The Distortion of Bible Translations - A Study on Proverbs 17:8

A reading of Proverbs 17:8 on different translations give different answers. Which one is right? It is a good illustration of how our biases or corrupted minds, even with a group of experts, could get the translation wrong. It is important that we read different translations of the Bible carefully.
Proverbs 17:8

(ESV)  A bribe (H7810) is like a magic stone in the eyes of the one who gives it; wherever he turns he prospers.
(ISV)  A bribe works wonders in the eyes of its giver; wherever he turns he prospers.
(NASB)  A bribe is a charm in the sight of its owner; Wherever he turns, he prospers.

Some translations find it odds, and hence translate as:
(GNB)  Some people think a bribe works like magic; they believe it can do anything.

(KJV)  A gift(H7810) is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth.

So, some translators translated H7810 as bribes and some as gifts. The following translated it as wages.

(ABP+)  wage G3408 is a favorable Instruction to the ones employing it; and wherever it shall turn, the way shall be prosperous.

The Issue - The Meaning of H7810

The Strong's Concordance gives:

H7810 שַׁחַד shachad shakh'-ad

From H7809; a donation (venal or redemptive): - bribe (-ry), gift, present, reward.

Total KJV Occurrences: 23
  • reward, 7 : Deu_10:17, Deu_27:25, Psa_15:5, Pro_21:14, Isa_5:23, Isa_45:13, Mic_3:11
  • gift, 6:Exo_23:8 (2), Deu_16:19 (2), Pro_17:8, Pro_17:23
  • gifts, 4:2Ch_19:7, Pro_6:35, Isa_1:23, Eze_22:12
  • bribes, 3:1Sa_8:3, Psa_26:10, Isa_33:15
  • present, 2:1Ki_15:19, 2Ki_16:8
  • bribery, 1: Job_15:34
We can see of the 23 occurrences, bribes only occur 4 times where as gifts occur 12 times (including present 2 times) and rewards 7 times.

The Differences of Gifts, Bribes, and Rewards:

Gifts have a neutral or positive meaning. It may be just a show one appreciation for some work or help or just for nothing but being there.

Rewards are repayments for work done. It is like wages or incentives.

Bribes, however, is negative and considered bad.

Which One is Right?
We should go by the context of the verse. In the whole of Proverb 17, H7809 appeared twice.
The first in verse 8 and then the second one is many verses later in verse 23.

Pro 17:23  A wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment. 

If I am the writer, I will make sure that my readers do not misunderstand me. I would not write something odd and then explain it many verses later.

So, I would say that the KJV is right in using Gifts or even Rewards in verse 8 but not Bribe. It is very misleading to use bribe as if the author endorses the behavior.

Verse 23 is fact tells us the true definition of a bribe - a gift with the wrong use of distorting the truth. That is clearly to be condemned. The use of 'wicked' makes it very clear.

The Best Interpretation:

Ironside (Ironside's Notes on Selected Books) interpreted 17:8 as:
A gift presented as a token of pure affection and respect will be highly valued by its possessor. It will pave the way for a deeper relationship. He who would find love should be a giver, not just a receiver. Jonathan’s gifts to David cemented their friendship by expressing the love that was in his heart (1 Samuel 18:3-4).

The BKC Bible Knowledge Commentary:
The commentators know that translating 17:8 as bribe gives rise to problems and so added much explanation:

  • This verse does not encourage bribery, which is condemned in Pro_17:23; Pro_15:27; Exo_23:8; Deu_16:19; Deu_27:25 (see comments on Pro_6:35). Pro_17:8 of Pro_17:1-28 is simply speaking from the giver’s perspective; a bribe “works like a charm.” To say bribes are effective (cf. Pro_18:16; Pro_21:14) is not to approve them; it simply states the way things are.
All these extra explanations are actually unnecessary if the verse has been translated rightly in the first place.

Modern Day Meaning:

17:8 in modern context actually means use rewards and incentives to motivate people to work for you! Nothing about using bribery to smooth your path. Using 'money' to distort the truth to gain an advantage is called bribery and it is wrong. Using 'money' as incentives and motivations to get people to the right thing well is wisdom.

