Wisdom in Proverbs

Wisdom is truly better than gold, so why don’t we want it as much?

If there is one concept which is associated with the book of Proverbs, it is wisdom. In fact Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon fall into a genre of the Bible known as the Wisdom literature. Other ancient civilizations such as Egypt also had “wisdom literature”, which generally included sayings from teachers considered wise in their cultures. Hebrew wisdom literature is contrasted with Greek wisdom literature in that the focus of the Greeks was a stronger family or society while the focus of the Hebrews was to obey God.

Our first task is to define wisdom. Dictionary.com defines wisdom as “knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.” The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology describes wisdom using Biblical terms. In the Old Testament wisdom (חָכְמָה chokmah) connotes human skills (building – Exodus 28:3, warfare – Isaiah 10:3, or ruling – Deuteronomy 34:9) or human insight (Ecclesiastes 1:13). As such, the misuse of such wisdom is condemned (2 Samuel 20:22, Isaiah 29:14).

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