Solomon’s Prayer*

1* God of my ancestors, Lord of mercy,a

you who have made all things by your wordb

2And in your wisdom have established humankind

to rule the creatures produced by you,c

3And to govern the world in holiness and righteousness,

and to render judgment in integrity of heart:d

4Give me Wisdom, the consort at your throne,

and do not reject me from among your children;e

5For I am your servant, the child of your maidservant,

a man weak and short-lived

and lacking in comprehension of judgment and of laws.f

6Indeed, though one be perfect among mortals,

if Wisdom, who comes from you, be lacking,

that one will count for nothing.g

7You have chosen me king over your people

and magistrate over your sons and daughters.h

8You have bid me build a temple on your holy mountain

and an altar in the city that is your dwelling place,

a copy of the holy tabernacle which you had established from of old.i

9Now with you is Wisdom, who knows your works

and was present when you made the world;

Who understands what is pleasing in your eyes

and what is conformable with your commands.j

10Send her forth from your holy heavens

and from your glorious throne dispatch her

That she may be with me and work with me,

that I may know what is pleasing to you.k

11For she knows and understands all things,

and will guide me prudently in my affairs

and safeguard me by her glory;l

12Thus my deeds will be acceptable,

and I will judge your people justly

and be worthy of my father’s throne.m

13For who knows God’s counsel,

or who can conceive what the Lord intends?n

14For the deliberations of mortals are timid,

and uncertain our plans.

15* For the corruptible body burdens the soul

and the earthly tent weighs down the mind with its many concerns.o

16Scarcely can we guess the things on earth,

and only with difficulty grasp what is at hand;

but things in heaven, who can search them out?p

17Or who can know your counsel, unless you give Wisdom

and send your holy spirit from on high?q

18* Thus were the paths of those on earth made straight,

and people learned what pleases you,

and were saved by Wisdom.r

* [9:118] The author presents his version of Solomon’s prayer (1 Kgs 3:69; 2 Chr 1:810).

* [9:12] The author identifies Wisdom with the word of God just as he again identifies Wisdom with the spirit of God in v. 17. All three are alternate ways of expressing God’s activity in relationship with the world and its inhabitants.

* [9:1517] Although the expressions in v. 15 draw on the language of Plato concerning the human condition, the conclusion is very biblical: God remains a mystery (Jb 3839; Eccl 8:17; Is 40:1214; Rom 11:3334). The plight of humankind is clearly one of ignorance, unless the “holy spirit” is sent from God.

* [9:18] An announcement of the next section.

a. [9:12] Ps 86:15.

b. [9:1] Gn 1; Ps 33:6; Prv 3:19; Jer 10:12; Jn 1:3, 10.

c. [9:2] Ps 8:79; Sir 17:34.

d. [9:3] 1 Kgs 3:6; 9:45; Ps 9:89.

e. [9:4] 2 Chr 1:10.

f. [9:5] 1 Kgs 3:7; Ps 116:16.

g. [9:6] Wis 3:17; 1 Kgs 11:4; 1 Cor 3:1821.

h. [9:7] 1 Chr 28:5.

i. [9:8] Ex 25:89; 2 Sm 7:13; 1 Chr 28:5; 2 Chr 6:12; 7:7; Tb 1:4; Ps 15:1; 48:23.

j. [9:9] Dt 6:1718; Prv 8:2231; Jn 1:13, 10.

k. [9:10] Wis 18:15; Mt 5:34; Jn 3:17; 20:21.

l. [9:11] Wis 8:8.

m. [9:12] 1 Kgs 3:69.

n. [9:13] Is 40:13; Bar 3:31.

o. [9:15] Jb 4:19.

p. [9:16] Sir 1:3; Jn 3:12.

q. [9:17] Jn 14:26.

r. [9:18] Wis 10:9; Prv 28:26.

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