What does Proverbs 8:18 mean?
ESV: Riches and honor are with me, enduring wealth and righteousness.
NIV: With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity.
NASB: Riches and honor are with me, Enduring wealth and righteousness.
CSB: With me are riches and honor, lasting wealth and righteousness.
NLT: I have riches and honor, as well as enduring wealth and justice.
KJV: Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.
Wisdom is the ability to apply knowledge of the truth (Proverbs 8:6–9). That connection to what is real and true gives a person a much greater likelihood of success and prosperity. A person who is poor, but wise, is more likely to become successful than a foolish person born into wealth is to maintain their fortune.
Most Old Testament promises of earthly prosperity are explicitly applied to Israel (Deuteronomy 28:1–14). In a broader sense, Jesus mentioned true riches in Luke 16:11 as the reward of faithful service to God. He also labeled anyone who stockpiles earthly wealth but skimps towards God as foolish (Luke 12:16–21). Moses was considered wise for correctly choosing God over earthly success. "He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward" (Hebrews 11:26).
In His message to the Laodicean church, Jesus condemns the church's smug confidence in its wealth. He states, "You say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing" (Revelation 3:17). He says the church is actually poor (Revelation 3:17) and calls upon the church to "buy from me gold refined by the fire, so that you may be rich" (Revelation 3:18). This is another reference to the fact that heavenly things—including godly wisdom—are more valuable than anything we could obtain on earth.
Proverbs 8:12–21 records more words from the personification of wisdom. She speaks about the value she imparts to those who find her. Contrary to what the adulterous woman of Proverbs 7 offers—poverty and disgrace—wisdom offers true riches, honor, and an inheritance.
In this passage, wisdom is once again imagined as a woman who cries out to be heard (Proverbs 1:20–21). Wisdom extols her own truth and value. Wisdom was part of God's creative power long before even the creation of the universe. The chapter again returns to the many benefits of godly wisdom, before completing those declarations at the start of the next chapter.
Thus far in Proverbs, Solomon has spoken about the virtues of wisdom and the need to acquire it and live by it. He has also warned about the dangers of rejecting wisdom. Chapter 7 ended with a description of a promiscuous woman seducing a foolish young man. Now, in chapter 8, he lets wisdom speak, once again personified as a woman. She speaks about her existence before creation and her gift of life to all who find her. This analogy continues into chapter 9.
Proverbs is best understood in context with the books of Ecclesiastes and Job. In Proverbs, “wisdom” is given in short, simple, general terms. Ecclesiastes represents wisdom based on observation and experience. This often shows how the general principles of the book of Proverbs don’t apply in absolutely every circumstance. Job represents wisdom based on the experience of suffering and injustice. All three come to the conclusion that God does indeed know best, and the most sensible course of action is to follow His will.
Accessed 3/1/2024 2:02:04 AM
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