Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Wisdom. Greek title, “the praise of wisdom.” Here the book of Ecclesiastes is imitated. (Haydock) — See also Proverbs viii., and Wisdom vii. 24., and viii. 1. The pagans boasted of their philosophy. But it was not to be compared with the true religion, which the Israelites possessed. — Own self. Literally, “soul.” She alone is capable of this office. (Calmet) — In God. Referring all the glory to him. (Menochius) — This sentence is not in Greek. (Haydock) — The second person of the Trinity proclaims his own praises. (Worthington)
Ver. 2. Power. The temple, rather than in the schools of Athens. (Calmet)
Ver. 3. And. Greek, (5.) “I came out of the mouth of the Highest, (6.) and as,” &c. (Haydock) — He alludes to the darkness which covered the earth, Genesis i. 2., and Job xxxviii. 9. Many explain this of the uncreated wisdom, born in the womb of the blessed Virgin [Mary]; and the Church, in her office, applies it to her in a mystical sense. But it seems literally to refer to the wisdom and grace granted to the saints, which enlightens every man, and presides over the creation.
Ver. 7. Cloud. Guiding the Israelites (Exodus xiii. 21.) or near the throne of God, Wisdom ix. 4. (Calmet)
Ver. 8. Penetrated. Greek, “walked in.”
Ver. 11. By. Greek, “with all,” &c. (Haydock) — Lord. Israel was chosen gratuitously. (Calmet) — Greek, of whom?
Ver. 12. Rested. Greek, “gave rest to my tent.” (Haydock) — So Virgil says, requierun. flumina cursus. (Menochius) — God offers grace, but forces none to accept of it. (Worthington)
Ver. 13. And take, &c., is not in Greek. (Haydock) — This may be explained of the true religion, or (Calmet) of the word of the Father. (St. Augustine, Trin. i. 12.) — In the Church only is effectual grace, (Worthington) or none will receive it, who refuses to hear the Church. (Haydock)
Ver. 14. Created. Or engendered, Proverbs viii. 22. — Him. As his priestess, directing all the ministers of the temple. (Calmet) — Christ is begotten by the understanding, and the Holy Ghost proceeds from love. Creation is not here taken strictly. (Worthington)
Ver. 16. His. Greek, “of his inheritance, (17.) I,” &c. (Haydock)
Ver. 17. Sion. Beyond the Jordan. Greek, “Hermon,” Deuteronomy iv. 48.
Ver. 18. Cades-barne, Numbers xx. 1. Greek, “Engaddi,” (Calmet) or Roman and Alexandrian edition, “on the sea shore.” (Haydock)
Ver. 19. In the streets, is not in Greek. (Calmet) — Grabe inserts, by the waters. (Haydock) — These trees flourish most in such situations, and people delighted to walk under them in hot countries.
Ver. 20. Myrrh. Which distills through the bark, without any incision.
Ver. 21. Onyx. A shell-fish in the Indies, which feeds on the spica nardi, and hence becomes odoriferous. — Aloes, (gutta) the finest myrrh. — Not cut. Greek, “in a tent.” — And my, &c., is not in Greek. Wisdom is compared to what was most esteemed. (Calmet)
Ver. 22. Honour. Rich and pleasant. (Haydock)
Ver. 24. I, &c. Grabe restores this verse, and, instead of the next, has, “but I am given to all my children, being born myself for ever, to those who are specified by him. (26.) Come,” &c. (Haydock) — The text seems to be corrupt. (Calmet)
Ver. 25. Life. Christ declares himself to be, the way, the truth, and the life. [John xiv. 6.]
Ver. 27. Spirit. Greek, “remembrance.” It has not the following verse.
Ver. 29. Thirst. Without being ever disgusted, John iv. 13. (Calmet) — Experience of carnal delights is quite the reverse. (St. Gregory, hom. xxxvi. Ev.) — The more grace a person has, the more he desireth and receiveth from God. (Worthington)
Ver. 30. Sin. Or lose their labour. They shall be directed in the paths of life. (Calmet)
Ver. 31. They. Greek, “all these things are the book of the covenant of the most high God, the law which Moses gave unto us, an inheritance to the synagogues of Jacob.” Grabe puts in a different character from the Complutensian, “Lose not strength in the Lord, but stick to him, that he may strengthen you. The Lord Almighty is the only God, and there is no other Saviour.” Then follows, (ver. 35.) “who,” &c. (Haydock) — Everlasting. Provided his life correspond with his doctrine. No occupation can be more glorious. (Calmet) — Let thy Scriptures be my chaste delights: let me not be deceived in them, nor deceive others by them. (St. Augustine, Confessions xi. 2.) (Calmet) (Daniel xii.) (Menochius)
Ver. 32. Truth. They are equally certain, and no more is required. (Calmet) — He that loves has fulfilled the law. (Haydock)
Ver. 34. King. Viz., Christ, who by his gospel, like an overflowing river, hath enriched the earth with heavenly wisdom. (Challoner) — Ever. The Lord (Haydock) is a king, (Carriers) who, &c., ver. 35. (Haydock) — Solomon’s wisdom is also praised. (Calmet) — The sceptre of David remained till the captivity, and the royal family continued in esteem till Christ. Yet David was only a figure of Christ, the eternal king. (Worthington)
Ver. 35. Phison. Or Phase of Colchis, which rises in Armenia, like the Tigris and Euphrates, all which overflow their banks at the beginning of summer, on account of the snow melting.
Ver. 36. Harvest. The snow of Libanus makes the Jordan swell at Pentecost, Josue iii. 15.
