Proverbs 8:30
Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;
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(30) As one brought up with him—i.e., his foster child; as Mordecai “brought up” Esther (Esther 2:7). But the word may also bear the sense of “artificer.” It probably occurs in this meaning in Jeremiah 52:15 (though translated “multitude,” in accordance with 2Kings 25:11), and in a slightly different form, Song of Solomon 7:1. This meaning is much more suitable, and harmonises with Psalm 104:24; Psalm 136:5, and Hebrews 1:2.

I was daily his delight.—The pronoun “his” does not occur in the Hebrew, which is, literally, I was delights, i.e., all joy, delight, as Psalm 109:4 : “I am prayer,” i.e., give myself wholly to it. The words express the joy with which Wisdom carried out the work of God.

Rejoicing always before him.—The same expression is used in 2Samuel 6:21 by David (there translated “play”), to describe his “leaping and dancing before the Lord.”



Proverbs 8:30 - Proverbs 8:31

There is a singular difference between the two portions of this Book of Proverbs. The bulk of it, beginning with Proverbs 10:1 - Proverbs 10:32, contains a collection of isolated maxims which may be described as the product of sanctified common sense. They are shrewd and homely, but not remarkably spiritual or elevated. To these is prefixed this introductory portion, continuous, lofty in style, and in its personification of divine wisdom, rising to great sublimity both of thought and of expression. It seems as if the main body of the book had been fitted with an introduction by another hand than that of the compilers of the various sets of proverbial sayings. It is apparently due to an intellectual movement, perhaps not uninfluenced by Greek thought, and chronologically the latest of the elements composing the Old Testament scriptures. In place of the lyric fervour of prophets, and the devout intuition of psalmists, we have the praise of Wisdom. But that noble portrait is no copy of the Greek conception, but contains features peculiar to itself. She stands opposed to blatant, meretricious Folly, and seeks to draw men to herself by lofty motives and offering pure delights. She is not a person, but she is a personification of an aspect of the divine nature, and seeing that she is held forth as willing to bestow herself on men, that queenly figure shadows the great truth of God’s self-communication as being the end and climax of all His revelation.

We are on the wrong tack when we look for more or less complete resemblances between the ‘Wisdom’ of Proverbs and the ‘Sophia’ of Greek thinkers. It is much rather an anticipation, imperfect but real, of Jesus than a pale reflection of Greek thought. The way for the perfect revelation of God in the incarnation was prepared by prophet and psalmist. Was it not also prepared by this vision of a Wisdom which was always with God, and yet had its delights with the sons of men, and whilst ‘rejoicing always before Him,’ yet rejoiced in the habitable parts of the earth?

Let us then look, however imperfect our gaze may be, at the self-revelation in Proverbs of the personified divine Wisdom, and compare it with the revelation of the incarnate divine Word.

I. The Self-revelation of Wisdom.

The words translated in Authorised Version, ‘As one brought up with him,’ are rendered in Revised Version, ‘as a master workman,’ and seem intended to represent Wisdom-that is, of course, the divine Wisdom-as having been God’s agent in the creative act. In the preceding context, she triumphantly proclaims her existence before His ‘works of old,’ and that she was with God, ‘or ever the earth was.’ Before the everlasting mountains she was, before fountains flashed in the light and refreshed the earth, her waters flowed. But that presence is not all, Wisdom was the divine agent in creation. That thought goes beyond the ancient one: ‘He spake and it was done.’ Genesis regards the divine command as the cause of creatural being. God said, ‘Let there be-and there was’: the forthputting of His will was the impulse to which creatures sprang into existence at response. That is a great thought, but the meditative thinker in our text has pondered over the facts of creation, and notwithstanding all their apparent incompletenesses and errors, has risen to the conclusion that they can all be vindicated as ‘very good.’ To him, this wonderful universe is not only the product of a sovereign will, but of one guided in its operations by all-seeing Wisdom.

Then the relation of this divine Wisdom to God is represented as being a continual delight and a childlike rejoicing in Him, or as the word literally means, a ‘sporting’ in Him. Whatever energy of creative action is suggested by the preceding figure of a ‘master workman,’ that energy had no effort. To the divine Wisdom creation was an easy task. She was not so occupied with it as to interrupt her delight in contemplating God, and her task gave her infinite satisfaction, for she ‘rejoiced always’ before Him, and she rejoiced in His habitable earth. The writer does not shrink from ascribing to the agent of creation something like the glow of satisfaction that we feel over a piece of well-done work, the poet’s or the painter’s rapture as he sees his thoughts bodied forth in melody or glowing on canvas.

