Yahweh acquired me at the beginning of His way, before His works of old.
Some Trinitarians claim this verse refers to Trinity doctrines's pre-existent Son involved in God's act of creation. This claim is sometimes accompanied by conflating the notion of Logos with the notion of Wisdom.
The Claim vs. The Facts
The facts show us that Wisdom is perceived as a "she" in Proverbs (and elsewhere by ancient Israelites) which one is to espouse like a bride as one is espoused to the perfect wife. But it is hardly plausible to suppose the Son would be portrayed as a woman. Trinitarians also routinely conflate Wisdom with Word which is reckless and short-sighted.
The Problem with the Claim
1. The Corinthians 1:30 Confusion
1 Corinthians 1:30 is sometimes quoted in an attempt to equate Jesus with Wisdom in Proverbs 8:22. However, 1 Corinthians 1:30 says, "You are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption."
2. A Son is a male not a female.
Throughout Proverbs, Wisdom is portrayed and personified as a female who a righteous man should espouse as one would espouse a bride.
Wisdom shouts in the street, She lifts her voice in the square; At the head of the noisy streets she cries out; At the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings. Proverbs 1:20-21.
Does not wisdom call, And understanding lift up her voice? On top of the heights beside the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand; Beside the gates, at the opening to the city, at the entrance of the doors, she cries out: "To you, O men, I call, and my voice is to the sons of men..... Then I was beside Him, as His amon; And I was daily His delight, Rejoicing always before Him, Rejoicing in the world, His earth, and having my delight in the sons of men." Proverbs 8.
The same thing is found in the New Testament
The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, "Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!" Yet wisdom is justified by her works. Matthew 11:19.
Yet wisdom is justified by all her children. Luke 7:35
For this reason also the wisdom of God said, "I will send to them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and some they will persecute." Luke 11:49.
A further confusion arises from equating the person Jesus with the Wisdom of Luke 11:49. Since Jesus said this, and Luke says Wisdom said this, the Trinitarian supposes Jesus is that Wisdom. However, this claim is completely blind to the fact that Jesus was the prophet who God promised to raise up saying He would put His words in his mouth. The NT Scriptures show us many times that Yahweh put His words in Jesus' mouth and Jesus' words were not his own but the Father's who sent him. Jesus himself testifies to this fact several times.
It is rather absurd to suppose that the inspired Scriptures would be consistently portraying Wisdom as a woman and God's son was that woman.
3. Trinitarian Translations
A survey of Trinitarian translations shows that they don't know quite what to do with this verse. Translations vary from "the LORD brought me forth" to "the LORD created me" to "the LORD possessed me." They all seem to have the desire to avoid the plain meaning of the Hebrew text, "the LORD acquired me." It is just too much for the Trinitarian mind to ask himself how it is possible that God acquired Wisdom.
But the Hebrew word in question plainly means to acquire/obtain. There is a good reason that this language is used here. This is typical ancient Jewish bride-price language. An ancient righteous Jew was to espouse Wisdom as one espouses a bride. Hence this portrayel has God acquiring personified Wisdom as his bride. The idea is not the God was not wise until he acquired this bride; the idea is that God did not create anything without his bride: Wisdom.
Another issue is the word amon in verse 30 which is also translated in a variety of ways. The word is closely related to the word "Amen" and the idea behind this Hebrew word here is that Wisdom confirmed what God did in His act of creation, that is, God's own Wisdom affirmed and validated all that He did.
Analysis of the Facts
1. God created all things in His Wisdom
Proverbs 8:22 is also about God creating all things in His Wisdom.
The LORD by wisdom founded the earth, By understanding He established the heavens. Proverbs 3:19.
Proverbs 8:22 shows us that God espoused Wisdom as his Helper and Bride when he created all things.
2. Wisdom is not equivalent to Word/Logos
While they are closely related things, it is self-evident that Wisdom and Word/Logos are not the same thing. A person's word/logos is born out of his Wisdom. His word/logos expresses what was birthed out of his Wisdom. A man's Word is begotten out of his Wisdom much like a man's son is begotten out of his wife. God created all things in his Wisdom, that is, creation reflects His Wisdom. But that is quite a different idea that God created by means of His spoken Word/Logos. His logos is the expression of that Wisdom, not the Wisdom itself. If a person is wise, his wisdom will be outwardly reflected by his word; his word is not that wisdom. His wisdom is what provided him the means to utter the word he uttered.
It is quite clear that Wisdom in the Jewish mind was perceived in feminine terms and personified as a female who the righteous man is expected to espouse as one espouses a virtuous woman. Word/logos is not Wisdom but what is born out of Wisdom and therefore reflecting and embodying that Wisdom. The Trinitarian claim here is just another disingenous claim made without respect for the truth and nullifying the Scriptures for the sake of their tradition. This is also why only some Trinitarians will resort to making this claim. There isn't any reason to suppose Wisdom here is a pre-existing Son and Trinitarians are simply imagining this notion into the text despite the fact that the Bible gives multiple reasons which show a pre-existent son cannot be Wisdom at Proverbs 8:22.
For Wisdom is more precious than rubies and all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her. Proverbs 8:11.
Who can find a Virtuous Wife? For her worth is far above rubies. Proverbs 31:10
Related Links: Genesis 1:26
Created: August 25, 2012
Last Revision/Update: February 20, 2016