How our corrupted mind could distort our understanding is clearly seen here. (Titus 1:15-16).

Lim Liat (c) 30 Jan 2018


Making Better Use of Concordance & Finding the True Meaning of Words

What are the differences among the similar words like wisdom, understanding, and knowledge? What are their definitions from the Bible? The right way to use concordance will show you.
Because we don't understand the original languages of the Bible, we have to rely on concordances to get a better understanding of the original words. However, the true meaning of the words in the original language is difficult to know for foreigner despite the concordances. This is because concordances give many similar words, more like a thesaurus rather than a good definitive dictionary.

Let take an example Proverb 2:2-3,5 in KJV+

Pro 2:2  So that thou inclineH7181 thine earH241 unto wisdomH2451. and applyH5186 thine heartH3820 to understandingH8394;
Pro 2:3  Yea, H3588 ifH518 thou criestH7121 after knowledgeH998 and liftest upH5414 thy voiceH6963 for understandingH8394
Pro 2:5  ThenH227 shalt thou understandH995 the fearH3374 of the LORDH3068, and findH4672 the knowledgeH1847 of GodH430.

Here we can find the original Hebrew words for wisdom, knowledge, understanding used and look up Strong's Concordance for their meanings:

wisdom H2451 חָכְמָה chokmâh khok-maw'
From H2449; wisdom (in a good sense): - skillful, wisdom, wisely, wit.

understanding H8394 תּוֹבֻנָה    תְּבוּנָה    תָּבוּןo tâbûn    tebûnâh    tôbûnâh
taw-boon', teb-oo-naw', to-boo-naw'
The second and third forms being feminine; from H995; intelligence; by implication an argument; by extension caprice: - discretion, reason, skilfulness, understanding, wisdom.

knowledge H998 בִּינָה bı̂ynâh bee-naw'
From H995; understanding: - knowledge, meaning, X perfectly, understanding, wisdom.

knowledge H1847 דַּעַת da‛ath dah'-ath
From H3045; knowledge: - cunning, [ig-] norantly, know(-ledge), [un-] awares (wittingly).

You can see from the above that understanding, wisdom, knowledge and other similar words were used interchangeably and thereby losing their precise meanings.

So, what do we differentiate wisdom, understanding, and knowledge?

Use the Context - Where Used:

To understand the exact meaning of the words, we shall invert the process, and find the verses where that particular words are used. Using the different contexts where the same word is found, we can infer a more exact meaning for the word.

Let take a simple one, the word knowledge H1847.

H1847 דּעת da‛ath  Total KJV Occurrences: 93

knowledge, 82

  • Gen_2:9, Gen_2:17, Exo_31:3, Exo_35:31, Num_24:16, Job_15:2, Job_21:14, Job_21:22, Job_33:3, Job_34:35, Job_35:16, Job_36:12, Job_42:2-3 (2), Psa_19:2, Psa_94:10, Psa_119:66, Psa_139:6, Pro_1:4, Pro_1:7, Pro_1:22, Pro_1:29, Pro_2:5-6 (2), Pro_2:10, Pro_3:20, Pro_5:2, Pro_8:9-10 (2), Pro_8:12, Pro_9:10, Pro_10:14, Pro_11:9, Pro_12:1, Pro_12:23, Pro_13:16, Pro_14:6-7 (2), Pro_14:18, Pro_15:2, Pro_15:7, Pro_15:14, Pro_17:27, Pro_18:15 (2), Pro_19:2, Pro_19:25, Pro_19:27, Pro_20:15, Pro_22:11-12 (2), Pro_22:17, Pro_22:20, Pro_23:12, Pro_24:4-5 (2), Pro_30:3, Ecc_1:16, Ecc_1:18, Ecc_2:21, Ecc_2:26, Ecc_7:12, Ecc_9:10, Ecc_12:9, Isa_5:13, Isa_11:2, Isa_32:4, Isa_33:6, Isa_40:14, Isa_44:19, Isa_44:25, Isa_53:10-11 (2), Jer_10:14, Jer_51:17, Dan_12:4 (2), Hos_4:1, Mal_2:6-7 (4)

know, 4

  • Job_13:2, Pro_29:7, Isa_58:2, Jer_22:16

unwittingly, 2

  • Jos_20:3, Jos_20:5

cunning, 1

  • 1Ki_7:14

ignorantly, 1

  • Deu_19:4

knew, 1

  • Isa_48:4 (2)

knowest, 1
unawares, 1

  • Deu_4:42

We can read a few verses where "knowledge" is used and infer the meaning. The meaning seems to be "knowing some things such as good and evil and facts". What is more interesting and fruitful is to look up the verses where the meanings seem to be in conflict with the earlier ones.