But there is a greater thought than these here, for the writer adds, ‘and my delight was with the sons of men.’ It is noteworthy that the same word is used in the preceding verse. The ‘delight of the heavenly Wisdom in God’ is not unlike that directed to man. ‘The sons of men’ are the last, noblest work of Creation, and on them, as the shining apex, her delight settles. The words describe not only what was true when man came into being, as the utmost possible climax of creatural excellence, but are the revelation of what still remains true.

One cannot but feel how in all this most striking disclosure of the depths of God, a deeper mystery is on the verge of revelation. There is here, as we have said, a personification, but there seems to be a Person shining through, or dimly discerned moving behind, the curtain. Wisdom is the agent of creation. She creates with ease, and in creating delights in God as well as in her work, which calls for no effort in doing, and done, is all very good. She delights most of all in the sons of men, and that delight is permanent. Does not this unknown Jewish thinker, too, belong, as well as prophet and psalmist, to those who went before crying, Hosanna to Him that cometh in the name of the Lord? Let us turn to the New Testament and find an answer to the question.

II. The higher revelation of the divine Word.

There can be no doubt that the New Testament is committed to the teaching that the Eternal Word of God, who was incarnate in Jesus, was the agent of creation. John, in his profound prologue to the Gospel, utters the deepest truths in brief sentences of monosyllables, and utters them without a trace of feeling that they needed proof. To him they are axiomatic and self evident. ‘All things were made by Him.’ The words are the words of a child; the thought takes a flight beyond the furthest reach of the mind of men. Paul, too, adds his Amen when he proclaims that ‘All things have been created through Him and unto Him, and He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.’ The writer of Hebrews declares a Son ‘through whom also He made the worlds, and who upholds all things by the word of His power’ and does not scruple at transferring to Jesus the grand poetry of the Psalmist who hymned ‘Thou, Lord, in the beginning, hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Thy hands.’ We speak of things too deep for us when we speak of persons in the Godhead, but yet we know that the Eternal Word, which was from the beginning, was made flesh and dwelt among us. The personified Wisdom of Proverbs is the personal Word of John’s prologue. John almost quotes the former when he says ‘the same was in the beginning with God.’ for his word recalls the grand declaration, ‘The Lord possessed me in the beginning of His way . . . I was set up in the beginning or ever the earth was.’ Then there are two beginnings, one lost in the depths of timeless being, one, the commencement of creative activity, and that Word was with God in the remotest, as in the nearer, beginning.

But the ancient vision of the Jewish thinker anticipated the perfect revelation of the New Testament still further, in its thought of an unbroken communion between the personified Wisdom and God. That dim thought of perfect communion and interchange of delights flashes into wondrous clearness when we think of Him who spake of ‘the glory which I had with Thee before the foundation of the world,’ and calmly declared: ‘Thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.’ Into that depth of mutual love we cannot look, and our eyes are too dim-sighted to bear the blaze of that flashing interchange of glory, but we shall rob the earthly life of Jesus of its pathos and saving power, if we do not recognise that in Him the personification of Proverbs has become a person, and that when He became flesh, He not only took on Him the garment of mortality, but laid aside ‘the visible robes of His imperial majesty,’ and that His being found in fashion as a man was humbling Himself beyond all humiliation that afterwards was His.

But still further, the Gospel reality fills out and completes the personification of Proverbs in that it shows us a divine person who so turned to ‘the sons of men’ that He took on Him their nature and Himself bore their sicknesses. The Jewish writer had great thoughts of the divine condescension, and was sure that God’s love still rested on men, sinful as they were, but not even he could foresee the miracle of long-suffering love in the Incarnate Jesus, and he had no power of insight into the depths of the heart of God, that enabled him to foresee the sufferings and death of Jesus. Till that supreme self-sacrifice was a fact, it was inconceivable. Alas, now that it is a fact, to how many hearts that need it most is it still incredible. But passing all anticipation as it is, it is the root of all joy, the ground of all hope, and to millions of sinful souls it is their only refuge, and their sovereign example and pattern of life.

