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2002 11 11
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Chapter 24


1 Wisdom sings her own praises, before her own people she proclaims her glory;


In the assembly of the Most High she opens her mouth, in the presence of his hosts she declares her worth:


"From the mouth of the Most High I came forth, and mistlike covered the earth.


In the highest heavens did I dwell, my throne on a pillar of cloud.


The vault of heaven I compassed alone, through the deep abyss I wandered.


Over waves of the sea, over all the land, over every people and nation I held sway.


Among all these I sought a resting place; in whose inheritance should I abide?


"Then the Creator of all gave me his command, and he who formed me chose the spot for my tent, Saying, 'In Jacob make your dwelling, in Israel your inheritance.'


Before all ages, in the beginning, he created me, and through all ages I shall not cease to be.


In the holy tent I ministered before him, and in Zion I fixed my abode.


Thus in the chosen city he has given me rest, in Jerusalem is my domain.


I have struck root among the glorious people, in the portion of the LORD, his heritage.


"Like a cedar on Lebanon I am raised aloft, like a cypress on Mount Hermon,


Like a palm tree in En-gedi, like a rosebush in Jericho, Like a fair olive tree in the field, like a plane tree growing beside the water.


2 Like cinnamon, or fragrant balm, or precious myrrh, I give forth perfume; Like galbanum and onycha and sweet spices, like the odor of incense in the holy place.


I spread out my branches like a terebinth, my branches so bright and so graceful.


I bud forth delights like the vine, my blossoms become fruit fair and rich.


3 Come to me, all you that yearn for me, and be filled with my fruits;


You will remember me as sweeter than honey, better to have than the honeycomb.


4 He who eats of me will hunger still, he who drinks of me will thirst for more;


He who obeys me will not be put to shame, he who serves me will never fail."


5 All this is true of the book of the Most High's covenant, the law which Moses commanded us as an inheritance for the community of Jacob.


It overflows, like the Pishon, with wisdom -  like the Tigris in the days of the new fruits.


It runs over, like the Euphrates, with understanding, like the Jordan at harvest time.


6 It sparkles like the Nile with knowledge, like the Gihon at vintage time.


The first man never finished comprehending wisdom, nor will the last succeed in fathoming her.


For deeper than the sea are her thoughts; her counsels, than the great abyss.


7 Now I, like a rivulet from her stream, channeling the waters into a garden,


Said to myself, "I will water my plants, my flower bed I will drench"; And suddenly this rivulet of mine became a river, then this stream of mine, a sea.


Thus do I send my teachings forth shining like the dawn, to become known afar off.


Thus do I pour out instruction like prophecy and bestow it on generations to come.



1 [1-27] In this chapter Wisdom speaks in the first person, describing her origin, her dwelling place in Israel, and the reward she gives her followers. As in Prov 8 Wisdom is described as a being who comes from God and is distinct from him. While we do not say with certainty that this description applies to a personal being, it does foreshadow the beautiful doctrine of the Word of God later developed in St. John's Gospel ( John 1:1-14). In the liturgy this chapter is applied to the Blessed Virgin because of her constant and intimate association with Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom.

2 [15] These substances were associated with worship, being mentioned in Exodus 30:22, 23, 34 as the ingredients of the anointing oil and the sacred incense. Israel was a priestly nation.

3 [18] Compare the words of the Savior in Matthew 11:28-30.

4 [20] So pleasing is wisdom to man that, far from being satiated, he will always desire more.

5 [22] Here the author begins to speak once more, Wisdom having ended her discourse in the preceding verse. Wisdom and the law of Moses are now identified.

6 [25] Gihon: understood by some to have been a name for the Nile: cf Genesis 2:13.

7 [28-31] Spoken by the author. He had at first drawn a small portion of the water of wisdom for his own private benefit, but finding it so useful, he soon began to let others share in this boon by teaching them the lessons of wisdom.

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