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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Wisdom of Solomon

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1. Place in Canon.-This apocryphal book is not quoted by name in the NT, unless the citation from ‘the wisdom of God’ in Luke 11:49 can be regarded as a paraphrase of Wisdom of Solomon 2:19-20, but it is used in the Epistle to the Romans where 9:21 is a reproduction of Wisdom of Solomon 15:7, while in the Epistle to the Hebrews 1:3 is a reference to Wisdom of Solomon 7:26 (for, indeed, the word ἀπαύγασμα occurs nowhere else in the NT); further, in Matthew 27:43 a reference to Wisdom of Solomon 2:18 appears to be conflated with one to Psalms 22:8, which perhaps has displaced the former (‘If the just man be the son of God, he will help him and deliver him from his enemies’), though enough remains to permit of the identification. The quotation in 1 Corinthians 15:45 bears some relation to Wisdom of Solomon 15:11 (where the ψυχὴ ἐνεργοῦσα and πνεῦμα ζωτικόν are distinguished like the ψυχὴ ζῶσα and πνεῦμα ζωοποιοῦν in the quotation), but is not likely to be taken directly from it.

The work was, therefore, accepted by the early Church as part of the OT, and figures as such in the Canon of Melito (c. a.d. 170), though some MSS of Eusebius alter the text (HE IV. xxxiii. 15) so as to identify it with Proverbs, and this method is followed in the Syriac version. It is cited by Irenaeua (Haer. iv. 37, noticed by Eusebius, HE v. 29); as ‘the Prophet’ by Hippolytus (adv. Judaeos, iv. 16); as ‘Solomon’ by Clement of Alexandria (Strom. VI. vii. 120); and as ‘Scripture’ by Dionysius of Alexandria (c. a.d. 260; M. J. Routh, Reliquiae Sacrae, 4 vols., Oxford, 1814-18, ii. 406); also by early Latin Fathers, e.g. Tertullian (adv. Valentin. 2). Eusebius in the 4th cent. classifies it with the Antilegomena (HE VI. xiii. 6), and Epiphanius (Haer. I. i. 6) says the Jews have it, but regard it as of doubtful authenticity. Jerome says (Praef. in Proverbia) ‘apud Hebraeos nusquam est.’ In the Muratorian Canon it is said to have been written by Solomon’s friends in his honour. It would seem then that its authenticity was assumed in the early Church, but that about the beginning of the 4th cent. its place in the Canon became insecure.

Nothing, it appears, is to be learned about it from the Jewish writers of the 1st cent., Philo and Josephus. To the former Solomon is ‘one of Moses’ disciples,’ and the author of the Proverbs; he shows no acquaintance with the remarkable comments of Wisdom on the manna. Josephus (Ant. VIII. ii. 5) transcribes what is said of Solomon’s works in Kings, and adds that he had left a collection of charms and spells whereby demons could he controlled; this, as we learn from Bab. Giṭṭin, 68a, was ultimately based on an interpretation of Ecclesiastes 2:8. The references to it in the Oral Tradition will be noticed in the next section.

2. The language.-Although the Greek, whence the remaining texts which we possess are in the main derived, is exceedingly ambitious and at times eloquent, the literary form of large portions (especially chs. 1-9) in which the Hebrew parallelism is observed indicates that Greek is not the original language in which the work was composed; for those Israelites who composed original works in Greek naturally adopted Hellenic literary styles, the tragedian Ezekiel (Clem. Alex. Strom. I. xxiii. 155) writing iambics, the Jewish Sibyl hexameters, and Josephus imitating Thucydides. Further, numerous passages display the irresponsibility of a translator. That the original language was Hebrew is made certain by the preservation in the Jewish Oral Tradition (Genesis Rabba, 96, and Jer. Hagiga, ii. 1) of a fragment which is clearly grossly mistranslated in 14:10f., καὶ γὰρ τὸ πραχθὲν σὺν τῷ δράσαντι κολασθήσεται· διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ἐν εἰδώλοις ἐθνῶν ἐπισκοπὴ ἔσται, ‘for that which is done shall be punished with the doer; on this account there shall be a visitation also on the idols of the Gentiles,’ where the first proposition is meaningless, while the attempt to give it a meaning in the AV , ‘for that which was made shall be punished together with him that made it,’ assigns to the two verbs πράττειν and δρᾶν a sense which they have in no Greek writing of any period,* and introduces a proposition which is very little better than the other. The true proposition is ‘that which is worshipped (äðòáø) shall be punished together with the worshipper (äòåáø); wherefore he says “and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgements” (Exodus 12:12).’ The verb òáø in both Jewish and Christian Aramaic frequently represents the Greek πράττειν, and this sense of ‘to do’ is wrongly given it in the LXX of Deuteronomy 12:30; that the Greek of Wisdom is in this case a mistranslation of the maxim quoted by the Rabbis does not therefore admit of question. And, as the text occurs in the middle of a paragraph with which it is closely related, the inference drawn extends further than the actual verse.

