Saturday, January 16, 2016

Michael Fox and Proverbs 2:6 (Fear of God)

From Michael V. Fox, "The Pedagogy of Proverbs 2," Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 113, No. 2 (Summer, 1994): pp. 233-243.

"(2:6) 'For the Lord grants wisdom,/ at his behest come knowledge and good sense.' Verse 6 alludes to a stage prior to v. 5: the finding of wisdom, which produces the understanding promised in v.5. Wisdom engenders mature piety because God is the source of wisdom, and in seeking it you are in effect seeking him. Modern commentators agree that v. 6 does not imply verbal revelation, for God is never quoted in instructional wisdom literature.'2 The verse refers either to the granting of wisdom to the world as a divine gift or (more likely) to the bestowal of the faculty of wisdom on an individual. Wisdom both starts with fear of God (1:7;9:10)and leads to it. If the child does his part- the other parties will obviously do theirs- his fear of God will move to a higher stage, as described in this chapter. The simple fear of divine anger that prompted the first juvenile steps toward wisdom matures into a reasoned, cognitive conscience. Hence fear of God at this stage is the object of understanding (2:5a) and is defined by the parallel as a form of knowledge (2:5b).'3 With wisdom, fear of God becomes conscience, an inner sense of right and wrong and a desire to do what is right. (The history of the word 'conscience'-it derives from Latin conscientia, 'deep knowledge,' and originally meant consciousness or inner, unverbalized, thought-nicely points to the cognitive basis of conscience and suggests how the fear and the knowledge of God can be parallel, as in 2:5.) The fear of God, in Dermot Cox's words, is 'a form of conscience that calls for an intellectual adhesion to a principle, the divine order, the concept of goodness of life, and this is a guarantee of 'success'. . .. [I]t is a state of mind, not an action; it is almost synonymous with knowledge (especially in Prov 1-9)'14 Cox's definition is valid for the advanced stage of development."

4 comments:

Sean Killackey said...

I enjoyed the point that wisdom begins and ends with the fear of Jehovah, which matures over time.

Duncan said...

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=fHHNZYgzV9IC&pg=PA56&lpg=PA56&dq=blessed+are+they+that+have+fear+of+god+for++they+shall+become+angels&source=bl&ots=kxXG4zDToX&sig=BnG_mf9u3SLowEdFS1IlCnm_Nuk&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwidwYPatrDKAhUF6xQKHU_0Ch0Q6AEIIjAC#v=onepage&q=blessed%20are%20they%20that%20have%20fear%20of%20god%20for%20%20they%20shall%20become%20angels&f=false

Edgar Foster said...

Prov 2:5-6 intersect with Prov 1:7--fear of Jehovah (YHWH) is the beginning of wisdom.

Edgar Foster said...

To be more precise, I should say for Prov 1:7, "the beginning of knowledge."