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.
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Footnotes1 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.
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