The work is otherwise used by the Oral Tradition, yet perhaps not in such a way as to permit of any inference with regard to its language, In Exodus Rabba, 25, the manna is described as ‘having in it all sorts of tastes, so that each Israelite was tasting what he wished’; this represents Wisdom of Solomon 16:20, πρὸς πᾶσαν ἡδονὴν ἱσχύοντα καὶ πρὸς πᾶσαν ἁρμόνιον γεῦσιν, but the correspondence is not quite literal. In Mechilta, 13, on Exodus 12:30 (= Pesikta, 7) it is stated that, when the first-born of any Egyptian died, the father made an image of him, which he set up in his house; this comes from Wisdom of Solomon 14:15, where it is suggested that idolatry thus arose, the intention being also to account for the apparent identification of the gods of Egypt with their first born in Exodus 12:12. The Oral Tradition employs it for a different purpose; if its phrase - be the original of εἰκόνα ποιήσας, the language must have already been affected by Greek. In the Midrash Tanchuma, i. 79b (ed. Warsaw, 1879), the substance of 18:4 is thus given: ‘they [the Egyptians] thought to bind them [the Israelites] in the prison-house; He brought upon them the darkness.’ In Bab. Sanh. 63b (end) the substance of 14:12, 13 is represented by ‘the Israelites knew that the idols had no reality in them and only worshipped them in order to consummate unlawful unions,’ though the correspondence may be accidental.

The text of 14:22 appears to contain an indication of the language in which the book was written, but it is not easy to interpret. ‘Moreover this was not enough for them that they erred in the knowledge of God; but whereas they live in a great war of ignorance, they call such great evils peace’ (τὰ τοσαῦτα κακὰ εἰρήνην προσαγορεύουσιν). It is certain that the Greek word εἰρήνη is not a name for any idolatrous system; but the Hebrew phrase ‘to call peace to’ (-, Judges 21:13; cf. Deuteronomy 20:10) means not to designate by the name ‘peace,’ but to invite to peace, or offer friendship to; and this is what the phrase appears to signify in the passage cited, since the justification of the proposition in what follows is that the idolaters keep on perpetrating various atrocities. The thought is then somewhat like 1:16.