The Jewish thinker had a glimpse of a divine wisdom which delighted in man, but he did not dream of the divine stooping to share in man’s sorrows, or of its so loving humanity as to take on itself its limitations, not only to pity these as God’s images, but to take part of the same and to die. That man should minister to the divine delight is wonderful, but that God should participate in man’s grief passes wonder. Thereby a new tenderness is given to the ancient personification, and the august form of the divine Wisdom softens and melts into the yet more august and tender likeness of the divine Love. Nor is there only an adumbration of the redeeming love of Jesus as He dwells among us here, but we have to remember that Jesus delights in the sons of men when they love Him back again. All the sweet mysteries of our loving communion with Him, and of His joy in our faith, love, and obedience, all the secret treasures of His self-impartation to, and abiding in, souls that open themselves to His entrance, are suggested in that thought. We can minister to the joy of Jesus, and when He is welcomed into any heart, and any man’s love answers His, He sees of the travail of His soul and is satisfied.

III. The call of the personal Word to each of us.

The Wisdom of Proverbs is portrayed in her queenly dignity, as calling men to herself, and promising them the satisfaction of all their needs. She describes herself that the description may draw men to her. The self-revelation of God is His mightiest means of attracting men to Him. We but need to know Him as He really is, in order to love Him and cling to Him. A fairer form than hers has drawn near to us, and calls us with tenderer invitations and better promises. The divine Wisdom has become Man with ‘sweet human hands and lips and eyes.’ Such was His delight in the sons of men that He emptied Himself of His glory, and finished a greater work than that over which he presided when the mountains were settled and the hills brought forth. Now He calls us, and His summons is tenderer, and gives promise of loftier blessings than the call of Wisdom was and did. She called to the simple, ‘Come eat ye of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.’ He invites us: ‘If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink,’ and He furnishes a table for us, and calls us to eat of the bread which is His body broken for us, and to drink of the wine which is His blood shed for many for the remission of sins. She promises ‘riches and honour, yea, durable riches and righteousness.’ His voice vibrates with sympathy, and calls the weary and heavy laden, of whom she scarcely thinks, and offers to them a gift, which may seem humble enough beside her more dazzling offers of fruit, better than gold and revenues, better than choice silver, but which come closer to universal wants, the gift of rest, which is really what all men long for, and none but they who take His yoke upon them possess. ‘See that ye refuse not Him that speaketh,’ for if they escaped not when they refused her that spake through the Jewish thinker’s lips of old, ‘much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from Him that beseecheth us from heaven.’ Jesus is the power of God and the wisdom of God, and it is in Him crucified that our weakness and our folly are made strong and wise, and Wisdom’s ancient promise is fulfilled: ‘Whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord.’Proverbs 8:30-31. Then I was by him — Conversant with him, and united to him, as was said before; as one brought up with him — As one tenderly and dearly beloved by him. I was daily his delight — His elect; in whom his soul delighted, Isaiah 42:1. Rejoicing always before him — In constant and most intimate communion with him. Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth — In the vast variety of creatures wherewith the earth was beautified and enriched; and my delights were with the sons of men — Made after the likeness of God, and capable of converse with him. Then I delighted to uphold them by my power and providence, to reveal myself, and my Father’s mind and will to them, from age to age, to assume their nature, and to redeem and save them. “The wisdom of God,” says Calmet, “communicated itself to men preferably to all other sensible creatures; having given to them alone intelligence, and souls capable of the illumination of prudence, and of the practice of virtue. The Son of God, the eternal wisdom, abundantly proved his delight to be with the sons of men, when for their instruction and salvation he took upon him a human form.”8:22-31 The Son of God declares himself to have been engaged in the creation of the world. How able, how fit is the Son of God to be the Saviour of the world, who was the Creator of it! The Son of God was ordained, before the world, to that great work. Does he delight in saving wretched sinners, and shall not we delight in his salvation?As one brought up with him - i. e., As his foster child. Others take the word in the original in another sense, "I was as his artificer," a rendering which falls in best with the special point of the whole passage, the creative energy of Wisdom. Compare Wisdom Proverbs 7:21, Proverbs 7:22.

Daily - Heb. "day by day." As the Creator rejoiced in His workmanship Genesis 1:4, Genesis 1:10, Genesis 1:12-13, so Wisdom rejoiced in the exuberance of her might and strength.

30, 31. one brought up—an object of special and pleasing regard. The bestowal of wisdom on men is represented by its finding a delightful residence and pleasing God. By him; conversant with him, and united to him, as was said before.

