Proverbs 8:29

ESV when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
NIV when he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command, and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.
NASB When He set a boundary for the sea So that the water would not violate His command, When He marked out the foundations of the earth;
CSB when he set a limit for the sea so that the waters would not violate his command, when he laid out the foundations of the earth.
NLT I was there when he set the limits of the seas, so they would not spread beyond their boundaries. And when he marked off the earth’s foundations,
KJV When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:

What does Proverbs 8:29 mean?

According to this verse, wisdom existed before God placed a limit on the sea. This is part of a long statement made by wisdom—personified by Solomon as a woman—declaring an eternal existence as part of God's nature (Proverbs 8:22–28). Wisdom is not a gradual development of the universe, or something God grew into. It is a natural, intrinsic part of Who He is.

In Bible times, references to "the sea" are almost always to the Mediterranean Sea. However, the statement about the sea's limit applies to every sea and ocean. In His wisdom the Lord decreed that every sea and ocean would stop short of the land that borders it. If there were no boundaries, the water from a sea or ocean would engulf the land and doom its inhabitants. Also, in His wisdom, the Lord marked out the foundations of the earth. He created the dry land as well as the waters. Job 38:8–11 records God's questioning Job. He asks: "Who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb, when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, and said, 'Thus far shall you come and no farther, and here shall your proud waters be stayed'?"
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