The fact of the work being a translation accounts for the infelicity of many passages, in some of which the underlying Hebrew can be restored with certainty, e.g. 4:18, ὄψονται καὶ ἐξουθενήσουσιν, ‘they shall see and despise,’ where the context requires ‘they shall see and pine away’; the original -, which signifies both, can be restored with certainty from Psalms 112:10; in 13:10, ‘or a useless stone, the work of an ancient hand,’ ‘useless’ is the new-Hebrew sense of -, which should have been rendered ‘carved.’ The word ‘hand’ should probably have been ‘monument,’ which is another sense of the Hebrew word for ‘hand.’ In 3:13, ἥτις οὐκ ἔγνω κοίτην ἐν παραπτώματι, the last words probably stand for Hebrew áòåi (as in Ezekiel 3:20; Ezekiel 18:26) and should have been rendered γαμικήν. In 12:22, ἡμᾶς οὖν παιδεύων τοὑς ἐχθροὺς ἡμῶν ἐν μυριότητι μαστιγοῖς, the sense required by the argument is ‘in order to teach us Thou dost chastise our enemies with leniency’; ἐν μυριότητι, ‘in ten-thousand-ness,’ is apparently a mistranslation of some Hebrew word which seemed to be an abstract noun from øáåà or øááä, but it is not clear what; possibly îøôà read îøáà, since these letters are confused in many scripts. In 19:9 (of the Israelites in the bed of the Red Sea), ὡς γὰρ ἵπποι ἐνεμήθησαν καὶ ὡς ἀμνοὶ διεσκίρτησαν, ‘they fed like horses and skipped like lambs,’ the author clearly did not intend ‘fed’; from Isaiah 63:13 as explained by Kimchi it would seem that the original had øöå, ‘they ran’ (used of horses in Joel 2:4, Amos 6:12), misread -. Kimchi’s words are, ‘just like the horse which runs (-) in the desert where there is no stone nor mud whereon he can stumble, so the Israelites were able to run (-) on that sea-bed.’

In many cases, however, the phrase employed shows clear signs of mistranslation, but restoration of the original is difficult; examples are 1:16b ‘thinking him a friend they melted,’ where the sense requires something like ‘they summoned him’; 7:4 ‘I was reared in swaddling-clothes and cares’; 4:19a ‘for he will break them voiceless prone’; 5:7 ‘we were filled (ἐνεπλήσθημεν) with the paths of lawlessness and destruction’; 12:24b ‘thinking gods the despicable even among the beasts of the enemies’; 18:3c ἥλιον δὲ ἀβλαβῆ φιλοτίμου ξενιτείας παρέσχες. These last words are in any case a paraphrase of Exodus 13:22 ‘and by night a pillar of fire to give light to them’; but by what process this has become ‘a harmless sun of ambitions peregrination,’ which appears to be an absolutely meaningless combination of words, is exceedingly obscure.

The notion that Greek is the original language of the book is probably due to its containing paragraphs which, both in style and in content, bear little resemblance to the OT. Against this we must set the fact that it is replete with Hebraisms (e.g. 9:5 ‘I am thy slave and the son of thine handmaid,’ v. 9 ‘knowing what is pleasing in thine eyes, and straight [äéùø] in thy commandments,’ v. 10b ‘send her from the throne of thy glory’ [-, Jeremiah 14:21], v. 11c ‘and she shall guard me in her glory’ [apparently a confusion of çãøç, ‘her chamber,’ with - as in Sirach 14:27]). It is most improbable that so ambitious a stylist as the person responsible for the Greek of this book would have admitted these idioms had his hands been free; but as a translator he could avoid them only with the greatest difficulty. Sometimes he takes the trouble, e.g. 5:14d, where μνεία καταλύτου μονοημέρου probably stands for Jeremiah’s- (14:8) or something equally simple.

The general elaboration of the Greek makes it probable that the translation is far from faithful; and in a few cases references to Greek authors can be identified. In 18:16 the Almighty Word which slew the first-born of the Egyptians is said to have ‘touched heaven, while standing upon the earth,’ καὶ οὐρανοῦ μὲν ἥπτετο, βεβήκει δʼ ἐπὶ γῆς; the original of the phrase seems to be found in 1 Chronicles 21:16, where the destroying angel ‘stands between heaven and earth’; yet the Greek of Wisdom may be influenced by the description of Strife in Il. iv. 443, οὐρανῷ ἐστήριξε κάρη, καὶ ἐπὶ χθονὶ βαίνει. The fragment preserved in the Oral Tradition indicates that the original did not exhibit the phenomenon which characterizes the Greek-complete absence of proper names. Thus in the latter the patriarchs and others are designated by such epithets as ‘the just one,’ ‘the servant of the Lord,’ ‘the refugee from his brother’s wrath,’ the nearest approach to a proper name being the Red Sea, and Pentapolis, used of the cities of the Plain. The proper names Noah, Moses, Jacob, etc., are usually supplied by the Syriac version, which is (at any rate in the main) made from the Greek. The most probable explanation of their omission in the latter is a stylistic objection to the use of barbarous words in a Hellenic text. Josephus resorts where possible to such expedients as substituting ‘aegisthe’ for ‘Haggith,’ ‘Chalkeus’ for ‘Calcol,’ in order to deal with this difficulty. Plato (Critias, 113a) explains how in his narrative Egyptians come to have Hellenic names; Solon had translated them! Even in the Iliad the Trojans with rare exceptions have Greek names owing to this sentiment.

