“…wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.” – Proverbs 8:11
It is an understatement to say that wisdom is a worthwhile pursuit. The Old Testament, and specifically Proverbs, provides both a view of God’s wisdom and how are lives are effected either negatively or positively as determined by our effectual pursuit.
While not exhaustive, this list of Old Testament scriptures on wisdom will provide a continuance of our look at New Testament scriptures on wisdom in your pursuit to understand and rightly apply knowledge.
Understanding wisdom in the Old Testament
“The Hebrew word chokma, as used in the Old Testament, stands for wisdom… in the more special signification of the word, it denotes wisdom with a strong ethical quality, as rooting itself in the fear of the Lord, and applying the truths of divine revelation to the various relations and circumstances of life–wisdom, in a word, as inclusive of all virtue.” – Professor D. M. Welton, Ph.D., D.D.
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
Seeking wisdom is wise. However, some people will do anything to gain wisdom. Even the wrong thing. In this case, Adam and Eve, et al, will realize it wasn’t wise to not listen to (God’s) wisdom in the first place. It was also not very wise to implicate another person.
Tell all the skilled workers to whom I have given wisdom in such matters that they are to make garments for Aaron, for his consecration, so he may serve me as priest.
God gives wisdom. In all matters. There is not an area of our lives, or a need we will have that is beyond God’s provision of wisdom.
And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills
Wisdom is most profitably directed when it flows from the Spirit of God.
Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also I have given ability to all the skilled workers to make everything I have commanded you:
God enables those He’s gifted with the ability to accomplish His will.
And all the women who were willing and had the skill spun the goat hair
It does not one any good to possess knowledge and be unwilling to use it.
“So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the LORD has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the LORD has commanded.”
The Lord gives both skill and ability to carry out His work; work that is of the utmost importance, and which brings Him glory.
Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the LORD had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work.
God enables those He’s gifted with the ability to accomplish His will.
Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.”
Being observant will demonstrate your understand, as it will help keep you from speaking or acting too quickly. Wisdom is plain to see; by anyone, anywhere.
Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him and did what the LORD had commanded Moses.
There is a correlation between being filled and being listened to in God’s economy. If you are not filled with wisdom there isn’t any good reason for any out to listen to you.
2 Samuel 14:20
“Your servant Joab did this to change the present situation. My lord has wisdom like that of an angel of God – he knows everything that happens in the land.”
There is a wisdom that sets itself a part from all other wisdom. Heavenly wisdom is not earthly wisdom.
1 Kings 2:6
Deal with him according to your wisdom, but do not let his gray head go down to the grave in peace.
Properly deal with life situations with wisdom.
1 Kings 2:9
“But now, do not consider him innocent. You are a man of wisdom; you will know what to do to him. Bring his gray head down to the grave in blood.”
What are you known as? Better to be a man of wisdom when dealing with life and death situations.
1 Kings 3:28
When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice.
God’s wisdom is something to awe. A king, and anyone for that matter, can only truly be justwhen possessing and exercising wisdom from God.
1 Kings 4:29
God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore.
True wisdom and great insight is something only God can give. It surpasses in both quality and quantity.
1 Kings 4:30
Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the people of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt.
Wisdom from God can place us in unique positions we could attain, or should probably desire to, otherwise.
1 Kings 4:34
From all nations people came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom.
Wisdom can give you the opportunity to uniquely influence an audience you might not otherwise have the chance to speak to.
1 Kings 5:12
The LORD gave Solomon wisdom, just as he had promised him. There were peaceful relations between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them made a treaty.
Who is the giver of wisdom? God provides us with wisdom He promises to give; which can lead to peace.
1 Kings 7:14
Whose mother was a widow from the tribe of Naphtali and whose father was from Tyre and a skilled worker in bronze. Huram was filled with wisdom, with understanding and with knowledge to do all kinds of bronze work. He came to King Solomon and did all the work assigned to him.
You don’t have to be a king, or, be a highly visible leader to receive wisdom from God. He provides everyone who is rightly related to him with what they do to do His will.
1 Kings 10:7
But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard.
1 Kings 10:8
How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom!
1 Kings 10:24
The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart.
1 Kings 11:41
As for the other events of Solomon’s reign – all he did and the wisdom he displayed – are they not written in the book of the annals of Solomon?
1 Chronicles 22:12
May the LORD give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the LORD your God.
2 Chronicles 1:7-12
That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Solomon answered God, “You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. Now, Lord God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.”
2 Chronicles 9:6
But I did not believe what they said until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half the greatness of your wisdom was told me; you have far exceeded the report I heard.
2 Chronicles 9:7
How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom!
2 Chronicles 9:22
King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth.
2 Chronicles 9:23
All the kings of the earth sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart.
And you, Ezra, in accordance with the wisdom of your God, which you possess, appoint magistrates and judges to administer justice to all the people of Trans-Euphrates – all who know the laws of your God. And you are to teach any who do not know them.
His wisdom is profound, his power is vast. Who has resisted him and come out unscathed?
Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?
“To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.”
To him belong strength and insight; both deceived and deceiver are his.
If only you would be altogether silent! For you, that would be wisdom.
Then he looked at wisdom and appraised it; he confirmed it and tested it.
And he said to the human race, “The fear of the Lord – that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.”
Do not say, ‘We have found wisdom; let God refute him, not a mere mortal.’
“But if not, then listen to me; be silent, and I will teach you wisdom.”
“Job speaks without knowledge; his words lack insight.'”
Do you listen in on God’s council? Do you have a monopoly on wisdom?
By his power he churned up the sea; by his wisdom he cut Rahab to pieces.
But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell?
Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it, nor can it be had for jewels of gold. Coral and jasper are not worthy of mention; the price of wisdom is beyond rubies.
