from the beginning, from before the world existed. 2
when there were no springs overflowing 5 with water;
8:25 before the mountains were set in place –
before the hills – I was born,
or the beginning 7 of the dust of the world.
8:27 When he established the heavens, I was there;
when he marked out the horizon 8 over the face of the deep,
8:28 when he established the clouds above,
when the fountains of the deep grew strong, 9
8:29 when he gave the sea his decree
that the waters should not pass over his command, 10
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
and I was his delight 13 day by day,
rejoicing before him at all times,
blessed are those who keep my ways.
and do not neglect it.
watching 21 at my doors day by day,
and receives 25 favor from the Lord.
all who hate me 29 love death.”
2 tn The verb “existed” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied in the translation in the light of the context.
3 sn The summary statements just given are now developed in a lengthy treatment of wisdom as the agent of all creation. This verse singles out “watery deeps” (תְּהֹמוֹת, tÿhomot) in its allusion to creation because the word in Genesis signals the condition of the world at the very beginning, and because in the ancient world this was something no one could control. Chaos was not there first – wisdom was.
4 tn The third parallel verb is חוֹלָלְתִּי (kholalti), “I was given birth.” Some (e.g., KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV) translate it “brought forth” – not in the sense of being presented, but in the sense of being “begotten, given birth to.” Here is the strongest support for the translation of קָנָה (qanah) as “created” in v. 22. The verb is not literal; it continues the perspective of the personification.
5 tn Heb “made heavy.”
6 tn Heb “open places.”
8 sn The infinitive construct בְּחוּקוֹ (bÿkhuqo, “to cut; to engrave; to mark”) and the noun חוּג (khug, “horizon; circle”) form a paronomasia in the line.
9 tn To form a better parallel some commentators read this infinitive בַּעֲזוֹז (ba’azoz), “when [they] grew strong,” as a Piel causative, “when he made firm, fixed fast” (cf. NIV “fixed securely”; NLT “established”). But the following verse (“should not pass over”) implies the meaning “grew strong” here.
10 tn Heb “his mouth.”
12 tn Critical to the interpretation of this line is the meaning of אָמוֹן (’amon). Several suggestions have been made: “master craftsman” (cf. ASV, NASB, NIV, NRSV), “nursing child” (cf. NCV), “foster father.” R. B. Y. Scott chooses “faithful” – a binding or living link (“Wisdom in Creation: The ‘Amon of Proverbs 8:30,” VT 10 : 213-23). The image of a child is consistent with the previous figure of being “given birth to” (vv. 24, 25). However, “craftsman” has the most support (LXX, Vulgate, Syriac, Tg. Prov 8:30, Song 7:1; Jer 52:15; also P. W. Skehan, “Structures in Poems on Wisdom: Proverbs 8 and Sirach 24,” CBQ 41 : 365-79).
13 tn The word is a plural of intensification for “delight”; it describes wisdom as the object of delight. The LXX has the suffix; the Hebrew does not.
14 tn The two words are synonymous in general and so could be taken to express a superlative idea – the “whole world” (cf. NIV, NCV). But תֵּבֵל (tevel) also means the inhabited world, and so the construct may be interpreted as a partitive genitive.
15 tn Heb “and my delights” [were] with/in.”
16 tn Heb “the sons of man.”
17 tn Heb “sons.”
18 tn Heb “discipline.”
19 tn The construction uses two imperatives joined with the vav (ו); this is a volitive sequence in which result or consequence is being expressed.
20 tn Heb “the man.”
21 tn The form לִשְׁקֹד (lishqod) is the infinitive construct serving epexegetically in the sentence. It explains how the person will listen to wisdom.
22 tn Heb “keeping” or “guarding.”
23 tn Heb “at the posts of my doors” (so KJV, ASV).
24 tc The Kethib reads plurals: “those who find me are finders of life”; this is reflected in the LXX and Syriac. But the Qere is singular: “whoever finds me finds life.” The Qere is generally favored as the original reading in such cases as these.
25 tn The preterite with vav (ו) consecutive carries the same nuance as the perfect tense that came before it, setting out the timeless principle.
26 tn Heb “the one sinning [against] me.” The verb חָטָא (khata’, “to sin”) forms a contrast with “find” in the previous verse, and so has its basic meaning of “failing to find, miss.” So it is talking about the one who misses wisdom, as opposed to the one who finds it.
27 tn The Qal active participle functions verbally here. The word stresses both social and physical harm and violence.
sn Brings harm. Whoever tries to live without wisdom is inviting all kinds of disaster into his life.
28 tn Heb “his soul.”
29 tn The basic idea of the verb שָׂנֵא (sane’, “to hate”) is that of rejection. Its antonym is also used in the line, “love,” which has the idea of choosing. So not choosing (i.e., hating) wisdom amounts to choosing (i.e., loving) death.