Scripture Words Defined
Welcome to another study in Scripture words from ChristAssembly.org. This study focuses primarily upon the words Wisdom, Understanding and Knowledge as used often in the Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament. although it will also include some New Testament aspects of those terms.
1.1 The Spirit of Wisdom. The Old Testament contains several references to the spirit of wisdom. Yahweh filled certain people with the spirit of wisdom for certain specific functions.
1.1.1 The Spirit of Wisdom and Aaron’s Garments. In Exodus 28:3, Yahweh 1See Genesis 25:1 where Yahweh instructs Moses about constructing holy things. revealed to Moses that Yahweh has filled certain people with the “spirit of wisdom” to make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him. 2Yahweh said: וְאַתָּ֗ה תְּדַבֵּר֙ אֶל־כָּל־חַכְמֵי־לֵ֔ב אֲשֶׁ֥ר מִלֵּאתִ֖יו ר֣וּחַ חָכְמָ֑ה וְעָשׂ֞וּ אֶת־בִּגְדֵ֧י אַהֲרֹ֛ן לְקַדְּשֹׁ֖ו לְכַהֲנֹו־לִֽי. Yahweh revealed that He had filled (“מִלֵּאתִ֖יו”–piel intensive filling) to all wise hearts (“אֶל־כָּל־חַכְמֵי־לֵ֔ב”) with the spirit of wisdom (“ר֣וּחַ חָכְמָ֑ה”). God filled the wise of heart men so that they would do the garments essential to consecrating Aaron as priest, so that Aaron may be a priest to Yahweh. God referred to the garments, including the breastplate, ephod, robe, tunic, turban and sash, as holy garments for Aaron and his sons (Genesis 28:4). 3God revealed: “בִגְדֵי־קֹ֜דֶשׁ” (holy garments). Therefore, we see that the spirit of wisdom filled men to make the holy garments for Aaron and his sons for the purpose of consecrating them as priests to Yahweh.
1.1.2 The Spirit of Wisdom and the Tabernacle Pieces. In Exodus31:1-11, Yahweh revealed to Moses a specific ministry of the Spirit of Elohim regarding the production of specific items for sanctified use. Yahweh first called by name Bezalel and then filled him with the Spirit of Elohim in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of work. 4Yahweh revealed: “וָאֲמַלֵּ֥א אֹתֹ֖ו ר֣וּחַ אֱלֹהִ֑ים בְּחָכְמָ֛ה וּבִתְבוּנָ֥ה וּבְדַ֖עַת וּבְכָל־מְלָאכָֽה”. Please take notice of the terms wisdom, understanding and knowledge were all associated with the Spirit of Elohim. The Spirit of Elohim helped them design all work in precious metals for jewels and wood. Yahweh also put wisdom into Ahisamach and others wise in heart to make all the things Yahweh commanded for Moses to do. 5Yahweh provided: אֲנִ֞י הִנֵּ֧ה נָתַ֣תִּי אִתֹּ֗ו אֵ֣ת אָהֳלִיאָ֞ב בֶּן־אֲחִֽיסָמָךְ֙ לְמַטֵּה־דָ֔ן וּבְלֵ֥ב כָּל־חֲכַם־לֵ֖ב נָתַ֣תִּי חָכְמָ֑ה וְעָשׂ֕וּ אֵ֖ת כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֥ר צִוִּיתִֽךָ. See also Exodus 35:31. Therefore, the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all workmanship represents a gift from Yahweh that fills specific people to perform specific tasks for Yahweh. Constructing specific physical items for sanctified use required wisdom, understanding, knowledge and craftsmanship, all of which only the Spirit of Elohim supplied. See likewise Exodus 35:31 where Yahweh filled the heart to design and fabricate tabernacle pieces.
1.1.3 The Spirit of Wisdom and Joshua. In Deuteronomy 34:9, Yahweh filled Joshua with the spirit of wisdom through Moses laying his hand upon Joshua for the purpose of leading Israel. 6Yahweh provided: “יהֹושֻׁ֣עַ בִּן־נ֗וּן מָלֵא֙ ר֣וּחַ חָכְמָ֔ה כִּֽי־סָמַ֥ךְ מֹשֶׁ֛ה אֶת־יָדָ֖יו עָלָ֑יו וַיִּשְׁמְע֨וּ אֵלָ֤יו בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ וַֽיַּעֲשׂ֔וּ כַּאֲשֶׁ֛ר צִוָּ֥ה יְהוָ֖ה אֶת־מֹשֶֽׁה“. After Moses laid his hands on Joshua, the sons of Israel listened to him and did as Yahweh commanded Moses. Therefore, Yahweh filled Joshua with the spirit of wisdom through Moses laying his hands upon Joshua so that Joshua may lead the people of Israel and they would listen to Yahweh. The filling of the spirit of wisdom here was associated with laying on of hands for the specific purpose of leadership, which includes leading through voluntary submission and compulsory obedience to Yahweh.