unwittingly, 2

  • Jos_20:3 That the slayerH7523 that killethH5221 any personH5315 unawaresH7684 and unwittinglyH1097 H1847 may fleeH5127 thither:H8033 and they shall beH1961 your refugeH4733 from the avengerH4480 H1350 of blood.H1818

    Here we find H1097 with Knowledge H1847. We look up H1097
    H1097 בְּלִי belı̂y bel-ee' From H1086; properly failure, that is, nothing or destruction; usually (with preposition) without, not yet, because not, as long as, etc.: - corruption, ig[norantly], for lack of, where no . . . is, so that no, none, not, un[awares], without.

    It is without. Using together, it means without the knowledge or unknowingly.
    It confirms our initial understanding of knowledge as "knowing something"
  • We can find such in ignorantly, unawares etc.

1Ki 7:14  HeH1931 was a widow'sH490 sonH1121 of the tribeH4480 H4294 of Naphtali,H5321 and his fatherH1 was a manH376 of Tyre,H6876 a workerH2790 in brass:H5178 and he was filledH4390 withH854 wisdom,H2451 and understanding,H8394 and cunningH1847 to workH6213 allH3605 worksH4399 in brass.H5178 And he cameH935 toH413 kingH4428 Solomon,H8010 and wroughtH6213 (H853) allH3605 his work.H4399

Here we see wisdom, understanding and cunning being used to describe the person. So, the 3 words, know similar, are actually 3 different strengths that the worker has. Their meaning should be different. The word cunning is not a bad word in this context but rather a deep knowledge of the skill of brass processing. It is skill knowledge.

What then is understanding and how does it differ from wisdom?

Understanding H8394

understanding, 38

  • Exo 31:3  And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, 
  • Exo_35:31, Exo_36:1, Deu_32:28, 
  • 1Ki 4:29  And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the seashore. 
  • 1Ki_7:14, 
  • Job 12:12  With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding. Job 12:13  With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding. 
  • Job_26:12, 
  • Psa_49:3, 
  • Psa_147:5, Pro_2:2-3 (2), Pro_2:6, Pro_2:11, Pro_3:13, Pro_3:19, Pro_8:1 (2), Pro_10:23, Pro_11:12, Pro_14:29, Pro_15:21, Pro_17:27, Pro_18:2, Pro_19:8, Pro_20:5, Pro_21:30, Pro_24:3, Pro_28:16, 
  • Isa 40:14  With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding? 
  • Isa_40:28, Isa_44:19, 
  • Jer 51:15  He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding.  
  • Eze 28:4  With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures: 
  • Hos 13:2  And now they sin more and more and have made them molten images of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves. 
  • Oba 1:7  All the men of thy confederacy have brought thee even to the border: the men that were at peace with thee have deceived thee, and prevailed against thee; they that eat thy bread have laid a wound under thee: there is none understanding in him. Oba 1:8  Shall I not in that day, saith the LORD, even destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the mount of Esau? 

discretion, 1

  • Jer 10:12  He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion

reasons, 1

  • Job 32:11  Behold, I waited for your words; I gave ear to your reasons, whilst ye searched out what to say. 

skillfulness, 1

  • Psa 78:72  So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands. 

wisdom, 1

  • Psa_136:5 - by 'wisdom' makes the heavens.

We can see that understanding is about making, creating, reasoning, guiding and teaching. It is one level higher than knowledge. It is the application of knowledge of facts & principles to make and invent things.

What then is wisdom?

