Proverbs 8:1-8, 19-21 & 9:4b-6
Easter Vigil C
A “wisdom” = chokmah. From chakam (to be wise or teach wisdom; this is wisdom in thought, word, or action). This is wisdom, wit, or skillfulness.
B “call” = qara. This is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth.
C “understanding” = tebunah. From bin (to discern, consider, attend to; distinguishing things in one’s mind or, more generally, to understand). This is understanding, discernment, discretion, intelligence, skill, fruit, an argument.
D “heights” = marom. From rum (to be high, rise, exalted, become proud, display, offer, present, set apart, extol; to rise in a literal or figurative sense). This can be height, high place, or lofty. It can be either exalted or haughty/proud. It can refer to dignity or to heaven.
E “way” = derek. From darak (to tread, march, to walk. Can also mean affixing a string to a box since one needs to step on it to bend it in the process; so also an archer). This is a road as a thing that is walked on. Can be used figuratively for the path that one’s life takes or how one chooses to live one’s life.
F “crossroads” = nathiyb. Root may mean to tramp. This is a path beaten from regular use. So, it is pathway or traveler.
G “takes…stand” = natsab. This is to station, appoint, establish, take a stand.
H “town” = qereth. 5x in OT. From qarah (to happen, meet, bring about; to lay timber for a roof or for a floor). This is a town or city.
I “cries out” = ranan. This is a cry of joy or a joyful song. Properly, it is emitting a shrill sound, especially one of joy.
J “people” = ish. Perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is man, husband, another, or humankind.
K “all that live” = ben + adam. Literally “children of humankind.” Adam is perhaps from adam (to be red, make ruddy); related to adamah (ground, dirt, earth). This is man, humankind, also Adam’s name. It refers to a human individual or humanity.
L “simple ones” = pthiy. 19x in OT. From pathah (to be simple, entice, deceive, persuade, allure, be silly); from pethi (simple, silly, foolish, easily deceived); from pathah (to be wide open, deceive, entice, persuade, to be simple, delude). This is open-minded, simple, silly, foolish, or seducible.
M “learn” = bin. Related to “understanding” in v8:1. See note C above.
N “prudence” = ormah. 5x in OT. From orem (craftiness, shrewdness); from arom (being shrewd or crafty, cunning; properly, being or making bare). This is prudence or wisdom. Alternately, it’s craftiness, guile, or trickery.
O “acquire” = bin. Same as “learn” in v8:5.
P “intelligence” = leb. May be related to labab (to encourage; properly, to be encased as with fat; used in a good sense, this means to transport someone with love; used in a bad sense, it can mean to dull one’s senses). This is the heart, courage, one’s inner self, the mind, or the will. Heart is only used in a figurative sense in the Old and New Testaments.
Q “who lack it” = kesil. From kasal (being or becoming stupid or foolish; properly, being fat and so figuratively silly or foolish). This is someone who is stupid, silly, or foolish.
R “hear” = shama. This is to hear, call, consent, or consider. It implies listening intelligently, giving attention, and, because of these two factors, obedience and action are often implied.
S “noble things” = nagid. From nagad (this is to declare, make conspicuous, stand in front, manifest, predict, explain). This is a commander or leader as the one who stands at the front, whether in a military, religious, or civic setting. It can also mean honorable or noble in an abstract sense.
T “what is right” = meshar. 19x in OT. From yashar (to be straight, right, even, agreeable). This is evenness, straightness, prosperity, or uprightness.
U “utter” = hagah. This is to speak, declare, make a sound, imagine, or mutter. It could be a murmur, moan, or growl, whether from delight or anger. It can also mean to study, ponder, or meditate.
V “truth” = emet. From aman (to believe, endure, fulfill, confirm, support, be faithful, put one’s trust in, be steadfast. Figuratively, this is to be firm, steadfast, or faithful, trusting, believing, being permanent, morally solid). This is firmness or stability. Figuratively, it is faithfulness, truth, or trustworthiness. This is the same root that “amen” comes from.
W “wickedness” = resha. From rasha (to be wicked, guilty, make trouble, do wrong; can also be condemn, guilty, inflict punishment; this verb implies disturbing or violating). This is wrong, particularly moral wrong. It can we wickedness, evil, wicked deeds, or something that is ill-gotten.
