My Question: Woman Wisdom: Jesus or Solomon’s teachings?

Hi everyone,

I’ve been taking a class on Proverbs. It’s fantastic! There is one thing that really sticks out as we work our way through the book. Woman Wisdom. Some scholars believe she is a represent of Jesus and others say No, she is just the wisdom teachings of Solomon.

Anyone have a better handle on this one way or the other? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

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That’s an interesting question, @jbrooks1837 - thank you for asking it!

In both testaments of the Bible, a woman is often used to symbolize people of the covenant. A good woman represents faithful keepers of the covenant – unfaithful covenant breakers are portrayed as adulteresses.

God married Israel at Sinai – Isaiah 54:5; Jeremiah 3:14 and 31:31-33. When the nation was being faithful to Him they were a good and loving wife – a virtuous wife (Jeremiah 2:2). But when they departed from Him to worship other gods, they were an adulterous wife.

In the new covenant, the church is the virtuous and chaste bride of Christ – II Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:22-33. The counterfeit church is a Babylonian harlot – Revelation 17.

So when wisdom appears in the book of Proverbs, between the two options you’ve offered, she would more likely represent the wisdom of the gospel – which is unchanging in both testaments (Hebrews 3:16-4:2) – than the heavenly Groom.

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For contrast let me suggest this view. This is from Jacob Neusner, In The encyclopedia of Judaism (Vol. 2, p. 783)

In Prov. 8:22, personified Wisdom declares that she was created at the very beginning of God’s dominion, even before the watery abyss whose preexistence is taken for granted in Gen. 1:2. Moreover, personified Wisdom declares (Prov. 8:22–31) that, at the time of the creation of the cosmos, she accompanied God as a confidant. Already in Ps. 119 this personified Wisdom of Proverbs is identified with Torah, the same Torah that, in Ps. 119, as already in Deut. 17 and Neh. 9, comprises a God-given book of instructions concerning human behavior.

I thought that these verses from the book of (Wis 7:21–30) would be a good example of this train of thought, I know it’s not Canon but I still like it and find it hard to disagree with it as a metaphor.

21 I learned both what is secret and what is manifest,
22 for wisdom, the fashioner of all things, taught me. For in her there is a spirit that is intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, clear, unpolluted, distinct, invulnerable, loving the good, keen, irresistible,
23 beneficent, humane, steadfast, sure, free from anxiety, all-powerful, overseeing all, and penetrating through all spirits that are intelligent and pure and most subtle.
24 For wisdom is more mobile than any motion; because of her pureness she pervades and penetrates all things.
25 For she is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled gains entrance into her.
26 For she is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness.
27 Though she is but one, she can do all things, and while remaining in herself, she renews all things; in every generation she passes into holy souls and makes them friends of God, and prophets;
28 for God loves nothing so much as the man who lives with wisdom.
29 For she is more beautiful than the sun, and excels every constellation of the stars. Compared with the light she is found to be superior,
30 for it is succeeded by the night, but against wisdom evil does not prevail.

To all that contrast this view from Saadia Goan, a 9th century Jewish philosopher, Rabbi and exegete of the Hebrew language we have this position, also for Neusner’s book (Vol. 2, p. 712). Please note when he refers to rival theories he is referring to Greek, Christian, Muslim and Jewish views of creation.

In his discussion of the rival theories of creation, Saadia’s considers the view that in creating the world God employed instruments or intermediary spiritual entities. Such a theme is found in Philo and in the Church Fathers, some of whom identify this instrument with Jesus. Saadia vigorously argues against this idea. He is especially concerned to defeat the claim that this idea appears explicitly in Prov. 8:22, which suggests that wisdom is premundane and served as God’s instrument in creating the world. According to Saadia, all that Prov. 8:22 says is that God created the universe wisely, subject to order and design, nothing more.

Just thought that you would enjoy. None of my Sunday school teachers has ever pointed this out.

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