Ver. 37. Light. Giving to all the light of reason, and to Israel the law, Psalm cxlvii. 20. — Gehon. Or Araxes, which descends from Armenia into the Caspian sea, though some erroneously take it to be the Nile, (Calmet) which overflows at the same time as the Euphrates. (Pliny, [Natural History?] xviii. 18.; Solin xlvi.)
Ver. 38. Of her. Christ was the first that had perfect knowledge of heavenly wisdom. (Challoner) — This is the privilege of God. Greek, “the first hath not perfect,” &c.
Ver. 40. Rivers of saving waters, on all, but particularly (Haydock) on Judea, ver. 42. Greek, “and like a ditch (dioryx. Calmet) from a river, and as an aqueduct, I came into paradise,” (Haydock) like the four rivers aforesaid, Genesis ii.
Ver. 44. Off. He alludes to the conversion of the Gentiles.
Ver. 45. I will. Many Fathers explain this of Christ’s descent into hell. But as it occurs not in the Greek, if may be considered as the tradition of the first Christians, who gave this version, (Calmet) or they found it in their copies. (Haydock)
Ver. 46. Prophecy. Of no less authority. The prophets had ceased for some time before Christ. (Calmet) — Them. Greek, “to ages of ages. See,” &c. (Haydock)
Ver. 47. I. Wisdom, or the author of this book, chap. xxxiii. 18., and Wisdom vii. 13. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Wisdom praiseth herself: her origin, her dwelling, her dignity, and her fruits.
1 Wisdom shall praise her own self, and shall be honoured in God, and shall glory in the midst of her people,
2 And shall open her mouth in the churches of the Most High, and shall glorify herself in the sight of his power,
3 And in the midst of her own people she shall be exalted, and shall be admired in the holy assembly,
4 And in the multitude of the elect she shall have praise, and among the blessed she shall be blessed, saying:
5 I came out of the mouth of the Most High, the first-born before all creatures:
6 I made that in the heavens there should rise light that never faileth, and as a cloud I covered all the earth:
7 I dwelt in the highest places, and my throne is in a pillar of a cloud.
8 I alone have compassed the circuit of heaven, and have penetrated into the bottom of the deep, and have walked in the waves of the sea,
9 And have stood in all the earth: and in every people,
10 And in every nation I have had the chief rule:
11 And by my power I have trodden under my feet the hearts of all the high and low: and in all these I sought rest, and I shall abide in the inheritance of the Lord.
12 Then the creator of all things commanded, and said to me: and he that made me, rested in my tabernacle,
13 And he said to me: Let thy dwelling be in Jacob, and thy inheritance in Israel, and take root in my elect.
14 *From the beginning, and before the world, was I created, and unto the world to come I shall not cease to be, and in the holy dwelling-place I have ministered before him.
15 And so was I established in Sion, and in the holy city likewise I rested, and my power was in Jerusalem.
16 And I took root in an honourable people, and in the portion of my God his inheritance, and my abode is in the full assembly of saints.
17 I was exalted like a cedar in Libanus, and as a cypress-tree on Mount Sion.
18 I was exalted like a palm-tree in Cades, and as a rose-plant in Jericho:
19 As a fair olive-tree in the plains, and as a plane-tree by the water in the streets, was I exalted.
20 I gave a sweet smell like cinnamon, and aromatical balm: I yielded a sweet odour like the best myrrh:
21 And I perfumed my dwelling as storax, and galbanum, and onyx, and aloes, and as the frankincense not cut, and my odour is as the purest balm.
22 I have stretched out my branches as the turpentine-tree, and my branches are of honour and grace.
23 As the vine I have brought forth a pleasant odour: and my flowers are the fruit of honour and riches.
24 I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope.
25 In me is all grace of the way, and of the truth; in me is all hope of life and of virtue.
26 Come over to me, all ye that desire me, and be filled with my fruits.
27 For my spirit is sweet above honey, and my inheritance above honey and the honeycomb.
28 My memory is unto everlasting generations.
29 *They that eat me shall yet hunger: and they that drink me, shall yet thirst.
30 He that hearkeneth to me, shall not be confounded: and they that work by me, shall not sin.
31 They that explain me, shall have life everlasting.
32 All these things are the book of life, and the covenant of the Most High, and the knowledge of truth.
33 Moses commanded a law in the precepts of justices, and an inheritance to the house of Jacob, and the promises to Israel.
34 He appointed to David, his servant, to raise up of him a most mighty king, and sitting on the throne of glory for ever.
35 *Who filleth up wisdom as the Phison, and as the Tigris in the days of the new fruits.
36 Who maketh understanding to abound as the Euphrates, *who multiplieth it as the Jordan in the time of harvest.
37 Who sendeth knowledge as the light, and riseth up as Gehon in the time of the vintage.
38 Who first hath perfect knowledge of her, and a weaker shall not search her out.
39 For her thoughts are more vast than the sea, and her counsels more deep than the great ocean.
40 I wisdom have poured out rivers.
41 I like a brook out of a river of a mighty water, I like a channel of a river, and like an aqueduct came out of paradise.
42 I said: I will water my garden of plants, and I will water abundantly the fruit of my meadow.
43 And behold my brook became a great river, and my river became near to a sea:
44 For I make doctrine to shine forth to all as the morning light, and I will declare it afar off.
45 I will penetrate to all the lower parts of the earth, and will behold all that sleep, and will enlighten all that hope in the Lord.
46 I will yet pour out doctrine as prophecy, and will leave it to them that seek wisdom, and will not cease to instruct their offspring even to the holy age.
47 *See ye that I have not laboured for myself only, but for all that seek out the truth.
14: Proverbs viii. 22.
29: John vi. 35.
35: Genesis ii. 11.
36: Josue iii. 15.
47: Ecclesiasticus xxxiii. 18.