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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Proverbs 8

 

 

Verses 1-5

Wisdom Calls in the Open Places to Everyone - Wisdom's character can be found in all aspects of society ( Proverbs 8:1-5), for she calls in the open places to everyone. According to this passage, wisdom is found where people converse. Note in Proverbs 8:3 that the gates of the city were a place where the elders met to made laws and judge those laws. It was a place where wisdom was heard daily. Since wisdom has no physical aspect, we find her reflected in the lives of the people in our society.

Note how wisdom cries out in Proverbs 8:1-3, as well as in Proverbs 1:20-21. Proverbs 8:2-3 describes the most common places where people gather. Life is a classroom. There is much to learn by observing and interacting with people. It is in this environment that wisdom speaks.

Proverbs 1:20-21, "Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying,"

Proverbs 8:1 Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?

Proverbs 8:2 She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.

Proverbs 8:3 She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors.

Proverbs 8:3Comments- Note in Proverbs 8:34 how a person is to respond to wisdom"s cry.

Proverbs 8:34, "Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors."

Proverbs 8:4 Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man.

Proverbs 8:5 O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.


Verses 1-21

Wisdom's Character is Found in the Lives of People in Society- In this passage, we again see the call of wisdom as she cries out in the open places for men to follow her. Wisdom's call to passersby can be contrasted to the call of the adulteress in Proverbs 7:6-13 a. However, for those who heed her call will their hearts and ears be opened to see the voice of wisdom in the lives of men and women of God. Wisdom's character has many different virtues that are reflected in the lives of people around us. We can find wisdom in the hearts, minds, strength and wealth of others.

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. Wisdom Calls in the Open Places to Everyone — Proverbs 8:1-5

2. Wisdom Is Found in the Hearts and in the Words of Righteous Men — Proverbs 8:6-8

3. Wisdom Is Found by Those Whose Hearts Seek Her First — Proverbs 8:9-11

4. Wisdom is Found in Those With Mental Acuteness — Proverbs 8:12-14

5. Wisdom Is Found In Those Who Are Strong Pillars of Society — Proverbs 8:15-17

6. Wisdom is Found in Financial Prosperity — Proverbs 8:18-21

Parallel Passages- We can also find these similar characteristics of wisdom listed in James 3:13-18.

James 3:13-18, "Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife Isaiah , there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace."

This passage in James tells us that a man can demonstrate wisdom out of his good conversation, or lifestyle. We find this wisdom as we interact with other people in society. God has given to each person an in-built conscience ( Romans 2:14-15) that tells us about our actions, whether they are right or wrong.

Romans 2:14-15, "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)"

Our conscience will help us to recognize wisdom during our interactions with others. This is the theme of Proverbs 8:1-21.

It has been my experience to find such wise people in society and hang out with them; for it is in such relationships that we are influenced and changed for the better. Thus, we make wisdom our companion by walking with those who have already made wisdom their companions.


Verses 1-36

The Characteristics of Divine Wisdom - Proverbs 8:1-36 reveals the characteristics of divine wisdom. We have just had a lengthy passage that identifies the characteristics of earthly wisdom ( Proverbs 6:12 to Proverbs 7:27). This type of wisdom will now be contrasted with divine wisdom. Now, how do we see the characteristics of Wisdom of Solomon , since she has no physical form? The answer will be found in the way divine wisdom is reflected in the lives of men and women of God in society ( Proverbs 8:1-21). Her character can be found in all aspects of society, wherever people converse and interact with one another ( Proverbs 8:1-5). We learn to listen to the words of others, of those who are speaking words of righteousness ( Proverbs 8:6-8). Thus, wisdom's characteristics are reflected in the lives of people. These words are easy to find to those who seek them above the riches of this world ( Proverbs 8:9-11). Wisdom's character has many different virtues that are reflected in the character of men ( Proverbs 8:12-21). Not only can we find the divine characteristics of wisdom by looking at people in society, but creation itself reflects these noble virtues ( Proverbs 8:22-31). Thus, one should heed her call and not reject it ( Proverbs 8:32-36).

