Saturday, January 31, 2009

The “Person” of Woman Wisdom in Proverbs

The Bible is so intimate about God it’s not surprising that Wisdom is framed as a person; a woman to be precise. Over and again in Proverbs, she speaks or is referred to. She is presented in ways for us to understand. Wisdom is hence personalised.

In Proverbs 2:1-4, Wisdom is put up as the true gift from God, “but paradoxically one must pray to receive her.”[1] Wisdom does not simply come to the whimsical. We must seek her diligently and ongoingly, truly wanting this ‘gift.’

When we read Job 28 (ref. verses 12, 20, 24) and the description on wisdom, we find Wisdom is inscrutable but that is all the more reason to avidly search for her.[2] No amount of searching can ultimately plumb her depths--but, oh, what a depth of life-living resources she can provide along that way!

Wisdom has an intimacy to YHWH (God) that is beyond any other intimacy. She is a ‘surrogate for YHWH’ or a “self-revelation of creation.”[3] She embodies truth and reality. She is in fact the “daughter of YHWH.”[4] There is no one and nothing closer to the Triune God.

Wisdom must make repeated, impassioned advances through the father who speaks in Proverbs 1-9 to counter the ‘honeyed words’ of Woman Folly[5] who hearkens the mistaken and naive youth to taste things like ‘stolen water’ and ‘bread eaten in secret.’ Woman Folly introduces the mistaken youth to hell if he dares--ignorantly or otherwise.

Quite simply, the rewards are eternal for following Woman Wisdom; she protects, provides, nurtures, and enriches. Follow her, living aright and we will truly live.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
[1] Roland E. Murphy, Proverbs – Word Biblical Commentary (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1998), p. 281.
[2] Murphy, Ibid, p. 279.
[3] Murphy, Ibid, p. 279.
[4] Murphy, Ibid, p. 282. Ref. Proverbs 8:22-25(f) which mentions Wisdom’s birth.
[5] Both Folly and Wisdom (and also the “Strange Woman”) are personified by women in Proverbs.

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