3. Date and authorship.-The date of the Greek text can be fixed only by its relation to other books. There can be little doubt that it is quoted in the Pauline Epistles; yet this would not necessarily imply that it was earlier than Philo, to whose language and even style it occasionally shows some resemblance. So late a date, however, seems to be excluded by the fact that it appears to have been used by the LXX translator of Isaiah; for the rendering of Isaiah 3:10, ‘say of the righteous that it is well,’ by δήσωμεν τὸν δίκαιον ὅτι δύσχρηστος ἡμῖν ἐστιν, ‘let us bind the righteous because he is disagreeable to us,’ is most easily explained as a reminiscence of Wisdom of Solomon 2:12, ἐνεδρεύσωμεν τὸν δίκαιον ὅτι δύσχρηστος ἡμῖν ἐστιν, since on the one hand the adjective belongs to the choice vocabulary of the latter rather than to that of the Greek Isaiah, and on the other the substitution of the 1st for the 2nd person seems to require this explanation; for if àîøå had been merely misread -, the 2nd person would have been retained. The same account is probably to be given of LXX Isaiah 44:20 compared with Wisdom of Solomon 15:10, while in 11:22 of the latter the substitution of ‘a drop of morning dew descending to the earth’ for ‘a drop of a bucket’ (Isaiah 40:15) makes it improbable that the Greek of Wisdom is borrowing from that of Isaiah. Since the LXX translation of Isaiah cannot well be later than 150 b.c., that of Wisdom should be somewhat earlier than that date.

On the other hand, it is probably later than the LXX translation of the Pentateuch, since it exhibits certain technicalities which are likely to have been introduced by that work, e.g. ὁλοκαύτωμα, ποδήρης, ἐξιλασμός, χειροποίητον for -, βδελύγματα for -, etc. Yet where passages of the Pentateuch are reproduced the translator of Wisdom did not always consult the LXX , e.g. 18:6, ἐκείνη ἡ νὺξ προεγνώσθη πατράσιν ἡμῶν represents Exodus 12:42,-, where the LXX renders the words differently. In 16:21 the unintelligible ἡ μὲν γὰρ ὑπόστασίς σου τὴν σὴν πρὸς τέκνα γλυκύτητα ἐνεφάνιζε appears to treat the word iáæ, ‘white,’ in Exodus 16:31 as the Hebrew for ‘to a son,’ where the LXX renders the word correctly.

The character of the language is probably in agreement with the date thus indicated, i.e. about 200 b.c.

The relation of the original work to the books of the OT is very much more difficult to determine. Except for the statement of the author that he had been commanded by God to build the Temple in imitation of the Tabernacle (9:8), wherein he clearly claims to be Solomon, its historical information scarcely goes beyond Numbers, the last event narrated being the plague described in Numbers 17:9-13 (18:23). There are, indeed, numerous cases in which the matter contained in Wisdom is parallel to passages in the other books of the OT; in some of these, if we could trust the canon that the author of a passage is the person who understands it best, we should certainly assign the priority to Wisdom. Thus in Deuteronomy 8:3 the lesson of the manna is said to have been ‘that man does not live by bread alone, but by every utterance of the mouth of God’-an obscure proposition, since the manna is repeatedly called ‘bread’; and even if it be admitted that the Deuteronomist does not allow it that title (29:6), the ‘utterance of the mouth of God’ is far from clear. In Wisdom of Solomon 16:26 the lesson is worded ‘that the fruits which grow do not feed the man, but Thy word maintains them that trust in Thee,’ and it is inferred from the fact that the nutritive power of the manna was dependent on the observation of certain precepts: collected in the morning, it would resist the heat of the oven; but the heat of the sun would melt it, etc. Hence the nutritive power must have lain in the observation of the precepts, not in the substance itself. Were there no other facts to be considered, we should naturally regard the text of Deuteronomy as a mis-statement of the passage of Wisdom.

