Proverbs Chapter 8: Personification of Wisdom
Proverbs Chapter 8
General comments: The Book of Proverbs repeats the words “wisdom,” “understanding,” and “knowledge” very frequently. To get the most out of the book, one should look up these words every time they appear. For example, Proverbs 1:2–4 reads, “To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; To give subtlety to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.” The book is filled with these words, and different aspects of each word are presented from different perspectives.
Q: In what context were these proverbs done—orally? written?
A: Solomon wrote 3,000 proverbs late in life (1 Kings 4:32). The book warns against the very dangers Solomon tasted: lust for women, desire for riches, etc. He had 1,000 wives, he loved horses, and he was probably the richest man in the world. He had wisdom but not along the lines that he discussed in the Book of Proverbs. Later he saw that all is vanity, that the acquisition of material things is meaningless if not predicated upon the fear (reverence) of the Lord and obedience to the knowledge acquired. God ultimately blessed Solomon in that when Solomon came to his senses, the advice he could give was a form of repentance. The same principle applies to Elihu, who wrote the Book of Job based on his contrition for his lack of wisdom in rebuking Job. In both cases the Lord blessed the writing by including it as part of Holy Writ. Hence Solomon gives sound advice in the Book of Proverbs. Some of the advice is along literal lines, and some advice is spiritual. However, most of the knowledge and understanding are pragmatic (practical).
The proverbs recorded in the Bible are probably only one third of what Solomon actually wrote. He learned as a result of going through experiences. And even though he learned some lessons fairly quickly, the proverbs were no doubt written toward the end of his life.
Proverbs 8 came after Solomon had written about the lack of wisdom (or unsound wisdom) and the seductive power of a woman, which he put forth as one case: a harlot attracts a young man who does not see that the danger in being seduced is that it will result in Second Death (Proverbs 7). Proverbs 8 is like an antonym, an opposite, for here Solomon writes about true wisdom. Here Solomon’s comments on wisdom are very concentrated, whereas in the rest of the book they are helter-skelter—an isolated statement here and there abruptly interjected. Proverbs 8 has a flow or continuity attached to it that is special, and perhaps there are only four places in Proverbs with such a flow. Everything else is like popcorn statements, but very important ones that take a lifetime to sum up.
Therefore, although Proverbs 8 treats the subject of wisdom, the rest of the book must be read to grasp certain facets that are mentioned here. In Proverbs 8 the statements are tied together in a sequel or study.
Prov. 8:1 Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?
Wisdom is personified as a woman in these early verses; the subject is not Christ because of the female gender. As the chapter progresses, however, an example of wisdom is given in the life, actions, and statements of Jesus. He is the ultimate personification of wisdom that man can appreciate more. Of course God has all the wisdom, but as humans, we can see it better as it is reflected in Jesus’ life.
How does wisdom cry? The word “cry” is strong, meaning it should attract attention. In the old days, town criers shouted out news as they lit and extinguished the gas lamps each evening.
Comment: One way wisdom cries out is when it pricks the conscience.
Wisdom cries in several ways: (1) Nature declares there is a God. “There is a God; all nature speaks” goes the hymn. Nature speaks to those who have an ear to hear. Such see the majesty of the heavens as proof of the existence of an intelligent, wise, powerful Creator—One who could form all the heavenly bodies (Psalm 19—“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork”). They may appreciate God’s existence by observing the intricate patterns in the flowers, the different fragrances, the symmetry of snowflakes, etc. And man himself is proof of a Creator. Man is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psa. 139:14—“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well”). A magazine article entitled “Man, the Wonder Machine” told that if the Empire State Building were filled with computers, it would not be comparable to the potential of the human brain of one person. All of these things speak of the existence of an intelligent Creator. (2) Conscience. The Pastor said that when God made man in His own image, He implanted a conscience in us, an inherent sensitivity to right and wrong. Therefore, wisdom does cry. Wisdom cries all around us.
“… and understanding put forth her voice.” Figuratively, wisdom cries, but man is not listening. It is as if wisdom is pleading for attention.
Q: Generally, we think of wisdom as the application of knowledge, so couldn’t we also say that past experience is a way of gaining wisdom?
A: Yes. If you step in front of a speeding train, you know you will die based on what you have learned or witnessed previously. Common sense would tell you certain things.
Prov. 8:2 She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.
In other words, if you wanted to dispense information to others, to get the largest audience, you would speak from a “high place,” such as a mountain, down to the public below. You would select a convenient prominent place, and what more convenient place is there than the heavens? Just lift up your head and see the sun, moon, and stars.
Wisdom is crying. The Lord has provided an abundance of information testifying to His existence, to the existence of a benevolent Creator. For example, the benevolence is shown in the variety of fragrance in flowers. Some are pungent to camouflage or cure unpleasant odors or disease, and some have a very pleasing, aesthetic value.
Why does Proverbs 8 personify wisdom as crying out and disseminating knowledge to demand attention?
Comment: To show the responsibility of every individual to listen. This is the same reasoning the Apostle Paul used in the early chapters of Romans.
Comment: Wisdom can be obtained if one truly desires it.
Reply: God is providing all these evidences so that in the future man is inexcusable. The information has been there all along. One will not be able to justify his ignorance in the Kingdom by saying, “Why didn’t you tell me? Oh, if I had only known.” If one utters these words, he will be reminded of all the evidences of an intelligent Creator that he shut his eyes and ears to. It vindicates and exonerates God, for He did supply information, but it was not discerned by the public because of an improper heart condition. That is the point Solomon is trying to make, for he is saying, in effect, that that was his own problem earlier in life.
“She [wisdom] standeth … in the places of the paths.”
Comment: This would be the place where the path divides. Wisdom is standing there. When you come to a point where you need to make a decision as to which way to go, which path to take, wisdom is there to help you make the right decision.
Reply: That is a good illustration. Speaking of the people in the future Kingdom, Isaiah (30:21) says, “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” Although at present the guidance is given in a mute fashion, it would be discernible by those who are alert.
Some translations say “at the crossroads,” which shows a choice of four directions rather than two when a path divides. When we come to a crossroads, we look for directional signs because we know that if we make a mistake, we can go way off course. Thus a signpost at a crossroads is critical, and wisdom is there as a signpost to tell which road leads to destruction, which road leads to life, which road leads nowhere—and hence which road is a waste of time requiring retracing, etc. This is universal advice; mankind is being addressed here.
Prov. 8:3 She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors.
Comment: This verse is a reminder of how often the prophets in the Old Testament spoke at the gate or a prominent place in the city. Of course at times they were mechanically moved by God’s Holy Spirit so that it was His wisdom being poured out to the people.
Reply: Yes, the prophets went to the gates to speak, and judgment was rendered there in court sessions. An example is Boaz, who went to the gate to settle the issue about the land and Ruth. And Lot was a righteous judge at the gate.
Verse 8 is saying that wisdom cries at all strategic places.
In one place this is likened to a call. If a person sincerely hungers and thirsts for wisdom, he will get it depending on each step that is taken. Blindness can be overcome based on heart condition. If one inclines his heart seriously, studiously, and sincerely, he will get information. It is a carte blanche statement. “Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear” is an instruction for one who wants to come nearer to the Lord (Psa. 45:10).
Comment: Proverbs 2:1–6 reads, “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.
For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” The receiving of wisdom is a guarantee if one sincerely hungers.
Comment: Matthew 7:7 reads, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
Reply: Progress and growth are predicated upon humility, hunger, honesty, and other factors.
Comment: Proverbs 1:20–23 applies here: “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, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity?
and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.”
Reply: Yes, that is similar to the verses under discussion in Proverbs 8.
Prov. 8:4 Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man.
The message is addressed to “men,” ie, to mankind, to the children of Adam, to “the sons of [the] man [Adam].”
Comment: Proverbs 1:24 reads: “Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded.”
Comment: Addressing this to mankind is an interesting perspective because almost all of the Scriptures are written to God’s people (natural or spiritual Israel).
Comment: That is the tendency of Solomon’s writings including Ecclesiastes.
Reply: Some Christians do not accept the Books of Ecclesiastes and Proverbs as part of Holy Writ because they consider them to be too worldly. But these books are in the Bible.
