Bible Notes: Soul

Originally appeared on spirituality.com

Hebrew: Psalm 104:24 O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom Hokhma be wise, act wisely; have experience, aptitude, good sense, skill in war, in technical work, of sailors, wisdom in administration, the Messiah has a spirit of “wisdom and understanding”; shrewdness, prudence in religious affairs, ethical and religious wisdom. It is a divine attribute which is in the skies, numbers the clouds, founded the earth, made all things (cf. Jer. 10:12=51:15; it is with God Job 12:13; it is not to be found humanly (Job 28:12, 20, 23); God alone knows wisdom, gives it (Pr 2:6) and shows its secrets (Jb 11:6). Yet it is a feminine form personified in Proverbs 8:1-12; 22-31. The fundamental principle of wisdom is to revere or fear God and to know God is the parallel achievement. Wisdom is of inestimable worth, beyond scorn; given to the good. We should listen and attend; seek and find, know and behold, get her and treat her as a sister; value her more than all riches. All things are made and fulfilled in wisdom.  hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.

Wisdom, hokhmah, is a very important concept in Old Testament literature. Its form is feminine, so Proverbs 8 is about the Lady, Wisdom. Proverbs represents how instruction took place in ancient near eastern cultures. Boys especially were taught by clever proverbial admonition how to conduct themselves and their business wisely, and warned away from vices that would destroy good character or waste resources. These were practical teachings, and wisdom in people had to do with skilled work, living well, and with the kind of astuteness Solomon displayed. It is of inestimable worth, and its highest principle is reverence for God. Wisdom was also a divine attribute, characterizing all that God does, and through which the LORD makes everything. In the New Testamenthokhmah would become logos or the Word of God, without which nothing came into being that is (John 1:1-4). KJV translated the last word, qinyan, with “the earth is full of thyriches,” but the ancient Greek translation chose “the earth is full of thy creatures.” God’s creatures are his riches.

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