In contrast, Proverbs 6:12 thru Proverbs 7:27 has just given to us the characteristics of the foolish so that we can compare them. The call of wisdom can be contrasted to the call of the adulteress. Just as the adulteress called out to those passing by ( Proverbs 7:6-13 a), so does wisdom cry out in Proverbs 8:1-4. Just as the adulteress entices the fool with descriptions of her lustful entertainment ( Proverbs 7:13 b-21), so does wisdom attract us by telling us about her blessings ( Proverbs 8:5-21). While wisdom opens her heart to us and reveals her true character ( Proverbs 8:22-31), the adulteress hides her true intents, for she cares not about the well-being of her victims. The adulteress only wishes to satisfy her own lusts. As wisdom urges us to choose life and warns us about death ( Proverbs 8:32-36), the adulteress gives no warning until the victim loses his life ( Proverbs 7:22-23).

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. Wisdom's Character Found in Society — Proverbs 8:1-21

2. Wisdom's Character Found in Creation — Proverbs 8:22-31

3. Choose Life or Death — Proverbs 8:32-36


Verses 6-8

The Characteristics of Wisdom (Her Words) - You will not find wickedness and perverseness on the lips of the wise. You will only hear them speaking truth and righteousness. We learn to find wisdom by listening to the words of others, of those who are speaking words of righteousness ( Proverbs 8:6-8). Thus, wisdom's characteristics are reflected in the lives of people. The first characteristic that reveals wisdom is in the words that wisdom speaks. This is similar to the first description of the wicked man and the adulteress, whose descriptions also begin with their words ( Proverbs 6:12; Proverbs 7:5).

Proverbs 6:12, "A naughty person, a wicked Prayer of Manasseh , walketh with a froward mouth."

Proverbs 7:5, "That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words."

Proverbs 8:6 Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.

Proverbs 8:6Word Study on "excellent things" - Strong says the Hebrew word "excellent things" ( נָגִיד) or ( נָגִד) (H 5057) means, "a commander (as occupying the front), civil, military, religious," and "honorable." The Enhanced Strong says it is used 44times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as, "ruler 20, prince 9, captain 6, leader 4, governor 3, nobles 1, excellent things 1."

Proverbs 8:7 For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

Proverbs 8:8 All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.


Verses 9-11

Wisdom Is Found by Those Whose Hearts Seek Her First - Wisdom is easy to find to those who have trained their minds to know the characteristics of wisdom ( Proverbs 8:8). If we will receive God's Word with an open heart ( Proverbs 8:9) and make it a priority ( Proverbs 8:10), we will be able to find it.

The characteristics of wisdom are easy to find for those who seek them above the riches of this world. Riches are not wrong to possess. It is just wrong to pursue riches above wisdom. The pursuit of wisdom should be our priority. For when we find Wisdom of Solomon , we will receive the other blessings of riches. In a few verses, we will learn that when we pursue Wisdom of Solomon , it will bring to us substance and treasures ( Proverbs 8:21).

Proverbs 8:21, "That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures."

Illustration- When I was a Seminary student, one of my friends took me out for a drive around the city of Fort Worth. To my amazement, he began to identify old Chevy cars by their year along with other details. I had never paid any attention to antique or classic automobiles. But when he began to show me I began to notice them on the roads everywhere. He had developed the eye to spot them because he was interested in old cars. For him they were easy to spot and identify, but for me it was difficult. This is the same was with wisdom. If we will look for it, we will find it all around us on a daily basis. The more we learn of the ways of God, the easier it will be to find wisdom in the world around us.