Comment: Reprint 2388 states: “However well or illy Solomon followed his own teachings, it is conceded by all that those teachings were sound wisdom—as true today as when uttered. While Solomon’s writings may not be ranked exactly with the inspired prophecies of the Scriptures, the fact that we are told that the Lord heard his prayer for wisdom and granted the request, together with the fact that his writings were accepted as a part of the sacred canon in our Lord’s day, and not objected to by New Testament writers, but on the contrary quoted from, is sufficient guarantee to us that the wisdom of these Proverbs is of a kind that cometh from above.”
Q: Does the nominal system put Song of Solomon in the same category as Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, and tend to throw all three out because they were written by Solomon?
Wisdom also crieth out in the sense that the book with the widest circulation throughout history is the Bible. The title “The Bible,” “The Word,” is like saying, “This is God’s statement,” and it has been published in all languages (not in all dialects but in a great many of them). If you perceive in nature that there is a God, it would be wisdom to then say there must be some revelation, some word, from this benevolent, wise, and powerful God to reveal who He is and what His intentions are. Here, in front of everyone, in all nations, in all languages, a sign exists—just as a sign exists when one looks up at the heavens, at vegetation, etc. Here are written words that state “The Word—this is the information you are looking for.” The Bible is a powerful witness, but it is given very little credence, especially today. Instead it is often relegated to a very demeaning role and is made the object of humor and jokes.
Prov. 8:5 O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.
Wisdom is trying to reach this class; it is figuratively pleading for the simple to look higher. “The simple” are all who have not yet inclined their hearts to get wisdom. The majority of mankind are “simple” in this sense because they do not search for the understanding of that which is above.
Depending on context, the word “simple” can be either derogatory (as here) or favorable (meaning sincere and childlike). Paul said, “Look among yourselves. How many are wise?
How many are rich? How many are noble? God has called the poor of this world to be heirs of salvation” (1 Cor. 1:26 paraphrase). When an ear is inclined to wisdom, being “simple” can be a benefit in that an individual will not have too many things to unlearn. Unlearning what one has learned in a structured environment can be very difficult.
Prov. 8:6 Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.
In other words, the wisdom from the Lord’s lips, the instruction from above, as recorded in the written Word, is holy, pure, true, perfect, etc. The “excellent things” are exceedingly precious; they pertain to divinity and to God’s character.
The pronoun “I” still refers to figurative wisdom. However, Jesus is “made unto us wisdom,” justification, sanctification, and ultimately glorification (1 Cor. 1:30). He is the One God sent in human form to come down to our level and speak, through his life, ministry, and example, of the more excellent way of obeying God and acquiring true wisdom (1 Cor. 12:31).
Q: If the pronoun “I” still refers to figurative wisdom here, does the meaning switch to Jesus later on?
A: Yes. Without using God’s name, this proverb is trying to get the individual to realize that if he wants wisdom and understanding, his heart must yearn for it. In the First Volume, the Pastor took time and used human reasoning to discuss the existence of an intelligent Creator. Earlier in his life he had searched for understanding and wisdom when he was disappointed with the teachings of nominalism. He began to study Eastern religions but soon found out they knew less than he did. He decided to go back to the Bible and study it from the standpoint of an unprejudiced mind. To his surprise, the Bible began to make sense. As a result, The Divine Plan of the Ages was written. Going direct to the Bible was a blessing, and he has encouraged others to do the same.
Prov. 8:7 For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
We speak of “the truth.” That is a broad statement. “What is truth?” asked Pilate. The truth is God’s Word—whether it comes from Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, or just simple history of the Jewish nation as recorded in Chronicles and Kings. These portions of Holy Writ may not stand out as spiritual, but they are a part of the Word. It is important to know which kings God approved of and which ones He disapproved of, and why. We are furnished chronology, an orderly framework, for knowing where we are on the stream of time.
The Book of Proverbs states that to come closer to God, one must first have the fear (reverence) of God (Prov. 1:7). In studying the Word, one finds that God has a plan. In the fullness of time God sent forth His Son (Gal. 4:4)—this shows He has a plan with various stages of development.
Prov. 8:8 All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.
“Froward” means crooked, deceptive, twisted in the literal Hebrew.
Comment: The KJV margin says “wreathed,” but strands are twisted to make a wreath. Reply: Twisted implies bent in every direction.
Prov. 8:9 They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.
How do you “find knowledge”? Set your heart to know it, and search for it as for hidden treasure. Pray for it.
Comment: This is really qualified. It is saying that if you do not set your heart in that direction, the wisdom will go right over your head. You will not recognize it as such.
Reply: And the finding of knowledge is the finding of the source of knowledge: God and His Word are the basis of truth.
When Solomon wrote about 1000 BC, he was writing for the Jewish Age, but his advice applies henceforth for the sons of men.
Comment: Just in these nine verse so far, there are multiple reminders of things Paul said in the New Testament. This shows how well he understood the principles here. And in regard to the qualification that you will not recognize wisdom unless you set your heart to find and know it, Paul said that the natural man receiveth not the wisdom of God, for these things are “spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14).
Reply: Many of the principles here in Proverbs can be seen in 1 Corinthians.
Comment: No wonder the Bereans could search the Scriptures daily to see if Paul was speaking “the things that were so.”
We rejoice when we read or hear something right and good from the Bible, and when we see His righteous judgment on matters. We say, “Amen!”
Prov. 8:10 Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.
Earlier in life Solomon sought treasures: gold, silver, and rubies. He entered an alliance with Hiram of Lebanon to obtain gold from the land of Ophir (1 Kings 9:26–28). Solomon also sought many, many horses. He later saw that all these treasures were vanity.
Comment: Solomon’s stables were extensive. And Solomon had copper mines at Timnah near the Red Sea.
Prov. 8:11 For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.
What did the Apostle Peter say?
Comment: “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:7).
Reply: He drew this lesson from the Old Testament. And he was a humble fisherman, as were John, Andrew, and James. Yet some of the knowledge they acquired and their reasoning were profound. The Lord grants grace to the humble (1 Pet. 5:5) and gives the spirit of a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7), but our minds will not be completely sound this side of the veil no matter how well born we are. The Holy Spirit enhances whatever we had prior to consecration.
Q: Are rubies the most precious stone?
A: They can be. To get a perfect ruby is more difficult than to get a perfect diamond. But generally speaking, diamonds are more valuable than rubies. A star ruby is exceedingly precious because it is so scarce.
Q: Is the ruby equivalent to the sard as far as representing the heart?
A: Yes. Semiprecious stones had to be used for the breastplate in the Old Testament so that they would be soft enough for carving. For example, a form of white quartz was in the breastplate. But if the quartz is solidified into a diamond, some beautiful lessons become apparent. Therefore, the ruby is the sard in the highest sense of the word, but the sard was used because it was more adaptable for carving. “And he [God] that sat [upon the throne] was to look upon like a jasper [diamond] and a sardine [ruby] stone” (Rev. 4:3).
Almost all of the semiprecious stones in the breastplate are forms of quartz, but the higher level is various forms of the corundum family (an emerald, a diamond, etc.).
Prov. 8:12 I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.
Review: The first nine chapters of Proverbs have a continuity of thought. Generally speaking, from Chapter 10 on, the proverbs are random and miscellaneous statements. In both Chapter 7 and this chapter, a woman is personified. In Chapter 7 the woman is folly; in Chapter 8 the woman is wisdom. Thus folly and wisdom are contrasted as two women.
In Chapter 7 the woman is seductive; she entraps the young, the unwary, and entices them with rewards and pleasures to commit a cardinal sin. In Chapter 8 the woman is one of purity who desires to bless others not with pleasures but with responsibilities, which most people do not want. As the hymn goes, “Happy the man who learns to trace the leadings of Jehovah’s grace; By wisdom coming from above, he reads and learns that God is love,” so there is happiness in finding true wisdom. As Chapter 8 progresses, it will change from the personification of wisdom as a woman to Christ as an example of one who lived by that wisdom. Yet in back of all this is God’s wisdom. Christ is made unto us wisdom, but he first had to learn the wisdom from his Father. The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom, but as time went on, the Father put forth His Son as an example of One in whom He was well pleased.