H2451 chokmâh Total KJV Occurrences: 149
wisdom, 145
  • Exo_31:3 (3), Exo_31:6, Exo_35:26, Exo_35:31, Exo_35:35, Exo_36:1-2 (2), 
  • Deu 4:6  Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.
  • Deu_34:9, 
  • 2Sa 14:20  He did it to place the matter before you in a different light. But you are as wise as an angel of God, and you understand everything that happens among us!"
    In the context, the lady was appealing to King David to give and do the right things.
  •  2Sa_20:22, 1Ki_2:6, 1Ki_4:28-30 (5), 1Ki_4:34 (2), 1Ki_5:12, 1Ki_7:14, 1Ki_10:4, 1Ki_10:6-8 (3), 1Ki_10:23-24 (2), 1Ki_11:41, 2Ch_1:10-12 (3), 2Ch_9:3, 2Ch_9:5-7 (3), 2Ch_9:22-23 (2), Job_4:21, Job_11:6, Job_12:2, Job_12:12-13 (2), Job_13:5, Job_15:8, Job_26:3, Job_28:12, Job_28:18, Job_28:20, Job_28:28, Job_32:7, Job_32:13, Job_33:33, Job_38:36-37 (2), Job_39:17, 
  • Psa 37:30  The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment. 
  • Psa_51:6, Psa_90:12, Psa_104:24, 
  • Psa 111:10  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.  
  • Pro_1:2, Pro_1:7, Pro_2:2, Pro_2:6, Pro_2:10, Pro_3:13, Pro_3:19, Pro_4:5, Pro_4:7 (2), Pro_4:11, Pro_5:1, Pro_7:4, Pro_8:1, Pro_8:11-12 (2), Pro_9:10, Pro_10:13, Pro_10:23, 
  • Pro 10:31  The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out. 
  • Pro_11:2, 
  • Pro 13:10  Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom. 
  • Pro_14:6, Pro_14:8, Pro_15:33 (2), Pro_17:16 (2), Pro_17:24, Pro_18:4, Pro_21:30, Pro_23:23, Pro_24:3, Pro_24:14, Pro_29:3, Pro_29:15, Pro_30:3, Pro_31:26, Ecc_1:13, Ecc_1:16-18 (4), Ecc_2:3, Ecc_2:9, Ecc_2:12-13 (2), Ecc_2:21, Ecc_2:26, Ecc_7:11-12 (3), Ecc_7:19, Ecc_7:23, Ecc_7:25, Ecc_8:1, Ecc_8:16, Ecc_9:10, Ecc_9:13, Ecc_9:15-16 (3), Ecc_9:18, Ecc_10:1, Ecc_10:10, Isa_10:13, Isa_11:2, Isa_29:14, Isa_33:6, Isa_47:10, Jer_8:9, Jer_9:23, Jer_10:12, Jer_49:7 (2), 
  • Jer 51:15  He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding.
    The world was decided to be built by wisdom(decided, judged) and stretched out by understanding (know how)
  • Eze_28:4-5 (2), Eze_28:7, Eze_28:12, 
  • Eze 28:17  Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.
    This was a description of Satan. Corrupted widsom= Evil. 
  • Dan_1:20
wisely, 2
  • Pro_28:26, Ecc_7:10
skilful, 1
  • 1Ch 28:21  And, behold, the courses of the priests and the Levites, even they shall be with thee for all the service of the house of God: and there shall be with thee for all manner of workmanship every willing skillful man, for any manner of service: also the princes and all the people will be wholly at thy commandment. 
wit’s, 1
  • Psa 107:27  They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits' end.
    i.e. Lack the wisdom to do the right thing.
We can see that "wisdom" is related to judgment, just, right and wrong, commandments, and the opposite of wisdom is evilness. So wisdom is about knowing right and wrong and deciding and doing the right things.


Knowledge is about knowing things(such as their properties and behaviors) and facts. It is about what. What happened?

Understanding is about knowing the working, and reasoning, of things and is the application of knowledge to make and create new things. It is knowing how. It is the interpretation and use of knowledge.

Wisdom is about the discernment of right and wrong and the application understanding and knowledge to do the right things and the right time to the right people. Just, right, fair, are the consideration of wisdom.