When I finally had my Bible notes typed into a computer from notebook paper, I worked hard to edit them and organize them. I found myself taking a notepad and writing down inspired ideas or insights into particular verses in the Bible. I then listened for these golden nuggets on Christian television or in the devotional books I was reading. I delighted in finding them and adding them to my Bible notes. I quickly found myself taking notes on a daily basis as I learned to recognize wisdom and insight into Scriptures all around me. I had not seen it until I began to look for it. This is what Proverbs 8:9-11 is saying to us.


Verses 12-14

Wisdom is Found in Those With Mental Acuteness - Men of wisdom have the ability to understand matters in society. They are creative and full of inventions. It is to wise men that people society will seek counsel.

Proverbs 8:12 I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.

Proverbs 8:12 — "and find out knowledge of witty inventions" - Comments- More than once has the Lord shown me an idea, or an invention, or a way to do something that I could not have known in the natural. The Holy Spirit is always faithful to show us the way and to give us wisdom and insight when we need it. Most modern inventions have been invented by Christians under the divine inspiration of God.

Proverbs 8:13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

Proverbs 8:13 — "The fear of the LORD is to hate evil" - Comments- We see these same virtues in the man Job.

Job 1:1, "There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil."

Proverbs 8:13Comments- When you are speaking to a righteous person about the evils of society, they too will express words of hatred against it. But when I have had conversations with corrupt people and I began to talk about truth and integrity, or about sin, they become silent and wish I would change the subject of the conversation. This is because truth brings light into their dark minds and exposes them. It is apparent when you spend time around wicked people that they do not hate sin.

Proverbs 8:14 Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.

Proverbs 8:14 — "I am understanding; I have strength" - Comments- In the passage popularly called "The Words of the Wise," we will be told again how wisdom makes us strong.

Proverbs 24:3-6, "Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches. A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength. For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety."

Proverbs 8:14Comments- As we grow in the Lord, we will learn to recognize that men of great wisdom have moved into positions of strength in a society. They speak with power and authority and are not easily deceived by others. We will learn to take counsel from pastors and godly leaders before making critical decisions.

There are times when we need counsel, or wisdom or understanding and even strength to go on, and there is no one to give it to us. It is during those times that I have learned to sit down and ask the Lord for wisdom. I then wait on the Lord or sleep over a matter. God is so faithful to give me the insight or even the strength to do what I need to do. He has never failed if I will wait upon Him.

I once lost my passport when I was overseas. I was in the hotel room and my wife and I were getting ready to go out and exchange some U.S. dollars for local currency at a bank. When I looked for my passport, it was nowhere to be found. After exhausting my search in the room, I calmly sat down by my wife and we prayed together and asked for wisdom to find the passport. I then lay down on my bed and began to just calmly wait on the Lord. Within a few minutes, I jumped up, walked over to a piece of furniture in the room, pulled it back from the wall and saw my passport on the floor. It had fallen down behind that piece of furniture. While lying on the bed, the Lord had given me a word of knowledge of where it was located. He is faithful.


Verses 15-17

Wisdom Is Found in Those Who Are Strong Pillars of Society - Wisdom can been seen in those who hold strong positions in society, in leaders who rule well.

Divine Decrees- I have learned from years of managing people that the Lord will often give a boss divine insight into a matter so that he decrees a right judgment and makes a good decision. I have learned that my boss or supervisor speaks under the influence of the Spirit of God whether I recognize it or not, and that I must honor what I am instructed to do.

Proverbs 8:17 I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.

Proverbs 8:17 — "those that seek me early shall find me" - Word Study on "early" - Strong says the Hebrew word "early" ( שָׁחַר) (H 7836) literally means, "to dawn," thus, figuratively, it means, "to be (up) early at any task (with the implication of earnestness)," and its meaning is extended to mean, "to search for (with painstaking)." The Enhanced Strong says it is used 12times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as, "seek early 4, seek 2, diligently seek 2, betimes 1, misc 3." Thus, many translations used the meaning, "to search for."

ASV, "I love them that love me; And those that seek me diligently shall find me."