As one brought up with him; as one tenderly and dearly beloved by him.

Rejoicing always before him; he and I had constant, and intimate, and sweet converse together. Then I was by him, as one brought up with him,.... He was then, and from all eternity, "by him", or "with him" (q); which denotes his co-existence with God, and his relation to him as his Father; his nearness to him, his equality with him, and his distinction from him: he was by him when the names of God's elect were put down in the book of life; he was by him and with him in the council and covenant of grace and peace; and so in the creation of all things, and has been ever since; not as a onlooker, but as a party concerned; and not as subordinate and inferior to his Father, but equal with him. The word translated "brought up", is differently rendered; Symmachus and Theodotion render it "strengthened"; as Christ was set up in his mediatorial office, he was strengthened in it by his Father; and was in his view, council, and covenant, the man of his right hand, made strong for himself: the Targum renders it "faithful", so the Tigurine version; as Christ was to him that appointed him, faithful to all he promised and was intrusted with. Many translate it an "artificer" or "workman" (r), as in Sol 7:1; and so Christ was a co-worker, a worker with God in the making of all things, the heavens, earth, and sea, and all in there; not as an instrument, but as a co-efficient cause of them; which is a proof of his proper deity, and equality with God. But others think the word has the sense of nursing, or being nursed, educated, or brought up. Some (s) take it actively, as in Ruth 4:16, Esther 2:7; and interpret it of Christ's nursing the creation, or cherishing, supporting, and preserving all creatures in their being when made; particularly of his nourishing and cherishing the church and people of God committed to his care. Others (t) passively, of his being "brought up", as our version; and so the Latin interpreter of the Targum renders it "nursed up at his side"; which expresses the tender regard of his Father to him, as his begotten Son; in whose bosom he lay and was bore, as a nursing father bears his son in his bosom, Numbers 11:12; and by whom, as Mediator, he was trained up in the performance of his office;

and I was daily his delight; or "delights" (u); exceeding delightful to him. The Father loved the Son from all eternity, with a love of complacency and delight, John 17:24; this delight was founded in relation to him, in sonship; and in likeness, he being the express image of his person; in sameness of nature, he being of the same nature and perfections with his Father: and he delighted in him as a workman, in the works which he did, being the same he saw him do; and in him as Mediator, in his constitution as such, and in engaging as a surety, to obey and suffer in the stead of his people, Isaiah 42:1; he not only delighted in him day by day, throughout the six days of the creation, when he was by him as a workman, but before, and even from the days of eternity; from the date of his commencement as Mediator; in the foreviews of his human nature, obeying and suffering in it; and of the salvation of the elect by him, and of his own glory in it;

rejoicing always before him; being always in his presence, and acceptable to him; rejoicing in having the same nature and perfections with him, and in the relation he stood in to him; and also in the view of the works of creation and redemption he would be jointly concerned in with him; which joy always did and ever will continue. There is a mutual pleasure and delight which the Father and Son have in each other, and in all that they are concerned; and especially in what respects the salvation of the chosen people. The allusion in the word used in this clause is to children's playing in the presence of their parents; which is a diversion to the one, and a pleasure to the other.

(q) "cum eo", V. L. "apud eum", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, &c. (r) Sept. "cuneta componens", V. L. "artifex vel opifex", Gejerus; so Schindler, Colossians 90. (s) "Nutritius", Montanus, Pagninus, Baynus; "educans", Junius & Tremellius. (t) "Alumnus", Vatablus, Piscator, Mercerus; "alumna", Schultens; "in sinu gestatus filius", Cocceius; so Gussetius, p. 77. and Noldius, p. 379. No. 1884. and Stockins, p. 71. (u) "deliciae", Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis; "obleclationes", Schultens.

Then I was by him, {m} as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;

(m) Some read, a chief worker signifying that this wisdom, Christ Jesus, was equal with God his father, and created, preserves and still works with him, as in Joh 5:17.

