On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 15: The Prayer for Wisdom
Throughout the first eight chapters of the Wisdom of Solomon we have seen several changes of subject. First, Solomon introduced wisdom as the Remedy for Sin and Death, and then he contrasted the attitudes and behavior of impious, or ungodly, men to the attitudes and behavior of the righteous, while concluding that the righteous man stands as a barrier to the designs of the ungodly, and as a result the ungodly would persecute and even seek to destroy the righteous. Doing this, we believe that Solomon was also prophesying a Portrait of the Messiah. Then Solomon offered reassurance to the righteous, as their fate is In the Hand of God while impious men shall inevitably suffer for their foolishness. So after describing the punishments of Everlasting Contempt which await the impious and contrasting them with The Reward of the Righteous, Solomon began to present the wisdom which comes from God in a way that it should appeal to men, and especially to kings, as he being a king was addressing the future kings of Israel.
So Solomon set out to describe The Wisdom of Kings, The Origin of Wisdom and The Beauty of Wisdom, portraying Wisdom as a woman whose allures should cause men to pursue her and desire her for themselves. Then finally, in Wisdom chapter 8, describing The Rewards of Wisdom, Solomon reflects back on his youth to the time when he had first prayed for wisdom, exhorting God for His wisdom. Therefore as we continue our commentary on the Wisdom of Solomon with chapter 9, which begins with a very lengthy prayer, we must note that the author presents the prayer as the very prayer which Solomon had made in his youth, when upon becoming king of Israel he had sought wisdom rather than his own worldly magnification.
To us it is not an extraordinary phenomenon, that the Wisdom of Solomon was considered a part of the Christian Scriptures by the earliest Christians. The book is listed in the canon found in the Muratorian fragment, which dates to about 170 AD, and we are confident that it certainly does belong in our canon, where we would place it alongside Ecclesiastes. It expresses things that are later revealed in the New Testament Scriptures, which are not so obvious in the Old Testament. It also serves to explain statements which are found in the New Testament Scriptures that are not direct quotations from the Old Testament, in a manner that reveals their continuity with the Old Testament.
But to us, it is also not extraordinary that Christians of later periods have ultimately rejected the Wisdom of Solomon. While its status as canon was often disputed by Roman churchmen, even as early as the late 4th century, the Roman and later Greek Orthodox churches had nevertheless retained the book. But modern Protestants have relegated it to apocryphal status, if they have not rejected it entirely. However in any event, even if they retained the book, the Wisdom of Solomon was evidently never taught in any of the universal churches. If they had truly learned the wisdom of Solomon, they would not have been universal.