Biblical Definitions: “WISDOM”
Source: “Messiah – Volume 1 – Understanding His Life and Teachings In Hebraic Context” by Avi Ben Mordechai. This book is no longer available from Coming Home - A Biblical Hebraic Outreach Teaching Ministry from Avi Ben Mordechai. It is out of print.
NOTE: I have added my comments in square brackets as such [...].
In the religion of HaMashiach true wisdom was having a heart for the Torah and understanding on how to apply its teachings in everyday life. I have heard it put this way: “Wisdom is knowing the right thing to do and doing it.” The Messiah’s brother Ya’acov [James] supported this idea:
“Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
Ya’acov [James] 4:17) [emphasis added]
If wisdom is knowing the right thing to do and doing it then how are we to define what is right and what is wrong? The answer is in D’varim [Deuteronomy] 12:28 and Melechim Aleph [1 Kings] 11:38:
“Be careful to listen to all these words which I command you, in order that it may be well with you and your sons after you forever, for you will be doing what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God. [emphasis added]
(G-d speaking through the prophet Alijah to Jeroboam): Then it will be, that if you listen to all that I command you and walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight by observing My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did, then I will be with you and build you an enduring house as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you.”
From HaShem’s perspective, following the divine instructions (the Torah) is always the right thing to do. If one will do this, he will obtain wisdom as in Mizmor [Psalm] 19:7:
“The law (Torah) of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.”
(Mizmor [Psalm] 19:7 [emphasis added]
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever.”
(Mizmor [Psalm] 111:10) [emphasis added]
“He who keeps the law (Torah) is a discerning (wise) son....”
(Mishle [Proverbs] 28:7) [emphasis added]
Any so-called wisdom outside of observing G-d’s revealed teachings in the Torah is nothing more than a man-made religion, replete with its own definitions of wisdom and truth; it is certainly not G-d’s definition.
So important is this issue of wisdom and the practicing of the Torah in Judaism that HaShem required each new king of Israel to write a copy of the Mosaic Torah for himself knowing he would need it to rule the people with wisdom, justice, and fairness:
“Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests.”
(D’varim [Deuteronomy] 17:18)
In the Hebrew shema, which is based on D’varim Chapter 6, Jews are personally reminded to speak about the divine wisdom of the Torah twice daily and to put it on the doorposts of their homes:
“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.”
(D’varim [Deuteronomy] 6:4-8)
The wisdom of the Torah is not only present on our doorposts and in our mouths; it is also worn on a four-cornered garment in the form of tzitziot, or “tassels”:
“The Lord also spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel, and tell them that they shall make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and that they shall put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue. And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the Lord, so as to do them and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you played the harlot, in order that you may remember to do all My commandments, and be holy to your God.” ”
(Bamidbar [Numbers] 15:37-41)
Even Y’shua the Messiah wore these “tassels” or “fringes” reflecting G-d’s wisdom, the Torah, on His four-cornered garment:
“And behold, a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe (tzitziot) of His cloak.”
(Mattiryahu [Matthew] 9:20) [emphasis added]
“...and they began to entreat Him that they might just touch the fringe (tzitziot) of His cloak and as many as touched it were cured.”
(Mattityahu [Matthew] 14:36) [emphasis added]
When we order our lives by the revealed Wisdom of G-d, the Torah, it should attract people to the faith. This was the global duty of Israel to the Gentiles (goyim):
“So keep and do them (the commandments of G-d), for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.”
(D’varim [Deuteronomy] 4:6) [emphasis added]
However, when the Israelites discarded the covenant of G-d’s wisdom, their witness and knowledge of G-d also ceased flowing throughout Israel just as Hoshea prophesied:
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law (Hebrew: Torah) of your God, I also will forget your children.”
In the ancient writings of the rabbis, gaining the knowledge of Torah was considered to be true wisdom. We learn this from a teaching in the Midrash Rabbah:
“A man may say, “I have acquired wisdom, but I have not learnt Torah; what shall I do under such circumstances?” God said to Israel: “By your life, the whole of wisdom and the whole of the Torah are comprised in one trifling thing: whosoever fears Me and fulfills the Torah holds all wisdom and all the Torah in his heart.” Whence this? For it is written, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, a good understanding have all they that do thereafter (Ps. CXI, 10); The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever (ib. XIX, 10); Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom.”
(Job XXVIII, 28).
 Midrash Rabbah Deuteronomy 11:6.
Wisdom and the Torah go together like two pieces of a puzzle. If you want the true biblical definition of wisdom you must look into the perfect Law of G-d as given to Moshe on Mount Sinai. In the B’rit Chadashah [New Testament], this is the basis for Ya’acov’s [James’] words:
“Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.”
(Ya’acov [James] 3:13)
In every case where you read about wisdom and foolishness in the B’rit Chadashah you can always retrace the concept back to Torah obedience. But like any good thing, there is always an antithesis:
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
(Mishle [Proverbs] 1:7) [emphasis added]
I pray this study / teaching has been a blessing to you and pray that our Loving Heavenly Father, Yahweh, will direct your paths and further study into His Word. After all, His Word is Absolute!
Continue to test all things and may Almighty YHWH bless all who study His Absolute Written Word.
I am One Crying In The Wilderness!
Eddie Rogers, Minister, D.D.
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