Proverbs 3:19
The LORD by wisdom has founded the earth; by understanding has he established the heavens.
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(e) Fifth Discourse:Wisdom as Creator and Protector (Proverbs 3:19-26).

(19) The Lord by wisdom . . .—A passage anticipatory of the doctrine of John 1:3. (Comp. Psalm 104:24; Psalm 136:5.) A further advance towards the personality of the Creator is made in Proverbs 8:27, sqq.

Proverbs 3:19-20. The Lord by wisdom, &c. — From human wisdom, or wisdom attainable by man, of which Solomon had hitherto treated, he now digresses to divine; thereby insinuating that it ought not to seem strange that he had said so much in praise of wisdom, and had so vehemently exhorted men to seek it, since all the works of God are effected by it; and that his readers might understand that he did not call them to the imitation of men, subject to errors and vices like themselves, but to the imitation of the divine wisdom. Although Christ be the wisdom of God, and the power of God, 1 Corinthians 1:24; and although all things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made, yet it does not appear that Solomon speaks of him here, but rather of that divine perfection of wisdom which is the fountain of wisdom in man. Observe, reader, the effects which we call natural, are the productions of the Creator’s sovereign wisdom, who formed at the beginning, and who hath preserved ever since, the universe of things, with that connected chain of causes and effects with which we are surrounded. By his knowledge the depths are broken up — The great abyss of waters mixed with, and contained in, the bowels of the earth, breaks forth into fountains and rivers for the use of men and beasts: which is justly remembered here as an illustrious effect of divine wisdom, by which the earth was made habitable and the waters serviceable. And the clouds drop down dew — Under which rain is comprehended, as being of the same nature and use.3:13-20 No precious jewels or earthly treasures are worthy to be compared with true wisdom, whether the concerns of time or eternity be considered. We must make wisdom our business; we must venture all in it, and be willing to part with all for it. This Wisdom is the Lord Jesus Christ and his salvation, sought and obtained by faith and prayer. Were it not for unbelief, remaining sinfulness, and carelessness, we should find all our ways pleasantness, and our paths peace, for his are so; but we too often step aside from them, to our own hurt and grief. Christ is that Wisdom, by whom the worlds were made, and still are in being; happy are those to whom he is made of God wisdom. He has wherewithal to make good all his promises.Hereto Wisdom has been thought of in relation to men. Now the question comes, What is she in relation to God? and the answer is, that the creative act implies a Divine Wisdom, through which the Divine will acts. This thought, developed in Proverbs 8, is the first link in the chain which connects this "Wisdom" with the Divine Word, the Logos of John's Gospel. Compare Psalm 33:6; John 1:3. The words of the writer of the Proverbs take their place among the proofs of the dogmatic statements of the Nicene Creed. 19, 20. The place of wisdom in the economy of creation and providence commends it to men, who, in proportion to their finite powers, may possess this invaluable attribute, and are thus encouraged by the divine example of its use to seek its possession. By wisdom; either,

1. By Christ, the co-essential and co-eternal Wisdom of God the Father. Or,

2. By that Divine perfection of wisdom, which is the fountain of that wisdom that is in man, which Solomon hath hitherto commended; and therefore the commendation of that wisdom tends to the commendation of this, which is a stream flowing from it.

Hath founded the earth; hath fixed it in the lowest part of the world.

Established the heavens, or fitted or ordered them; framed them in that exquisite order which now they have, The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth,.... He has created all things, and made the world by his Son, the Wisdom of God, Ephesians 3:9, Hebrews 1:2; not using him as an instrument; but, he being an efficient cause with him, to him, as to the first cause, the creation of all things is ascribed, John 1:1; and particularly the laying the foundation of the earth, Hebrews 1:10; and though this is true of the divine perfection of wisdom, Jeremiah 10:12; yet from the context it appears best to understand it of the essential Wisdom of God, Christ Jesus; the Jerusalem Targum of Genesis 1:1; is, "by wisdom God created", &c. and this serves greatly to set forth the dignity and excellency of Wisdom, or Christ, and so the happiness of that man that finds him; with this the account of him is closed and crowned;

by understanding hath he established the heavens: or prepared, adorned, and beautified them, by placing the luminaries in them, and directing their station, motion, and influence; the making of the heavens, with all the host of them, is ascribed to the essential Word or Wisdom of God, Psalm 33:6.

The LORD by wisdom hath {k} founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.

(k) By this he shows that this wisdom of which he speaks is everlasting, because it was before all creatures and that all things even the whole world were made by it.

