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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 7

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1I too am a mortal like everyone else, descended from the first man, who was made of dust, 2and in my mother's womb I was wrought into flesh during a ten-month space, compacted in blood from the seed of her husband and the pleasure that accompanies sleep. 3When I was born, I breathed the common air and was laid on the earth that all mortals tread; and the first sound I uttered, as all do, was a cry; 4they wrapped me up and nursed me and cared for me. 5No king begins life in any other way; 6for all come into life by a single path, and by a single path they go out again.

7Therefore I prayed, and prudence was given me; I called for help, and there came to me a spirit of wisdom. 8I valued her above sceptre and throne, and reckoned riches as nothing beside her; 9I counted no precious stone her equal, because compared with her all the gold in the world is but a handful of sand, and silver worth no more than clay. 10I loved her more than health and beauty; I preferred her to the light of day, for her radiance is unsleeping. 11So all good things together came to me with her, and in her hands was wealth past counting. 12Everything was mine to enjoy, for all follow where wisdom leads; yet I was in ignorance that she is the source of them all. 13What I learnt with pure intention I now share ungrudgingly, nor do I hoard for myself the wealth that comes from her. 14She is an inexhaustible treasure for mortals, and those who profit by it become God's friends, commended to him by the gifts they derive from her instruction.

15God grant that I may speak according to his will, and that my own thoughts may be worthy of his gifts, for even wisdom is under God's direction and he corrects the wise; 16we and our words, prudence and knowledge and craftsmanship, all are in his hand. 17He it was who gave me true understanding of things as they are: a knowledge of the structure of the world and the operation of the elements; 18the beginning and end of epochs and their middle course; the alternating solstices and changing seasons; 19the cycles of the years and the constellations; 20the nature of living creatures and behaviour of wild beasts; the violent force of winds and human thought; the varieties of plants and the virtues of roots. 21I learnt it all, hidden or manifest, 22for I was taught by wisdom, by her whose skill made all things.

In wisdom there is a spirit intelligent and holy, unique in its kind yet made up of many parts, subtle, free-moving, lucid, spotless, clear, neither harmed nor harming, loving what is good, eager, unhampered, beneficent, 23kindly towards mortals, steadfast, unerring, untouched by care, all-powerful, all-surveying, and permeating every intelligent, pure, and most subtle spirit. 24For wisdom moves more easily than motion itself; she is so pure she pervades and permeates all things. 25Like a fine mist she rises from the power of God, a clear effluence from the glory of the Almighty; so nothing defiled can enter into her by stealth. 26She is the radiance that streams from a 7:26 the radiance … from: or the reflection of. everlasting light, the flawless mirror of the active power of God, and the image of his goodness. 27She is but one, yet can do all things; herself unchanging, she makes all things new; age after age she enters into holy souls, and makes them friends of God and prophets, 28for nothing is acceptable to God but the person who makes his home with wisdom. 29She is more beautiful than the sun, and surpasses every constellation. Compared with the light of day, she is found to excel, 30for day gives place to night, but against wisdom no evil can prevail.

Notes:

a 7:26 the radiance … from: or the reflection of.

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