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

Chapter 8

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1She spans the world in power from end to end, and gently orders all things.

2 WISDOM I loved; I sought her out when I was young and longed to win her for my bride; I was in love with her beauty. 3She adds lustre to her noble birth, because it is given her to live with God; the Lord of all things has accepted her. 4She is initiated into the knowledge that belongs to God, and she chooses what his works are to be. 5If riches are a possession to be desired in life, what is richer than wisdom, the active cause of all things? 6If prudence shows itself in action, who more than wisdom is the artificer of all that is? 7If someone loves uprightness, the fruits of wisdom's labours are the virtues; temperance and prudence, justice and fortitude, these are her teaching, and life can offer nothing of more value than these. 8If someone longs, perhaps, for great experience, she knows the past, she can infer what is yet to come; she understands the subtleties of argument and the solving of hard questions; she can read signs and portents and foretell what the different times and seasons will bring about.

9So I determined to take her home to live with me, knowing that she would be my counsellor in prosperity and my comfort in anxiety and grief. 10Through her, I thought, I shall win fame in the eyes of the people and honour among older men, young though I am. 11When I sit in judgement, I shall prove myself acute, and the great will admire me; 12when I say nothing, they will wait for me to speak; when I speak, they will attend and, though I talk at some length, they will lay a finger to their lips and listen. 13Through her I shall have immortality and leave an undying memory to those who come after me. 14I shall govern peoples, and nations will become subject to me. 15Tyrants, however dread, will be afraid when they hear of me; among my own people I shall show myself a good king, and on the battlefield a brave one. 16When I come home, I shall find rest with her; for there is no bitterness in her company, no pain in life with her, only gladness and joy.

17I turned this over in my mind, and I perceived that there is immortality in kinship with wisdom, 18and in her friendship there is pure delight; that in doing her work is wealth inexhaustible, to be taught in her school gives understanding, and an honourable name is won by converse with her. So I went about in search of some way to win her for my own. 19As a child I was born to excellence, and a noble soul fell to my lot; 20or rather, I myself was noble, and I entered into an undefiled body; 21but I saw that there was no way to gain possession of her except by gift of God —and it was itself a mark of understanding to know from whom that gift must come. So I pleaded with the Lord, and from the depths of my heart I prayed to him in these words:

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