What is “prudence”?
Q: Would prudence mean “caution”?
A: “Caution” is a good word. For instance, hearing a new thought should require some thinking and consideration. Ask, “Where will this lead?” That is being cautious.
Sometimes you would not know one way or another, but when new thoughts are presented, it is proper to have a measure of reserve. When the Apostle Paul went to Berea, he expounded the truth. The Bereans loved the Scriptures and searched them daily, and they did this before the New Testament was written and codified. Even when they heard Paul, an apostle, explain the Scriptures, they searched to see whether his words squared with Scripture and were true. Paul commended them for listening to him and then testing his words against the Old Testament. In other words, they had a measure of reserve or caution. They received the truth with all readiness of mind (with humility and a willingness to receive instruction), but with prudence (caution).
Caution is an attitude. It is a counterbalance. One should have readiness of mind to hear but should not wholeheartedly accept what is said until it is thought out and tested against the Word.
Comment: A practical example of prudence or caution in the New Testament would be the advice to “lay hands suddenly on no man” (1 Tim. 5:22).
Reply: Yes. Suppose one is being sent to the European brethren to teach what the brethren in the United States believe. To “lay hands” on such a traveling brother would mean to make him your representative. Hands were laid on Paul and Barnabas when they went out, but later Paul was irritated with what some considered that to mean. Paul and Barnabas hadn’t asked for the laying on of hands, and Paul tried to rebut the thought that they were the representatives of the brethren. No, Paul was sent by Jesus as an ambassador, as an apostle. The laying on of hands was a custom back there, but it was not to be done suddenly and without considerable thought. To just bear a letter or a message of love and greetings is relatively superficial, but the teaching capacity is different.
“I wisdom dwell with prudence.” The way this verse is stated with the more direct pronoun “I,” it is sort of a clutch that will prepare us for changes in later verses. Earlier verses were statements about what wisdom does.
“Witty inventions” would be devices (Masoretic). What is the next step with caution? If you listen to a thought with an open mind but have a measure of reserve until you find out if it is based on Scripture, what is the next step?
Comment: You are able to make an evaluation. Enough facts come to the fore that you can act or speak properly on the matter.
Reply: Before acting or speaking, you should ask a question. First, you exercise caution.
Then you weigh matters further by asking, “What will this lead to?” “Does it agree with the Lord’s Word?”
Q: Would “devices” be a more negative thought? The first part of the verse, “I wisdom dwell with prudence,” means to be discerning in a more positive sense. Then to “find out knowledge of witty inventions [devices]” means to be discerning in a more negative sense. Strong’s defines “inventions” as a plan with usually evil machinations, sometimes good. Wisdom can discern both the positive and the negative.
A: That is correct. (1) You are cautious. (2) You listen to more details to see where this is leading. (3) You hate anything that might be evil. Continuity is shown in this chapter even though deep, pithy statements are made. (After Chapter 9, the continuity will stop.) Since the “fear of the Lord is to hate evil” (verse 13), you do not want to be led astray from the Lord’s Word. Hence caution or discretion is a safeguard.
Wisdom dwells with caution or reserve until it has opportunity to examine and evaluate. Anything evil should repel us (“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil”). A negative line of reasoning is being pursued here.
Q: How do we harmonize verse 12 with “love thinketh no evil”? Would that apply until we see clearly that the devices are wicked?
A: Yes. One can have reserve and still obey the statement “love thinketh no evil.” One is consecrated to the Lord, and not to any individual or group. We should be open to instruction, but the information should be received with caution, prudence, and discretion.
Prov. 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.
The colon is important. The fear of the Lord is to hate four kinds of evil: (1) pride, (2) arrogancy, (3) the evil way, and (4) the froward mouth. What is the difference between pride and arrogancy?
Comment: Pride can be self-contained, whereas arrogancy is more of an outward show.
Reply: Yes, although pride can become visible and external. An example of outward pride would be the Pope sitting on a chair and being carried around. Arrogancy suggests action: words spoken or deeds.
The NIV has “evil behavior and perverse speech” for the end of verse 13. “Froward” gives the thought of perverted or twisted speech. Indians have said, “White man speaks with forked tongue.”
An “evil way” would be a lifestyle of evil methods.
Pride is abnormal self-esteem. A person should have some self-esteem, especially he is trying to do God’s will, but self-esteem can easily develop into inordinate self-esteem.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” but in some Scriptures the fear of the Lord is near the end of wisdom. We must have reverence in the beginning. When we consecrate, we see that God is good, that He has a marvelous plan, that He is merciful, etc.
This beginning reverence should get deeper and deeper as time goes on and we study His Word and His thinking. Later on, the Book of Proverbs will show that wisdom is one of the last things because it leads to something else … just as patient endurance is the step beyond love in developing the fruits of the Spirit.
Q: In the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins, the wise have the proper fear and it motivates them, but the foolish do not have the proper fear. Does this apply?
A: Yes, and it even uses the word “wise.” The wise virgins have foresight looking into the future.
Consider Proverbs 9:1, “Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars.” The house is already built—it is a finished product. But what are the “seven pillars” of wisdom? Isaiah 11:2,3 provides the answer: “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; And shall make him of  quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears.” The context is speaking about Jesus; he will be beneficial and successful in carrying out God’s plan because he has these characteristics.
Notice, that “quick understanding in the fear of the LORD” is contrasted with “the fear of the LORD.”
Q: How can “wisdom” be one of the seven pillars of the house built by “wisdom”?
Comment: According to the old Isaiah study, the “wisdom” of Isaiah 11:2 is wisdom gained by experience. That is just one facet of wisdom, not an all-encompassing expression, so it would fit as one of the seven pillars. Young’s Analytical Concordance defines this “wisdom” as “skill.”
Reply: Yes. There are several Hebrew words for wisdom.
In Isaiah 11:2,3 seven distinct qualities of character are mentioned. The last, “quick understanding in the fear of the LORD,” is the most enthralling one and the climax of the seven classifications. Some matters are so complex, so intertwined, that it is almost impossible to give a definitive answer to explain them distinctly and succinctly. “Quick understanding” is a quality of character approaching intuition. Intuition on the highest level is omniscience—all-seeing in a most comprehensive manner. Omniscience includes knowledge of events of the future. Originally, only God had complete and perfect intuition. We all possess intuition but in very limited amounts. Isaiah 11 speaks of how wonderful Jesus is; he was chosen to be High Priest to the world in the Kingdom because he possesses all of these traits, including “quick understanding.” One who is of quick understanding cannot give succinct, distinct reasons in given situations but knows a matter smells bad. He has the intuition, the ability, of knowing something is evil before it gets out of hand.
Comment: That is exactly what the KJV margin has for “quick understanding.” The Hebrew meaning is scent or smell.
Reply: Isaiah 11 tells why Jesus will be the Prophet, Priest, and King of the next age. Originally only God had perfect intuition. Jesus has since developed this sense of comprehension.
The “seven pillars” are also presented in the Book of Proverbs in two different ways. One is Proverbs 1:2,3. “To know  wisdom and  instruction; to perceive the words of  understanding; To receive  the instruction of wisdom,  justice, and  judgment, and  equity.” All of these are either possessed or received. By having these facets of wisdom, one is enabled to give “subtilty to the simple, [instruction to others], [and] to the young man knowledge and discretion.” (The seven are also shown in verses 2–6 as follows: To  know,  perceive,  receive,  give,  hear,  understand, and  interpret.
However, that is not our discussion here.) The point is there are seven cardinal pillars in the house of wisdom. Similarly God has four cardinal attributes. God has more than four attributes, and wisdom has more than seven facets, but the cardinal ones are four and seven, respectively.
Prov. 8:14 Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.
Wisdom continues to be personified by a woman. In verse 22 a change will occur. There Jesus will be presented as the best exemplar of wisdom that humanity can appreciate since we cannot see God. Wisdom can be grasped by a study of Jesus’ life and ministry.
“Counsel” is advice, whereas “sound wisdom” is practical wisdom, usually gained through experience. Experience, patience, etc., give us different facets of wisdom. There is a very close alliance between the Holy Spirit and wisdom.
