Who is being referred to by the term “Wisdom” in the following verses?
The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; — Proverbs 8:22 – 30
Although some insist these verses refer to wisdom as an attribute, a closer look at the passage with its surrounding context proves these verses to be talking about Jesus, who is the Wisdom of God. Notice how Jesus is referred to as the wisdom of God in the following verses:
Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute — Luke 11:49 (Compare with Matthew 23:34)
But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. ….But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. — 1 Corinthians 1:24, 30
With this in mind, please notice how in Proverbs Wisdom is spoken of as:
- The giver of life and death (Proverbs 8:35–36)
- The giver of wealth (3:16; 8:18–21) and security (1:33)
- The source of wisdom, counsel, understanding and strength. (8:14)
- The source of government, rulership and authority (8:15)
- The source of happiness (3:13, 18)
- The source of revelation (8:6–10, 32, 34)
- The One who is to be sought after, found, and called (1:28; 8:17)
- The one who loves and is to be loved (8:17)
- The one who calls to men and seeks for them (8:4)
- The one who leads in the way (3:17; 8:20,32)
Furthermore, in Proverbs 8:30 we read:
Then I was by him, as a master workman: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; (RV)
Contextually speaking, this is referring to the time of creation. Here is the context again:
When he established the heavens, I was there: when he set a circle upon the face of the deep: When he made firm the sides above: when the fountains of the deep became strong: When he gave to the sea its bound, that the waters should not transgress his commandment: when he marked out the foundations of the earth — Proverbs 8:27-29
The point of the text is that during the work of creation, I, Wisdom was there as a “master workman” or as the word means “architect, skilled workman”. Notice what we read later on in Proverbs 30:
Who hath ascended up into heaven, and descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in his garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou knowest? — Proverbs 30:4
Again, while making reference to the work of creation, the author attributes creation to two Individuals and identifies Them by relationship as Father and Son.
Hence, according to this text, the master workman that was with God during the creation is His Son. This is confirmed by multiple references in the New Testament (Hebrews 1:2; Ephesians 3:9, John 1:1-3, Colossians 1: 16,17). The context of the book of Proverbs, especially chapter 8, and the larger context of the bible proves to us that this wisdom spoken about in Proverbs 8 is the Son of God.
The above should be sufficient to prove the point. However, in case it is not, please read the following:
We will only consider the first five verses of chapter 9:
I would like to remind you of the parable Jesus gave in Mathew 22, about the marriage feast the King prepared for his son:
The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants saying tell them which are bidden, behold, I have prepared my diner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready, come unto the marriage”.
The parable goes on to say they rejected and killed the servants, the king sent his armies to destroy them, and invited other people.
Understanding this parable is very relevant to understanding the first few verses of Proverbs 9. Of course, the wedding represents the unity of humanity and Divinity, the killing of the beasts represents Christ’s sacrifice, the wedding garment represents the character that all must possess who shall be accounted fit guests for the wedding. This parable illustrates the gospel invitation, its rejection by the Jewish people, and the call of mercy to the Gentiles.
Also keep in mind the principle found in Hebrews 3:6 and 1 Timothy 3:15 teaching us that we are the house of God and the church of God.
With this in mind, here are the first 5 verses of Proverbs 9:
Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars: She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table. She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city, Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.
Verses 1-3 sums up the whole gospel:
Wisdom hath builded her house: Jesus (wisdom) has built his church (house).
she hath hewn out her seven pillars: Pillars are the foundation of the building. Seven represents completeness. Jesus has laid down a solid foundation for His church
She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine: Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice, He laid down His life
she hath also furnished her table: all things are ready, the work has been done; respond to the invitation and come to the “marriage”
She hath sent forth her maidens: Jesus has sent forth his disciples and prophets to tell us the good news so we may put on the garment of righteousness.
she crieth upon the highest places of the city: highest places refer to places of worship (Ezekiel 20:40). Jesus spoke openly in the synagogue and where the Jews resorted (John 18:20); He also cried out during the feast saying, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” — John 7:37
In verses 4-5, Jesus is addressing the ”simple people” (6612 – open minded). To be simple means you are meek and learnable like babes (see Mathew 5:5).
Jesus (wisdom) is calling all simple people to come to Him. We read in Matthew 11:25 ”At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.”
He is offering to give them wisdom and understanding, and He (Jesus) is telling them how they can receive it, “Come eat of my bread and drink of my wine” v5.
Compare this with Matthew 26:26-28.
Take, eat; this is my body. … Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
In verse 5 of Proverbs 9 we read the same terminology and invitation Jesus spoke out in the previous verse and the following:
He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. — John 6:56
As you can see, Proverbs 9:1-5 confirms what we discovered in chapter 8. The author is speaking about the Son of God under the title of wisdom.
Going back to our original point, Proverbs 8:22-25 speak directly about the Son of God and clearly tell us that He was brought forth, possessed and set up in the days of eternity.