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An outline of the Book of Wisdom of Solomon

Written By Franklin V on Friday, October 3, 2014 | 7:33 AM

An outline of the Book of Wisdom of Solomon


The Book of Wisdom knows of only one God, the God of the universe, and the Yahweh of the Hebrews. This one God is "He who is" , and His holiness is utterly opposed to moral evil . He is the absolute master of the world, which He has created out of "formless matter" a Platonic expression which in no way affirms the eternity of matter, but points back to the chaotic condition described in Genesis 1:2.

A living God, He made man after His image, creating him for immortality , so that death entered the world only through the envy of the Devil . His Providence (pronoia) extends to all things, great and small, taking a fatherly care of all things, and in particular, of His chosen people. He makes Himself known to men through His wonderful works, and exercises His mercy towards them all.

The central idea of the book is "Wisdom", which appears in the work under two principal aspects. In its relation to man, Wisdom is here, as in the other Sapiential Books, the perfection of knowledge showing itself in action. It is particularly described as resident only in righteous men , as a principle soliciting man's will , as within God's gift, and as bestowed by Him on earnest suppliants. Through its power, man triumphs over evil, and through its possession, one may secure for himself the promises of both the present and the future life. Wisdom is to be prized above all things, and whoever despises it is doomed to unhappiness. In direct relation to God, Wisdom is personified, and her nature, attributes, and operation are no less than Divine. She is with God from eternity, the partner of His throne, and the sharer of His thoughts. She is an emanation from His glory, the brightness of His everlasting light and the mirror of His power and goodness. Wisdom is one, and yet can do everything; although immutable, she makes all things new, with an activity greater than any motion. When God formed the world, Wisdom was present, and she gives to men all the virtues which they need in every station and condition of life. Wisdom is also identified with the "Word" of God, and is represented as immanent with the "Holy Spirit", to whom a Divine nature and Divine operations are likewise ascribed. Exalted doctrines such as these stand in a vital connection with the New Testament revelation of the mystery of the Blessed Trinity; while other passages of the Book of Wisdom find their fulfilment in Christ, the Incarnate "Word", and "the Wisdom of God". In other aspects too, notably with regard to its eschatological teaching, the Book of Wisdom presents a wonderful preparation to the New Testament Revelation. The New Testament writers appear perfectly familiar with this deutero-canonical writing ( Matthew 27:42-43, with Wisdom 2:13-18; Romans 11:34, with Wisdom 9:13; Ephesians 6:13-17, with Wisdom 5:18-19; Hebrews 1:3, with Wisdom 7:26; etc. It is true that to justify their rejection of the Book of Wisdom from the Canon, many Protestants have claimed that in 8:19-20, its author admits the error of the pre-existence of the human soul. But this incriminated passage, when viewed in the light of its context, yields a perfectly orthodox sense. 

 1:1-2:20    Exhortation to Uprightness

 2:21-2:24   Error of the Wicked

 3:1-3:9     The Destiny of the Righteous
 3:10-3:13   The Destiny of the Ungodly
 3:14-4:15   On Childlessness

 4:16-4:19   The Triumph of the Righteous
 4:20-5:14   The Final Judgment

 5:15-5:23   The Reward of the Righteous

 6:1-6:11    Kings Should Seek Wisdom
 6:12-6:25   Description of Wisdom

 7:1-7:6     Solomon Like Other Mortals
 7:7-7:14    Solomon's Respect for Wisdom
 7:15-7:22   Solomon Prays for Wisdom
 7:22-8:1    The Nature of Wisdom

 8:2-8:8     Solomon's Love for Wisdom
 8:9-8:21    Wisdom Indispensible to Rulers

 9:1-9:18    Solomon's Prayer for Wisdom

10:1-10:14   The Work of Wisdom from Adam to Moses
10:15-10:21  Wisdom Led the Israelites out of Egypt

11:1-11:14   Wisdom Led the Israelites through the Desert
11:15-11:20  Punishment fo the Wicked
11:21-12:2   God Is Powerful and Merciful

12:3-12:11   The Sins of Canaanites
12:12-12:18  God Is Sovereign
12:19-12:22  God's Lessons for Israel
12:23-12:27  The Punishment of the Egyptians

13:1-13:9    The Foolishness of Nature Worship
13:10-13:19  The Foolishness of Idolatry

14:1-14:11   Folly of a Navigator Praying to an Idol
14:12-14:31  The Origin and Evils of Idolatry

15:1-15:6    Benefits of Worshiping the True God
15:7-15:17   The Foolishness of Worshiping Clay Idols
15:18-16:14  Serpents in the Desert

16:15-16:19  Disastrous Storms Strike Egypt
16:20-16:29  The Israelites Receive Manna

17:1-17:21   Terror Strikes the Egyptians at Night

18:1-18:4    Light Shines on the Israelites
18:5-18:19   The Death of the Egyptian Firstborn
18:20-18:25  Threat of Annihilation in the Desert

19:1-19:5    The Red Sea
19:6-19:12   God Guides and Protects His People
19:13-19:17  The Punishment of the Egyptians
19:18-19:21  A New Harmony in Nature
19:22        Conclusion
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