“I am understanding; I have strength” (KJV). “I have insight; I have strength” (RSV).
“… power is mine” (Masoretic). “Insight” is the best word; it suggests a higher concept of understanding. It is one thing to be able to give counsel or to have practical experience, but “insight,” another facet of wisdom, pertains to problems at hand. One who has insight can look at the exigency involved and understand how it should be handled. One who attentively considers God’s Word will be assisted greatly in acquiring wisdom.
In the final analysis, “counsel” is related to victory. Having power or strength suggests that when counsel with insight into the problem at hand is presented, the one listening is enabled to do things not possible otherwise. When many first consecrate, they notice that they can do things not possible with the will of the flesh; that is, no matter how determined they were on certain matters, the Bible grants little victories along the way as encouragements for them to see that divine counsel brings them to a higher level than their own judgment and thinking and reasoning. And these victories help them to appreciate the power of God’s Word.
Prov. 8:15 By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.
This verse is peculiarly worded, for not many kings or princes reign in the good sense. In explaining the Bible, Pastor Russell mentioned that as the Bible traveled westward, those countries in which the Bible had the greatest distribution and reception were lifted to a higher level. For example, much credit for liberty coming to the United States can be attributed to the Bible. Many of the early colonists fled to this country to escape religious persecution. Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Adams, and others were influenced by the Bible and were very remarkable in some of the things they did. The power of the Holy Scriptures brings enlightenment. Darkness continued in those countries that did not have the Bible.
Comment: The Pastor said that the Bible was the torch of liberty and civilization. A king who rules justly and with equity must have a standard: the Bible. That is the problem today—many filling the office of president, prime minister, dictator, etc., lack such a standard. Verse 15 seems to be prophetic because it is not a true statement today, nor has it been in the past, generally speaking.
In earlier years Bro. Frank had difficulty studying this verse because he thought perhaps Jesus was speaking (“By me [Jesus] kings reign …”). But it isn’t until verse 22 that Proverbs 8 talks about him. The spirit of God’s wisdom will rest on the Church in glory, who will rule in the future.
Comment: Would Daniel 2:21 apply here? “And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding.”
Reply: Verse 21 indicates that if God feels a change in rulership is necessary in order to fulfill prophecy or to curtail the detrimental effect of the Adversary’s influence, He can remove a king at any time—and has done so in past ages in certain instances—or raise one up, but not necessarily with wisdom. For instance, Pharaoh was raised up and he had a negative effect.
Comment: Romans 13:1 supports the Daniel 2:21 reasoning: “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.” It is not that the kings have wisdom but that God’s wisdom has set up these kings to reign.
Reply: God does have the capability to exercise divine providence and either stop or enhance a condition to further His purpose. However, Bro. Frank is inclined to think of verse 15 as prophetic because of the way it is worded. Kings reigning “by” God and princes decreeing justice will be the prevailing situation in the Kingdom Age. He has been selecting these kings during the Gospel Age.
Comment: The next verse continues the prophetic aspect. Verse 16 is too strong to apply to current rulers because it implies a good result from these rulers: “By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.” This seems to be a future condition. A Scripture that comes to mind about “kings” in the Kingdom is Jesus’ being “King of kings [the Little Flock]” and “Lord of lords.”
Reply: Especially if we get away from the limited application to Israel. Do not forget that the Book of Proverbs is in an Old Testament time slot circa 1000 BC. The only nation God recognized at that time was Israel, meaning that the other nations were in darkness. The Law of God did benefit Israel and raise the standard. The other nations did not have God’s Law, so how could their princes and kings rule with equity?
Prov. 8:16 By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.
The word “all” indicates that verses 15 and 16 are prophetic. Isaiah 11:2–5 shows the qualifications of Jesus to be King—that is why he will be the blessed King of the next age.
He has listened to the voice of wisdom, he has listened to the counsel of God, he has learned the methods of His Father, etc. “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; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.” The point is that wisdom was not inherently his. It was the Father’s wisdom that educated and prepared Jesus for his earthly ministry, and the earthly ministry was the schooling of discipline for him. We cannot imagine the Logos having hard circumstances. That is why the holy angels could have thought at one time that God showed favoritism to Jesus in his elevated role as an archangel. But seeing Jesus’ earthly ministry and what he went through, the angels knew that he was worthy—”Worthy is the Lamb to receive honor!” This was a lesson the angels needed. Otherwise, they would have continued to see Jesus’ role as favoritism—even though God has the right to show favoritism. As Emperor of the universe, He can make a vessel the way He wants. Jesus’ earthly ministry manifested that he has personal merit and worth.
“By me [God’s wisdom pictured as a woman giving counsel] princes rule …” Similarly in verse 7, but from a negative standpoint, a sinful woman gives wrong counsel that demeans even unto Second Death. In Proverbs 8 God’s wisdom personified as a woman elevates, raising one higher and higher unto life. Thus there are the two contrasts and then the picture changes to Jesus later.
Comment: Isaiah 1:26 talks about restoring judges in the Kingdom: “And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counselors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city.”
Comment: Then verses 15 and 16 have been considering future rulership from the standpoint of the Church class and the Ancient Worthies and on down the hierarchy to the assistants of the Ancient Worthies.
Reply: That is right. There are gradations of office: kings, rulers (other translations), princes, nobles. “All the judges of the earth” would be the Ancient Worthies. The “kings” will be the Church, with Jesus as the head.
Prov. 8:17 I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.
“I love them that love me.” God loves those who are attracted to the true wisdom—to His wisdom, which is personified here as a woman. This reminds us of the Scripture “Hearken, O daughter, and … incline thine ear; … So shall the King greatly desire thy beauty …” (Psa. 45:10,11). The willingness to be guided by Scripture brings its reward. Wisdom abides with those who embrace it.
“Those that seek me early shall find me.” “Early” means earnestly (Masoretic), diligently (RSV). “Early” is good in the sense of not procrastinating in giving one’s life to the Lord. The earlier one gives his life to the Lord, the better—although sometimes those who do so early in life are not benefited because it is not accompanied with a sufficiency of zeal, earnestness, and diligence. Therefore, the thought of earnestly or diligently may be more correct. “Those that seek me earnestly shall find me” shows that the heart condition is conducive to receiving proportionate wisdom. We will be rewarded in proportion to our zeal and desire.
In a country not favorable to Christianity, one might have a Bible. In this circumstance, if one diligently applied himself to know the Lord as intimately as possible, he could be a saint—without all the details of present Harvest truth. Environment does have a tremendous effect, but if one earnestly wants to do God’s will, he will be rewarded and sustained. During the Dark Ages Christians made their calling and election sure with little truth; isolated individuals today can do the same. Therefore, it is wrong to say that one must know present truth (the Lord’s secret presence, Pastor Russell is “that servant,” etc.) in order to be of the Little Flock. However, in this country it is essential to know present truth. Surroundings and circumstances are taken into consideration in determining the degree of understanding required for an individual. “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” (Luke 12:48) is a principle that would apply.
“For whosoever hath [faithfully used], to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance” (Matt. 13:12). A Christian is required to use his talents, but one should properly assess those talents and not imagine a talent that does not exist.
“Those that seek me earnestly shall find me” is a happifying, very consoling statement to one who is in dark surroundings.
Prov. 8:18 Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.
This is certainly true of wisdom for the Little Flock in the future. If this verse is considered in the present life, it would be in the embryonic sense. Those to whom the Lord has revealed His Word and truth are indeed richer than the wealthy of the world who abound in temporal goods. By faith we even have more honor now, for God has honored us by showing the way to repentance and consecration. In the next life, however, the riches and the honor will be superlative for the Little Flock.
Comment: Matthew 6:33 reads, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Comment: This is jumping ahead, but the word “inherit” in verse 21 indicates a future aspect for verses 18–21.
Prov. 8:19 My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.
Imagine living in the mansion Jesus has prepared for those who love him. “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). That place will be very beautiful and luxurious just from a “natural spiritualized” standpoint.
The fruit of wisdom is better than fine gold and choice silver. Riches, honor, etc., are the end benefit of those who receive the counsel of wisdom earnestly, diligently, and consistently unto death. The end compensation is better than anything this earth has to offer.
