The Wisdom of Solomon – What is it?
The Wisdom of Solomon (also known as the Book of Wisdom) is a book in the collection of writings known as the Apocrypha or Deuterocanonical Books of the Bible. As such, it is accepted as Scripture within the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Church traditions, but is rejected in the Protestant Scriptures. In the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament and other Jewish writings, the Wisdom of Solomon is listed as one of seven wisdom books along with Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, and Sirach.
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The name of the book makes clear that many believed the Wisdom of Solomon was associated with Solomon of the Old Testament, the son of David who ruled as king over Israel. However, many things demonstrate that Solomon was not the author of this work. The Wisdom of Solomon was most likely authored in Greek rather than in Hebrew, the common language that would have been spoken by King Solomon. Second, the date of writing is uncertain, but is generally not believed to be before the second century BC, approximately 800 years after the lifetime of Solomon. Third, the early church determined that Solomon was not the author. An early manuscript called the Muratorian fragment notes the book was written by "the friends of Solomon in his honor."
A fairly large work consisting of 19 chapters, the text divides into two main sections. The first part includes chapters one through nine and includes speculations regarding the view of wisdom. The remaining chapters provide an overview of wisdom from a historical standpoint. The first section is written from the perspective of a king writing to other kings and teaches that ungodly living stands in contrast with wisdom. While the wicked may appear happier at the moment, their eternal destiny will be dire. The author encourages the kings to therefore seek wisdom as it is even more important in their role than it is to the common person. In chapters nine and following much attention is given to the historical aspects of God's dealings with Israel, covering Adam, Moses, and God's protection of the people of Israel among pagan influences.
In 7:26 we even read, "She [wisdom] is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness." While wisdom is important, this passage lifts up wisdom higher than the biblical books do. This passage seems to equate wisdom with God Himself rather than an important trait for godly living.
While many of the teachings in the Wisdom of Solomon reflect the ideas found in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, this does not make this work part of the inspired Scriptures. Though the Wisdom of Solomon includes important teachings regarding wisdom, its words were not accepted as inspired in the Jewish collection of writings in the Old Testament or in the New Testament writings.
What are the Catholic Apocrypha / Deuterocanonical books?
The Wisdom of Sirach / Book of Ecclesiasticus – What is it?
Is the Book of Enoch inspired writing? Should the Book of Enoch be in the Bible?
The Book of Jasher - What is it? Should the Book of Jasher be in the Bible?
What is the canon of the Bible and how did we get it?
Truth about the Bible