So to understand any particular word, we should study all the verses where the word was used and find the best fit and the meaning for all the verses. 

One keyword is grace, and it is misunderstood widely by people with good intention. Let see what the true meaning is in "Grace is Unmerited Favor" - This Common Definition is wrong.

Lim Liat (c) 14 Jan 2018


A Checklist for Church Leaders & Members - Preventing Abuses & Malfunctions

Crimes and abuses of members in religious organizations are happening and reported globally. Such abuses happened a long time ago too. In Ezekiel 34, we can find God judging the evil shepherds and pointing to the coming of the good shepherd and his work. We can derive a checklist for leaders and set up a system to prevent such abuses and crimes from happening.
The Sins of the Evil Shepherds:
  1. Feed themselves the best and starve the flock.
  2. Did not care for the weak, sick and injured.
  3. Did not search and rescue the lost. Actually, verse 4 disclose the reasons for their wandering away, "you have ruled them with harshness and cruelty"
  4. Did not protect the flocks from attack by wild animal (5 & 8)
Greatest Evil: They don't just take the best but also damage the rest so that others could not enjoy them! (18-19 Eze 34:18  Isn't it enough for you to keep the best of the pastures for yourselves? Must you also trample down the rest?...)

The Duties of a Good Shepherd:
  1. Search & Rescue the Lost.
    34:11-13 ... I will find My sheep and rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day.  I will bring them back home to their own land of Israel from among the peoples and nations.
  2. Feed
    34:13b-14  Yes, I will give them good pastureland on the high hills of Israel. There they will lie down in pleasant places and feed in the lush pastures of the hills.
  3. Protect
    Eze 34:15  I Myself will tend My sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace.
  4. Heal
    Eze 34:16 ... I will bandage the injured and strengthen the weak.
  5. Judge
     34:16c But I will destroy those who are fat and powerful. I will feed them, yes—feed them justice! 17  "And as for you, My flock, this is what the Sovereign LORD says to His people: I will judge between one animal of the flock and another, separating the sheep from the goats.
The Cause of Abuses

Comparing the two list, the sins of the bad shepherds and the work of the good shepherd, there is only one key that is missing - the Judgement. The discernment and judgment for the goats that abuse the sheeps in the flocks. In any modern organization, including the religious organization, there is a Board of Directors or Elders who are elected to represent the members and shareholders to make sure the executives, especially the CEO, does not exploit the organization for his own benefits. In a church context, however, the board members have the erroneous thinking that they were there to support their pastor and hence became the yes men that endorse the pastor. They forget their prime responsibility and accountability are to the members and not the pastor. Instead of holding their pastor to the upright behavior standards set by the Bible and correcting their pastor, they become the arms and legs of the abuses against the members!

In the name of love, many have swept the evil under the carpets and tolerate the abuses. Under the misguided teaching and abuse of "Touch not Gods anointed.", pastors and elders were never corrected and allowing the abuses to continue and even increase. Using "Judge not that we may not be judged" members turn a blind eye to sins.has

The Bible teaches us differently.
  • 2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
  • James 5:19-20 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
  • Matthew 18:15-17 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
  • Galatians 6:1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.
A Successfully Run Church:
  • Peace & Safety
    Eze 34:25  "I will make a covenant of peace with My people and drive away the dangerous animals from the land. Then they will be able to camp safely in the wildest places and sleep in the woods without fear.
  • Showers of Blessings
    Eze 34:26  I will bless My people and their homes around My holy hill. And in the proper season I will send the showers they need. There will be showers of blessing.
  • Abundant Growth
    Eze 34:27  The orchards and fields of My people will yield bumper crops, and everyone will live in safety.
  • Freed from Slavery & Bondage
    When I have broken their chains of slavery and rescued them from those who enslaved them, then they will know that I am the LORD.
  • Freed from Harms
    Eze 34:28  They will no longer be prey for other nations, and wild animals will no longer devour them. They will live in safety, and no one will frighten them.
  • Rich & Famous
    Eze 34:29  "And I will make their land famous for its crops, so My people will never again suffer from famines or the insults of foreign nations.
All the factors must be there. A Malfunction church can be rich and famous but be abusive of their members. A church can be so large that becomes inhuman. Check up Francis Chan | Why I Left The Megachurch I Created!


