The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Wisdom
What of myself? Was not Solomon a mortal man like the rest of you, come down from that first man that was a thing of clay?✻ I, too, was flesh and blood; ten months I lay a-fashioning in my mother’s womb;
of woman’s body my stuff came, and of man’s procreation; midnight joys went to the making of me.
Born was I, and born drew in the common air; dust amid the dust I fell, and, baby-fashion, my first utterance was a cry;
swaddled I must be, and cared for, like the rest.
Tell me, was ever king had other manner of coming to be?
By one gate all enter life, by one gate all leave it.
Whence, then, did the prudence spring that endowed me? Prayer brought it; to God I prayed, and the spirit of wisdom came upon me.✻
This I valued more than kingdom or throne; I thought nothing of my riches in comparison.
There was no jewel I could match with it; all my treasures of gold were a handful of dust beside it, my silver seemed but base clay in presence of it.
I treasured wisdom more than health or beauty, preferred her to the light of day; hers is a flame which never dies down.
Together with her all blessings came to me; boundless prosperity was her gift.
All this I enjoyed, with wisdom to prepare my way for me, never guessing that it all sprang from her.
The lessons she taught me are riches honestly won, shared without stint, openly proclaimed;
a treasure men will find incorruptible. Those who enjoy it are honoured with God’s friendship, so high a value he sets on her instruction.
God’s gift it is, if speech answers to thought of mine, and thought of mine to the message I am entrusted with. Who else can shew wise men the true path, check them when they stray?
We are in his hands, we and every word of ours; our prudence in act, our skill in craftsmanship.
Sure knowledge he has imparted to me of all that is; how the world is ordered, what influence have the elements,
how the months✻ have their beginning, their middle, and their ending, how the sun’s course alters and the seasons revolve,
how the years have their cycles, the stars their places.
To every living thing its own breed, to every beast its own moods; the winds✻ rage, and men think deep thoughts; the plants keep their several kinds, and each root has its own virtue;
all the mysteries and all the surprises of nature were made known to me; wisdom herself taught me, that is the designer of them all.
Mind-enlightening is the influence that dwells in her; set high apart; one in its source, yet manifold in its operation; subtle, yet easily understood. An influence quick in movement, inviolable, persuasive, gentle, right-thinking, keen-edged, irresistible, beneficent,
kindly, gracious, steadfast, proof against all error and all solicitude. Nothing is beyond its power, nothing hidden from its view, and such capacity has it that it can pervade the minds of all living men; so pure and subtle an essence is thought.
Nothing so agile that it can match wisdom for agility; nothing can penetrate this way and that, etherial as she.
Steam that ascends from the fervour of divine activity, pure effluence of his glory who is God all-powerful, she feels no passing taint;
she, the glow that radiates from eternal light, she, the untarnished mirror of God’s majesty, she, the faithful image of his goodness.
Alone, with none to aid her, she is all-powerful; herself ever unchanged, she makes all things new; age after age she finds her way into holy men’s hearts, turning them into friends and spokesmen of God.
Her familiars it is, and none other, that God loves.
Brightness is hers beyond the brightness of the sun, and all the starry host; match her with light itself, and she outvies it;
light must still alternate with darkness, but where is the conspiracy can pull down wisdom from her throne?
The Holy Bible