BBE, "Those who have given me their love are loved by me, and those who make search for me with care will get me."

JPS, "I love them that love me, and those that seek me earnestly shall find me."

Rotherham, "I love, them who love me, and, they who diligently seek me, find me:"

WEB, "I love those who love me. Those who seek me diligently will find me."

YLT, "I love those loving me, And those seeking me earnestly do find me."

Within the context of Proverbs 8:17, it means to seek the Lord as a priority in one's daily lifestyle.

Comments- This phrase refers to those who will seek him early in the day, putting the Lord first in their daily schedule. It also refers to those who put the Lord first in the early years of their life, for it is in these early years that a person"s character is so easily shaped and molded into a Godly character. It also refers to placing wisdom as a priority in our lives.

Proverbs 8:17Comments - When we find Wisdom of Solomon , she pours out her love to us. From Proverbs 8:13 through Proverbs 8:21, we are given a list of things that wisdom gives to us out of love. She gives us counsel, Wisdom of Solomon , understanding, strength, authority, riches, honour, and righteousness.

What we place first in our lives is a reflection of what or whom we love. Thus, the evidence of our love for wisdom is our desire to pursue it diligently ( John 14:21-24).

John 14:21-24, "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father"s which sent me."

Proverbs 8:17Scripture References- Note a similar verse regarding diligence in seeking God:

Hebrews 11:6, "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he Isaiah , and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."


Verses 18-21

Wisdom is Found in Financial Prosperity- We will learn that wise men eventually gain wealth. Wisdom can be found in the lives of wealthy men who have put God first. The best examples of this can be seen in the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Job , David and Solomon.

Proverbs 8:18 Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.

Proverbs 8:18Comments- The certainty and longevity of the "durable" riches that wisdom brings stands in contrast to the brevity of the riches that unrighteousness brings ( Proverbs 13:11).

Proverbs 13:11, "Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase."

Proverbs 8:21 That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.

Proverbs 8:21Comments- When we pursue Wisdom of Solomon , we receive of its fruits. God will cause His blessings to overtake us. We do not have to pursue them. Note a similar verse:

Deuteronomy 28:1-2, "And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God."


Verses 22-31

Wisdom's Divine Characteristics are Reflected in Creation- Not only can we find wisdom's characteristics reflected in the lives of people, but we can find it in God's Creation. Proverbs 8:22-31 deals with the eternal nature of wisdom. We are told of its eternal power ( Proverbs 8:22-26) as well as its divine characteristic as godhead ( Proverbs 8:27-31). These two aspects of God's divine character are also mentioned in Romans 1:19-20.

Romans 1:19-20, "Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:"

First, the testimony of creation reveals that God is all-powerful and eternal because wisdom existed before the creation of the heavens and the earth. Secondly, the testimony of creation reveals that there is a God who is overseeing His creation as the Godhead. The amazing intricacies of nature tell us that creation has a purpose and a divine Creator who is intervening in His creation to insure that it fulfills its purpose.

In the story of creation ( Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 2:3), we have the testimony of the Father's role as the One who has planned all things. We have the testimony of the Son's role in John 1:1-14 as the Word of God. In this passage in Proverbs 8:22-31, we have the testimony of the Holy Spirit in creation as the Wisdom and Power of God. Thus, Moses, the author of Genesis , received the greatest revelation of the Father regarding His role in creation, while John the apostle, the author of the Gospel of John , received the greatest revelation of Jesus regarding His role in creation. Song of Solomon , the author of Proverbs , received the greatest revelation of the Holy Spirit regarding His role in creation. Note that the book of Genesis is the foundational book of the Old Testament while the book of John is the foundational book of the New Testament.

The verses in Proverbs 8:22-26 refer to a time before the heavens and the earth were created, back to the beginning of God's "way." In Proverbs 8:27-28 we see a reference to the first two days of creation as the passage contrasts the height and depth of God's creation as He establishes the heavens and the earth. Then in Proverbs 8:29, wisdom refers to the third day of creation in which the land was divided from the sea. In Proverbs 8:30-31, we see a reference to the fourth, fifth and sixth days of creation in which God made all the living creatures.