Much the same is to be said of the description of the making of wooden images: Isaiah 44:13-19; Isaiah 40:20, compared with Wisdom of Solomon 13:11-16. In the latter the carpenter selects suitable timber* for some article of furniture, uses the chippings to cook his food, and, if some crooked and knotty piece remain which is of no use for either purpose, fashions it in his leisure into a god. In the account in Isaiah, ‘half of it he burneth in the fire; on half of it he eateth flesh, he roasteth roast and is satisfied; yea he warmeth himself; and the residue thereof he maketh a god,’ wherein apparently two parts of the timber are employed as firewood, and the remainder used for the idol-the important matter, that the primary object was a piece of furniture, the secondary firewood, being forgotten by the prophet, yet very clearly somehow in his mind. The fact that the idol so fashioned has then to be secured by a nail appears in its right place in Wisdom of Solomon 13:15, whereas in Isaiah 41:7 it is remembered, but is out of its right place; further, Isaiah 41:6-7 gives the appearance of being a confused reminiscence of Wisdom of Solomon 15:9, where the potter is shown to be the most contemptible of all idol-makers, for, instead of reflecting that he is clay himself, he tries to rival the goldsmith and the worker in bronze.

Similarly, whereas, according to the author of the Book of Kings, Solomon was told in a dream to make a wish and chose wisdom, the account of the matter in this book is much less fantastic; he was, he says, a lad of great talent, and pursued the study with all his might, employing among other expedients prayer. In the prayer (9:7) he says: ‘Thou hast chosen me to be king of thy people, and judge of thy sons and daughters’; in Kings, in lieu of this modest description of his subjects, he calls them (1 Kings 3:8) ‘a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude,’ which in the Chronicles (2 Chronicles 1:9) is improved to ‘a people like the dust of the earth in multitude.’ Here too sobriety is on the side of Wisdom.

Internal evidence then, at least to some extent, would be in favour of making Wisdom older than the OT books which contain these parallels; nor is it easy to charge the writer-on the supposition that the work is pseudonymous-with any actual anachronism; thus, whereas Philo gives as the list of his own accomplishments (‘the handmaids of Wisdom,’ ed. Mangey, i. 530) grammar, geometry, and music, those claimed for Solomon (7:17-20) are ‘to know how the world was made and the operation of the elements, the beginning, ending, and midst of the tunes (i.e. probably ancient, modern, and mediaeval history), the alterations of the turnings (of the sun) and the change of seasons, the circuits of years and the position of stars, the natures of living creatures and the dispositions of beasts, the forces of the winds and the reasonings of men, the diversities of plants and the virtues of roots’-a list which shows little sign of Greek influence, but is much more suggestive of the learning of Egypt, Phœnicia, and Arabia. It may be observed that ‘the operation of the elements,’ i.e. the use to which substances can be put, is thought by many to be what is meant by knowledge of good and evil in Genesis 3:5. The most decided Hellenism in the book appears to be the Platonic tetrad of the virtues in 8:7, which, however, is likely (cf. the Syriac version) to be an introduction of the Greek editor. And, with regard to those ideas which are peculiarly Jewish, too little is known of the real history of the Israelitish mind to permit of any certain chronology of its products.

Besides this, it seems surprising that an author of such marked ability should employ a pseudonym, and in particular adopt the mask of Solomon, in whose mouth the fierce condemnation of idolatry is peculiarly inappropriate, whilst the attack on unlawful unions and their fruit is scarcely tolerable. On the other hand, it is undoubtedly true that the tone and style of many sections are suggestive of a date many centuries later than Solomon; side by side with passages which in sublimity are equal to the most striking parts of the prophecies and the Psalms, there are some which resemble the subtleties of the Midrash and the mechanical rhetoric of Philo. There is, however, the greatest difficulty in assigning any date to matters which come in these categories. Thus with regard to the definition of fear in 17:12, ‘fear is nothing but the betrayal of the succours provided by the reasoning,’ Goodrick (ad loc.) says: ‘This sententious statement is probably direct from the lips of some Greek teacher in the schools of Alexandria.’ He is, however, unable to quote any definition by Greek philosophers which remotely resembles it, and no author can be charged with borrowing until his source has been indicated. The sentence which follows in the Greek is so mistranslated as to be unintelligible.

