Book of Wisdom of Solomon

Book of Wisdom

Wisdom or The Book of Wisdom is a notable literary work included in the Septuagint. Also known as Book of the Wisdom of Solomon, its style is reminiscent of classical Hebrew verse even though the language used by the author is Greek. References within the text suggest that it might have been created by King Solomon. But the name of the author is never explicitly mentioned. Modern scholars strongly disagree with the idea that The Book of Wisdom was actually written by Solomon, and present evidence to indicate that it was probably composed several centuries after his demise. The work itself shows strong presence of Hellenistic Alexandrian themes and ideas in relation to subjects like philosophy, religion and ethics. Such influences lead historians to conclude that the most likely date of its composition is around the second or the first century BC, during the time of a thriving Jewish Hellenistic culture.

Book of Wisdom of Solomon

photo by Eddy Van 3000

The book of Wisdom is divided into two general parts – the first nine sections present a speculative discussion on various aspects of Wisdom; the last ten sections deal with Wisdom from the standpoint of historical progression of events. The author of the book of Wisdom addresses himself to the kings and asserts that the trait of ungodliness is unknown to wisdom and as such it is the harbinger of death and punishment. He then refutes the contrasting arguments presented by the wicked souls. The author points out that true wisdom cannot enter a poisonous heart nor live in a body of sin. The mindset of the ungodly is fallen and is thus separated from God’s benevolent grace. Such a condition is detrimental to man’s overall wellbeing and is contrary to his immortal destiny. Although immoral souls might find momentary happiness in what they do, their ultimate tragic fate proves the fallacy of their actions.

Hence the author of the book of Wisdom asks the kings to earnestly seek Wisdom as they will need it more than ordinary mortals. He says that searching for this Wisdom and ultimately finding it has brought him immense happiness. It has brought him closer to God who bestows such divine wisdom on him in good proportions. He then subjoins the prayer dedicated to God asking Him to send down the Holy Spirit and Wisdom from the heavens. He further reflects that the men of olden times were all guided by Higher Wisdom. This gradually progresses to the next part of the Book of Wisdom, which presents a review of the ancient history of Israel. He commends the Wisdom of God and the way he dealt with the patriarchs of classical antiquity, starting from Adam all the way up to Moses. The author of this book of Wisdom also praises the way God bestowed His divine justice on the immoral inhabitants of Chanaan and Egypt; the way He protected the people of Israel during the ten plagues of Egypt; the way He parted Red Sea to help children of Israel reach the Promised Land; and how He provided food and protection for the people at all places and at all times.

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