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LOVE justice, you that are the judges of the earth. Think of the Lord in goodness, and seek him in simplicity of heart.

Ver. 1.  Goodness.  Entertain just sentiments of the Deity, and avoid all duplicity.  This truth is placed in the strongest light in the five first chapters, or preface.


THE BOOK OF WISDOM.

 

INTRODUCTION.

 

This book is so called, because it treats of the excellence of Wisdom, the means to obtain it, and the happy fruits it produces.  It is written in the person of Solomon, and contains his sentiments.  But is is uncertain who was the writer.  It abounds with instructions and exhortations to kings and magistrates to administer justice in the commonwealth, teaching all kinds of virtues under the general names of justice and wisdom.  It contains also many prophecies of Christ's coming, passion, resurrection, and other Christian mysteries.  The whole may be divided into three parts: In the six first chapters, the author admonishes all superiors to love and exercise justice and wisdom.  In the next three, he teacheth that wisdom proceedeth only from God, and is procured by prayer, and a good life.  In the other ten chapters, he sheweth the excellent effects, and utility of wisdom and justice.  Ch.

 

--- Their authority is surely greater than that of the Jews, (C.) whom Prot. choose to follow.  H.

 

--- Before they attack us, they must, however, answer this prescription.  C.

 

--- S. Iræn. Clem. Alex. Origen, S. Athan. &c. attribute this book to Solomon; and, though S. Jerom and S. Aug. call this in question, they maintain its divine authority.  Sometimes the Fathers abstain from urging it against the Jews, because they reject it, for the same reason as our Saviour proved the immortality of the soul, against the Sadducees, from the books of Moses alone, though other texts might have been adduced.  The Councils of Carthage, 419, Florence, Trent, &c. declare this book canonical, (W.) agreeably to the ancient Fathers.  S. Aug. Præd. xiv. and de Civ. Dei. xvii. 20. &c.

 

--- Philo (S. Jer.) the elder, (W.  M.) one of the Sept. (Geneb.) might compile this work from the sentences of Solomon, preserved by tradition, as Sirach's son did that of Ecclesiasticus; (W.) or it is styled "Solomon's Wisdom," (Sept.  H.) on account of its resembling his works, in like manner as the Second of Kings is called Samuel's, though he wrote none of that book.  W.

 

--- Sixtus (Bib. viii. hær. ix.) and others, maintain, that this was written originally in Heb. and some think by Solomon; being translated by the Sept.  But these go too far.  C.

 

--- The nine first chapters seem, however, to be the production of Solomon, though the latter may have been added by the Greek translator, (Houbigant) who must, therefore, have been divinely inspired.  H.

 

--- The sentiments are very grand, (C.) and contain a prediction of the sufferings of the just one, whence we may infer, that the name of the author was originally in the title, like that of all other prophets.  The arguments which Calmet adduces, to prove that Solomon was not the author of the first part of this work, may easily be refuted.  In the New Testament, that part is frequently quoted, whence we may gather, that it was allowed to be the work of Solomon.  Houbig. præf. p. 176.

 

--- Some style this work Panaretos, as being an exhortation to all virtues.  C.

 

--- All the five sapiential books (Prov. &c.) are cited under the title of Wisdom in the mass-book.  Superiors are here admonished to act with justice, and taught that wisdom is to be obtained by prayer, and by a good life.  C. ix.  Its effect and utility (W.) form the subject of the latter part.  See Apocrypha, vol. i. p. 597.  H.

 



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2 For he is found by them that tempt him not: and he sheweth himself to them that have faith in him.

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3 For perverse thoughts seperate from God: and his power, when it is tried, reproveth the unwise:

Ver. 3.  Unwise.  He shews that their wisdom is all folly, and that they cannot withstand his power.  C.

 

--- There are mortal sins of thought.  W.



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4 For wisdom will not enter into a malicious soul, nor dwell in a body subject to sins.

Ver. 4.  Subject.  Or "enslaved to sin."  H.

 

--- Soul and body are intimately connected, so that the actions of one defile the other, and banish wisdom.


5 For the Holy Spirit of discipline will flee from the deceitful, and will withdraw himself from thoughts that are without understanding, and he shall not abide when iniquity cometh in.

Ver. 5.  Discipline.  The instructive light of the Holy Ghost.

 

--- Understanding.  Those who deny God or Providence, (C.) and lead a wicked life, are abandoned.  H.

 

--- Not abide.  Elegcqhsetai: "He shall be connected or manifested," shewing that he will not acquit the guilty, v. 6.  M.

 

--- When Solomon fell, his wisdom ceased.  Iniquity soon betrays itself.  C.



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6 For the spirit of wisdom is benevolent, and will not acquit the evil speaker from his lips: for God is witness of his reins, and he is a true searcher of his heart, and a hearer of his tongue.

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7 For the spirit of the Lord hath filled the whole world: and that, which containeth all things, hath knowledge of the voice.

Ver. 7.  That.  S. Aug. reads hic, "this who," more correctly than hoc, as it refers to the spirit, (C.) which having made and filled all things, must be perfectly acquainted with every action.  H.



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8 Therefore he that speaketh unjust things cannot be hid, neither shall the chastising judgment pass him by. 9 For inquisition shall be made into the thoughts of the ungodly: and the hearing of his words shall come to God, to the chastising of his iniquities. 10 For the ear of jealousy heareth all things, and the tumult of murmuring shall not be hid.

Ver. 10.  Jealousy.  God is strong and jealous.  Ex. xx.  C.

 

--- He examines the smallest deviation from the paths of rectitude.  H.


11 Keep yourselves therefore from murmuring, which profiteth nothing, and refrain your tongue from detraction, for an obscure speech shall not go for nought: and the mouth that belieth, killeth the soul. 12 Seek not death in the error of your life, neither procure ye destruction by the works of your hands.

Ver. 12.  Seek not with such eagerness (zelare) your own ruin, (C.) by an evil life, (W.) or rather thrown not the blame on death, as if you were necessitated to sin.  God created man to be immortal.


13 For God made not death, neither hath he pleasure in the destruction of the living.

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14 For he created all things that they might be: and he made the nations of the earth for health: and there is no poison of destruction in them, nor kingdom of hell upon the earth.

Ver. 14.  Health.  Good.  Gen. i. 31.  C.

 

--- Poison, or medicine, (W.) medicamentum.  W.

 

--- Poison and wild beasts become noxious to man only after sin.  It is this which infects the veins.  All may derive an antidote from Jesus Christ.


15 For justice is perpetual and immortal. 16 But the wicked with works and words have called it to them: and esteeming it a friend have fallen away, and have made a covenant with it: because they are worthy to be of the part thereof.

Ver. 16.  It.  Sept. auton.

 

--- Death.  The wicked strive M. to draw upon themselves the second death (C.) as they will not repent.  W.  Is. xxviii. 15.  H.



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