Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.
– Proverbs 8:14
Verses 14-21 describes various physical and spiritual benefits wisdom brings to those who have it. Wisdom has counsel and so advises the recipient in the ways of life. Sound wisdom is proper judgment or good sense. Understanding refers to discernment. Strength is might or power. It is not typically listed with wisdom, but it is the force for good actions. We might contrast it with the halting steps of the uncertain or doubting man. He who goes in the straight path of wisdom, goes with strength of conviction.
The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.
– Proverbs 8:13
Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but also the middle and end of it. Such proper fear is never outgrown nor gotten past. True wisdom does not only avoid a bad way, but hates it as twice stated here. Pride and arrogancy speak of the puffing up of man that thinks himself wise. The evil way is the road or path that is put for the way of life of the evil man. A froward mouth is a speaking of perverse things and not wise things. This perverse speech displays the inner void of wisdom and inner corruption of the fool (Luke 6:45). In the previous verse, wisdom expressed her true companions and here her true antagonists.
I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.
– Proverbs 8:12
Wisdom dwells with, or resides with, prudence, indicating their compatibility. Prudence is shrewdness or discretion. It can be positive or negative depending on the context and refers to cunning or craftiness. Witty inventions are plans or plots. We might even refer to schemes. The word here also relies on context to supply the gloss. They are here paired together indicating that wisdom gives shrewdness and the skill of planning. Wisdom is street-wise and knows how to navigate life, as demonstrated in the prudent man who foresees and avoids evil (Proverbs 22:3). Such a description disabuses us of any notion of a wise person as lofty, detached, and void of common sense or any practical knowledge.
For wisdom is better than rubies; and all things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.
– Proverbs 8:11
Silver, gold, and precious stones have a sort of intrinsic value and rarity. They are the pinnacle of objective value, though all men esteem them not equally. All things that may be desired is more subjective but expands the range of prized things to include anything a man may prize. These are things men give their life for to obtain. On all accounts, wisdom is more surpassingly valuable than anything highly prized among men. It follows that men should search more diligently and attend more immediately to wisdom than all earthly riches.
Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.
– Proverbs 8:10
Instruction is discipline and correction. It is the training in wisdom we are exhorted to receive. Knowledge refers to discernment and not just a store of facts. Receiving the training of wisdom and discernment are more valuable than money—silver and choice gold. A choice is presented suggesting that you cannot pursue both.
They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.
– Proverbs 8:9
Plain means straight or clear. Understanding points to discernment. Those who truly seek for wisdom, find it. Right here means straight or upright. Finding knowledge also points to the desire and pursuit of wisdom. Wisdom does reward those who come to her.
All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.
– Proverbs 8:8
The word for froward means twisted and the word for perverse means crooked. They both describe speech that is deceitful and crafty. The word for righteousness means just and right. The words of wisdom are open, truthful, and reliable. There is no deceit or trickery to them.
For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
– Proverbs 8:7
Wisdom continues explaining why she has called for attention to her words. The word for truth here is stable and reliable. The word for speaking is different from the previous verse. Here it means pondered or meditated speech. It isn’t rash or flippant speech. Wickedness is abhorrent to wisdom. The full picture suggests that wickedness is considered and found thoroughly disgusting and so put away from the lips.
Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.
– Proverbs 8:6
Hear is the command to hear intelligently, which is common to the opening of the Proverbs. It was used often by the father in his addresses to his son and here in the mouth of lady wisdom. There is continuity because the words are the words of divine wisdom. Wisdom commands attention because of what she has to say. Excellent things are noble things or princely things. The word is used almost exclusively of persons, i.e. captain, commander, prince, etc. Right things refers to straight and level. Here it points to moral straightness, or uprightness. The words of wisdom are noble words of straight righteousness.