Beginning of Wisdom

Proverbs from the Hebrew Bible and the ancient Near East

Building a good foundation (Proverbs 24:3)

Posted by jac/cdc on February 12, 2007

בְּחָכְמָה יִבָּנֶה בָּיִת וּבִתְבוּנָה יִתְכֹּונָן׃

b’-choch-MA yi-ba-NE ba-yit u-vit-vu-NA yit-ko-NAN

With wisdom a house is built, and with understanding it is established.

Establishing a house requires wisdom, and that process is imitative of God’s establishing the world. This is apparent from a comparison of this proverb and Prov 3:19: יְהוָה בְּחָכְמָה יָסַד־אָרֶץ כֹּונֵן שָׁמַיִם בִּתְבוּנָה The Lord with wisdom founded the earth, established the heavens with understanding. Given this imitative stance, a valid question is: How should domestic order look if it is imitative of God’s governance of the world?

This proverb is given an implicit motivation in the following verse: with knowlege the rooms are filled with precious and pleasant wealth (Prov 24:4). And we might say that it is illustrated by the picture of domestic order in Proverbs 31:10–31.

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