The two major divisions of the book (chs. 1–23
and 24–51) are each introduced by a poem in praise of wisdom. See 24.1–22; Prov. 8.1–31; Job 28.1–28
Wisdom includes the knowledge of human beings (both practical and ethical), nature, and God.
The immeasurability of nature suggests the infinite depth of wisdom.
Wisdom existed before the creation and informs it (see v. 9
); it was later identified with the divine creative word; Jn. 1.1–3
Against the tendency to make wisdom a human achievement, Ecclus. repeatedly (as here) affirms that it is God's gift.
Those who love him: God's people Israel; see 24.7–8
Though much in Ecclus. is secular common sense, this poem equates the core of wisdom with the loyal and joyful reverence for
the God of Israel.
The fear of the Lord: reverent acceptance of God's lordship.
Life's basic fairness to the wise person will be shown, if only on the day of his death (see 11.28
The everlasting home of wisdom is specifically Israel; see 24.7–8
The reward of wisdom is a full life in the present world; contrast such full life here with v. 13
Self-control (restrains himself) is such a sign (see 6.2–4
Here, as in the preceding poem (
), wisdom is identified with reverence.
Public disgrace is a severe punishment; one's reputation is a frequent theme.
Your access is brought to you by: