'Wise-hearted person'

Faith & Inspiration

I went to a beautiful wedding last week and marveled at its wisdom, down to the minutest details. I say "wisdom" because the Bible calls that kind of thing wisdom. In my pre-Christian days, I would never have associated the word with such things as elegant centerpieces on linen-draped tables, and goodie bags placed on the beds of all guests, and the French bouquet my Aix-en-Provence-born sister-in-law secured for her daughter, with its seven white symbolic flowers. I had reserved "wisdom" for things abstract, philosophical, and invisible.

But of course when Solomon asked God for wisdom and God was pleased to give him a greater amount of it than to any man alive, the next thing we read is Solomon running around gleefully cataloguing plant and animal species, like a kid in candy store, like a blind man who sees:

"And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore. . . . He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall." (Wouldn't you have loved to read his journals?)

And earlier, when God wanted a tabernacle built for Himself in the wilderness, we again see the concepts of wisdom and skill used interchangeably:

"Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman [Hebrew: ish cha-cham lev, literally "wise-hearted person"] in whom the Lord has put skill and intelligence to know how to do any work in the construction of the sanctuary shall work in accordance with all that the Lord has commanded. And Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman [Hebrew: ish cha-cham lev, literally "wise-hearted person"] . . ." (Exodus 36:1-2).

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Isn't it interesting that the translators of many versions (not all) opted to change "wise-hearted person" to "craftsman"? It bereaves us of a biblical insight, but at least it brings out the close connection between being wise and being good at conceiving, planning, organizing, discerning materials and scouting them out, and turning conception into reality.

Andrée Seu
Andrée Seu

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again.


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