Verses 19-26. - 5. Fifth hortatory discourse. Wisdom, the creative power of God, exhibited as the protection of those who fear God. The teacher in this discourse presents Wisdom under a new aspect. Wisdom is the Divine power of God, by which he created the world, and by which he sustains the work of his hands and regulates the operations of nature. This eminence of Wisdom, in her intimate association with Jehovah, is made the basis of a renewed exhortation to keep Wisdom steadily in view. The elevated thought that Wisdom has her source in Jehovah might seem in itself an adequate and sufficient reason for the exhortation. But another motive is adduced intimately bound up with this view of Wisdom. Jehovah becomes the ground of confidence and the protection in all conditions of life of those who keep Wisdom. Verse 19. - The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth. The emphatic position of the word Jehovah, "the Lord," at the beginning of the sentence (cf. Psalm 27; Psalm 97; Psalm 99), as well as the nature of the discourse, indicates a new paragraph. The description of the creative Wisdom of Jehovah may have been suggested to the mind of the teacher by the mention of the tree of life, in ver. 18 (Zockler); but the connection between this and the preceding passage has to be sought for in something deeper. The scope of the teacher is to exhibit, and so to recommend, Wisdom in every respect, and after showing her excellence in man, he now brings her forward as the medium of creation, and hence in her relation to God. By wisdom (b'kokhmah); Vulgate, sapientia; LXX., σοφίᾳ. It is evident that Wisdom is here something more than an attribute of Jehovah. "By Wisdom" means "by, or through, the instrumentality of Wisdom." While the corresponding and parallel expressions, "understanding," "knowledge," militate against the idea of an hypostatizing of Wisdom, i.e. assigning to Wisdom a concrete and objective personality, yet the language is sufficiently strong, when we connect this passage with ch. 1. and 8, to warrant our regarding Wisdom as something apart from yet intimately connected with Jehovah, as an active agency employed by him, and hence this description may. be looked upon as an anticipation of that which is more fully developed in ch. 8, where the characteristics which are wanting here are there worked out at length. The rabbins evidently connected the passage before us, as well as ch. 1 and 8, with Genesis 1:1, by rendering b'reshith, "in the beginning." by b'kokhmah, "by Wisdom." Our Lord identifies himself with the Divine Sophia, or Wisdom (Luke 11:49). And the language of St. John, "All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made" (John 1:3), which assigns to the Logos, or Word of God, i.e. Christ, the act of creation (cf. John 1:10, and especially the language of St. Paul, in Colossians 1:16), argues in favour of the view of some commentators who understand Wisdom to refer to the Second Person of the Trinity. The Logos was understood by Alexandrian Judaism to express the manifestation of the unseen God, the Absolute Being, in the creation and government of the world; and the Christian teachers, when they adopted this term, assigned to it a concrete meaning as indicating the Incarnate Word (see Bishop Lightfoot, in Colossians 1:15). For the passage, see Psalm 33:6; Psalm 104:24; Psalm 136:5; and especially Jeremiah 10:12, "He hath established the world by his wisdom," etc.; Jeremiah 51:55; Ecclus. 24:2, seq. Hath founded (yasod); Vulgate, fundavit; LXX., ἐθεμελίωσε. The same verb is used in Job 38:4; Psalm 24:2; Psalm 78:69, of the creation of the earth by God. While the primary meaning of yasad is "to give fixity to," "to lay fast," that of konen, rendered "he hath established," is "to set up," "to erect," and so "to found," from kun, or referring to the Arabic and Ethiopic cognate root, "to exist," "to give existence to." The marginal reading, "prepared," corresponds with the LXX. ἐτοίμασε. The Vulgate is stabilivit, "he hath established." Such submission to God, the All-wise, the All-directing, who loves us with fatherly affection, is wisdom, and such wisdom is above all treasures.

13 Blessed is the man who has found wisdom,

     And the man who has gained understanding;

14 For better is her acquisition than the acquisition of silver,

     And her gain than fine gold.

15 More precious is she than corals;

     And all thy jewels do not equal her value.

The imperfect יפיק, which as the Hiph. of פּוּק, exire, has the general meaning educere, interchanges with the perfect מצא. This bringing forth is either a delivering up, i.e., giving out or presenting, Isaiah 58:10; Psalm 140:9; Psalm 144:13 (cf. נפק, Arab. nafaḳ, to give out, to pay out), or a fetching out, getting out, receiving, Proverbs 8:35; Proverbs 12:2; Proverbs 18:22. Thus 13a reminds one of the parable of the treasure in the field, and 13b of that of the goodly pearl for which the ἔμπορος who sought the pearl parted with all that he had. Here also is declared the promise of him who trades with a merchant for the possession of wisdom; for סחרהּ and סחר (both, as Isaiah 23:3, Isaiah 23:18; Isaiah 45:15, from סחר, the latter after the forms זרע, נטע, without our needing to assume a second primary form, סחר) go back to the root-word סחר, to trade, go about as a trader, with the fundamental meaning ἐμπορεύεσθαι (lxx); and also the mention of the pearls is not wanting here, for at all events the meaning "pearls" has blended itself with פּנינים, which is a favourite word in the Mashal poetry, though it be not the original meaning of the word. In 14b כּסף is surpassed by חרוּץ (besides in the Proverbs, found only in this meaning in Psalm 68:14), which properly means ore found in a mine, from חרץ, to cut in, to dig up, and hence the poetic name of gold, perhaps of gold dug out as distinguished from molten gold. Hitzig regards χρυσός as identical with it; but this word (Sanskr. without the ending hir, Zench. zar) is derived from ghar, to glitter (vid., Curtius). תּבוּאתהּ we have translated "gain," for it does not mean the profit which wisdom brings, the tribute which it yields, but the gain, the possession of wisdom herself.

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