Proverbs 8:1

Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?

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Solomon wrote Proverbs with many figurative and poetic expressions, which gives them force and appeal, in addition to their wonderful content of wisdom for life. Here you meet the figure of speech called personification, where the character trait of wisdom is given the nature of a person. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the figure this way:

Personification. Attribution of personal form, nature, or characteristics; the representation of a thing or abstraction as a person, as a rhetorical figure or species of metaphor.

Consider how America’s freedom is described as Lady Liberty or the material and animal earth as Mother Nature. Liberty is not really a lady, though there is the female form of the Statue of Liberty; and nature is not really a mother, though many often call it such.

Solomon also personified wisdom as a woman in other places (Pr 1:20-33; 2:4; 3:15-18; 4:5-13; 8:1-36; 9:1-5). Many spiritualize the woman and wisdom as the pre-incarnate Christ, or Wisdom of God. But the pre-incarnate Christ was Jehovah Himself, the Word of God. An eternally generated Son of God is profane speculation and heresy. The figure of speech is a passionate woman pleading for young men to choose the life of wisdom.

In the first nine chapters, there is competition between the strange woman and Lady Wisdom. One seeks to seduce young men by lust and fornication, and the other tries to save them by wisdom and discretion. As whores use public places to prey on men (Pr 7:11-12), so Lady Wisdom speaks in public places to be heard by all (Pr 8:2-4; 1:20-21).

Every young man has two women pursuing him (indirectly, older men, girls, and women also have Lady Wisdom pursuing them). The question is, which woman will a young man love and follow to her house. One woman, Lady Folly, brings hell and death (Pr 2:18; 7:27; 9:18), the other woman, Lady Wisdom, brings favor and life (Pr 9:1-5; 4:13; 3:18).

Wisdom is not difficult to find and enjoy. She makes herself known and available by the revelation of God and work of His Spirit. She cries out to be heard. Why not embrace her as your own, dear reader? She will bring you great gladness and favor all of your life.

Wisdom is a quality and trait that God both has and gives. He has infinite wisdom (Ps 147:5; Rom 11:33-36), and He used it to create the universe (Pr 3:19-20; 8:22-31). He also gives wisdom liberally to those who seek it (I Kgs 3:12; 4:29-34; Jas 1:5; Jer 3:15).

Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, has all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col 2:3). He could answer doctors of the law when only twelve years old (Luke 2:46-47). He could silence His enemies with rhetorical skill that caused them to avoid Him (Matt 22:46). No man spake like Him, and His explanation of scripture caused godly hearts to burn with joy (Luke 24:32). Do you know Him? Do you love and serve Him?