1.1.4 The Spirit of Wisdom and Messiah. In Isaiah 11:2, the Spirit of Yahweh will rest upon the Branch from Jesse, along with the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of Yahweh. 7Yahweh provided: וְנָחָ֥ה עָלָ֖יו ר֣וּחַ יְהוָ֑ה ר֧וּחַ חָכְמָ֣ה וּבִינָ֗ה ר֤וּחַ עֵצָה֙ וּגְבוּרָ֔ה ר֥וּחַ דַּ֖עַת וְיִרְאַ֥ת יְהוָֽה. In this case, the spirit of wisdom was joined with the spirit of understanding. 8Please take notice that the waw ( וּ) separated two spirits from other spirits in the verse. Yahweh grouped items together with the use of the waw. In the alternative, the spirit of wisdom and understanding could refer to the same spirit, but other verses above indicate that the spirit of wisdom does not always appear with the spirit of understanding in the same verse, as in Exodus 28:3 and Deuteronomy 34:9.
1.1.5 The Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation. In Ephesians 1:17, Paul prayed that the Father of Glory may give to the Ephesian saints the spirit of wisdom and revelation. 9God provided: “ἵνα ὁ θεὸς τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὁ πατὴρ τῆς δόξης, δώῃ ὑμῖν πνεῦμα σοφίας καὶ ἀποκαλύψεως ἐν ἐπιγνώσει αὐτοῦ”. Paul used the aorist subjunctive “may gave” to describe the conditional nature of the gift of the spirit of wisdom and understanding. God revealed that the product of that gift would produce the opening of the eyes of the hearts of the Ephesians. Once the eyes of their hearts were opened, then they would know: (1) the hope of His calling; and (2) riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints; and (3) the surpassing greatness of the power of Him into the believers according to the might of His strength. 10God provided: “πεφωτισμένους τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς τῆς καρδίας [ὑμῶν] εἰς τὸ εἰδέναι ὑμᾶς τίς ἐστιν ἡ ἐλπὶς τῆς κλήσεως αὐτοῦ, τίς ὁ πλοῦτος τῆς δόξης τῆς κληρονομίας αὐτοῦ ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις,”. Therefore, the specific gift of the spirit of wisdom and revelation was bestowed upon the Ephesians for very specific spiritual purposes regarding the opening of the eyes of their hearts so that they would know certain spiritual blessings from God. The wisdom of God controlled the revelations God provided to believers, often depending upon the spiritual maturity of the believers (1 Corinthians 2:1-16). God opened the eyes of the heart of certain believers using the gift of the spirit of wisdom and revelation. The ministry of the Holy Spirit concerning wisdom and revelation relates directly to the eyes of the hearts of mature believers and prayerful seeking.
1.1.6 Summary of the Spirit of Wisdom. Yahweh filled certain people with the spirit of wisdom for specific tasks. The Father of Glory also gives the spirit of wisdom and revelation to open the eyes of the hearts of believers. The varied ministries of God related to the spirit of wisdom may be summarized as follows.
♦ Yahweh filled certain people in the Old Testament with the spirit of wisdom and understanding to construct items in the tabernacle.
♦ Yahweh filled certain people in the Old Testament with the spirit of wisdom and understanding to produce Aaron’s garments and ornaments.
♦ Moses laid his hands upon Joshua and Joshua was filled with spirit of wisdom so that the people listened to him and did as Yahweh commanded Moses.
♦ The Spirit of Yahweh will rest upon the Branch from Jesse, along with the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of Yahweh.
♦ The Father of Glory opens the eyes of saints through the gift of the spirit of wisdom and revelation.
