New American Standard Bible
"The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old.
King James Bible
The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
Darby Bible Translation
Jehovah possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
World English Bible
"Yahweh possessed me in the beginning of his work, before his deeds of old.
Young's Literal Translation
Jehovah possessed me -- the beginning of His way, Before His works since then.
Proverbs 8:22 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
A verse which has played an important part in the history of Christian dogma. Wisdom reveals herself as preceding all creation, stamped upon it all, one with God, yet in some way distinguishable from Him as the object of His love Proverbs 8:30. John declares that all which Wisdom here speaks of herself was true in its highest sense of the Word that became flesh John 1:1-14 : just as Apostles afterward applied Wisd. 7:22-30 to Christ (compare Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3).
Possessed - The word has acquired a special prominence in connection with the Arian controversy. The meaning which it usually bears is that of "getting" Genesis 4:1, "buying" Genesis 47:22, "possessing" Jeremiah 32:15. In this sense one of the oldest divine names was that of "Possessor of heaven and earth" Genesis 14:19, Genesis 14:22. But the idea of thus "getting" or "possessing" involved, as a divine act in relation to the universe, the idea of creation, and thus in one or two passages the word might be rendered, though not accurately, by "created" (e. g., Psalm 139:13). It would seem accordingly as if the Greek translators of the Old Testament oscillated between the two meanings; and in this passage we find the various renderings ἔκτισε ektise "created" (Septuagint), and ἐκτήσατο ektēsato "possessed" (Aquila). The text with the former word naturally became one of the stock arguments of the Arians against the eternal co-existence of the Son, and the other translation was as vehemently defended by the orthodox fathers. Athanasius receiving ἔκτισεν ektisen, took it in the sense of appointing, and saw in the Septuagint a declaration that the Father had made the Son the "chief," the "head," the "sovereign," over all creation. There does not seem indeed any ground for the thought of creation either in the meaning of the root, or in the general usage of the word. What is meant in this passage is that we cannot think of God as ever having been without Wisdom. She is "as the beginning of His ways." So far as the words bear upon Christian dogma, they accord with the words of John 1:1, "the Word was with God." The next words indeed assert priority to all the works of God, from the first starting point of time.
Library"But Whereunto Shall I Liken this Generation?"
Matth. xi. 16.--"But whereunto shall I liken this generation?" When our Lord Jesus, who had the tongue of the learned, and spoke as never man spake, did now and then find a difficulty to express the matter herein contained. "What shall we do?" The matter indeed is of great importance, a soul matter, and therefore of great moment, a mystery, and therefore not easily expressed. No doubt he knows how to paint out this to the life, that we might rather behold it with our eyes, than hear it with our …
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning
The Invitation of Wisdom. --Prov. viii.
His Name --The Counsellor
Of the Decrees of God.
"To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:
"God understands its way, And He knows its place.
When He set a limit for the rain And a course for the thunderbolt,
O LORD, how many are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all; The earth is full of Your possessions.
The LORD by wisdom founded the earth, By understanding He established the heavens.
"But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity."
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