What does Proverbs chapter 3 mean?
This Proverb opens up with Solomon speaking to his son. No where
in the Hebrews Scriptures is there a mix of pagan mythology with
the Word of God.
Solomon continues drawing attention to God with the phrase 'my
law...my commands,' connectiong wisdom and the Law of Moses - the
Proverbs being an application of the Law. Then Solomon continues to
describe God's character with the words 'mercy and truth' and the
demands He makes of His people.
This Proverb is about God, 'trust in the Lord,' 'acknowledge
Him' and explains how the person who has wisdom has found the
priceless treasure. (v 13-18). Solomon tells his son to keep sound
wisdom and discretion (virtues not a false god) in verse 21 and
speaks of their effects upon his son's life with the 'Lord will be
your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught'
As is done throughout Proverbs, wisdom is personified and acts
as God's dynamic Word. In the New Testament, Jesus becomes the
Wisdom of the Word of God and not some pagan god.
Lady Wisdom (Greek: Sophia) opens the chapter, "My
son, forget not my law, but let thine heart keep my
She then recounts various of her commandments up to verse 12. Then
we learn a little about Wisdom herself (most English translations
tend to use a lower case for wisdom, which makes the text a little
harder to follow) - (Proverbs 3:13-19): "Happy is the man that
findeth [W]wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the
merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the
gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and
all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.
Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches
and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths
are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her:
and happy is every one that retaineth her. The LORD by [W]wisdom
hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the
heavens." The remainder of the chapter consists of further
So, who is this Wisdom? Chapter 8 is a good resource that can be
followed by modern readers accustomed to a narrower definition of
religion. Verse 1-5: "Doth not [W]wisdom cry? and understanding
put forth her voice? She standeth in the top of high places, by the
way in the places of the paths. She crieth at the gates, at the
entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors. Unto you, O men,
I call; and my voice is to the sons of man. O ye simple, understand
[W]wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart." She
was a spirit/goddess revered by Jews during the post-Exilic era and
up to the end of the first century CE, and is suggested she might
have been the pre-Exilic goddess of Wisdom. Proverbs 8:23 tells us
that she was with God at creation: "I was set up from
everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was,"
confirming the statement read in Proverbs 3:19.