It would seem then that, without a longer specimen of the original than the fragment preserved in the Midrash, location of the work is impossible.

4. Contents.-The work falls into three main divisions: (1) 1-6:12, addressed to rulers who are warned against tyranny on the ground of future judgment; this portion is entirely in verse of the Hebrew style; (2) 6:12-8:21, definitions of Wisdom and a brief autobiography; (3) 9-end, containing the author’s prayer to the Divine Being, into which homilies on the early biblical history are inserted. In the two last sections verse and prose are mixed.

In all three parts the author expresses some remarkable views. The first is noteworthy for the account of the conspiracy to kill the Just Man by a shameful death, whose resurrection, however, brings confusion on the conspirators, who are now convinced that His claim to be the Son of God was no idle boast. This passage (2:12-5:23) seems closely related to Is 53, while some of the traits resemble the description of the fate of the Just Man in Plato’s Republic, bk. ii.; it is, however, far nearer the Christian conception of the Passion than either of those passages, and appears to have been of great importance in the formation of that conception. When in Matthew 27:54 those who watch the portents that arose at the Crucifixion infer that ‘this was the Son of God,’ Wisdom of Solomon 5:17-23 would seem to furnish the argument.

In the second section the author gives an account of Wisdom so worded that the Greeks would without hesitation have identified her with their goddess Athene, who in the Homeric poems, as the early commentators observed, is the forethought, skill, and virtue of the characters. By entering from generation to generation into holy souls she reproduces friends of God and prophets. His theory, then, of prophecy is that afterwards formulated by Maximus of Tyre (Dissert. 13), according to whom it is an intensified form of knowledge; the person whose knowledge of the conditions is most thorough will best be able to foretell the result. Thus Wisdom is ‘a radiation of eternal light, a stainless mirror of the divine activity, and an image of His goodness’ (7:26). His idea of this ‘radiation’ is materialistic; it is a substance so fine as to be able to penetrate all other things, which it also excels in rapidity. In the long list of epithets whereby he endeavours to describe it (7:22-24), it is probable that each was intended to convey some feature, but, if the passage be a translation, we cannot always be sure that the sense has been given faithfully.

In the third section the author applies his theory of Wisdom to the national records, and is doubtless to some extent a rationalist; if, e.g., Wisdom enabled Noah to save the human race from the Flood, the meaning is evidently that Noah possessed the knowledge which enabled him to foretell the catastrophe and devise means to escape it. And, indeed, when he asserts that Wisdom became a shade in the day and a star-flame at night (10:17) and brought ‘them’ through the Red Sea (v. 18), he very probably implies some Euhemeristic interpretation of the miracles. On the other hand, while apparently accepting the miraculous narratives, he endeavours to show the Divine wisdom which they involved. Comparison between the treatment meted out to the Canaanites and the Egyptians leads him to discuss pagan worships, which he attributes to intellectual feebleness; the most excusable are to his mind the various forms of nature-worship, the least excusable the cult of clay images. To idolatry he attributes all the vices, and dwells especially on its connexion with sexual immorality and infanticide. The work ends with powerful descriptions of various scenes of the Exodus, wherein the appropriateness of the punishments is especially emphasized.

