Wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Proverbs 8:11
Malcolm Muggeridge, the noted British journalist and social critic, came to faith in Christ at the age of sixty. On his seventy-fifth birthday he offered twenty-five insightful observations about life. One said, “I never met a rich man who was happy, but I have only very occasionally met a poor man who did not want to become a rich man.”
Most of us would agree that money can’t make us happy, but we might like to have more so we can be sure.
King Solomon’s net worth has been estimated at more than two trillion US dollars. Although he was very wealthy, he knew that money had great limitations. Proverbs 8 is based on his experience and offers “Wisdom’s Call” to all people. “I raise my voice to all mankind. . . . My mouth speaks what is true” (vv. 4–7). “Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her” (vv. 10–11).
Wisdom says, “My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me and making their treasuries full” (vv. 19–21).
These are true riches indeed!
In the Old Testament the word most often translated “wisdom” (hokmah) refers to persons having an exceptional degree of “skill” in a given area—a speaker’s use of words or a composer’s skill in putting notes together to make music, for example. In Exodus 31:6 the skill of a craftsman is the focus.
In Proverbs the dominant word for wisdom is also hokmah. Wisdom in Proverbs is not simply one who possesses a masterful mind. It’s also a matter of the heart; it’s a moral quality. Wise persons are those who fear the Lord and subsequently make choices that honor God, oneself, and others. The wise person is one who is skilled in godly living. Wisdom (a feminine noun) is personified as a woman (see Proverbs 9). Her virtues are many and she pursues and rewards those who pursue her (3:13–18).
How attentive to the riches of wisdom are you in this season of your life?
For more on wisdom in the book of Proverbs, check out this free course at christianuniversity.org/OT507.