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. Its Eternal Power — Proverbs 8:22-26

2. Its Divine Godhead — Proverbs 8:27-31

Proverbs 8:22-26 — The Testimony of Wisdom's Eternal Power - We find from Proverbs 8:22-26 that wisdom is eternal, existing before the worlds were made. We are told that there was a time when the heavens and earth did not exist, an era before they were created. Therefore, according to the book of Proverbs , wisdom existed with God before He began to create anything. When God created, He did so with wisdom by His side ( Proverbs 8:30).

The YLT translates this passage in Proverbs to state that there were former states of the earth, "Jehovah possessed me--the beginning of His way, Before His works since then. From the age I was anointed, from the first, From former states of the earth." ( Proverbs 8:22-23)

The NIV reads, "The Lord possessed me at the beginning of his work, before his deeds of old; I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began." ( Proverbs 8:22-23)

References to the Dimensions of Time and Space - Proverbs 8:22-23 refers to wisdom's role before God created the dimension of time, while Proverbs 8:24-26 refers to wisdom's role before God created the dimension of space.

Proverbs 8:27-31 — The Testimony of Wisdom's Divine Nature as Godhead- It was by wisdom that God created the heavens and the earth. The fact that wisdom was with God in the process of creation supports the fact that God is still overseeing His creation. Thus, wisdom is a part of the Godhead.

In Proverbs 8:27-28 we see a reference to the first two days of creation as the passage contrasts the height and depth of God's creation as He establishes the heavens and the earth. Then in Proverbs 8:29, wisdom refers to the third day of creation in which the land was divided from the sea. In Proverbs 8:30-31, we see a reference to the fourth, fifth and sixth days of creation in which God made all the living creatures.

Proverbs 8:29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:

Proverbs 8:29Scripture References- Note a similar passage:

Genesis 1:9-10, "And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good."

Proverbs 8:32-36 — Choose Life or Death - Wisdom has reveals herself in society in the hearts and lives of people ( Proverbs 8:1-21) and she has revealed her eternal power and Godhead in the story of creation ( Proverbs 8:22-31). "Now therefore," one should heed here call and not reject it ( Proverbs 8:32-36). Based upon these truths set forth by Wisdom of Solomon , everyone has a choice of receiving wisdom and her blessings ( Proverbs 8:32-35) or refusing and being cursed ( Proverbs 8:32).

This passage deals with the blessings of wisdom as well as the consequences of rejecting it. Wisdom gives us a choice because God created man with a free will. In contrast, the adulteress presses her victims in order to avoid giving them a choice. This passage tells us that when man hears the voice of Wisdom of Solomon , he must make a choice whether to accept it or to reject it. He cannot remain neutral. In a similar way, just before the children of Israel entered into the Promised Land, Moses set before them the choice of life or death ( Deuteronomy 30:15).

Deuteronomy 30:15, "See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;"

Proverbs 8:32 Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways.

Proverbs 8:32 — "Now therefore" - Comments- Wisdom has made her call ( Proverbs 8:1-11) and then attracts us to this call by revealing its blessings ( Proverbs 8:12-21). Wisdom's basis for her claims to be able to deliver these blessings into someone's life is based upon her eternal, divine nature ( Proverbs 8:22-31). "Now therefore", one should heed here call and not reject it ( Proverbs 8:32-36).

Based upon these truths set forth by Wisdom of Solomon , everyone has a choice of receiving wisdom and her blessings ( Proverbs 8:32-35) or refusing and being cursed ( Proverbs 8:32).

Proverbs 8:32Comments- Wisdom will lead us into a path that is a part of God"s overall divine plan for the redemption of mankind.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Proverbs 8:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/proverbs-8.html. 2013.

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