Proverbs 8:1-36 – Woman Wisdom


Proverbs 8:1-36


Wisdom is personified as a woman who is active in creation.


This is one of the central texts in the book of Proverbs expressing a notion that has implications throughout Scripture, from Genesis 1 through the New Testament, especially John 1. As was the case in Proverbs 1:20-33, wisdom is personified as a woman, perhaps reflecting an actual practice of women street preachers or teachers. As in 2:1-6, wisdom is a treasure to be sought (8:10-11, 19). Right relationship to God is a component of this wisdom, here described as “the fear of the LORD” (1:7; 9:10). Wisdom is described as the means by which God carries out God’s activity of sustaining and guiding humans, in this case rulers (8:15-16).

What is truly astonishing about wisdom as described here is that wisdom is said to have been present at the time of “beginning” (the Hebrew reshith is the same as be-reshith “in the beginning,” the first word in the Bible) participating in creation. The creating activity of wisdom is described in verses 23-31, which follow. This speech of Woman Wisdom ends with a declaration of the joys of those who find her. In contrast to the women of chapters 5 and 7, whose ways end in death, those who find Woman Wisdom find life and favor from the Lord.