God understands the way to it and he alone knows where it dwells
I thought, ‘Age should speak; advanced years should teach wisdom.’
Who has put wisdom in the inward parts or given understanding to the mind?
Who has the wisdom to count the clouds? Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens
For God did not endow her with wisdom or give her a share of good sense.
“Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom and spread its wings toward the south?
The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just.
My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the meditation of my heart will give you understanding.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O Lord, and whom you teach out of your law, to give him rest from days of trouble, until a pit is dug for the wicked.
To instruct his princes as he pleased and teach his elders wisdom.
How many are your works, LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.
Who by his understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever.
For gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight
For receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square;
Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings.
“Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me,”
“But whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”
Turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding –
And if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure
For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless
For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse.
Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.
Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
By wisdom the LORD laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place
My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion
The wise will inherit honor, but fools get disgrace.
Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them.
Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.
I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.
My son, pay attention to my wisdom, turn your ear to my words of insight
Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and to insight, “You are my relative.”
Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice?
You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, set your hearts on it.
For wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.
“I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion.”
Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have insight, I have power.
For those who find me find life and receive favor from the LORD.
Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars. She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine; she has also set her table. She has sent out her young women to call from the highest places in the town, “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” To him who lacks sense she says, “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life.
If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.
The wise of heart will receive commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin.
Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning, but a rod is for the back of one who has no sense.
The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of sense.
Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool, but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding.
From the mouth of the righteous comes the fruit of wisdom, but a perverse tongue will be silenced.
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
Those who have no sense deride their neighbors, but those who have understanding hold their tongues.
People are praised according to their prudence, and those with warped minds are despised.
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.
The wealth of the wise is their crown, but the folly of fools yields folly.
A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not respond to rebukes.
Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.
The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death. Good sense wins favor, but the way of the treacherous is their ruin. In everything the prudent acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly.
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.
The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning.
The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.
Wisdom rests in the heart of a man of understanding, but it makes itself known even in the midst of fools.
The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the hearts of fools.
Mockers resent correction, so they avoid the wise.
Folly brings joy to those who have no sense, but those who have understanding keep a straight course.
Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.
Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the LORD, and humility comes before honor.
How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.
Why should fools have money in hand to buy wisdom, when they are not able to understand it?
A discerning person keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.
Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.
The words of the mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream.
An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.
Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.
Those who get wisdom love their own lives; those who cherish understanding will soon prosper.
When a mocker is punished, the simple gain wisdom; by paying attention to the wise they get knowledge.
Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it.
There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD.
Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge, for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, if all of them are ready on your lips. That your trust may be in the Lord, I have made them known to you today, even to you. Have I not written for you thirty sayings of counsel and knowledge, to make you know what is right and true, that you may give a true answer to those who sent you?
Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness.
Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words.
Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge.
Buy the truth and do not sell it – wisdom, instruction and insight as well.
By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might, for by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory. Wisdom is too high for a fool; in the gate he does not open his mouth.
Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.
Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.
A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father, but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.
Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.
A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom, but children left to themselves disgrace their mother.
I have not learned wisdom, nor have I attained to the knowledge of the Holy One.
She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on the human race!
I said to myself, “Look, I have grown and increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.”
Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.
For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.
I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly – my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.
I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me.
Keep your head. Not matter what height to which rise.
Then I turned my thoughts to consider wisdom, and also madness and folly. What more can the king’s successor do than what has already been done?
I saw that wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness.
For people may labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to others who have not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune.
To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
Wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing and benefits those who see the sun.
Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: Wisdom preserves the life of its possessor.
Wisdom makes one wise person more powerful than ten rulers in a city.
All this I tested by wisdom and I said, “I am determined to be wise” – but this was beyond me.
So I turned my mind to understand, to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things and to understand the stupidity of wickedness and the madness of folly.
Who is like the wise? Who knows the explanation of things? Wisdom brightens the face and changes its hard appearance.
Who is like the wise? And who knows the interpretation of a thing? A man’s wisdom makes his face shine, and the hardness of his face is changed.
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.
Now there lived in that city a man poor but wise, and he saved the city by his wisdom. But nobody remembered that poor man.
So I said, “Wisdom is better than strength.” But the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are no longer heeded.
Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.
As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.
Even as fools walk along the road, they lack sense and show everyone how stupid they are.
The words of a wise man’s mouth win him favor, but the lips of a fool consume him
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!
For he says: “By the strength of my hand I have done this, and by my wisdom, because I have understanding. I removed the boundaries of nations, I plundered their treasures; like a mighty one I subdued their kings.”
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him – the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD –
All this also comes from the LORD Almighty, whose plan is wonderful, whose wisdom is magnificent.
“Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.”
He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.
You have trusted in your wickedness and have said, ‘No one sees me.’ Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you when you say to yourself, “I am, and there is none besides me.'”
The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the LORD, what kind of wisdom do they have?
This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches,”
But God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.
Concerning Edom: This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Is there no longer wisdom in Teman? Has counsel perished from the prudent? Has their wisdom decayed?”
By your wisdom and understanding you have gained wealth for yourself and amassed gold and silver in your treasuries. By your great skill in trading you have increased your wealth, and because of your wealth your heart has grown proud.
“Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.””
Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.
Young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians.
To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.
In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.
When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact.
And said: “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his.”
He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.
“I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king.”
As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than anyone else alive, but so that Your Majesty may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.
There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. In the time of your father he was found to have insight and intelligence and wisdom like that of the gods. Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, appointed him chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners.
He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding.”
And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
Pains as of a woman in childbirth come to him, but he is a child without wisdom; when the time arrives, he does not come to the opening of the womb.
Listen! The LORD is calling to the city – and to fear your name is wisdom – “Heed the rod and the One who appointed it.”
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