The presence of wisdom (Wis 9:9-9:12)

“With you is wisdom.

She knows your works.

She was present

When you made the world.

She understands

What is pleasing in your sight.

She understands

What is right

According to your commandments.

Send her forth

From the holy heavens.

From the throne of your glory

Send her!

Thus she may labor at my side.

Thus I may learn what is pleasing to you.

She knows all things.

She understands all things.

She will guide me wisely in my actions.

She will guard me with her glory.

Then my works will be acceptable.

I shall judge your people justly.

I shall be worthy

Of the throne of my father.”

Wisdom (ἡ σοφία) was present with God when he made the world (ἐποίεις τὸν κόσμον). She understands what is pleasing and what is right according to the commandments. She was sent from the holy heavens (ἐξ ἁγίων οὐρανῶν) and the throne of glory (θρόνου δόξης σου). Thus she labors on earth. She knows and understands all things. She guides and guards this author. Then the author as King Solomon declared that he would judge his people fairly so that he would be worthy of the throne of his father (θρόνων πατρός μου), presumably David.

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The righteous stand tall (Wis 5:1-5:3)

“Then the righteous

Will stand with great confidence

In the presence of those

Who have afflicted them.

They will stand

In the presence of those

Who make light of their labors.

When the unrighteous see them,

They will be shaken with dreadful fear.

They will be amazed

At the unexpected salvation of the righteous.

They will speak to one another

In repentance.

In anguish of spirit

They will groan.”

The righteous (δίκαιος) will stand with great confidence against those that afflicted them and made light of their labors. The unrighteous will see this. They will be shaken with a dreadful fear. They will be amazed at how the righteous are saved (σωτηρίας). They will begin to repent to one another because their spirits will be in anguish. Then they will groan.

The punishment of the unjust (Wis 3:10-3:13)

“But the ungodly will be punished.

As their reasoning deserves,

They disregarded the righteous.

They rebelled against the Lord.

Whoever despises wisdom,

Whoever despises instruction,

Are miserable.

Their hope is vain.

Their labors are unprofitable.

Their works are useless.

Their wives are foolish.

Their children are evil.

Their offspring are accursed.”

The ungodly, unjust ones (ἀσεβεῖς) will be punished because they disregarded the righteous. They rebelled against the Lord (τοῦ Κυρίου ἀποστάντες). Whoever despises wisdom and instruction (σοφίαν γὰρ καὶ παιδείαν) will be miserable. Their hope is useless. Their labors are not profitable. Their wives are foolish (αἱ γυναῖκες αὐτῶν ἄφρονες) and their children are evil (πονηρὰ τὰ τέκνα αὐτῶν). They will have accursed offspring (ἐπικατάρατος ἡ γένεσις αὐτῶν).

The hidden work of God (Eccl 8:16-8:17)

“I applied my mind to know wisdom.

When I wanted to see the business

That is done on earth,

How one’s eyes see sleep

Neither day nor night.

Then I saw all the work of God.

No one can find out

What is happening

Under the sun.

However much they may toil in seeking,

They will not find it out.

Even though those who are wise

Claim to know,

They cannot find it out.”

Qoheleth wanted to know about wisdom so he applied his mind. He wanted to see everything that was done on earth. However, no one could tell him what was happening here on earth, under the sun. Even the wise ones could not find out, despite their labors. These wise humans were not able to discern the wisdom of the work of God.

Fear Yahweh to be happy (Ps 128:1-128:4)

A song of ascents

“Happy is everyone who fears Yahweh!

Happy are those who walk in his ways!

You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands.

You shall be happy.

It shall go well with you.

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine

Within your house.

Your children will be like olive shoots

Around your table.

Thus shall the man be blessed

Who fears Yahweh.”

Psalm 128 is another in this series of pilgrimage songs or psalms on the ascent to Jerusalem. If you fear Yahweh, you will be happy. This is a universal saying about the importance of fearing God. Everyone who fears Yahweh and walks in his ways will be happy. They shall eat the fruits of their labors. It will go well with them. Their wives will be like fruitful vines in their house. Their children will be like olive shoots around their tables. Truly, the man who fears Yahweh will be blessed.