Proverbs Chapter 8
In contrast to the evil woman of chapter 7, another “woman” is presented: Wisdom personified again as a prophetess whose call the son should heed. After calling to all classes of men to come and be wise, Wisdom praises in the first person her own moral excellence and value. Furthermore, the Lord Himself did not begin to create the universe apart from wisdom. The climax of the passage is found (in verses 32-36): whoso findeth me findeth life (verse 35).
Although some have associated (verses 22-31), with the creative work of the pre-incarnate Christ who is revealed as the Wisdom of God, the major emphasis of the context is on God’s own use of wisdom in creating the universe. Those who would urge a reference to Christ here sometimes go on to point out the Hebrew word translated “possessed” is rendered “created” in the Greek translation of the Old Testament, thus inferring that Christ is less than fully eternal God.
However, although the Hebrew word (qunah), can at times be pressed to bear such a meaning, it basically means “acquire,” or “possess” (that which has been acquired). The translation “possess”: is clearly the meaning elsewhere in Proverbs and best fits the context here. Thus, the point is that in setting out to create the universe, God utilized wisdom as a basic principle of procedure.
Proverbs 8:1-3 Doth not wisdom cry? And understanding put forth her voice?” “She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.” “She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors.”
Wisdom with nothing to hide is available to everyone, being found in the most prominent of public places.
Here again, we are told that wisdom is available, but it will not just drop out of the sky and force itself upon us. We must want wisdom, and pray for it if we are to receive it. It is always there and always available. To get wisdom, we must activate our will to receive it. This wisdom is not hiding and coming out at night as the harlot and the foolish man.
The openness and public exposure of wisdom contrasts with the secrecy and intrigues of the wicked adulterers (in chapter 7).
Just as Christianity is for all, so is wisdom and knowledge. That is what I believe is meant by the gates and the entering of the gates.
Proverbs 8:4-5 “Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice [is] to the sons of man.” “O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.”
Whosoever will is the cry. (In verse 4), it is like a sermon crying out for the men to listen and heed.
Have you ever noticed how the little old grandmothers with very little formal education can read and understand the Bible better than some college graduates? I believe it has to do with their desire to learn of God and their willingness to receive their wisdom from Him. I know a man who cannot read, but God has called him to the ministry and has filled him with the wisdom to fulfill the job.
The purpose is to impart discernment to the naive and the ignorant. The root of simple is a word meaning “an open door”, and apt description of the undiscerning, who do not know what to keep in or out of their minds.
This is all meant to make one ponder before sinning, thus to make a responsible choice.
Proverbs 8:6 “Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips [shall be] right things.”
We see over and over in the Bible instructions for us to hear. This has to do with our receiving them down into our inner being. When we open our inner ears up to the things of God, we shall grow in understanding; for He is the truth.
Proverbs 8:7-8 “For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness [is] an abomination to my lips.” “All the words of my mouth [are] in righteousness; [there is] nothing froward or perverse in them.”
We see again from this, that wisdom is absolute truth. Those who are wise speak nothing but the absolute truth. Anything but truth is an abomination (displeasing to God).
“The words of my mouth”: If you are a preacher, this is the sermon that proceeds from the mouth and must not be slanted, but straightforward. There should be no variance at all in the message, no watering down. Even words should be simple words (plain), not fancy or without understanding.
Righteousness, we have said so many times before, means in right standing with God. It is better to have our mouth filled with words He has given us to say.
Proverbs 8:9 “They [are] all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.”
The one who applies his mind to the wisdom of God will understand and gain moral knowledge and the insight to recognize truth.
Proverbs 8:10 “Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.”
This is just saying how much better it is to go for wisdom than the things of this world, and knowledge is better than searching for gold. We touched on this more fully in a previous lesson. Things of this world are not to be even compared with knowledge and wisdom of God.
Proverbs 8:11: “For wisdom [is] better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.”
This also is covered in the explanation above. The world and all its wealth, even its jewels, are not to be compared to the godly things.
The most valuable reality a young person can attain is the insight to order his life by the standard of truth.
