The Book of Wisdom, also called the Wisdom of Solomon, is a work of Jewish origin but today witnessed only through Greek texts. Today’s scholars attribute its composition around the half of the first century B.C. to Alexandria in Egypt, but the text is not excluded that it may have been written much earlier.
The central theme of the work is precisely “Wisdom”, and King Solomon is certainly the Biblical Patriarch who most desired and sought it during his life, also due to the long years of peace during his reign.
In this book Wisdom appears under two main aspects:
- In relation to man, that is, the perfectioning of one’s own knowledge (philosophy), a requirement that the just constantly searches for as a gift of GOD and demonstrates in everyday works.
- In direct relationship with GOD, that is the Wisdom that resides within the CREATOR from all eternity, able to connect us with the Divinity.
A text that despite it not being considered canonical by all doctrines, every believer who reads it cannot but find himself enriched and regenerated with hope and positivity.
It is included in the canon of deuterocanonical books of the Roman Catholic Church and anagignoskomena (Gr. ἀναγιγνωσκόμενα, which means “those to read”) of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Most Protestants consider it part of the Apocrypha. However, it is a very important book for the doctrine and formation of every believer.
Table of Contents
Structure, genre and content
The structure can be divided into three sections:
- Book of Eschatology
- exhortation to justice
- speech of the impious, contrasts of the wicked and the just
- exhortation to wisdom
- Book of Wisdom
- Solomon’s speech concerning wisdom, wealth, power and prayer
- Book of History
- introduction, followed by diptychs of plagues
- digression on GOD’s power and mercy
- digression on false worship and further plagues
- recapitulation and concluding doxology.
The book is addressed to the rulers of the earth, urging them to love righteousness and seek wisdom; the wicked think that all is chance and that they should enjoy each day, but they are deluded. In the second section Solomon (not explicitly named, but strongly implied) tells of his search for wisdom.
The Wisdom of Solomon can be linked to several forms of ancient literature, both Jewish and non-Jewish, but it clearly belongs with biblical Wisdom books such as the Book of Job, one of only five such books among ancient Jewish literature. In terms of classical genre it has been identified as an encomium and with the Greek genre of the “exhortatory discourse”, by which a teacher attempts to persuade others to a certain course of action.
I. WISDOM AND HUMAN DESTINY
Seek GOD and walk away from sin