Wisdom viii.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. She. The uncreated wisdom is infinite; and the created is the most excellent of God’s gifts. (Worthington) — Sweetly. God is every where present, (St. Bernard) and directeth all with ease. (St. Augustine, ep. ad Dard. q. i.)

Ver. 4. Works. Directing us to imitate them, as much as possible. (Haydock) — She teaches us how to refer all to God, (Menochius) while mere philosophers stop at vain speculations, and barren admiration of the Deity.

Ver. 6. Are. Wisdom is an universal teacher. But she particularly inculcates virtue. All science which has not this tendency is vain. (Calmet)

Ver. 8. Speeches. Rhetoric, (Grotius) or doubtful matters, as Solomon discovered the real mother, 3 Kings iii. 27. — Arguments. Greek, “riddles,” which were much in fashion, 3 Kings x. 1. (Calmet) — Wonders. Such as comets and eclipses. (Menochius) — When Anaxagoras discovered the latter, he durst not write, but only instructed his disciples in secret, for fear of being taken for an atheist, or magician. (Plut.[Plutarch?] in Nicias.) — The sciences, which are now common, were formerly confined to few; and the people looked upon eclipses as so many prodigies. The wise man is possessed of all natural sciences, and can predict the changes of weather, &c. — Ages. Forming a judgment of futurity from past occurrences.

Ver. 13. After me. He speaks to the great, who are more sensible of glory. Solomon’s fame would have continued untarnished, if he had not fallen, (Calmet) and we may hope that he repented, and verified this prediction. (Haydock) — It is not certain that he obtained immortal glory. (Worthington)

Ver. 15. Of me. Wisdom is the best protection. — Good and valiant. These are the two most essential qualifications of kings.

Ver. 19. Received. “By lot,” sortitus, (Haydock) to exclude all preceding merit. (St. Augustine, de Gen. lit. x. 18.) — Good soul. Natural dispositions (Pineda) are perfected by grace and labour. (Calmet)

Ver. 20. More good. The pre-existence of souls seems to be insinuated, though this is not clear, and the opinion is now rejected. Some are born with a better disposition for learning than others. (St. Augustine, contra Jul. iv. 3.) — Yet none possess any seeds of virtue by nature, or are more infected than others, with original sin, as some heretics would assert. (Calmet)

Ver. 21. Continent. All good must come from God. (Haydock) — Chastity cannot be preserved without his aid. (St. Augustine, Confessions vi. 11.) — Yet this seems not to be the literal sense. Solomon prays for the acquisition of wisdom, (Calmet; Ecclesiasticus vi. 28., and xv. 1.; Menochius) which includes continence, religion, and every virtue. (Haydock)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

Further praises of wisdom: and her fruits.

1 She reacheth, therefore, from end to end mightily, and ordereth all things sweetly.

2 Her have I loved, and have sought her out from my youth, and have desired to take for my spouse, and I became a lover of her beauty.

3 She glorifieth her nobility by being conversant with God: yea, and the Lord of all things hath loved her.

4 For it is she that teacheth the knowledge of God, and is the chooser of his works.

5 And if riches be desired in life, what is richer than wisdom, which maketh all things?

6 And if sense do work: who is a more artful worker than she of those things that are?

7 And if a man love justice: her labours have great virtues: for she teacheth temperance, and prudence, and justice, and fortitude, which are such things as men can have nothing more profitable in life.

8 And if a man desire much knowledge: she knoweth things past, and judgeth of things to come: she knoweth the subtilties of speeches, and the solutions of arguments: she knoweth signs and wonders before they be done, and the events of times and ages.

9 I purposed, therefore, to take her to me to live with me: knowing that she will communicate to me of her good things, and will be a comfort in my cares and grief.

10 For her sake I shall have glory among the multitude, and honour with the ancients, though I be young:

11 And I shall be found of a quick conceit in judgment, and shall be admired in the sight of the mighty, and the faces of princes shall wonder at me.

12 They shall wait for me when I hold my peace, and they shall look upon me when I speak; and if I talk much, they shall lay their hands on their mouth.

13 Moreover, by the means of her I shall have immortality: and shall leave behind me an everlasting memory to them that come after me.

14 I shall set the people in order: and nations shall be subject to me.

15 Terrible kings hearing, shall be afraid of me: among the multitude I shall be found good, and valiant in war.

16 When I go into my house, I shall repose myself with her: for her conversation hath no bitterness, nor her company any tediousness, but joy and gladness.

17 Thinking these things with myself, and pondering them in my heart, that to be allied to wisdom is immortality,

18 And that there is great delight in her friendship, and inexhaustible riches in the works of her hands, and in the exercise of conference with her, wisdom, and glory in the communication of her words: I went about seeking, that I might take her to myself.

19 And I was a witty child, and had received a good soul.

20 And whereas I was more good, I came to a body undefiled.

21 And as I knew that I could not otherwise be continent, except God gave it, and this also was a point of wisdom, to know whose gift it was, I went to the Lord, and besought him, and said with my whole heart: