Solomon Is Like All Others
1I too am a mortal, the same as all the rest,a
and a descendant of the first one formed of earth.*
And in my mother’s womb I was molded into flesh
2in a ten-month period*—body and blood,
from the seed of a man, and the pleasure that accompanies marriage.
3And I too, when born, inhaled the common air,
and fell upon the kindred earth;
wailing, I uttered that first sound common to all.
4In swaddling clothes and with constant care I was nurtured.
5For no king has any different origin or birth;
6one is the entry into life for all,
and in one same way they leave it.b
Solomon Prayed and Wisdom and Riches Came to Him
7Therefore I prayed, and prudence was given me;
I pleaded and the spirit of Wisdom came to me.c
8I preferred her to scepter and throne,d
And deemed riches nothing in comparison with her,
9nor did I liken any priceless gem to her;
Because all gold, in view of her, is a bit of sand,
and before her, silver is to be accounted mire.
10Beyond health and beauty I loved her,
And I chose to have her rather than the light,
because her radiance never ceases.e
11Yet all good things together came to me with her,f
and countless riches at her hands;
12I rejoiced in them all, because Wisdom is their leader,
though I had not known that she is their mother.* g
Solomon Prays for Help to Speak Worthily of Wisdom
13Sincerely I learned about her, and ungrudgingly do I share—
her riches I do not hide away;h
14For she is an unfailing treasure;
those who gain this treasure win the friendship of God,
being commended by the gifts that come from her discipline.*
15Now God grant I speak suitably
and value these endowments at their worth:
For he is the guide of Wisdom
and the director of the wise.
16For both we and our words are in his hand,
as well as all prudence and knowledge of crafts.i
17* For he gave me sound knowledge of what exists,
that I might know the structure of the universe and the force of its elements,
18The beginning and the end and the midpoint of times,
the changes in the sun’s course and the variations of the seasons,
19Cycles of years, positions of stars,
20natures of living things, tempers of beasts,
Powers of the winds and thoughts of human beings,
uses of plants and virtues of roots—
21Whatever is hidden or plain I learned,
22for Wisdom, the artisan of all, taught me.j
Nature and Incomparable Dignity of Wisdom
* For in her is a spirit
intelligent, holy, unique,
Manifold, subtle, agile,
clear, unstained, certain,
Never harmful, loving the good, keen,k
23unhampered, beneficent, kindly,
Firm, secure, tranquil,
And pervading all spirits,
though they be intelligent, pure and very subtle.
24For Wisdom is mobile beyond all motion,
and she penetrates and pervades all things by reason of her purity.l
25* For she is a breath of the might of God
and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty;
therefore nothing defiled can enter into her.
26For she is the reflection of eternal light,
the spotless mirror of the power of God,
the image of his goodness.m
27Although she is one, she can do all things,
and she renews everything while herself perduring;
Passing into holy souls from age to age,
she produces friends of God and prophets.n
28For God loves nothing so much as the one who dwells with Wisdom.
29For she is fairer than the suno
and surpasses every constellation of the stars.
Compared to light, she is found more radiant;
30though night supplants light,
wickedness does not prevail over Wisdom.
* [7:1] First one formed of earth: Adam. The author omits throughout the book the proper names of the characters in sacred history of whom he speaks; see especially chap. 10.
* [7:2] In a ten-month period: ten lunar months.
* [7:12] Mother: lit., “she who begets.” Although Wisdom herself is begotten of God (Prv 8:22–24), she is here the one who brings into being.
* [7:14] Discipline: cf. note on 1:5.
* [7:17–22a] Wisdom teaches not only righteousness and friendship with God but also sound knowledge of the world, the universe, plants, animals and human beings. See also 1 Kgs 5:9–14; these specialties reflect Hellenistic culture.
* [7:22b–23] The twenty-one (7 × 3) attributes of the spirit in Wisdom reflect the influence of contemporary philosophy, especially the Stoa, but the personification rests also on Prv 8:22–31 and Sir 24.
* [7:25–26] Five strong metaphors underline the origins and closeness of Wisdom with God. See the use of this language in Heb 1:3; Col 1:15.
a. [7:1–2] Wis 10:1; Gn 2:7; Jb 10:9–12; 33:6; 1 Cor 15:47–49.
b. [7:6] Jb 1:21; Lk 2:12; 1 Tm 6:7–8.
c. [7:7] 1 Kgs 3:5–15; Prv 2:3–11.
d. [7:8–9] Wis 8:5; 1 Kgs 10:21; Jb 28:15–19; Prv 3:14–16; 8:10, 18–19.
k. [7:22–23] Heb 4:12–13; Jas 3:17.
m. [7:26] 2 Cor 4:4; Col 1:15; Heb 1:3.
n. [7:27] Ex 33:11; Jb 42:2; Ps 104:29; Jl 3:1.