“… and my produce [is better] than choice silver” (Masoretic). “… what I yield surpasses choice silver” (NIV). A rich earthly inheritance contains many temporal goods, but plenty can bring much sorrow. Under ideal situations, however, the rich are able to do almost anything they want: get the best lawyer, go to the best college, travel extensively, etc. But with fallen man, riches do not bring the happiness, joy, and good, righteous benefits that true wisdom does. “Fruit” and “produce” suggest many, many benefits. Consider travel.
God, in His station with the divine nature, can see everything and be, as it were, everywhere. This shows that the higher up one goes in the spiritual realm, the greater the benefits, and the divine nature is incomprehensible to us now. What we have now are trinkets and toys by comparison.
Prov. 8:20 I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment:
Wisdom is right doing, righteousness.
Wisdom leads “in the midst of the paths [plural] of judgment.”
Prov. 8:21 That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.
“Substance” is real riches, something really solid, enduring. “… we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18).
Comment: “Substance” fits in with “durable riches” in verse 18. “… and I will fill their treasures.”
Comment: “And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, … with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life” (Mark 10:29,30).
Reply: Mark 10:29 refers to the present life, which is nothing compared with the future life.
Comment: It is helpful that the newer versions (NIV and RSV) have a paragraph break before verse 22, indicating a new subject.
Comment: Scoffield says in the KJV that Proverbs 8: 22–36 can refer to nothing less than the eternal Son of God.
Prov. 8:22 The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
Basically speaking, the subject matter of this chapter is wisdom, and the chapter starts with wisdom personified as a woman. We know that wisdom was only personified in previous verses and that Jesus was not being referred to because of the pronouns “her” and “she.” Incidentally, it is interesting that some women’s rights groups have recently started to use this chapter in the Septuagint with the Greek word for wisdom, sophia, and they think of God as possibly being female. They base this on the personification of wisdom as a woman. Certainly this is about the wisdom of God, but God Himself is not being personified.
“The LORD [Jehovah] possessed me [the Logos] in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.” Why would it be incongruous to say that Jehovah possessed wisdom in the beginning of His way? Because God is “from everlasting to everlasting.” He never had a beginning—there was never a beginning of His way. “Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen” (Psa. 41:13). “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” (Psa. 90:2). “Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the LORD” (Psa. 106:48).
Verse 22 refers to Jesus, and not to the attribute of wisdom. With this verse, the attribute is changed to a person—here wisdom is personalized in Jesus. “Christ Jesus … is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30). It is important to see that Jesus, in his person, exemplifies most accurately his Father, who is the source of all wisdom. Thus in Proverbs 8 there is a change with verse 22. Of late, however, many do not want to admit Jesus is personalized here because of the Trinity.
Protestants 150 years ago thought differently, but now many see that if verse 22 refers to Jesus, there is a problem with the Trinity. Therefore, Evangelicals today are reluctant to admit verse 22 refers to Jesus, whereas Evangelicals in the past did have this view.
Comment: Scoffield, who wrote about 100 years ago and was a staunch Trinitarian, emphatically stated that verse 22 is not just the personification of an attribute of God or the will of God expressed for man, but that it is a distinct reference to Christ.
Today Evangelicals are modifying their thinking on this verse because the Trinity is the one precious doctrine that they consider to be their touchstone—they regard the Trinity the way we regard the doctrine of the Ransom. More and more they are rallying around that doctrine as a litmus test to distinguish between a cult and a recognized Christian.
Comment: The NIV and the RSV are good for verse 22. “The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old” (NIV). “The LORD created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his works of old” (RSV).
Reply: That is right, for in the Hebrew the word “possessed” means “brought forth,” which is the same as “created” or “birth.”
Comment: If God is from everlasting to everlasting, then obviously His personal attributes would also be from everlasting to everlasting and would not have a beginning or be created or come into being later.
Comment: The thought of bringing the Logos forth would harmonize with the New Testament statement that he was the first or “only begotten Son” of God. “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18).
Reply: Yes, he was “the beginning of the creation of God,” the first created intelligent sentient being. “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God” (Rev. 3:14).
“In the beginning of his way.” What “beginning”?
Comment: The beginning of His creative works, but not necessarily the beginning of all “physical” creation in the heavenly realm.
Notice Genesis 1:1, “In the [a] beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
Comment: The Earth was there, but it had not been prepared for human habitation. It was empty, without form, and covered with water.
At the time Genesis opens up the scene, the Earth was there, but it was not anything like the Earth today. “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep” (Gen. 1:2). There were no mountains and no soil, and the Earth was completely covered with water.
Q: Would “In the beginning of his way, before his works of old” be saying the same thing twice, or do these expressions refer to two separate things?
A: Yes and no. First, we need a starting point. When we look at the universe, we see celestial planets and suns, and the Earth is a part of the Milky Way, etc. This is a physical creation, but God has an abode that is not composed of physical things. His abode is all spiritual or ethereal, but very real—in fact, more real than the terrestrial. In heaven there are spiritual counterparts for our trees, gardens, rivers, birds, beings, etc. God does not live in a vacuum. The “beginning” here in verse 22 would not pertain to God’s heaven because that existed contemporaneous with God Himself. He occupied some place from everlasting to everlasting. Jesus was a subsequent creation—he had a beginning.
Therefore, we must lower our sights down to the physical, and with the physical we see other worlds. For several reasons we know that at present Earth is the only planet habitable for man. One reason is that the angels sang for joy when they beheld the creation of the first tiny human being down here (Job 38:7). And Earth is the only place Jesus will ever come to die. Isn’t it logical that Jesus would come to the first habitable planet in God’s entire physical universe?—and not just in this universe but in all universes. The fact Jesus came here indicates that events on Earth are the practical beginning of His plan. Jesus thus becomes the example to us and to all the inhabitable realms God has in mind for the future. (All stars and solar systems have a name. To us the number is infinite, but to God it is finite.
“In the beginning of his way” would pertain to planet Earth only, for at present the other planets are neither inhabited nor habitable.
Comment: Verse 23 makes that plain: “from the beginning, or ever the earth was.”
Reply: Yes. The focus in verse 22 is not on the entire physical realm but on Earth and the plans God has for it.
The Book of Proverbs was written about 1000 BC, but the setting of Genesis 1:1 is at least 48,000 years ago. There are seven Creative Days, each being 7,000 years long, and we are in the end of the seventh. Therefore, in Genesis 1:1, when the scene opens, it is not telling how long planet Earth existed. Rather, the Earth had already been in existence for “X” number of years at the time of Genesis 1:1. The Earth was void, but it was there. The opening of the scene is the beginning of the seven Creative Days. In summary, verse 22 is like Genesis 1:1.
Q: So “the beginning of his way” would be the beginning of the ordering of Earth’s surface, whereas before this, Earth was a void. Nevertheless, God made that “void” out of chaos; He made something out of chaos. That “beginning,” that work, is referred to in verse 22.
Prov. 8:23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
“Everlasting” (Hebrew olam) means age-lasting. It could not literally be “everlasting” because God was alone at one time. The Logos “was set up from age-lasting.”
Comment: The RSV reads, “Ages ago I was set up.”
Reply: Yes, Jesus had a beginning a long time ago, but he was not from eternity as God is. Through a long process the Earth was made habitable. Genesis 1 tells us about the ordering of the surface of the Earth, and not about the actual creation of the planet itself.
“Or ever the earth was,” that is, before the process of ordering Earth’s surface began. The Earth was covered with water for a long unknown period of time before the process began. “Or ever the earth[‘s surface] was [formed]” is the thought.
Jesus is the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8). “Foundation” needs to be explained, for there are several kinds. First, the Earth had to be made habitable (that is a foundation). Before man was created, it was made habitable for amoebas, fish, birds, animals, etc. And even earlier, God had to use His generating power on the surface of the Earth to prepare plants, seeds, vegetation, etc. All of this was a process.
Comment: God “hath chosen us [the Church] in him [Jesus] before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4).
Reply: Yes, the Church was purposed or predestined as a class. The idea of The Christ dates from the foundation of the world, Jesus being first and then the body members.
Q: Wasn’t Jesus with God for a long unspecified period of time prior to the ordering of Earth’s surface?