Proverbs 8:12 “I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.”
This is an explanation that prudence and wisdom go hand in hand.
This is saying that it is practical and applies to everything in life.
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.”
We learned earlier that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Fear is reverence to the ultimate when speaking of God. God hates evil. If we are His, we hate what He hates.
As we said in a previous lesson, pride and arrogance have no place with us. We are no more than what God has allowed us to be. If we have pride, it should be pride in that we are His and not our own. We are either children of light following the Lord, or we are children of Satan and follow him. We must hate evil to please God. Turn from even the appearance of evil.
It is better to listen than to speak, unless the words in our mouth are placed there by the Lord. Pride and arrogance is the opposite of being humble. The Lord loves the humble. The evil way is the way of the devil. The froward mouth comes from an evil heart and speaks ungodly things.
Wisdom hates what God hates. The highest virtue is humility (submission to God), and thus wisdom hates pride and self exaltation above all.
Proverbs 8:14 “Counsel [is] mine, and sound wisdom: I [am] understanding; I have strength.”
Wisdom hates all the bad things we have been talking about and loves the things of the Lord. Now wisdom is saying what it is. We know that wisdom is strength. Think of Solomon. Of all the things that he could have asked God for, (riches and fame being two), he refused them and asked for wisdom. You see, wisdom brought to Solomon all of those side benefits. Wisdom (God), made him the richest man in the world and also brought him great fame, not only in his own country but in all the known world. Understanding is a side benefit of wisdom, as well. Wisdom is understanding.
In Isaiah 11:2, we read, “And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;” We should seek this Spirit of the Lord to have these things.
Proverbs 8:15-16 “By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.” “By me princes rule, and nobles, [even] all the judges of the earth.”
Solomon’s desire from God was to have the wisdom to rule the people fairly. Kings are more in need of wisdom than the ordinary person, because their decisions cause hardships for the people when they do not make good decisions.
Romans 13:1 “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”
Princes and kings are in office because God ordained it.
In this royal court setting, Solomon addresses his son as a future king. All these leaders should do their work by God’s wisdom and justice.
Proverbs 8:17 “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.”
Wisdom’s love for the one who receives it is proven by the benefits mentioned (in verses 18-21).
Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:” “For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”
This in Matthew is in Jesus’ own words. God is always reaching out to man. While we were yet in sin, God loved us so much that He sent His only begotten Son to die on the cross that we might live. He loves us, we need to love Him.
John 14:21, “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.”
Proverbs 8:18 “Riches and honor [are] with me; [yea], durable riches and righteousness.”
Solomon, who was given great wisdom, experienced its wealth of benefits firsthand as a young king.
In Matthew 6:19-21 “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:” “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:” “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Lasting riches are those that are stored in heaven.
Proverbs 8 Questions
1. Wisdom is available for all who ___________.
2. Who usually understands more about the Bible than the extremely educated?
3. In verse 6, why should we hear?
4. Wisdom’s mouth speaks what?
5. In verse 8, there is nothing _________ or _________in them.
6. Wisdom is absolute ____________.
7. What does abomination mean?
8. What does “the words of my mouth” mean if you are a preacher?
9. What kind of words should always be used?
10. Receive my instruction and not ___________.
11. And knowledge rather than choice __________.
12. In verse 11, wisdom is better than ___________.
13. The fear of the Lord is to _______________.
14. What 4 things does He hate in verse 13?
15. Why can we not be proud or arrogant?
16. What must we hate to please God?
17. What 2 things are the opposite of humble?
18. The froward mouth comes from an ___________.
19. What is strength in verse 14?
20. In Isaiah 11:2, when the Spirit of the Lord rests upon him, he received the spirit of wisdom, _________, ____________, __________.
21. In Romans 13:1, we read that who causes someone to reign?
22. Who does God love?
23. If we seek God early, __________ ___________ ______________.
24. What scripture in Matthew goes into detail on this?
25. In verse 18, we read that durable riches are with Him. What does Jesus say this type of riches is?