1st Reading – Wisdom 7:7-11
I prayed, and prudence was given me;
I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.
I preferred her to scepter and throne,
and deemed riches nothing in comparison with her,
nor did I liken any priceless gem to her;
because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand,
and before her, silver is to be accounted mire.
Beyond health and comeliness I loved her,
and I chose to have her rather than the light,
because the splendor of her never yields to sleep.
Yet all good things together came to me in her company,
and countless riches at her hands.
The book of Wisdom was written in Alexandria, Egypt, about a hundred years before Christ’s birth. The author was a member of the Jewish community there; he wrote in Greek, in a style patterned after Hebrew verse.
All societies have some type of Wisdom tradition, and ancient Israel was no exception. Wisdom is the perfection of knowledge of the righteous as a gift from God. As anyone who searches for the meaning of life soon realizes, human wisdom alone cannot plumb the depths of reality.
In today’s passage, the author of the book of Wisdom teaches his audience by reinterpreting the prayer of King Solomon from 1 Kings 3:5-9.