Interpretation of the personification of “wisdom” in Proverbs 8
The book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon (950 BC) FN1 and was called “wisdom literature.” Its purpose was to give instruction in daily living, to learn how to govern our lives through the fear of the Lord. One of the most important attributes that separated this writing from the others of its time was that “… one enters into wisdom through the gate of the fear of I AM” and not some other outside influence. FN2 The focus was seeking Yahweh with the whole heart.
The definition of “personification” is the “representation of a thing or abstraction as a person or by the human form.” FN3 The word wisdom (chokmâh) in Strong’s 2451, is a feminine noun, FN4, which may be why it is represented as a woman in this Proverb. It does not necessarily mean specifically as an actual woman, but with the intent of being something desired (like in a love affair) to draw the reader in with a desire for Yahweh’s instruction. Additionally, it was written in poetic form as an exhortation to not only desire wisdom, but also to find the fear of the Lord. As an example, Waltke calls the book of Ruth “The Gift of Love” (Hesed), which is our love affair with Christ as His Bride. It is not a gender thing – it is a desire of the heart to draw close to Him.
The book of Proverbs offers so much guidance for our daily lives. Wisdom cries out to us daily, taking her place on the “high hill” (v. 2- the place of our worship), at the gates of our heart (v. 3 seat of government), calling out to us to follow in the fear of the Lord, to find His success in our lives. This cry for us to seek after wisdom is found throughout the Bible, with instructions on how to apply it.
Here are a few items I have noted from studying wisdom in the Strong’s definition:
WISDOM (2451) FN5
Intelligence that comes from knowing God, a compass for every daily activity.
Foundation of all practical activities.
Govern ourselves by it daily.
Skill; military tactics.
Governmental leadership – be prudent in your words.
Personal God is source of all wisdom; God is more concerned about your soul that your success in life.
Have you considered your own daily walk in light of this Proverb? Does it cause you to desire a deeper love for the Lord and His Word? How would you apply these principles to your life?
FN1 Spirit Filled Life Bible (New King James Version).
FN2 Bruce K. Waltke, An Old Testament Theology (p. 899), Zondervan Academic. Kindle Edition.
FN3 Personification Definition & Meaning – Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/personification.
FN4 Hebrew Greek Study Bible (NASB).