“For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death” (Proverbs 8:35-36).
Throughout the book of Proverbs, wisdom is often personified as a woman. She calls out to the simple-minded and encourages them to come and learn from her, to turn from their ignorance and act in wisdom, instead. Proverbs 8 is a monologue given by Wisdom, in which she highlights her benefits and admonishes all to listen to her words.
“On the heights beside they way, at the crossroads […]; beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrance of the portals [Wisdom] cries aloud” (vv. 2-3). The chapter opens by setting Wisdom’s stage. She stands at prominent places in the city, where all who walk by will see her. She can be found on the highest points of the hills, in the middle of the street, in the gate of the city. Wherever people are, Wisdom is there, too. She cries aloud, speaking words of righteousness and truth. She claims that her words are more precious than silver, far better than gold; “all that you may desire cannot compare with her” (v. 11). She is, in summary, much to be desired.
After introducing herself in this way, Wisdom goes on to explain the benefits she offers to those who listen to her. She gives good counsel, which lead to riches and honor. She brings blessings to those who live according to her advice, for the way of wisdom coincides with that of righteousness. She was at the side of the LORD Himself when He created the world, and she now rejoices in the works of His hands. Her chief purpose is to point mankind to their glorious Creator.
Wisdom’s speech is not long, but she conveys much about herself in these simple words. She is beautiful, precious, and greatly to be desired. She offers herself to everyone who comes near, promising good counsel and great rewards. She walks in the fear of the LORD, and those who walk with her learn the same. Following in her footsteps leads to life. “Blessed is the one who listens to me,” she proclaims, “watching daily at my fates, waiting beside my doors” (v. 34).
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