Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Myself. Solomon acquired wisdom, and all others may do it.
Ver. 6. Out. Augustus asked a little before his death: “Have we acted our part (personę) well enough?” (Suetonius) — Life is like a stage; before and after which, all are equal.
Ver. 7. Wherefore, as I had no advantage over others naturally, I asked for the wisdom requisite to fill so important an office, 3 Kings ix. 10. (Calmet) — Solomon, whose sayings are here recorded, prayed for wisdom. (Worthington)
Ver. 8. Preferred. I did not ask for extensive dominions, &c. (Calmet) — In Proverbs viii. 10., &c., as well as here, some things refer to the uncreated, and others to created wisdom. (Menochius)
Ver. 13. Not. Ecclesiasticus xx. 32., and Matthew xxv. 25. Such disinterestedness deserves to be imitated by all the learned, chap. vi. 25.
Ver. 14. God. Coming near to him, chap. vi. 20., and 1 Corinthians vi. 16. The wise do not seek for glory; but it follows them.
Ver. 15. Would. With sincerity, and in a sententious and captivating manner, 3 Kings ix. 24. (Calmet) — Thoughts. Pręsumere has this meaning. (Haydock) — Presumption is far removed from true wisdom. Solomon manifested his greatness of soul by his buildings, and wise regulations.
Ver. 18. Times. Or “things.” (St. Ambrose, Abr. ii. 7.) — Times past, present, and future, (Origen, hom. xxi.) or the three seasons; autumn, the beginning of the civil year, summer the end, and spring or winter, the middle. (Grotius) — Their. The “seasons,” as the Greek implies, (Calmet) and the vicissitudes of heat and cold. (Menochius)
Ver. 22. Holy. These are the proper epithets of the spirit of wisdom, (Worthington) or of the Holy Ghost. (Cornelius a Lapide; Lorin.) — They may also be applicable to the wisdom which resides in man: one, in essence, manifold, in its operations, subtle, knowing all things; (chap. i. 7.) eloquent, to persuade; (Calmet) Greek, “easily moved, or moving,” eukineton, (Haydock) active. Greek, “open (Calmet) or entire.”
Ver. 24. For wisdom, which is the same with the Spirit, and the Son of God, ver. 25.
Ver. 25. Glory. As St. Paul testifies of Jesus Christ, Hebrews i. 3. (Eusebius; Demon. Evang. iv. 5.) — It may also be understood of the wisdom given to the prophets and saints, ver. 27. Plato thought this to be a vapour, or fire proceeding from God. (In Protag. Philo. de Som.) — Some apply the passage to the blessed Virgin [Mary]. (Cornelius a Lapide, v. 26.) (Calmet) See Proverbs i. 2. (Worthington)
Ver. 26. Goodness. This is particularly noticed, as he speaks of the favours received. It was also an effect of infinite goodness, that the Deity should communicate itself substantially, in the generation of the Son, and the procession of the Holy Ghost. (Menochius)
Ver. 27. Prophets. No age or nation has been left destitute by God. Among the Gentiles, Job was a saint. (Haydock) — The philosophers also knew God, (Romans i. 21.) and taught many important truths, (Calmet) though they erred in other respects, and dishonoured their profession. True religion has always subsisted, and saints, (Haydock) yea even pagan philosophers, have borne witness to the truth. (Clement of Alexandria, &c.) (Calmet)
Ver. 30. Evil. Or disgrace. (Grotius) — The brightest days are succeeded by night. The divine wisdom never fails, though that of man is subject to change, as Solomon has taught us by his own woeful example. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The excellence of wisdom: how she is to be found.
1 I myself also am a mortal man, like all others, and of the race of him, that was first made of the earth, and in the womb of my mother I was fashioned to be flesh.
2 In the time of ten months I was compacted in blood, of the seed of man, *and the pleasure of sleep concurring.
3 And being born, I drew in the common air, and fell upon the earth, that is made alike, and the first voice which I uttered was crying, as all others do.
4 I was nursed in swaddling clothes, and with great cares.
5 For none of the kings had any other beginning of birth.
6 *For all men have one entrance into life, and the like going out.
7 Wherefore I wished, and understanding was given me: and I called upon God, and the spirit of wisdom came upon me:
8 And I preferred her before kingdoms and thrones, and esteemed riches nothing in comparison of her.
9 *Neither did I compare unto her any precious stone: for all gold, in comparison of her, is as a little sand; and silver, in respect to her, shall be counted as clay.
10 I loved her above health and beauty, and chose to have her instead of light: for her light cannot be put out.
11 *Now all good things came to me together with her, and innumerable riches through her hands,
12 And I rejoiced in all these: for this wisdom went before me, and I knew not that she was the mother of them all.
13 Which I have learned without guile, and communicate without envy, and her riches I hide not.
14 For she is an infinite treasure to men: which they that use, become the friends of God, being commended for the gifts of discipline.
15 And God hath given to me to speak as I would, and to conceive thoughts worthy of those things that are given me: because he is the guide of wisdom, and the director of the wise:
16 For in his hand are both we, and our words, and all wisdom, and the knowledge and skill of works.
17 For he hath given me the true knowledge of the things that are: to know the disposition of the whole world, and the virtues of the elements,
18 The beginning, and ending, and midst of the times, the alterations of their courses, and the changes of seasons,
19 The revolutions of the year, and the dispositions of the stars,
20 The natures of living creatures, and rage of wild beasts, the force of winds, and reasonings of men, the diversities of plants, and the virtues of roots,
21 And all such things as are hid, and not foreseen, I have learned: for wisdom, which is the worker of all things, taught me.
22 For in her is the spirit of understanding: holy, one, manifold, subtile, eloquent, active, undefiled, sure, sweet, loving that which is good, quick, which nothing hindereth, beneficent,
23 Gentle, kind, steadfast, assured, secure, having all power, overseeing all things, and containing all spirits: intelligible, pure, subtile:
24 For wisdom is more active than all active things; and reacheth every where, by reason of her purity.
25 For she is a vapour of the power of God, and a certain pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty God: and therefore no defiled thing cometh into her.
26 *For she is the brightness of eternal light, and the unspotted mirror of God’s Majesty, and the image of his goodness.
27 And being but one, she can do all things: and remaining in herself the same, she reneweth all things, and through nations conveyeth herself into holy souls, she maketh the friends of God and prophets.
28 For God loveth none but him that dwelleth with wisdom.
29 For she is more beautiful than the sun, and above all the order of the stars: being compared with the light, she is found before it.
30 For after this cometh night, but no evil can overcome wisdom.
2: Job x. 10.
6: Job i. 21.; 1 Timothy vi. 7.
9: Job xxviii. 15.; Proverbs viii. 11.
11: 3 Kings iii. 13.; Matthew vi. 33.
26: Hebrews i. 3.