Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Voice. Men are wanting to themselves: they cannot plead ignorance. (Calmet) — Wisdom stands on high in the Catholic Church inviting all to virtue and happiness. (Worthington) — Some explain this of the light which is communicated to men; but the Fathers apply it to Jesus Christ, some of the expressions regarding his divine, and others his human nature, Ecclesiasticus xxiv.
Ver. 3. Doors. Amid disputants, whose eagerness ought to convince us of the preference due to wisdom over all terrestrial concerns, ver. 10.
Ver. 10. Money. They are generally incompatible.
Ver. 12. Thoughts. All good comes from God, the eternal wisdom, (Calmet) which speaks here. (Worthington)
Ver. 15. Things. Power and knowledge are the gift of the Almighty, Romans xii. 1. A prince who resembles God the most, is his best present. (Pliny in Trajan)
Ver. 18. Glorious. Literally, “proud.” (Haydock) — But here it only means great, Isaias ix 15., and lxi. 6. Riches too commonly nourish pride, and it is very rare to see them joined with justice. (Calmet)
Ver. 19. Stone. So the Septuagint translate paz, (Haydock) which designates a more pure sort of gold, Genesis ii. 11. (Calmet)
Ver. 21. Enrich. Hebrew, “grant what is (real goods) an inheritance to them,” &c. — Treasures. Septuagint add, “with goods. If I announce to you daily occurrences, I will admonish you to number the things of the world,” (Haydock) and all past events. (Calmet)
Ver. 22. Possessed. As Christ was with God, equal to him in eternity, John i. Septuagint, “created,” which many of the Fathers explain of the word incarnate, (see Cornelius a Lapide; Bossuet) or he hath “placed me,” (St. Athanasius iii. contra Arian. Eusebius) a pattern of all virtues. The Septuagint generally render kana, “possessed,” as Aquila does here. (Calmet)
Ver. 23. Up. Hebrew, “anointed.” Septuagint, “he founded.” Christ was appointed to be the foundation, on which we must be built. (St. Athanasius iii. Orat.)
Ver. 24. Conceived. Having yet manifested none of my works. Since the creation, wisdom only seeks to communicate itself to us. (Calmet)
Ver. 26. Poles. Hebrew, “head or height of the dust of the world.” (Haydock) — I subsisted with the chaos, before things appeared in their present form. (Calmet) — The poles denote the north and south, or the four quarters of the world. (Menochius)
Ver. 28. Sky. Protestants, “clouds.” Pagnin, “the air.” Vulgate æthera. Septuagint, “the clouds above.” (Haydock) — Moses assigns the higher and lower waters the same origin, Genesis i. 7.
Ver. 29. Pass. This is often remarked, Psalm xli. 8. — Earth. See Job xxxviii. 8. (Calmet)
Ver. 30. Forming. Hebrew, “one nursed,” (Calmet) or nursing, nutritius. (Pagnin) — He was not an idle spectator. — Playing. With ease and surprising variety. (Calmet)
Ver. 31. Men. God saw that all was good, but delighted most in his own image. (Menochius) — He prefers man before all other corporeal creatures. (Worthington) — To him alone below he has granted understanding, and a soul capable of virtue. The Son has also assumed our nature, Baruch iii. 37.
Ver. 35. Lord. Wisdom, or Jesus Christ, is our salvation, happiness, and life. Septuagint, “and the will is prepared by the Lord.” St. Augustine often quotes this to prove the necessity of preventing grace. (Ep. ccxvii., and clxxxvi.) (Calmet)
Ver. 36. Death. Not in itself, (Haydock) but by adhering to such things as bring death. (Menochius)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The preaching of wisdom. Her excellence.
1 Doth not wisdom cry aloud, and prudence put forth her voice?
2 Standing in the top of the highest places by the way, in the midst of the paths,
3 Beside the gates of the city, in the very doors she speaketh, saying:
4 O ye men, to you I call, and my voice is to the sons of men.
5 O little ones, understand subtlety, and ye unwise, take notice.
6 Hear, for I will speak of great things: and my lips shall be opened to preach right things.
7 My mouth shall meditate truth, and my lips shall hate wickedness.
8 All my words are just, there is nothing wicked, nor perverse in them.
9 They are right to them that understand, and just to them that find knowledge.
10 Receive my instruction, and not money: choose knowledge rather than gold.
11 For wisdom is better than all the most precious things: and whatsoever may be desired cannot be compared to it.
12 I, wisdom, dwell in counsel, and am present in learned thoughts.
13 The fear of the Lord hateth evil; I hate arrogance, and pride, and every wicked way, and a mouth with a double tongue.
14 Counsel and equity is mine, prudence is mine, strength is mine.
15 By me kings reign, and lawgivers decree just things.
16 By me princes rule, and the mighty decree justice.
17 I love them that love me: and they that in the morning early watch for me, shall find me.
18 With me are riches and glory, glorious riches and justice.
19 For my fruit is better than gold and the precious stone, and my blossoms than choice silver.
20 I walk in the way of justice, in the midst of the paths of judgment,
21 That I may enrich them that love me, and may fill their treasures.
22 The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his ways, before he made any thing from the beginning.
23 I was set up from eternity, and of old, before the earth was made.
24 The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived, neither had the fountains of waters as yet sprung out.
25 The mountains, with their huge bulk, had not as yet been established: before the hills, I was brought forth:
26 He had not yet made the earth, nor the rivers, nor the poles of the world.
27 When he prepared the heavens, I was present: when with a certain law, and compass, he enclosed the depths:
28 When he established the sky above, and poised the fountains of waters:
29 When he compassed the sea with its bounds, and set a law to the waters that they should not pass their limits: when he balanced the foundations of the earth;
30 I was with him forming all things: and was delighted every day, playing before him at all times;
31 Playing in the world: and my delights were to be with the children of men.
32 Now, therefore, ye children, hear me: Blessed are they that keep my ways.
33 Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.
34 Blessed is the man that heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my gates, and waiteth at the posts of my doors.
35 He that shall find me, shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord.
36 But he that shall sin against me shall hurt his own soul. All that hate me love death.