8:1 Does not wisdom call out?
Does not understanding raise her voice?
and so is wisdom for the one who has discernment. 7
1 sn In this chapter wisdom is personified. In 1:20-33 wisdom proclaims her value, and in 3:19-26 wisdom is the agent of creation. Such a personification has affinities with the wisdom literature of the ancient Near East, and may have drawn on some of that literature, albeit with appropriate safeguards (Claudia V. Camp, Wisdom and the Feminine in the Book of Proverbs, 23-70). Wisdom in Proverbs 8, however, is not a deity like Egypt’s Ma`at or the Assyrian-Babylonian Ishtar. It is simply presented as if it were a self-conscious divine being distinct but subordinate to God; but in reality it is the personification of the attribute of wisdom displayed by God (R. B. Y. Scott, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes [AB], 69-72; and R. Marcus, “On Biblical Hypostases of Wisdom,” HUCA 23 [1950-1951]: 157-71). Many have equated wisdom in this chapter with Jesus Christ. This connection works only in so far as Jesus reveals the nature of the Father, just as Proverbs presents wisdom as an attribute of God. Jesus’ claims included wisdom (Matt 12:42) and a unique knowledge of God (Matt 11:25-27). He even personified wisdom in a way that was similar to Proverbs (Matt 11:19). Paul saw the fulfillment of wisdom in Christ (Col 1:15-20; 2:3) and affirmed that Christ became our wisdom in the crucifixion (1 Cor 1:24, 30). So this personification in Proverbs provides a solid foundation for the similar revelation of wisdom in Christ. But because wisdom is a creation of God in Proverbs 8, it is unlikely that wisdom here is to be identified with Jesus Christ. The chapter unfolds in three cycles: After an introduction (1-3), wisdom makes an invitation (4, 5) and explains that she is noble, just, and true (6-9); she then makes another invitation (10) and explains that she is valuable (11-21); and finally, she tells how she preceded and delights in creation (22-31) before concluding with the third invitation (32-36).
2 tn Heb “men.” Although it might be argued in light of the preceding material that males would be particularly addressed by wisdom here, the following material indicates a more universal appeal. Cf. TEV, NLT “to all of you.”
3 tn The verb “calls” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for the sake of style.
4 tn Heb “sons of man.” Cf. NAB “the children of men”; NCV, NLT “all people”; NRSV “all that live.”
5 tn Heb “doing a plan.” The noun זִמָּה (zimmah, “plan”) is often used pejoratively of a scheme to do wickedness. It is used elsewhere for planning lewdness, murder, incest, adultery, idolatry, and licentiousness. Any planned gross impropriety gives the fool pleasure. The verb עָשָׂה (’asah, “to do”) here means “to carry out (a plan)” (BDB 794 s.v.).
6 tn Heb “like sport” (so NASB, NRSV). The noun שְׂחוֹק (sÿkhoq, “sport”) is used elsewhere to refer to what is exhilarating and pleasurable (BDB 966 s.v.). As W. G. Plaut says, it is like child’s play (Proverbs, 132). For the fool evil brings such enjoyment; for the discerning wisdom does.
7 tn Heb “a man of discernment.”