exemplified in the wonders of Nature and the Creation of the world. There is also a trace here of the idea which at a later time asserted itself very strongly, that a medium was required to bridge over the distance betwixt the Spiritual Creator and the material universe. Job 28, 38; Sirach 1:1-21; Sirach 24; Wisd 7:8-8:21 should be read along with this c.

2. The high places are the walls and towers, vantage-points for a speaker.

5. Wisdom] rather, 'prudence' or 'sagacity.'

12. Read, 'I, Wisdom, have made prudence my dwelling,' i.e. I am complete master of it.

14-16. There is no genuine statesmanship apart from wisdom.

22-31. This account of creation reminds us of Genesis 1 Job 38. God makes a vault, the firmament, which rests on the surrounding waters (Proverbs 8:27). He settles the mountains (Proverbs 8:25) on foundations which are at the level of the floor of the sea (Psalms 104:8; Jonah 2:6). He firmly encloses the fountains of the deep, so that they cannot break through (Proverbs 8:28).

22. Read, 'The Lord formed me as the beginning of his creation': cp. Colossians 1:15; Revelation 3:14.

23. Or] i.e. ere, before.

30. As one brought up with hint] as a nursling or foster-child; RY 'as a master workman. 'I was daily his delight] lit. 'I was delight daily day'; my whole existence was delight: cp. Psalms 120:7, 'I am peace,' all peace, nothing else.

34. A king or great man would every morning find a crowd of clients waiting to pay their court and receive his bounties. Happy the client at Wisdom's door.

36. He who misses wisdom wrongs himself.

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 8:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/proverbs-8.html. 1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, August 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19
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