A: We are only trying to pinpoint the minimum amount of time that Jesus existed. When did matter start? We can go back and back and back. Just when the Logos was inserted into this arrangement, there is no way of knowing. He was “slain” before the foundation of the world, before the process began for the ordering of Earth’s surface. This statement about the Lamb also proves that God had a well-thought-out plan before it ever went into operation.
Comment: John 1:1–3 reads, “In the [a] beginning was the Word, and the Word was with [the] God, and the Word was [a] God. The same was in the [a] beginning with [the] God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
Reply: John 1:1 is definitely a reference to Genesis 1:1. The same type of language is used.
Comment: In other words, John 1:1 pertains to the ordering of Earth’s surface, and not to everything in the entire universe.
Reply: Yes. God had a universe of His own beforehand. Subsequently a physical universe was created billions and billions of years ago. With telescopes we see things that happened in the distant past as if they are happening today. Hence the preparation of the universe took place a very long time ago. The angels were a creation. Jesus was the first of the spirit beings to be created, and the creation of other spirit beings ensued, before the creation of a human being, Adam. Man has been on Earth for only 6,000+ years (less than one Creative Day), and now the Earth is close to being filled. What about the angels? They had a beginning, and they could have been created in a relatively short period of time.
Therefore, just as we would reason that since God has not created the Earth in vain but to be inhabited, so the other planets throughout God’s universe were not created in vain either, but to be inhabited. We are only in the very beginning of seeing physical beings on different planets. How many angels there are we do not know, but there is a definite number. If human beings are close to filling the Earth in less than 7,000 years, then it is possible that the angelic beings were developed in a relatively short period of time. But that does not mean that other angels cannot be created in the future. It does not mean that down here other human beings will not be born in the Kingdom. It will take eternity to fill all of God’s universe with a planet in each solar system. Therefore, God’s work does not cease with the creation of physical beings down here. We would reason that the angels, who have a definite number now, may be increased to a larger number in the future. As the universe enlarges, the population of human and spirit beings can increase.
We are just in the beginning of God’s plan, which is here on planet Earth. All the stars and universes have been named by him in advance, indicating He has a specific well-thoughtout plan that will extend way into the future. Uninhabitable planets will be made hospitable for man. Why was Earth called “Earth”? Because the first physical being ever created was Adam, whose name means “red clay,” ie, “earth.” This planet is called “Earth” because human beings were first created here.
Comment: When God was alone, He hurled the planets into their orbits. He worked prior to the creation of Jesus. “For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else” (Isa. 45:18).
Reply: “Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and [now] I work” (John 5:17).
Elsewhere in Scripture God says, “I alone….” This suggests there was a time when God was alone, and He was doing things.
Comment: Job 28:23–27 reads, “God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof. For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven; To make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth the waters by measure. When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder: Then did he see it, and declare it; he prepared it, yea, and searched it out.”
Reply: In regard to the “searching,” when we consider man himself—all the component parts of a human being—the thought is that God searched out the function of each part, the protection of each. In the genetic makeup, He provided for contingencies and emergencies, one example being how the human mechanism would fight disease. Mechanisms are implanted in the human being that God has thoroughly thought out.
In Proverbs 8:22 the Logos is brought in to show wisdom in a practical sense. If you were to make the personification of wisdom into the reality of a perfect being, the result would be Jesus, because he was the closest to the Father. At the time of his creation he represented all the qualities that the Father has (except immortality, which he obtained at his ascension).
Prov. 8:24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.
When we read about the Creative Days, using the Vailian theory or the Pastor’s comments, we find that when the Earth was void, without form, and covered with water, the mountains were formed from materials deposited underneath that water. Those underwater materials rose up and became mountains. As the mantle, the undersurface of Earth buckled, the mountains began to appear. They protruded from the water surface. When they protruded, another thing happened. The mountains not only came up, but the water above them shot down into receptacles—huge oceans, each having boundaries beyond which they could not go. Some mountains are still growing, and some are sinking, as in the islands in the sea.
Later on in this chapter, there will be some good verses to shatter the Trinity idea. Trinitarians weigh how a certain word is translated here: amen, amon, aman, etc. The word has about ten different meanings depending on the vowels. The consonants are the same, but the way it is pronounced and the vowels determine the meaning.
Prov. 8:25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:
“Before the mountains were settled [shaped] …” It is not important for us to know what date the Logos was created, for time outside of Earth’s framework is meaningless to us.
Planet Earth is spinning over a thousand miles an hour, and we are oblivious to the speed; we do not even see a blade of grass move. Times; motions; the rocking back and forth of the undulation of Earth’s axis, which goes through the North and South Poles; Earth’s traveling through space in an orbit at the same time it is moving around another celestial pole, Pleiades—all of these factors render God’s timetable and dates of creation in outer space meaningless to us except as recorded in Scripture pertaining to Earth’s Creative Days.
Verse 25 is saying that Jesus, as the Logos, had a preexistence before coming to Earth.
Comment: The creation of the Logos occurred in Genesis 1:2 before the last sentence: “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. [The Logos was created.] And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” When Jesus is referred to as “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,” it doesn’t mean he was actually slain at that time. He first had to be created as a spirit being, made
into a human being, grow up into manhood, die on the Cross, be buried, come forth from the grave, and then go up to heaven and apply the merit of his sacrifice. But in God’s mind it had already happened. We sometimes get a little fuzzy as to what was in God’s mind versus the finished product. God is telling us He had the Logos in His mind beforehand, and then He created Jesus afterwards.
Prov. 8:26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.
RSV: “Before he had made the earth with its fields, or the first of the dust of the world.”
Q: In Genesis 1:1, do we change “the” to “a” because there was more than one beginning?
A: Yes. There is no article in the Hebrew, so we have the liberty to use “a.” Based on context and the comparison of Scripture with Scripture, the translators (or we) can supply either “the” or “a.”
Comment: So much lies ahead for us to learn if we are faithful. “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (1 Cor. 13:12).
Reply: It is awesome. To qualify to be one of the Little Flock requires much development and zeal. Few will make it, relatively speaking, but we must have the hope.
Comment: Even to be of the Great Company, we must make great progress and be overcomers.
Reply: When one dies and is given a new body, that means he or she cannot sin anymore. Have we, even if we should attain to just the Great Company, developed a character that would, if put in a perfect body, not sin? God knows. To get eternal life beyond the grave is a wonderful treasure because one will then live forever. Mankind will come forth from the tomb, but they must pass a test at the end of the Millennium to get life. Until they go through the Little Season, they will not get life as the holy angels and never die. The point for us now is that we must RUN. We are living in the Laodicean period when the luxuries, lifestyles, and conveniences are very dangerous for us as New Creatures. The tests are so subtle at this time that those who get the crown now, without being burned at the stake or put into dungeons, will be accredited that they would be faithful under those circumstances. The very end of the age will see persecuting experiences, however.
Jesus said, “A rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. How hardly shall they that be rich enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:23,24). Comparatively speaking, we are rich today in every way. This superabundance is very trying to us. How joyous and uninhibited will be the fellowship of those who make the Little Flock! To KNOW that you have been faithful will be joy superlative. And then as each one dies and comes forth, what a joyous fellowship! The cup will be drunk with the wine of JOY!
Prov. 8:27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:
“I” refers to the Logos. What “heavens” did God prepare? The heavens in Earth’s atmosphere. Here the focus of attention is on Earth and its heavens. There are different spheres: the ionosphere, the troposphere, etc.
Comment: Solomon, in his prayer, spoke of the “heaven of heavens” where God dwells (1 Kings 8:27). And Deuteronomy 10:14 reads, “Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD’S thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.”
From Earth’s perspective, there are different heavens, but the average person thinks of the “heavens” as being just the other solar systems, of which he can see only a fragment. We are in the Milky Way galaxy. We are in a particular universe in which the sun is a controlling element, for the planets revolve around it.
Comment: Genesis 1:6–8 explains how God “prepared the heavens.” “And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.”
“He set a compass upon the face of the depth.” This is a reference to Genesis 1:1,2. “In the [a] beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” The Seven Days of Creation tell about the ordering of the face of the globe to make it habitable for man. Notice that Genesis 1:1 does not say when God created the planet itself—the mass of material that comprises the Earth: water, minerals, etc. The Seven Creative Days started when God began to change the face of the planet as it had existed for unknown ages—from being void, without form, and covered entirely with water.
