What does Proverbs 8:34 mean?
ESV: Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors.
NIV: Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.
NASB: Blessed is the person who listens to me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at my doorposts.
CSB: Anyone who listens to me is happy, watching at my doors every day, waiting by the posts of my doorway.
NLT: Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home!
KJV: Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.
Wisdom, personified by Solomon as a woman (Proverbs 8:1–4), has already noted the value of what she can offer (Proverbs 8:10–11). Here, again, the point is made that those who submit to godly wisdom are blessed. They resemble students who wait for the gates of their school to open or someone who is waiting at his door for an important visitor or message.
Proverbs—biblical or otherwise—are meant as general observations or statements of common sense. It's clear that following wisdom does not absolutely guarantee a life free from hardship or suffering (John 16:33). It should also be clear, however, that those who align with truth are more likely to experience success than those who are foolish. In that sense, wisdom can rightly speak of the benefits her lessons bring.
To be "blessed" means happy. People seek happiness in a variety of sources. Some look for happiness in personal relationships. Some hope to find happiness in money or success. Some seek it in popularity or fame. Some think they can find happiness in illicit pleasure. But true, lasting happiness is found only in Jesus. He spoke of His joy—full joy—coming to those who keep His commandments (John 15:10–11). The apostle Paul counseled the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord always (Philippians 4:4). His letter to the Philippians overflows with joy even though he was under house arrest. Our joy in Christ is indestructible and lasting because Jesus, its source, is indestructible and eternal.
Proverbs 8:32–36 describes wisdom as having existed harmoniously with God before He created the world and everything in it. Now he urges his "sons," who might be students, to pay attention to wisdom, because wisdom blesses those who do so. However, those who reject wisdom receive injuries and death. This fits into the book of Proverbs' heavy use of both symbolism and general-case truth.
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 11/30/2023 6:41:00 AM
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