The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

My Notes on Wisdom 7:7-11 for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 8, 2012

Background:The Book of Wisdom is generally divided into three major sections (see the Introduction to the Book of Wisdom in the NAB). Addison G. Wright, S.S., in his Commentary on Wisdom in the Jerome Biblical Commentary offers a different major structure, dividing the work into two major sections (e.g., Wis 1:1-11:1 and Wis 11:2-19:22). He divides the first major section (1:1-11:1) into two subsections (1:1-6:21 and 6:22-11:1).  He see the first subsection (1:1-6:21) as concentrically arranged(concerning which, see the outline here at the beginning of my post on Wisdom 1:1-7 here). He likewise sees part of the second subsection (6:22-11:1) as concentrically arranged. That part consists of 7:1-8:21 and is Solomon’s speech concerning wisdom. Wright arranges this section as follows:

A1) Solomon is as mortal as any other man (7:1-6).

B1) Solomon prayed for Wisdom holding all natural riches as naught; yet with Wisdom came countless riches in which Solomon rejoiced, for she (Wisdom) is, as it were, their mother and queen (7:7-12).

C1) Solomon prayed that he might speak of Wisdom to others (7:13-22a).

D) Wisdom’s essence and dignity (7:22b-8:1).

C2) Solomon searched for Wisdom, its riches and blessings (8:2-8).

B2) Solomon searched for wisdom to be his counselor and comforter (8:9-16).

A2) There is immortality in kinship with Wisdom, a sheer gift from God (8:17-21).

The significance of the parallels can only be touched upon here:

A1 (7:1-6 and A2 (8:17-21). The mortal Solomon by nature shares the lot of all human beings: breathing the common air, dwelling on the kindred earth, crying as is common to new-born babies, dying (A1). But there is immortality in kinship with Wisdom. Wisdom is not natural, rather, it is a gift, a grace, from God (A2).

B1 (7:7-12) and B2 (8:9-16). Wisdom (prudence) as a leader and mother holds sway over and gives real meaning to earthly riches and accomplishments etc. She is to be preferred before scepter and throne, health and beauty (B1). With Wisdom, Solomon, though a young king (leader), could become keen in judgement, thus becoming esteemed before elders, and a marvel to to other rulers, governing (leading) peoples and nations. What he has inherited from mother Wisdom he could leave to those after him (B2).

C1 (7:13-22a) and C2 (8:2-8). The treasure and riches of Wisdom Solomon wished to share with others: prudence, knowledge of crafts and existing things, times, natural phenomenon, etc. (C1). Wisdom is a wise instructor, giving understanding of all things, all that God has created. She is of more value to man than all other riches. None in the world is a better craftsman than she. She knows the times; the things of the past and the things to come.

D (7:22:b-8:1). The hinge around which the parallels are built.

Wis 7:7  Wherefore I wished, and understanding was given me: and I called upon God, and the spirit of wisdom came upon me:

Solomon’s origin was like that of all other men (Wis 7:1-6) and, therefore, like all other mortal kings (Wis 7:5-6). Realizing this, Solomon prays for something better, that he might be set apart from other kings and rulers (see Wis 8:10-11, 14). His prayer was answered. According to 1 Kings 3:5-15 Solomon’s prayer takes place in the context of a dream/vision (see also 2 Chron 1:7-12). See also Solomon’s prayer for Wisdom in Wisdom 9:1-18. I should note that the section of Wisdom outlined above (Wis 7:1-8:21) prepares for that prayer.

Wis 7:8  And I preferred her before kingdoms and thrones, and esteemed riches nothing in comparison of her.

Concerning Solomon’s preference see 1 Kings 3:11. Solomon knew that if he chose Wisdom over kingdoms and thrones he would hold sway over nations and peoples, and cause other kings to marvel (see Wis 8:9-16).

Wis 7:9  Neither did I compare unto her any precious stone: for all gold, in comparison of her, is as a little sand; and silver, in respect to her, shall be counted as clay.

This verse continues the end of the previous verse: and (I) esteemed riches nothing in comparison of her.  Neither did I compare unto her any precious stone, & c. See 8:5~And if riches be desired in life, what is richer than wisdom, which maketh all things? Solomon preferred Wisdom to kingdoms, thrones and riches because of its surpassing value: By me princes rule, and the mighty decree justice. I love them that love me: and they that in the morning early watch for me, shall find me. With me are riches and glory, glorious riches and justice. For my fruit is better than gold and the precious stone, and my blossoms than choice silver. I walk in the way of justice, in the midst of the paths of judgment, That I may enrich them that love me, and may fill their treasures (Prov 8:16-21).

Wis 7:10  I loved her above health and beauty, and chose to have her instead of light: for her light cannot be put out.

Health is not lasting, and so is far inferior to immortality (Wis 8:13). Beauty often plays second fiddle to other qualities. Rebekah was pleasant to behold and yet it is her generous and hospitable nature that is emphasized (Gen 24:15-20). Abigail too was a looker, but she is first introduced as intelligent, then beautiful. Further, it is her good judgement that is honored, and keeps David from evil (1 Sam 25:2-36). Beauty also can introduce sin, as was the case with David and Bathsheba (2 Sam 11:2-5). Absalom too was very handsome, priding himself because of his hair (2 Sam 14:25-26), and too proved to be his downfall (2 Sam 18:9-17).

Light. Wisdom is described as the aura of the power of God, and a certain pure emmanation of the glory of the Almighty God: and therefore no defiled thing cometh into her. For she is the brightness of eternal light, and the unspotted mirror of God’s majesty, and the image of his goodness (Wis 7:25-26).

Wis 7:11  Now all good things came to me together with her, and innumerable riches through her hands.

All good things come together with her because she (Wisdom) is, as verse 12 goes on to note, their leader and, by implication, their dispenser. All good things would include include the counsel she gives when all is well, and the comfort she give when there is grief (Wis 8:9), which makes grief disappear (Wis 8:16).

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One Response to “My Notes on Wisdom 7:7-11 for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B”

  1. […] My Notes on Wisdom 7:7-14. […]

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