The Creative Days start with Genesis 1:3. “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” The light existed prior to the Creative Days; there was a sun previously, but it could not penetrate the mass of mineralized water to shine on the surface of the Earth. According to the Vailian theory, the rings containing the heavy minerals collapsed first.
Since we know the seventh day is 7,000 years long, reason would tell us each of the six preceding Creative Days was also 7,000 years long. Therefore, the process took 7,000 years in the Second Creative Day for just the light to come through. As the heavy minerals collapsed on the Earth from the rings, a thinner vapor of water remained, which light penetrated. However, even though there was sunlight, the sun could not be discerned as an orb; its transit could not be seen.
“And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day” (Gen. 1:4,5).
(Gen. 1:6) “And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters …” (Gen. 1:6). The “firmament” or atmosphere was sandwiched between water above and waters covering the surface of the Earth: water, firmament, water. During the Second Creative Day, therefore, the waters were separated. The space in between, composed of air, was called “firmament.” At present three fourths of Earth’s surface is water; hence there is more water than land. Back there the entire surface of the Earth was water.
Q: When Proverbs 8:28 says, “He established the clouds above,” would that refer to the waters above that were separated from the waters on Earth’s surface?
A: Verse 28 is now going into finer detail. Eventually moisture came up from the Earth in cloud formation. But up until Noah’s day a veil of water remained that was not discerned. The Apostle Peter alludes to this when he mentions the “scoffers” of our day and compares them to the scoffers in Noah’s day, who could not see the water and did not believe the Flood would come because it had not rained for the 1,656 years that man had been upon the Earth (Gen. 2:5,6). Peter said, “… there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished” (2 Pet. 3:3–6). The vapor ring of water cascaded down at the time of Noah’s Flood. Many aspects of Isaac Vail’s theory are reasonable; it is the best theory for harmonizing science with Scripture. The rings of Saturn and Jupiter are a living example of the Vailian theory. As the outer ring slows down in relationship to the rotating globe, it cascades—but to the polar regions of the planet beneath. Hence the ring spreads out like a canopy and collapses at the North and South Poles. That is what happened in Noah’s day.
“… when he set a compass upon the face of the depth.” Gravitation pulls toward the center, and it tends to make a globe or sphere. We see this principle in water droplets or when we blow soap bubbles. The word “compass” is interesting here in verse 27 because it shows that scientific and mathematical calculations were used. A compass involves trigonometry, and there is a relationship between the center of a compass and a circle. 2pr or pD is the measurement of the outer circumference of a compass, but the compass has a center point. In other words, there is a mathematical relationship between the center and the outer circumference. Spherical trigonometry is three-dimensional, whereas plane geometry is two-dimensional. With both, gravity pulls toward the center.
Comment: The NAS says, “He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep.” It sounds as though there is a shape and then a circle inscribed within the shape.
Reply: When we want to draw a circle, we first have to determine where to put the point of the compass. A lot of consideration would be given to the point, especially when we think in larger terms. Therefore, God first determined the center, and then the sphere coalesced to that center. Jesus was there at that time.
Prov. 8:28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:
The clouds above came subsequently. Up to Noah’s day, the Earth was watered by a mist or dew that came up from the ground—there was no rain. Nevertheless, the moisture coming up created clouds. So these verses all pertain to an early stage of the ordering of Earth’s surface.
Comment: Many brethren take the New Testament Scripture that without Jesus nothing was made that was made. Of course everything hinges on what the words “without” and “nothing” mean. But Proverbs 8 is very clear: When GOD prepared the heavens, when HE set the compass, when HE established the clouds, when HE strengthened the fountains of the deep, the Logos was there. This shows that Jesus was really a student of the Father’s handiwork. That is why God is called the CREATOR.
Reply: Yes, and there are other Scriptures to be considered. A comment made earlier bears repeating here:
Comment: When God was alone, He hurled the planets into their orbits. He worked prior to the creation of Jesus. “For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else” (Isa. 45:18).
When we consider the Father’s creative works, we feel very small. Just think! An eternity of time existed up to just the beginning of the ordering of Earth’s surface for habitation by man. God has named every solar system and its planets. Once a name was given, we know He had a purpose. Earth is the first inhabited planet, so in one sense we are at the very beginning of God’s work. He FIRST made a man HERE. But Earth’s ordering was at the start of a previous eternity of existence. In fact, God existed alone for an eternity even before the Logos was created.
The last half of verse 28 runs into the next verse: “… when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment.” In other words, the seas are confined by shorelines. True, there are high and low tides, but the boundaries are fixed so that the water will go only so far. It took time for the coalescing to fully take place and the boundaries of the oceans to become a fixed law.
Prov. 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:
Q: Job 38:4–6 mentions the “foundations” of the Earth when the Lord questioned Job: “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof.” Wouldn’t these foundations or sockets have been laid prior to the ordering of Earth’s surface, prior to the “foundations” we are reading about in Proverbs 8?
Reply: The Great Pyramid is a symbol of a sphere demonstrated in a form that teaches certain lessons. The four corners are the circle; trigonometrically speaking, they are the symbol of a sphere. That is why the top and base of the Pyramid are the relationship of the center of a circle to its base. That would be seen more easily if the apex of the Pyramid were lowered down to its base. The base has a p value, which is related to a compass point and the circle. Therefore, the Pyramid is a sphere; it is a picture of planet Earth. The exterior of the Pyramid demonstrates physical mathematical relationships pertaining to the natural planet itself. The number of days in a year are indicated, and this is related to the number of days for the Earth to circle the sun. Thus a circle is involved, but expressed as the number of days in a year or a century depending on the perspective. The Pyramid is really a mathematical expression of a sphere.
Comment: The phrase “the squaring of the circle” is the concept of the relationship of the Pyramid to a circle.
Reply: Yes, that is another way of approaching the relationship.
Q: Are the foundations in Job 38:4 the same as the foundations in Proverbs 8:29, or were the Job foundations done earlier?
A: Job 38:4–6 is based on the Pyramid. Those four corner sockets were set purposely to demonstrate planet Earth and its transit around the sun, and the moon transit in another way. The sockets were set at different levels or heights (depths); there are different mathematical lessons depending on how the schematic is made.
When God “gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment,” the boundaries or restrictions were formed by mountains coming to the surface of the water. The land surface underneath the waters buckled, causing the tops of the buckling to protrude through the water surface to form mountains. Then the water drained down from those mountains into hollows called seabeds. Once the buckling occurred and stabilized, receptacles remained into which the water drained. As the waters in these receptacles stabilized, they were oceans or seas.
Comment: Job 38:10,11 (NIV) describes this more poetically: “When I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt.’”
Reply: Yes, the hollows are like bowls with the outer perimeter fixed, and therefore, the seashore is the limiting factor.
Comment: The Third Creative Day accomplished the land and sea limits: “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…. And the evening and the morning were the third day” (Gen. 1:9,10,13).
Reply: Yes, that is when the mountains came forth.
Prov. 8:30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;
NIV: “Then I was the craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence.”
RSV: “Then I was beside him like the Master Workman, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always.”
Those versions have to be amended somewhat.
Comment: The term “Master Workman” does not fit. The Companion Bible says it is used on insufficient grounds.
Reply: In Scripture there are only two instances where the Hebrew word is translated “cunning workman.” When that same word is put in a verbal form or other forms, there are so many instances of its use that an index cannot contain them. Hence certain words in the Bible do not appear in a concordance.
“Then I was by him [in His presence].” That is simple enough. “As one brought up with him.” Notice that “with him” is supplied. Verse 30 should start: “Then I was by him, as one brought up.” To include “with him” would limit the Father’s age. The Father and the Son were not brought up together.
Comment: Even the “as” is supplied. “Then I was by him, one brought up.” There was a time when the Son had a start as a Son and as a nursling.