1.2 Wisdom of National Israel. In Deuteronomy 4:1, Yahweh commanded Israel to do the statutes and the judgments which Yahweh will teach them so that they may have lives. 11Yahweh provided: “וְעַתָּ֣ה יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל שְׁמַ֤ע אֶל־הַֽחֻקִּים֙ וְאֶל־הַמִּשְׁפָּטִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֧ר אָֽנֹכִ֛י מְלַמֵּ֥ד אֶתְכֶ֖ם לַעֲשֹׂ֑ות לְמַ֣עַן תִּֽחְי֗וּ וּבָאתֶם֙ וִֽירִשְׁתֶּ֣ם אֶת־הָאָ֔רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֧ר יְהוָ֛ה אֱלֹהֵ֥י אֲבֹתֵיכֶ֖ם נֹתֵ֥ן לָכֶֽם”. Yahweh emphasized the continuing nature of His ministry to the people of Israel as they occupied the promised land. Yahweh used the Piel, intensive participle “teach” and Qal participle “giving.” Yahweh specifically commanded the people of Israel not to add to His word nor take away from it so that the people of Israel may obey His word and have lives in the promised land. 12Yahweh used another Piel, intensive participle for “commanding” (מְצַוֶּ֣ה) to describe the seriousness of obeying the commands of Yahweh as written, without alteration of any kind. Yahweh then explained that as the people of Israel do His statutes and judgments, that is their wisdom and understanding to the eyes of the peoples who hear all these the statutes. Then the peoples seeing the obedience will say that the people of Israel are a wise and understanding great nation. 13Yahweh provided: “6וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם֮ וַעֲשִׂיתֶם֒ כִּ֣י הִ֤וא חָכְמַתְכֶם֙ וּבִ֣ינַתְכֶ֔ם לְעֵינֵ֖י הָעַמִּ֑ים אֲשֶׁ֣ר יִשְׁמְע֗וּן אֵ֚ת כָּל־הַחֻקִּ֣ים הָאֵ֔לֶּה וְאָמְר֗וּ רַ֚ק עַם־חָכָ֣ם וְנָבֹ֔ון הַגֹּ֥וי הַגָּדֹ֖ול הַזֶּֽה“. Yahweh intended for the obedience of the nation of Israel to the statutes and judgment of Yahweh to be a testimony of wisdom and understanding to the nations surrounding the people of Israel as they occupied the promised land.
1.3 Wisdom of Angel of Elohim. In 2 Samuel 14:20, Joab sent the woman from Tekoa to plead with David to allow banished Absalom to return to his own house. 14Yahweh provided: “לְבַעֲב֤וּר סַבֵּב֙ אֶת־פְּנֵ֣י הַדָּבָ֔ר עָשָׂ֛ה עַבְדְּךָ֥ יֹואָ֖ב אֶת־הַדָּבָ֣ר הַזֶּ֑ה וַאדֹנִ֣י חָכָ֗ם כְּחָכְמַת֙ מַלְאַ֣ךְ הָאֱלֹהִ֔ים לָדַ֖עַת אֶֽת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֥ר בָּאָֽרֶץ“. David discerned that Joab had put the woman up to coming to David with her story about her sons killing one another and how she needed a posterity. David saw through Joab’s ruse and confronted the woman about Joab. She admitted Joab had sent her and noted that David was wise, like the wisdom of the Angel of Yahweh, to know all which is in the earth. Wisdom here enabled David to know all that is in earth. Likewise, wisdom enabled David to see through the scheme of Joab using the woman. In passing, the woman also said that the Angel of Elohim discerned the good and the evil. Wisdom involves the ability to discern good and evil. 15” Yahweh provided: וַתֹּ֨אמֶר֙ שִׁפְחָ֣תְךָ֔ יִֽהְיֶה־נָּ֛א דְּבַר־אֲדֹנִ֥י הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ לִמְנוּחָ֑ה כִּ֣י׀ כְּמַלְאַ֣ךְ הָאֱלֹהִ֗ים כֵּ֣ן אֲדֹנִ֤י הַמֶּ֨לֶךְ֙ לִשְׁמֹ֨עַ֙ הַטֹּ֣וב וְהָרָ֔ע וַֽיהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ יְהִ֥י עִמָּֽךְ“. The woman used the term “to hear” (“לִשְׁמֹ֨עַ֙”) the good and the evil.
1.4 Wisdom and Joab. In 1 Kings 2:6, David was near death. David commanded his son, Solomon, to do according to his wisdom. 16Yahweh provided: “וְעָשִׂ֖יתָ כְּחָכְמָתֶ֑ךָ וְלֹֽא־תֹורֵ֧ד שֵׂיבָתֹ֛ו בְּשָׁלֹ֖ם שְׁאֹֽל” (1Kings 6:2). Specifically, David wanted Solomon to punish Joab for his evil acts, including murder of two generals in the army of Israel. David instructed Solomon not to let Joab’s gray hair go down to Sheol in peace. How Solomon fulfilled David’s command turned upon the wisdom of Solomon. The result, however, David had already determined. David trusted the wisdom of Solomon to impose judgment upon Joab after David’s death.