X “abomination” = toebah. Perhaps from ta’ab (to abhor or morally detest). This is something that instills one with moral contempt or disgust. It can mean abhorrence and is often in reference to idolatry or idols.
Y “righteous” = tsedeq. This is rightness, righteousness, vindication. It is everything that is just or ethical. That which is right in a natural, moral, or legal sense. It also includes just weights (i.e. true weights). Figuratively, this is justice, righteousness, equity – even prosperity.
Z “twisted” = pathal. 5x in OT. This is to twist or twine. It can be to wrestle or be crooked or struggle Figuratively it can mean being morally tortuous or cunning.
AA “crooked” = iqqesh. 11x in OT. From aqash (to twist, knot, distort; to act in a perverse manner). This is twisted, distorted, crooked, or perverted.
BB “fruit” = peri. From parah (to bear fruit, grow, be fruitful, increase; bearing fruit in a literal or figurative sense). This is fruit or reward.
CC “better” = tob. This is good, beautiful, pleasant, agreeable, bountiful, at ease. This word is used for goodness as a concept, a good thing, a good person. This can refer to prosperity and welfare as well as joy, kindness, sweetness, and graciousness. So, this is ethically good, but also enjoyably good.
DD “gold” = charuts. 18x in OT. From charats (to cut, sharpen, decree, wound, be alert, move). This is incisive, diligent, a trench, gold, threshing sledge, pointed thing.
EE “fine gold” = paz. 9x in OT. From pazaz (being refined; gold as refined). This is refined or pure gold.
FF “silver” = keseph. From kasaph (to long for, be greedy; to become pale). This is silver or money.
GG “walk” = halak. This is go, come, walk. It is walk literally and figuratively and includes people and animals. It can be used figuratively for one’s moral life – how we walk according to God’s way or against it. It can also refer to the walk of life as in the course one’s life takes, the choices we make, etc.
HH “way” = orach. From arach (to go, travel, wander). This is a road that is widely used, highway, caravan, traveler, troop.
II “righteousness” = tsedaqah. Related to “righteous” in v8:8. From the same as tsedeq (see note Y above). That which is right in a natural, moral, or legal sense. It also includes just weights (i.e. true weights). Figuratively, this is justice, righteousness, equity – even prosperity). This is righteousness, justice, righteous acts, and moral virtue.
JJ “paths” = nathiyb. Same as “crossroads” in v8:2. See note F above.
KK “justice” = mishpat. From shaphat (to judge, defend, pronounce judgment, condemn, govern). This is a verdict or formal sentence whether from humans or from God. It includes the act of judging as well as the place that judging takes place, the suit itself, and the penalty. Abstractly, this is justice, which includes the rights of the participants.
LL “endowing” = nachal. From nachalah (properly something that was inherited; can mean occupancy generally or, more particularly, an heirloom or an estate; can be an inheritance, gift, possession, or portion). This is to gain as a possession, divide for inheritance. Also, to occupy for any reason
MM “filling” = male. This is fill, satisfy, replenish, accomplish, fulfill, confirm, or consecrate. It is fill in a literal or figurative sense.
NN “simple” = pthiy. Same as “simple ones” in v8:5. See note L above.
OO “here” = hennah. Perhaps from hen (lo! Behold! If, though; an expression of surprise). This is here in a location or here in a time, i.e. now.
PP “those without” = chaser. 19x in OT. From chaser (to lack, need, become empty, to fail). This is needy, lacking, without, void, or destitute.
QQ “sense” = leb. Same as “intelligence” in v8:5. See note P above.
RR “eat” = lacham. This is to eat or feed on. Figuratively, it is to battle as a kind of consumption/destruction.
SS “bread” = lechem. Related to “eat” in v9:5. From lacham (see note RR above). This is bread or loaf. It can be food for people or for animals.
TT “lay aside” = azab. To loosen, relinquish, permit, forsake, fail, leave destitute.
UU “immaturity” = pthiy. Same as “simple ones” in v8:5 & “simple” in v9:4. See note L above.
VV “walk” = ashar. 16x in OT. To go straight, advance, proceed, direct, guide, be level, be honest, be blessed or happy.
WW “insight” = binah. Related to “understanding” in v8:1 & “learn” in v8:5 & “insight” in v9:6. From bin (see note C above). This is understanding, knowledge, wisdom, discernment.
Image Credit: “Wisdom of the Universe” by Christi Belcourt, 2014.