Proverbs 8:1 ¶ Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?
Proverbs 8:2 She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.
Proverbs 8:3 She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors.
This chapter opens with Solomon speaking as wisdom personified. She is pictured as crying out in the highest places and from the highways. She cries out at the gates of the city and at the doors of homes.
Reminder—At the time Solomon lived in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, the lives of the people revolved around the worship of God at the temple. God’s law was accepted and respected. Wisdom can be pictured crying out for all to listen when the laws and morals of a nation are rooted in God’s word and they look to Him as LORD.
Ironsides: “Wisdom incarnate is to be found in our Lord Jesus Christ, the living Word. Similarly the instructions of Wisdom are to be found in the written Word. The only true and lasting wisdom and knowledge are contained in this precious volume which “holy men of God [wrote] as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2Peter 1:21). Only true and right things are recorded there. Even when the sins of men and women are sharply delineated in all their grossness it is so we may learn from them.”
Proverbs 8:4 Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man.
Proverbs 8:5 O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.
Wisdom is pictured calling out to humanity. She calls out for those who are acting foolishly to seek wisdom and an understanding heart, the intelligence to use what you know with discernment.
Proverbs 8:6 Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.
Proverbs 8:7 For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
Proverbs 8:8 All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.
Proverbs 8:9 They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.
Wisdom urges men to listen to what she has to say. She only speaks of things that are honorable, right and true. Wickedness is something she detests. Nothing she says is false or goes against God’s law. All of this is obvious to the person that has knowledge with discernment.
Guzik: “It could be said of the Scriptures in general, they are plain to him who understands. Of course, there are deep and occasionally complicated passages, but the fundamental truths of the Bible are plain to those who trust God and honor His word. As the American author Mark Twain was reported to have said, It’s not the parts of the Bible I can’t understand that bother me; it’s the parts that I do understand.”
Proverbs 8:10 Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.
Proverbs 8:11 For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.
Wisdom urges men to accept what she teaches them. They should desire her more than silver or gold. She is more valuable than precious gems. Nothing is comparable to her value.
Many go through life never realizing this truth because they reject the source of wisdom—God and His word. Without the ministry of the Holy Spirit in one’s life as you seek to live in accordance with God’s will as revealed in His word, true wisdom is unattainable and its value not recognized.
Proverbs 8:12 ¶ I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.
Wisdom identifies prudence as her companion. She delivers (from Hebrew for “find out”) knowledge and instruction for planning.
“Witty inventions” makes reference in the Hebrew to wicked intent or plans as well. It could mean that with wisdom one can discern between good and bad regarding one’s plans and intent.
Clarke: “Prudence is defined, wisdom applied to practice; so wherever true wisdom is, it will lead to action, and its activity will be always in reference to the accomplishment of the best ends by the use of the most appropriate means….The farther wisdom proceeds in man, the more practical knowledge it gains; and finding out the nature and properties of things, and the general course of providence, it can contrive by new combinations to produce new results.”
Proverbs 8:13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.
In chapter 6 we are told of seven things the LORD hates. In this verse, wisdom tells us that if we fear the LORD, we should hate what is evil. This list is just a shorter list that encompasses the list of seven in chapter 6. Specifically identified in this verse as evil are pride, arrogance, evil behavior and perverse, fraudulent speech. Pride and arrogance make reference to conceit of self with contempt for others; arrogance seems to indicate that it is more overtly on display. To be perverse is to purposely turn away from what is right; so the reference is to speech that is false or deceptive.
Proverbs 8:14 Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.
Proverbs 8:15 By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.
Proverbs 8:16 By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.
Wisdom declares that she possesses sensible counsel and good judgment. To possess wisdom is to possess power and mastery.
Verses 15 and 16 state what should be—not what is. Kings and all those in authority over others should exercise wisdom. Those who do will prosper to the benefit of those they rule. Sadly, most leaders in the world today do not possess wisdom; and, sadly, those they govern suffer because of that lack.
Proverbs 8:17 I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.
Wisdom loves those that love her. That love is reflected in the blessings that result from following her lead. She assures that all who diligently (from Hebrew for “early”) seek her will find her. She is not hiding; she wants to be found.
Proverbs 8:18 Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.
Proverbs 8:19 My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.
Wisdom declares that riches and honor are also her companions—riches and righteousness that will endure if valued. Again, she declares that what she gives one is more valuable than the finest gold or the choicest silver.
Proverbs 8:20 I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment:
Proverbs 8:21 That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.
Wisdom always leads one to do what is right, using discernment. That will lead to prosperity both materially and spiritually. Again, we must remember that we are dealing with a principle. Not every person with godly wisdom (in context) is wealthy materially; but they are all wealthy spiritually. Such wealth will endure for eternity once this life has been left behind. One who exercises wisdom is laying up the spiritual treasures in heaven to which Jesus referred.
Matthew 6:20–21 “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Proverbs 8:22 ¶ The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
Proverbs 8:23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
Proverbs 8:24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.
Proverbs 8:25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:
Proverbs 8:26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.
Wisdom declares that the LORD has possessed her from before creation, before the earth was ever created. Before the waters were created or the mountains and hills formed, wisdom was a part of God’s being.
The Hebrew for “set up” in verse 23 states “to pour out.” The terms “set up” and “brought forth” (verse 24 and 25) seem to make reference to the LORD using wisdom as He created.
Proverbs 8:27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:
Proverbs 8:28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:
Proverbs 8:29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:
Proverbs 8:30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;
Proverbs 8:31 Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.
When God created the heavens and formed the earth into a circle (from Hebrew for “compass”), wisdom was present. When he established (firmly fixed) the clouds in the sky, the oceans and seas with set boundaries, and the earth in space, wisdom was present. She delighted in all that the LORD made, especially humanity.
Proverbs 8:32 ¶ Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways.
Proverbs 8:33 Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.
Proverbs 8:34 Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.
Wisdom urges the sons of men to heed, live by what she teaches; those that do will be blessed. She urges them to listen to her, to act wisely according to her teaching and not reject it. Such a man will be blessed.
Proverbs 8:35 For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.
Proverbs 8:36 But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.
The chapter closes with a wise saying to summarize the main point of the chapter. Those that find wisdom find life and strength and will be blessed by the LORD. Those that reject wisdom and choose the path of sinful living harm themselves. To hate wisdom is to love death.