As leaders, we should search & rescue the lost, feed them with healthy food, protect them from erroneous teachings and harms, care for the weak and injured, and also be discerning and to confront and correct the evil in our midst.

Lim Liat (c) 11 Jan 2018


The Seven Pillars of Wisdom Revealed

While "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom" is clearly stated Proverbs 9:1, the meaning of each pillar is not clearly stated. Hence, there are many different views about what these seven pillars are. Here is an in-depth study of the different views and to arrive at a possible revelation of what those seven pillars are.
The Seven Pillars of Wisdom:
  • Proverbs 9:1 Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars.  
Proverbs 9 does not explicitly tell us what the seven pillars are even though it starts with the statement that the personified wisdom has built a house with seven pillars. It describes wisdom as sending out invitations to attend the meal she had prepared. The meal reminds me of the "marriage supper of the lamb" at the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ. We will find that Wisdom, the best of which, is in fact, Jesus Christ - the Word (See for example Proverb 8 that speaks of wisdom being involved in the creation).

Since Proverb 9 is not specific about the pillars of wisdom, there are many views being offered as to what they are. Here are some from google search.

James 3:17 Wisdom From Above:

Because we are not familiar with the original Greek and Hebrew words, and there are translation problems, you will find many similar words are used such as understanding, knowledge, insights, counsel, etc further confusing the issues. See The Seven Pillars of Wisdom | The Institute for Creation Research

So here are some translations of James 3:17:
  • (KJV) But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 
  • (NASB) But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 
  • (NLT) But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 
  • (YLT) and the wisdom from above, first, indeed, is pure, then peaceable, gentle, easily entreated, full of kindness and good fruits, uncontentious, and unhypocritical.
We can consolidate them to arrive at the seven pillars of wisdom as:

  1. pure
  2. peaceable
  3. gentle
  4. reasonable - yielding to others, friendly, easily entreated
  5. merciful with good work - kindness, helpfulness
  6. just - impartial, fair, unwavering, no favoritism, uncontentious
  7. sincere - unhypocritical, truthful
The Beatitudes

The post, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, says it is the beatitudes. I just summarized the seven keywords here:

  1. Poor in spirit- Humble
  2. Mournful - Hates evil
  3. Meek - Gentle, Prudence
  4. Righteousness
  5. Merciful
  6. Pure - free from corruption
  7. Peacemaker
The Wisdom in Proverbs:

Someone says it must be in the book of Proverbs. So she gives the following seven:

The House Friends of Wisdom:

This "Seven pillars of wisdom" says the previous chapter, Proverbs 8, describes Wisdom dwelling together with Prudence, Knowledge etc as in 8:12-14. So he gave the seven pillars as:
  1. Prudence
  2. Knowledge and discretion
  3. Fear of God
  4. Counsel
  5. Sound Wisdom
  6. Understanding
  7. Power
So, who is right?

I am a believer in letting the context tells us what a particular sentence means. No one writes a sentence and then don't try to expound and explains it in the same paragraphs. The author of Proverbs 9 could not have stated it and then don't explain it. So I believe the answers should lie close to Proverbs 9, I,e. Proverbs 8-10, taking into consideration that the chapter and verse breakdown were added later and not by the original author.

So I would accept that Proverb 8 list is a good list, though I do not fully agree with the list. My list is shown in the mind map below:

This does not mean that the others are wrong. They are all correct in describing different aspects of Wisdom. It is just that they are not the seven pillars. You can find many overlapping attributes of wisdom described. They are all useful.

Discovering the Seven Pillars within Proverbs 9:

To discover the pillars in Proverbs 9, we need to use some extraction and deduction to decode the hidden codes.

Pillar#1 Creativity - The Great Plan for the Salvation of Men and the Universe in Jesus Christ

Pro 9:2  She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine; she has also set her table.

Wisdom has planned and completed the preparation of a great meal - meat, wine, and seating.  It is the marriage supper of the lamb! So we can see that "Creativity" and more specifically, the Creation and the Restoration of Men and the New Heaven and New Earth.

