Wisdom (Chokmah, Sophia) in Selected Jewish Sources


1)      Proverbs 8:1—8: 17   Wisdom cries out to humanity

It is Wisdom calling, Understanding raising her voice. She takes her stand at the topmost heights, By the wayside, at the crossroads, Near the gates at the city entrance; At the entryways, she shouts, “O human beings. I call to you; My cry is to all humanity. O simple ones, learn shrewdness; O dullards, instruct your minds. Listen, for I speak noble things;..My mouth utters truth...All my words are just....Those who love me I love, And those who seek me will find me...


2)      Proverbs 8:22—27; 30—36  Wisdom as the Firstborn of God and God’s Agent in Creation


The Lord created me at the beginning of His course as the first of His works of old. In the distant past I was fashioned, at the beginning, at the origin of earth. There was still no deep when I was brought forth…. I was there when He set the heavens into place. . . I was with Him as a confidante, a source of delight every day, Rejoicing before Him at all time, Rejoicing in His Inhabited world, Finding delight with humanity. Now, children, listen to me; happy are they who keep my ways.... For he who finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord. But he who misses me destroys himself: All who hate me love death.”


3) Wisdom of Solomon 6:12—18: 7:21—26   Wisdom as Revealer and Fashioner


Wisdom is radiant and unfading, and she is easily discerned by those who love her, and is found by those who seek her. She hastens to make herself known to those who desire her. He who rises early to seek her will have no difficulty, for he will find her sitting at his gates. To fix one’s thought on her is perfect understanding, and he who is vigilant on her account will soon be free from care, because she goes about seeking those worthy of her, and she graciously appears to them in their paths, and meets them in every thought. The beginning of wisdom is the most sincere desire for instruction. and concern for instruction is love of her, and love of her is the keeping of her laws.


I learned both what is secret and what is manifest, for Wisdom, the fashioner of all things, taught me. For in here there is a spirit that is intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, clear, unpolluted, distinct, invulnerable, loving the good, keen, irresistible, beneficent, humane, steadfast, sure, free from anxiety, all— powerful, overseeing all, and penetrating through all spirits that are intelligent and pure and most subtle.... Because of her pureness she pervades and penetrates all things. For she is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; She is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of His goodness.


4)      Sirach  24:1—12, 19—22


Wisdom will praise herself and will glory in the midst of her people. In the assembly of the Most High she will open her mouth, and in the presence of his host she will glory: “I came forth from the mouth of the Most High, and covered the earth like a mist. I dwelt in high places, and my throne was in a pillar of cloud.... Among all I sought a resting place; I sought in whose territory I might lodge. Then the Creator of all things gave me a commandment, and the one who created me assigned a place for my tent. And He said, “Make your dwelling in Jacob, and in Israel receive your inheritance.’...And so I was established in Zion...So I took root in an honored people, in the portion of the Lord, who is their inheritance...


Come to me, you who desire me, and eat your fill of my produce. For the remembrance of me is sweeter than honey, and my inheritance sweeter than the honeycomb. Those who eat me will hunger for more, and those who drink me will thirst for more. Whoever obeys me will not be put to shame, and those who work with my help will not sin.


5) 1 Enoch 42


Wisdom could not find a place in which she could dwell; but a place was found (for her) in the heavens. Then Wisdom went out to dwell with the children of the people. But she found no dwelling place. So Wisdom returned to her place and she settled permanently among the angels. Then Iniquity went out of her rooms, and found whom she did not expect. And she dwelt with them, like rain in a desert, like dew on a thirsty land.




Compare with New Testament Statements about Jesus Christ as Word or Wisdom of God


Gospel of John Prologue, 1:1-5, 10-14

In the beginning was the Word (Logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.…. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of the human, but of God.


Colossians 1:15-20

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers – all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of  his cross.