Wisdom’s Echoes
Wisdom in other parts of the Bible




  • Another shared ideal between wisdom and Deuteronomy is:
  • Fear of the Lord.
  • See Deut 10:12 and compare with Sir 2:15–17; Eccl 12:13.
  • In Deut - covenantal love and fear are joined together, but this is not present in Wisdom books.
  • Another difference - Deut speaks to the whole Israel - community aspect, whereas Wisdom books have more of an individualistic emphasis.
  • Deuteronomy

  • Deut 6:12; 8:11,14,19 exhorts the Israelites not to forget the Lord.
  • The causes of such forgetfulness are the pride and arrogance which comes with material wealth and satiety (Deut 6:10–11; 8:12–13; 17:16–20).
  • We can find similar idea in Psalm 49 (see Ps 49:6–7, 13).
  • Deuteronomy

  • There are also similarities in certain legal stipulations.
    1. The prohibition to remove the neighbour’s landmark (Deut 9:14; Prov 22:28; 23:10).
    2. Honest weights (Deut 25:16; Prov 11:1; 20:10,23).
    3. Vows (Deut 23:22–24; Eccl 5:1–5; Prov 20:25; Sir 18:22–23).
    4. Impartiality in judgment (Deut 1:17; 16:19; Prov 24:23; 28:21).
    5. Pursuit of justice (Deut 16:20; Prov 21:21).
    6. Finally, there are certain words that appear in both Deuteronomy and the wisdom literature (compare Deut 6:7–9; 11:18–20; with Prov 6:20–22; 7:3; 8:34).

    The Son of Songs

    The Son of Songs

  • The book upholds the value of fidelity and mutuality in love between man and woman, which are a concern in the training of youth (see Prov 5:15–20).
  • We have also seen how wisdom is sought after the way a man is pursuing a woman (Sir 6:27; 14:23; 51:13ff; Wisdom 6:14; 7:10; 8:2; Song 2:9; 3:4).
  • Compare Prov 3:13; 8:17,35 with Prov 18:22; 31:10.
  • Wisdom and wife are named “favour from the Lord” (Prov 8:35; 18:22).
  • The Son of Songs

  • The sage is advises the youth to “get Wisdom”, to love and embrace her (Prov 4:6–8).
  • The youth is to say, “Wisdom, you are my sister” (Prov 7:4), just as the beloved in the Song of Songs is called “sister” (Song 4:9–5:1).
  • Wisdom is compared to a young bride who will nourish the youth with her food (Sir 15:2–3; Prov 9:5) just as the woman in Song 7:14–8:2 offers food to her lover.
  • The Son of Songs

  • Song 8:6 reads like a didactic statement about human love.
  • From the moment we are born, Death and Sheol pursue every human being.
  • Biblical person saw themselves often in the grip of Sheol (Pss 30:4; 49:16; 89:49).
  • In Song 8:6 Love is compared to these two powerful forces.
  • Moreover the verse ends with a statement: “the very flame of the LORD”.
  • The Son of Songs

  • The power of (human) love has some mysterious relationship to the Lord.
  • On spiritual level, the Song of Songs is interpreted as describing love between God and his people.
  • Conclusion


  • It is international and humanistic phenomenon.
  • The wise of all nations communicated with each other.
  • For example, scholars point to the fact that parts of the Book of Proverb are basically a translation of an Egyptian work of wisdom - probably dating from the 13th or 12th century (Prov 22:17–23:11).
  • Conclusion

  • The themes of traditional wisdom were the training of the young, expressed in maxims for correct living that would produce prosperity, and esteem - so called “practical wisdom”.
  • But there was also “speculative wisdom” which dealt with philosophical and religious issues, above all the problem of suffering and theodicy, the justifying of the ways of God.
  • There were and are many Jobs in the world - not just the biblical one.
  • Wisdom was also a tradition interested in creation and working of nature (1 Kings 5:13).
  • Conclusion

  • It is said that many ancient cultures believed that the world was created by wisdom, and reflects an underlying unity of natural and moral orders.
  • Egyptians called it “truth”;
  • In Mesopotamia, it was called “right”;
  • In Israel it was called “stability, truth”, and also “righteousness, order”.
  • But in Israel, the world was created by God with the help of wisdom or through wisdom (Job 28; Prov 8).
  • Therefore His plan is manifested in the order of the cosmos.
  • Conclusion

  • When “international wisdom” encountered “Israel faith”, it had impact on the thinking of the sages.
  • Deterministic theology of retribution was developed.
  • The righteous are always rewarded, the wicked always punished.
  • A doctrine of cause and effect seen in physical world was transferred to moral level.
  • Since only the wicked suffer - so Job must have committed some crime because he is suffering.
  • The book of Job and Ecclesiastes challenge these ideas.
  • Conclusion

  • Interestingly, in his answer, God does not explain why He is making Job suffer.
  • We will have to wait till the Gospels to find the answer (see John 9:1–3.
  • But, the book challenges the doctrine of cause and effect.
  • As if the author wants to tell that physical and moral realm are different.
  • The law of the cause and effect in physics may not necessary work in morality.
  • Conclusion

  • The theme of wisdom was taken over to the New Testament.
  • But, now wisdom is clearly personified (Col 2:3).
  • Jesus is the wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:24, 30).

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