30. one brought up with him] The Heb. root is used of bringing up a child, acting as nurse or foster-parent to it, Ruth 4:16; Esther 2:7. Hence the translation of A. V. But it may also be applied to one who rears a building, or carries out a work, an architect, or artificer; a master workman, R.V. So it is rendered in Jeremiah 52:15, R.V. marg. artificers, where see note in this Series. The LXX. have here ἁρμόζουδα, and the Vulg. cuncta componens. And this sense agrees best with the general tenor of the passage. Comp. “For she which is the artificer of all things taught me, even wisdom,” Wis 7:22, R.V.

was daily his delight] So R.V. text; but, had delight continually, R.V. marg.; καθʼ ἡμέραν εὐφραινόμην, LXX.; delectabar per singulos dies, Vulg.

rejoicing] “Or, sporting,” R.V. marg.; ludens, Vulg. (and so Proverbs 8:31). Perhaps exulting would be a better rendering.Verse 30. - Then I was by him. Wisd. 9:9, "Wisdom was with thee; which knoweth thy works, and was present when thou madest the world." So John 1:2, "The Word was with God." As one brought up with him; Vulgate, cuncta componens; Septuagint, Ημην παρ αὐτῷ ἁρμόζουσα, "I was with him arranging things in harmony." The Hebrew word is אָמון (amon), "an artificer," "workman" (Jeremiah 52:15). Thus in Wisd. 7:22 Wisdom is called ἡ πάντων τεχνῖτις, "the worker of all things." The Authorized Version takes the word in a passive state, as equivalent to alumnus, "foster child." and this interpretation is etymologically admissible, and may possibly, as Schultens suggests, be glanced at in St. John's expression (John 1:18), "the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father." But as the point here is the creative energy of Wisdom, it is best to take the term as denoting "artificer." It will then accord with the expression δημιουργὸς, applied by the Fathers to the Word of God, by whom all things were made (Ephesians 3:9, Textus Receptus, and Hebrews 1:2). And I was daily his delight; literally, I was delights day by day, which may mean either as in Authorized Version, or "I had delight continually," i.e. it may signify

(1) either that God took pleasure in the wisdom which displayed his workmanship, saw that it was very good (Genesis 1:4, etc.), looked with delight on the beloved Son in whom he was well pleased (Matthew 3:17, etc.); or

(2) it may mean that Wisdom herself rejoiced in her power and her work, rejoiced in giving effect to the Creator's idea, and so "founding the earth" (Proverbs 3:19). Vulgate, delectabar per singulos dies. The Septuagint adopts the former of these views, "I was that wherein he took delight." But the second interpretation seems most suitable, as the paragraph is stating rather what Wisdom is in herself than what she was in the eyes of Jehovah. What follows is a parallel. Rejoicing always before him; Vulgate, ludens coram eo omni tempore, as though the work of creation was a sport and pastime of a happy holiday. The expression is meant to denote the ease with which the operations were performed, and the pleasure which their execution yielded. David uses the same word, speaking of his dancing before the ark, when he says. "Therefore will I play before the Lord" (2 Samuel 6:21; comp. Proverbs 10:23). This her existence before the world began is now set forth in yet more explicit statements:

24 "When there were as yet no floods was I brought forth,

     When as yet there were not fountains which abounded with water;

25 For before the mountains were settled,

     Before the hills was I brought forth,

26 While as yet He had not made land and plains,

     And the sum of the dust of the earth."

The description is poetical, and affords some room for imagination. By תּהומות are not intended the unrestrained primeval waters, but, as also Proverbs 3:20, the inner waters, treasures of the earth; and consequently by מעינות, not the fountains of the sea on this earth (Ewald, after Job 38:16), but he springs or places of springs (for מעין is n. loci to עין, a well as an eye of the earth; vid., Genesis 16:7), by means of which the internal waters of the earth communicate themselves to the earth above (cf. Genesis 7:11 with Genesis 49:25). נכבּדּי־מים(abounding with water) is a descriptive epitheton to מעינות, which, notwithstanding its fem. plur., is construed as masc. (cf. Proverbs 5:16). The Masora does not distinguish the thrice-occurring נכבדי according to its form as written (Isaiah 23:8-9). The form נכבּדּי (which, like בּתּים, would demand Metheg) is to be rejected; it is everywhere to be written נכבּדּי nettirw (Ewald, 214b) with Pathach, with Dagesh following; vid., Kimchi, Michlol 61b. Kimchi adds the gloss מעיני מים רבים, which the Gr. Venet., in accordance with the meaning of נכבד elsewhere, renders by πηγαῖς δεδοξασμένων ὑδάτων (as also Bttcher: the most honoured equals the most lordly); but Meri, Immanuel, and others rightly judge that the adjective is here to be understood after Genesis 13:2; Job 14:21 (but in this latter passage כבד does not mean "to be numerous"): loaded equals endowed in rich measure.

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