Pillar#2 Love - Sharing - The Gospel Invitation

Pro 9:3  She has sent out her young women to call from the highest places in the town,

The invitations are sent. Good things must be shared. That is the heart of love and of God. It reminds us of the parable of Great Banquet in Luke 14:16-24. All are invited. The young women are attractive and energetic. They call from the strategic positions in town. We, the believers, who bring the good news of the gospels should be equally attractive in our testimonies and do them in strategic locations and positions.

Pillar#3 Insights & Understanding for living 

Pro 9:4  “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” To him who lacks sense she says,
Pro 9:5  “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed.

Pro 9:6  Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight.”

The meats and wines are the substance for our living. Wisdom provides us the insights and understanding of how to live a good and successful life of joy, peace, and a long-life too. We are born without wisdom. We are to learn and acquire wisdom.

Pillar#4 Exposing Wickedness - Choose Your Audience - Persuade not the Wicked

Pro 9:7 Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.

Pro 9:8a Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;

This is a reminder of  Matthew 7:6 "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

While wisdom and the gospels are good things, we cannot force them unto people that do not want them.   We must attract like in Pillar#2 invite rather than force. We cannot be kinder than God too. Jesus often did not respond to the Pharisees who wanted Jesus to perform miracles to prove He was Son of God. But Jesus knew their heart. They did not want proof but excuses to nail Jesus. They accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of a demon! No matter what you do or say, they would be used against you rather than be touched and converted by your testimony! No point trying to convert Satan but by all means save the victims of evil. 

Going deeper, why does correcting a scoffer ends up in violence? Because wisdom exposes his wickedness. He is angry that he is found out and hence will want to eliminate the light that exposes him. Consider Cain‘s killing of Abel. Abel set a higher standard and exposed the insincerity of Cain's offering.

Pillar#5 Nurturing & Develop the Willing

9:8b reprove a wise man, and he will love you.

Pro 9:9  Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.

For those that are willing to believe in God and receive the Gospels, we must develop nurture them. It is like the mother nursing and taking good care of her babies and children.

Pillar#6 Fear of the Lord - The Standards of Right & Wrong and Our Obedience

Pro 9:10  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
Pro 9:11  For by me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life.

Pro 9:12  If you are wise, you are wise for yourself; if you scoff, you alone will bear it.

All wisdom must be based on the belief of a Wise and Good God. We are to learn of Him and of His ways so that we also can become like Him since we are created in His image. Paul prayed and worked that Christ may be formed in believers. Right and Wrong are defined by Our Creator God and not by our own understanding. We are to follow and obey His Words and not by what we feel or think is right.

Pillar#7 Yield Not to Temptation - Turn-away from Evil & SIns - Prudence

Pro 9:13  The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing.
(vs Wisdom - A Good Meat & Wine with Insights)
Pro 9:14  She sits at the door of her house; she takes a seat on the highest places of the town,
(vs Wisdom - Young Women who go and call and not sit at the door. For folly, you don't have to do a thing. Just be lazy.)
Pro 9:15  calling to those who pass by, who are going straight on their way,
Pro 9:16  “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” And to him who lacks sense, she says,
(The call of Folly is "It is simple and easy and effortless - Just enjoy")
Pro 9:17  “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”
(Sin is attractive for the short-term but has heavy prices to pay.)
Pro 9:18  But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.

( The price is death and hell! )

Wisdom is able to discern temptations and be not fooled. She will see the dangers hidden within the outside appearance of attractiveness. Wisdom is able to shed light on the darkness and evil of sins. Wisdom gives us a wake-up call that we may turn away from our sins.

The Combined List
We can combine all the above lists and we can discover that they are the various subsets of 7 Pillars. It is like Paul defining what Love is and the nine aspects of the same spiritual fruit.

What do you think?
And more importantly, what have you learned about the pillars of wisdom that will cause you to change for the better?

May God bless and give you insights.

Lim Liat (c) 9 Jan 2018

See also The Seven Pillars of Wisdom Revealed - Part 2 The Seven Spirits of God