Comment: The Companion Bible reads, “‘As one brought up with him.’ As one constantly with him or under his constant care, Hebrew amon from root aman. To be constant or steady and denoting (1) the making constant or steady; (2) the being constant, as a river, a house, etc.; (3) stability or faithfulness; (4) the constant and steady care of a nurse; (5) the constant and steady resting of the mind as trusting, relying, or depending upon; (6) of the
constant steady hand required in a cunning workman.” The RSV, rendering this “Master Workman,” does so on insufficient grounds.
Reply: Yes, for several reasons. The word aman, with two consonants, can be translated other ways (such as amon) depending on the vowels used. Almost invariably the thought is “to be built up,” or in the passive voice, “one being built up,” or as the KJV says, “one brought up [as a child, being trained, being educated].” A child goes through a growing process. There was a time when the Father was alone and the Logos hadn’t yet been created.
Therefore, “by him” is good. “With him” incorrectly implies the Father and the Son were always together, which is what the nominal Church teaches in the doctrine of the Trinity.
Comment: When you consider Jesus’ great responsibilities in the future, wouldn’t he be more of a Journeyman? He would have to be a Journeyman, watching the Father and doing whatever the Father was doing, in order to be entrusted with such responsibility in the future?
Reply: The Father is the Creator. He created the heavens. Jesus had nothing to do with the creation of the heavens. The Scriptures tell us that God ALONE did the creating, with His own fingers, with His span. Jesus would not have that capability.
Comment: It appears as though Jesus’ role was more in the latter part of God’s work.
Contextually in Proverbs 8, it is explicit that God did the work and Jesus was there to observe. To say that Jesus was the Master Workman doing everything under God’s direction is not contextually harmonious. Jesus was, in fact, very much involved with some creative works, but not with all of them.
Reply: That is correct.
Comment: The NIV says, “Then I was the craftsman at his side.” Jesus was an apprentice.
While the Father was creating, Jesus was by His side learning and watching. The latter part of the verse which says, “I was daily his delight,” gives the thought that as Jesus was learning, he started hands-on creating, toward the end of the ordering of the Earth.
Reply: Jesus was not involved with any of the creation in the context of Proverbs 8. He was by the Father’s side as a foster child or Son. Aman is used repeatedly as a nursling, which is a baby being brought up. Mordecai “brought up” the child Esther after his brother died—the same Hebrew word is used.
Comment: The Companion Bible says of the phrase “as one brought up” that God is the One doing the bringing up. God is doing the craftsman work, not Jesus.
Reply: Yes, “By myself, by my own fingers, by my own span” is the thought. Jesus himself said, “The Father worketh hitherto, and [now] I work [while I am down here on Earth].” Before that, the Father worked alone.
Q: John 1:3 is obviously referring to the earthly creation when it says that all things were made by the Logos, and that without the Logos was not any thing made that was made. Would it be referring to the fact that Jesus was not actually creating, but that he was there?
Reply: The Diaglott footnote for John 1:1–3 reads: “Ginomai occurs upwards of 700 times in the New Testament, but never in the sense of ‘create.’ Yet in most versions it is translated as though the word was ‘ktizo.’ The word occurs 53 times and signifies to be, to become, to come, to come to pass, also to be done or transacted. All things in the Christian dispensation were done by Christ, namely, by his authority and according to his direction [as a High Priest, eg] and in the ministry committed to his apostles. Nothing has been done without his warrant.” By observing the Father all through the ordering of Earth’s surface and up to the creation of Adam, Jesus learned to appreciate Him and His power. God rested after the creation of man.
Q: Has Jesus been involved in any creation—period?
A: This subject is so large and sublime that it cannot be condensed into a few words. It should be expressed in writing with all Scriptures pertaining to the subject.
Comment: In Proverbs 8, the Logos is young. He is watching His Father work and is very happy with everything he sees. The Father, in turn, gets delight in seeing how much His “little boy” appreciates the work. There is mutual joy. Jesus is happy because of what his Father is doing, and his Father is enthused watching Jesus’ reaction. We see this type of response with our own children.
Prov. 8:31 Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.
Comment: Regarding “I was daily his delight” in verse 30, the word “his” is supplied. It is as though Jesus was daily delighted to see these new things coming about, and he always rejoiced at every creation. Then verse 31 says, “rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth,” showing that Jesus was there as the Earth became habitable.
Reply: Yes, things progressed and then climaxed with the creation of man, at which time the morning stars, that is, Jesus and Lucifer, were joyous. “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:7). But Lucifer was joyous for only a short time. He quickly thought about what he could do with the wonderful human creation, and shortly thereafter he deflected.
Comment: The verse also says, “And my delights were with the sons of men,” showing the other angels rejoiced as well.
Reply: The angels sang twice: (1) at man’s creation, and (2) when Jesus was born on the human plane.
Comment: When the words aman and amon were discussed from the standpoint of different vowels with the same consonants making different words, I looked up the words in the back of Young’s. The context of verse 30 uses passive voice for “Then I was by him, as one brought up.” According to Young’s that would be amon, but when aman is considered—and the translators have the option of supplying either set of vowels—the passive voice is beautiful too. “Then I was by him, as one nursed.” That is a very sweet thought of the Father nurturing the Son.
Reply: Yes, the nursing aspect, used elsewhere in Scripture, carries the thought of being young and being taught. Normally, an apprentice does a little work himself while he is learning. An apprentice has hands-on experience while he is being taught.
Comment: It does seem as if there is some transition here as regards Jesus’ role in creation. Genesis 1:25 says, “God made the beasts of the earth,” showing they were His work; but then in connection with the creation of man, the declaration is made, “Let us make man …” This latter clause seems to imply some action on the part of the Son.
Reply: That plurality is a form of royalty. In ancient times the king did not refer to himself as “I,” but used “we.” It showed a plenitude of power and was rhetorical in a sense.
The following are examples of how aman is translated in Scripture (remember, the vowels are supplied arbitrarily by the translators, so what Young’s shows as amon can be aman and vice versa):
Numbers 11:12 —”nursing father.” “Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers?”
Ruth 4:16—”nurse.” “And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it.”
2 Kings 10:5—”bringers up.” “And he that was over the house, and he that was over the city, the elders also, and the bringers up of the children, sent to Jehu, saying, We are thy servants, and will do all that thou shalt bid us; we will not make any king: do thou that which is good in thine eyes.”
Esther 2:7—”brought up.” “And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter.”
Isaiah 49:23—”nursing fathers.” “And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.”
In all of these examples, the context necessitates the thought of “nursing,” “nurse,” or “being brought up.” The translation depends on whether active or passive voice is being used. In verse 30 Jesus is the object; he is the one being nursed or taught. The One doing the nursing is the Heavenly Father. Aman has the thought of being steadfast, being established, believed, trusted, etc., but “being nourished” is the basic thought.
Comment: The active role in verse 30 is what God is doing. Aman there shows what God did in the role of a nurse to the Logos. Similarly, the previous verses show what God did.
The King James scholars were every bit as knowledgeable about the Greek and Hebrew languages as any scholar today. One lexicon, whose author is now deceased, says aman means “to prop, to sustain, to stay, to support, to carry a child.” Modern scholars are divided into two schools. One thinks Jesus was the maker of the world; the other thinks Jesus was a Son or foster child. We believe Proverbs 8:30 is speaking about a child who was being nursed or brought up—his early days when he was created.
“Then” in verse 30 means “at that time”; it is not a transitional “next.”
Comment: “Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth.” The Logos was rejoicing to see what the Father had made in the habitable part of the Earth. “And my delights were with the sons of men” would show that he was there when the Father created Adam, but he did not make Adam.
Reply: The primary purpose of Proverbs 8 is to show (1) how wise Jesus his, (2) something about his upbringing, and (3) how close he was to the Father. The New Testament emphasizes Jesus, but in the Gospel of John he repeatedly makes such statements as “As the Father taught me, so I speak.” Jesus spoke the Father’s words, not his own. He expressed what the Father had told him to say. Nevertheless, Jesus is the High Priest of our profession, the captain of our salvation, the Head of the Church, etc. Therefore, by obeying Jesus, we are obeying the Father. Jesus was the image of his Father in characteristics, mannerisms, etc., as well as “physically.”
Q: What is the context of Colossians 1:16?
A: We will take that up the next lesson.