1.5 Wisdom and Splitting the Baby. In 1 Kings 3:28, Solomon used wisdom to discern the mother of a child. Two women each claimed to be the mother of the child. Solomon proposed cutting the child in half and giving each woman half the child. One woman objected and said give the child to the other woman. Solomon know immediately she was the mother and gave her the child. As a result, all Israel heard of the judgment and feared the king, for they saw the wisdom of Elohim was in him to do judgment. 17“וַיִּשְׁמְע֣וּ כָל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל אֶת־הַמִּשְׁפָּט֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר שָׁפַ֣ט הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ וַיִּֽרְא֖וּ מִפְּנֵ֣י הַמֶּ֑לֶךְ כִּ֣י רָא֔וּ כִּֽי־חָכְמַ֧ת אֱלֹהִ֛ים בְּקִרְבֹּ֖ו לַעֲשֹׂ֥ות מִשְׁפָּֽט“. I prefer the translation “do judgment” because God renders judgment and humans do the judgments, just like God does the judgment. See https://christassembly.org/scripture-words-defined-%E2%94%82commandments/ . Similar to Yahweh providing the spirit of wisdom to craftsmen, so Elohim provided wisdom to Solomon to judge the people of Israel. See how Solomon asked for discernment to understand judgment (1 Kings 3:11 and so Yahweh Elohim gave him a wise and discerning heart (1 Kings 3:12). 18“וַיֹּ֨אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֜ים אֵלָ֗יו יַעַן֩ אֲשֶׁ֨ר שָׁאַ֜לְתָּ אֶת־הַדָּבָ֣ר הַזֶּ֗ה וְלֹֽא־שָׁאַ֨לְתָּ לְּךָ֜ יָמִ֣ים רַבִּ֗ים וְלֹֽא־שָׁאַ֤לְתָּ לְּךָ֙ עֹ֔שֶׁר וְלֹ֥א שָׁאַ֖לְתָּ נֶ֣פֶשׁ אֹיְבֶ֑יךָ וְשָׁאַ֧לְתָּ לְּךָ֛ הָבִ֖ין לִשְׁמֹ֥עַ מִשְׁפָּֽט׃ 12הִנֵּ֥ה עָשִׂ֖יתִי כִּדְבָרֶ֑יךָ הִנֵּ֣ה׀ נָתַ֣תִּי לְךָ֗ לֵ֚ב חָכָ֣ם וְנָבֹ֔ון אֲשֶׁ֤ר כָּמֹ֨וךָ֙ לֹא־הָיָ֣ה לְפָנֶ֔יךָ וְאַחֲרֶ֖יךָ לֹא־יָק֥וּם כָּמֹֽוךָ “. Elohim distinguished the term “wise” (“חָכָ֣ם”) from “discerning” (“נָב֔וֹן”) as it relates to the “heart” (“לֵ֚ב”).
1.6 Wisdom, Exceeding Discernment and Much Heart. In 1 Kings 4:29, Elohim gave Solomon wisdom, very much understanding, and breadth of heart like the sand of the sea. 19“וַיִּתֵּן֩ אֱלֹהִ֨ים חָכְמָ֧ה לִשְׁלֹמֹ֛ה וּתְבוּנָ֖ה הַרְבֵּ֣ה מְאֹ֑ד וְרֹ֣חַב לֵ֔ב כַּחֹ֕ול אֲשֶׁ֖ר עַל־שְׂפַ֥ת הַיָּֽם“. This verse provides more insight into the relationship between wisdom, discernment and the heart. The breadth of heart in Solomon acommodated the great discernment and understanding of Solomon. All political leaders need wisdom, understanding and a broad heart.
Deuteronomy 32:29 Yahweh observed that the present generation of Israel lacked counsel עֵצ֖וֹת and had no understanding תְּבוּנָֽה regarding their evil behavior and its consequences. Would that they were wise חָכְמ֖וּ that they would discern יָבִ֖ינוּ their end לְאַחֲרִיתָֽם. Understanding means discerning the consequences of their evil and avoiding it.
Psalm 78:72 David used his hands understanding וּבִתְבוּנ֖וֹת to guide the nation of Israel.
Psalm 136:5 God did the heavens–in understanding בִּתְבוּנָ֑ה for ever his lovingkindness.
Proverbs 2:5 after seeking understanding, the you will understand תָּ֭בִין the fear of Yahweeh and knowledge וְדַ֖עַת of Elohim find.