5. Value of the work.-From the point of view of intellectual ability the work is incomparably superior to the rest of the Apocrypha; besides containing many brilliant aphorisms it displays a capacity for continuous and consistent thinking which is rare in Semitic products. As an expounder of Scripture the author exhibits great ability. We may notice his proof of man’s potential immortality from the fact that in the story of creation everything is commanded ‘to be’; there is no mention of a death-plant (whereas there is of a tree of life), and the sovereignty of the earth is given not to Hades but to man (1:13, 14). The work was probably of the greatest importance in securing the early progress of Christianity. Of Scriptures showing ‘that Christ ought to have suffered these things and enter into his glory’ (Luke 24:26) there is none comparable in clearness with Wisdom 2-5, and the potency of this weapon in the hands of such controversialists as Hippolytus is probably what occasioned the loss of the book to the Synagogue. The Resurrection and the Final Judgment are taught with a clearness and certainty to which the OT offers no parallel. Further, Christian controversy with pagans would seem to have been directed by the discussion of idolatry which occupies chs. 13-15. In St. Paul’s address to the Athenians the words (Acts 17:27) ζητεῖν τὸν θεὸν εἰ ἄρα γε ψηλαφήσειαν αὐτὸν καὶ εὕροιεν seem to be a reminiscence of θεὸν ζητοῦντες καὶ θέλοντες εὑρεῖν in the same context in Wisdom of Solomon 13:6, and the words which follow in the address, χρυσῷ ἢ ἀργύρῳ ἢ λίθῳ, χαράγματι τέχνης καὶ ἐνθυμήσεως ἀνθρώπου, paraphrase what follows in Wisdom (13:10), ἔργα χειρῶν ἀνθρώπων χρυσὸν καὶ ἄργυρον, τέχνης ἐμμελέτημα. Further, the list of crimes which in Romans 1:25-31 is said to be the result of idolatry appears to be a rearrangement of Wisdom of Solomon 14:23-28. The notion of a spiritual Israel which is found in the Pauline Epistles is to some extent anticipated by, even if it be not actually based on, the theory of Wisdom that the righteous are the sons of God, and Israel are the righteous.

6. The text.-The variants of the Greek MSS are for the most part of slight importance, but in a few cases they suggest revision from a Hebrew original; Son_10:1 ἐξείλατο, MS 68 ἐξέτεινεν, perhaps -and -; 14:16 ἐφυλάχθη, MSS 106, 261 ὠνομάσθη, perhaps ðùîøä and ðãùîä; 9:9 ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖς, MS 248 ἐνώπιον. Where the Greek is obscure, it is often difficult to decide whether this is due to mistranslation or corruption; such a case Isa_15:18, καὶ τὰ ζῷα δὲ τὰ ἔχθιστα σέβονται· ἀνοίᾳ γὰρ συγκρινόμενα τῶν ἄλλων ἐστὶ χείρονα.

Of the ancient versions the Peshitta Syriac, the Latin, and the Armenian are of some importance for the criticism of the text. The first of these appears to be made from the Greek, which it often seriously mistranslates; there are, however, passages where it offers what seems to be the sense intended by the author, where the Greek text misrepresents it-e.g. 8:6, for the εἰ δὲ φρόνησις ἐργάζεται the Syriac offers ‘if a man desires to do handicraft,’ which is certainly more like what was meant. It seems doubtful whether in any case these varieties can convincingly be ascribed to the use of a Hebrew original. The Latin seems to have preserved a line lost in the Greek copies, 2:8b; in some places it shows curious agreement with the Syriac-e.g. 9:17, 14:19, ‘qui se assumpsit’ for τῷ κρατοῦντι, which in Syriac is naturally represented in this way. The Armenian has some noteworthy renderings-e.g. 15:7, ‘on the [potter’s] wheel’ for ἐπίμοχθον, which appears to be what was intended. The source of these is obscure.

Literature.-The Commentary of A. T. S. Goodrick, London, 1913, in the Oxford Church Bible Commentary, supersedes its predecessors. See also E. Schürer, HJP II. iii. [Edinburgh, 1886] 230 ff.; F. Susemihl, Geschichte der griechischen Litteratur in der Alexandrinerzeit, Leipzig, 1891, ii. 621; W. Bousset, Die Religion des Judentums im neutest. Zeitalter2, Berlin, 1906.

D. S. Margoliouth.


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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Wisdom of Solomon'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdn/w/wisdom-of-solomon.html. 1906-1918.

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