Verses 1-22 The blessings of Seeking Wisdom.
This chapter is an extended poem extolling the virtue and blessings of wisdom. The beginning is an admonition to seek wisdom and understanding. We see five reasons why the search for wisdom and understanding will be richly rewarded. We also see that there are twenty-two verses which is the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet.
First we see an introductory appeal to the youthful student to seek wisdom. There are two prerequisites suggested. The first is openness. One needs a listening ear and a willing heart. These are necessary to receive God’s gift of wisdom. One must want it before God will give it to you. Secondly you must desire it with all your heart. To receive wisdom you must “cry out” with a “raised voice.” One must seek wisdom like they would silver and search for it as a hidden treasure. This is a reminder of what Jesus taught about prayer. (Luke 11:5-9; Luke 18:1-8) In the first chapter we saw wisdom crying out to the people, but here we are told to cry out for her, as she has much to give. The message here is that if you really want wisdom you will get it.
The first of the five blessings of wisdom is that with her comes the true knowledge of God. In verse 5 we see a variation from the theme of the book of Proverbs. Reverence of the Lord is a doorway to the knowledge of God, and the knowledge of God is the ultimate blessing. Who gives wisdom? God give it. True wisdom is not an achievement of man, but to receive it man must truly want it, as noted above. God’s grace is a gift too, but it is not given to one who has no desire for it and does not value it. God will not force Himself upon anyone.
A second benefit of wisdom is found in verses 9-11 where the keys of understanding life are promised to the one who seeks wisdom. These keys are “righteousness and justice and equity.” This is the same order as found in 1:3. “Every good path is that wisdom is the way to go through life.
The third benefit is that wisdom will protect you from the evil devising of the wicked. We see a vivid description of the wicked: “perverted speech … ways of darkness, who rejoice in doing evil and delight in the perverseness of evil, men whose paths are crooked, and who are devious.” A very graphic description of evil.
Wisdom will also save the youth from the wiles of the wicked woman, and that is the forth blessing. Some of her characteristic are listed: “loose … forsakes her companion … and forgets the covenant of her God.” the institution of marriage is a covenant with God and your spouse.
The fifth blessing is that the youth that seeks wisdom will be established in life. The wicked will be cut off from life.
Wisdom helps us to know how to act and speak in different situations. It provides the ability to avoid problems as well as the skill to handle them when they arise. Wisdom goes beyond simple intelligence. Proverbs notes that even animals such as ants, rock badgers, locust, and lizards are wise. This is not because they have great intelligence but because they know how to navigate life skillfully.
The foundation of wisdom is God Himself. No wisdom exists apart from the fear of the Lord. Wisdom is closely connected to righteousness and remains distant from evil. According to Proverbs, wisdom is gained through observation and experience, from instruction based upon tradition, in learning from mistakes, and finally, but most importantly, through divine revelation.
In 1 Corinthians 1-2 Paul contrasts wisdom of the world, which he calls foolishness, with the wisdom of Christ. Paul also says Jesus, “In Him lie all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:3)