Exhortation to Seek Wisdom*
1Hear, therefore, kings, and understand;a
learn, you magistrates* of the earth’s expanse!
2Give ear, you who have power over multitudes
and lord it over throngs of peoples!
3Because authority was given you by the Lord
and sovereignty by the Most High,
who shall probe your works and scrutinize your counsels!b
4Because, though you were ministers of his kingdom, you did not judge rightly,
and did not keep the law,*
nor walk according to the will of God,
5Terribly and swiftly he shall come against you,
because severe judgment awaits the exalted—
6For the lowly may be pardoned out of mercyc
but the mighty shall be mightily put to the test.
7For the Ruler of all shows no partiality,
nor does he fear greatness,d
Because he himself made the great as well as the small,
and provides for all alike;
8but for those in power a rigorous scrutiny impends.
9To you, therefore, O princes, are my words addressede
that you may learn wisdom and that you may not fall away.
10For those who keep the holy precepts hallowed will be found holy,
and those learned in them will have ready a response.*
11Desire therefore my words;
long for them and you will be instructed.
12Resplendent and unfading is Wisdom,
and she is readily perceived by those who love her,
and found by those who seek her.f
13She hastens to make herself known to those who desire her;g
14one who watches for her at dawn will not be disappointed,
for she will be found sitting at the gate.
15For setting your heart on her is the perfection of prudence,
and whoever keeps vigil for her is quickly free from care;
16Because she makes her rounds, seeking those worthy of her,
and graciously appears to them on the way,
and goes to meet them with full attention.h
17* For the first step toward Wisdom is an earnest desire for discipline;i
18then, care for discipline is love of her;
love means the keeping of her laws;
To observe her laws is the basis for incorruptibility;
19and incorruptibility makes one close to God;
20thus the desire for Wisdom leads to a kingdom.
21If, then, you find pleasure in throne and scepter, you princes of peoples,
honor Wisdom, that you may reign as kings forever.
II. PRAISE OF WISDOM BY SOLOMON*
22Now what wisdom is, and how she came to be I shall proclaim;
and I shall conceal no secrets from you,
But from the very beginning I shall search out
and bring to light knowledge of her;
I shall not diverge from the truth.j
23Neither shall I admit consuming jealousy to my company,
because that can have no fellowship with Wisdom.k
24A multitude of the wise is the safety of the world,
and a prudent king, the stability of the people;l
25so take instruction from my words, to your profit.
* [6:1–21] The first part of the book closes with an exhortation comparable to 1:1–15, and it leads into “Solomon’s” personal comments on wisdom in chaps. 7–9.
* [6:1] Kings…magistrates: note the inclusion with v. 21 (“kings”). The address to earthly powers is in accord with the opening (1:1), but the true audience remains the Jewish community.
* [6:4] Law: that of Moses; cf. 2:12; 6:10.
* [6:10] Response: a suitable plea before the great Judge. Cf. Prv 22:21; Jb 31:14; Hb 2:1; Sir 8:9.
* [6:17–20] This type of reasoning approximates the rhetorical sorites, a series of statements in which the predicate of each becomes the subject of the next. Cf. Rom 5:3–5.
* [6:22–9:18] In these verses the author identifies with Solomon (without mentioning that name anywhere), and praises the beauty of Wisdom, describing how he sought her out. Thus the readers of the book can find a model in their search for Wisdom.
a. [6:1–2] Wis 1:1; Ps 2:10; Sir 33:19; Mi 3:1, 9.
b. [6:3] 2 Chr 36:23; Prv 8:15–16; Jn 19:11; Rom 13:1.
e. [6:9–11] Dt 4:10; Ps 2:12; Sir 32:14; 1 Jn 3:7.
f. [6:12] Wis 7:10; Prv 8:17; Jer 29:13.
h. [6:16] Prv 8:20–21; Sir 15:1–5.
i. [6:17–21] Ps 2:10–12; Prv 4:4–9; 7:1–4; 8:15–16; Dn 7:27; Jn 14:15, 21; 1 Jn 5:3.
j. [6:22] Tb 12:7, 11; Mt 13:11; Jn 15:15.
k. [6:23] Wis 7:13; Jas 3:14–15.