illustration of three young girls reading a book

Reflecting on Proverbs 8 8-14, 17-21

We are studying, or focusing on, Proverbs 8:8-14 and 17-21 for Sunday, June 21. This is part of the long speech in praise of wisdom delivered by Woman Wisdom, the personification of wisdom, herself. [Some notes on the text are here.] Here are some questions we might want to consider as we think about this text:

In verse 8-9, Wisdom announces that what she has to say is “righteous,” “nothing twisted or crooked,” “straight,” and “right” – to the audience who understands and who gets knowledge. Why do we think Wisdom needs to tell us this, or wants to tell us this? What does it tell us about Wisdom?

In practical terms – that is, thinking about situations in which we might need to exercise wisdom and understanding – what does it imply?

Could there be a way of thinking or speaking that people might mistake for wisdom, but that would not be “righteous,” that would instead be “twisted or crooked”? Can we think of any examples?

Would there ever be a need for the kind of wisdom praised here in Proverbs to be distinguished from that kind of thinking or speaking? Why, do we think?

In verses 10-11 Wisdom compares herself to various kinds of wealth; and again in verse 19 she compares her “fruit” or outcomes to wealth (silver, gold). In all cases, wisdom is “better” than other precious commodities. What do we think this means about the relationship of wisdom to financial security or prosperity?

Should someone who pursues the wisdom outlined in the book of Proverbs anticipate economic well-being, do we think? Why, or why not? Or will wisdom teach that there are other goods that matter more than economic well-being? If so – do we get a sense from the text of what those might be?

Put a different way: Do we think rich or well-off people are probably wise? Blessed? What about poor people? Why?

What do we think the speaker means about the relationship of wisdom to “riches and honor”? Why do we think that?

If Wisdom really were a person, we would presumably understand what it means for her to say, in verse 17, “I love those who love me.” How do we translate that understanding to the kind of thing that “wisdom” seems to be – a kind of capability or skill set or grasp of the realities of a situation? In that case, what does this statement seem to mean?

What do we think it means that wisdom “walks in the way of righteousness and along the paths of justice”? Does that tell us anything about what it might mean to “seek” wisdom diligently? What does that tell us?

three young girls sitting in a room reading a large book

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