The Bible – Old Testament
The Book of Wisdom
1 I too am a mortal man, the same as all the rest, and a descendant of the first man formed on earth. And in my mother’s womb I was molded into flesh
2 in a ten-months’ period-body and blood, from the seed of man, and the pleasure that accompanies marriage.
And I too, when born, inhaled the common air, and fell upon the kindred earth; wailing, I uttered that first sound common to all.
In swaddling clothes and with constant care I was nurtured.
For no king has any different origin or birth,
but one is the entry into life for all; and in one same way they leave it.
Therefore I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded and the spirit of Wisdom came to me.
I preferred her to scepter and throne, And deemed riches nothing in comparison with her,
nor did I liken any priceless gem to her; Because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand, and before her, silver is to be accounted mire.
Beyond health and comeliness I loved her, And I chose to have her rather than the light, because the splendor of her never yields to sleep.
Yet all good things together came to me in her company, and countless riches at her hands;
And I rejoiced in them all, because Wisdom is their leader, though I had not known that she is the mother of these.
Simply I learned about her, and ungrudgingly do I share – her riches I do not hide away;
3 For to men she is an unfailing treasure; those who gain this treasure win the friendship of God, to whom the gifts they have from discipline commend them.
Now God grant I speak suitably and value these endowments at their worth: For he is the guide of Wisdom and the director of the wise.
For both we and our words are in his hand, as well as all prudence and knowledge of crafts.
For he gave me sound knowledge of existing things, that I might know the organization of the universe and the force of its elements,
The beginning and the end and the midpoint of times, the changes in the sun’s course and the variations of the seasons.
Cycles of years, positions of the stars,
natures of animals, tempers of beasts, Powers of the winds and thoughts of men, uses of plants and virtues of roots –
Such things as are hidden I learned and such as are plain;
for Wisdom, the artificer of all, taught me. For in her is a spirit intelligent, holy, unique, Manifold, subtle, agile, clear, unstained, certain, Not baneful, loving the good, keen, unhampered, beneficent,
kindly, Firm, secure, tranquil, all-powerful, all-seeing, And pervading all spirits, though they be intelligent, pure and very subtle.
For Wisdom is mobile beyond all motion, and she penetrates and pervades all things by reason of her purity.
For she is an aura of the might of God and a pure effusion of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nought that is sullied enters into her.
For she is the refulgence of eternal light, the spotless mirror of the power of God, the image of his goodness.
And she, who is one, can do all things, and renews everything while herself perduring; And passing into holy souls from age to age, she produces friends of God and prophets.
For there is nought God loves, be it not one who dwells with Wisdom.
For she is fairer than the sun and surpasses every constellation of the stars. Compared to light, she takes precedence;
for that, indeed, night supplants, but wickedness prevails not over Wisdom.
1  First man formed on earth: Adam. The author omits throughout the book the proper names of the characters in sacred history of whom he speaks; see especially Wisdom 10.
2  In a ten-months’ period: thus the ancients were accustomed to reckon the period of pregnancy.
3  Discipline: cf note on ⇒ Wisdom 1:5.