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On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 10: Who are the World?
Initially I wanted to mock pop culture and pondered the title We are the World for this presentation, but sadly there are always questions and contentions, even among various assortments of Identity Christians, over the scope and comprehension of that simple two-letter word, we. Another popular product of our corrupted modern culture had more recently mused about “Forever trusting who we are and nothing else matters”. To me those words may almost ring true, if we properly interpret that same word, we, but his error is made evident a few lines later where he sang “Life is ours, we live it our way”, and believing that opens a door to a multitude of sins. While James Hetfield may have been singing about his own intimate relationship, the words have constantly been echoed through the minds of a generation of Western and marginally Christian youth, and people come to believe what they often repeat to themselves. But as Paul of Tarsus had written in chapter 6 of his first epistle to the Corinthians, “19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” Paul’s words there are true, whether or not we are cognizant of how they are true. Man has no control over his own destiny, and it is hubris to think otherwise. Therefore man must seek to please the God who does control his destiny, and live His way. That is certainly one of the significant underlying messages in the Wisdom of Solomon.
In our last presentation in this commentary on Wisdom, we had left off in Wisdom chapter 5 where Solomon had departed from his descriptions of the plight of the ungodly. They were portrayed as being compelled to acknowledge their ungodliness and to regret the way in which they had lived their earthly lives, eternally suffering the inevitable consequences of their actions. Then once again Solomon turned to describing the destiny of the righteous, whom he said shall realize the promise of a glorious kingdom. That must be the same kingdom which was later announced in the Gospel of Christ and which Christians are instructed to anticipate and prepare themselves by His apostles.
So we had last read and discussed verse 17, which speaks of Yahweh God and says “17 He shall take to him his jealousy for complete armour, and make the creature his weapon for the revenge of his enemies.” Here we had explained at length, from Romans chapter 8 and from Isaiah chapter 43, that where Solomon had used that word which is translated as creature, he meant to refer to a specific creation, as Paul had also used the term, and the children of Israel in particular are that specific creation with which Solomon was concerned. We verified this where Solomon had once again used the same term in Wisdom chapter 19, and speaking of the children of Israel at the time of the Exodus in contrast to the older and broader Adamic world, he wrote “6 For the whole creature in his proper kind was fashioned again anew, serving the peculiar commandments that were given unto them, that thy children might be kept without hurt.” In response to that, we also explained that those peculiar commandments were meant only for the same children of Israel, exclusive of all other peoples.
Where we had left off in verse 17 of Wisdom chapter 5, Solomon also began to make an allegory that is quite similar to one which later appears in Isaiah, and also in chapter 6 of Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians. In part, he wrote that Yahweh God would “take to him his jealousy for complete armour”, and now in verse 18 he continues that allegory and says:
Wisdom 5:18 He shall put on righteousness as a breastplate, and true judgment instead of an helmet. 19 He shall take holiness for an invincible shield. 20 His severe wrath shall he sharpen for a sword,…
Now we shall pause here, midway through verse 20.
We would translate the last clause of verse 18 to read “… and place as [περιτίθημι] a helmet [κόρυς] unhypocritical [ἀνυπόκριτος] judgment [κρίσις].” The word ἀνυπόκριτος is unhypocritical, and not merely true. The Greek word ὑποκριτής is the immediate source of our English word hypocrite. The word for holiness in verse 19 is ὁσιότης, a feminine form of the noun ὅσιος. Another Greek word which in the New Testament is more frequently translated as holy is ἅγιος. While ἅγιος denotes something which is set apart for God, ὅσιος denotes what is sanctioned by God, by His law. In profane Greek writing ὅσιος was used contrary to another word, δίκαιος, which denotes what is sanctioned by the law of man. However in the Scriptures δίκαιος is used more generally to describe what is just or righteous.
Earlier in Wisdom, Solomon had depicted the natural tendency of the ungodly to despise and persecute the righteous. Now here we see that only God Himself can and will protect and defend the righteous, which is expressed in verses 15 and 16: “15 But the righteous live for evermore; their reward also is with the Lord, and the care of them is with the most High. 16 Therefore shall they receive a glorious kingdom, and a beautiful crown from the Lord's hand: for with his right hand shall he cover them, and with his arm shall he protect them.” As Christians, if we truly and unhypocritically keep His law, which is His righteousness, what is sanctioned by Him, then we can hope for His protection. But that does not mean that we will not face trials.
This also is made evident in Isaiah chapter 59, where we read a similar description of the ungodly, and addressing the children of Israel the chapter opens with the words: “1 Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” Then after describing some of their sins committed in their ungodly state, we read later in that chapter of Isaiah where the ungodly of the children of Israel are compelled to make admissions similar to what Solomon had also described here, and they say: “12 For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them; 13 In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt [oppressing the righteous is rebellion against Yahweh], conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. 14 And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. 15 Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey [the righteous man is persecuted by the ungodly]: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.”
He that departs from wickedness makes himself a prey for those same ungodly sinners who would then want to persecute him for his righteousness, as we also saw here in the earlier chapters of Wisdom. Now that is also made evident in this passage, as Isaiah made a similar description of Yahweh’s necessary intervention where he continued and wrote: “16 And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. 17 For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke.” There is a slightly similar allegory in Isaiah chapter 11, but not nearly as complete as we see here.
The word zeal in Isaiah may also have been rendered as jealousy, and it is described similarly to what Solomon wrote here in Wisdom. Other aspects of the allegory are also similar, and the similarities are more significant than the differences. It should be evident that both Solomon and Isaiah each made the same allegory in the same context, of the judgment of Yahweh which is brought upon the ungodly of the children of Israel who would persecute the righteous.
Later, in chapter 6 of his epistle to the Ephesians, Paul of Tarsus spoke of the struggle which Christians had to face, “against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” So he warned them that in order to protect themselves, they had to arm themselves with the elements of the Faith, writing “13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God….”
Many commentators esteem the passage from Isaiah chapter 59 to have been the inspiration for Paul’s similar allegory in Ephesians chapter 6, however a comparison of all three allegories shows that this passage of Wisdom is just as likely a candidate for that consideration. But the subject of the allegories in Wisdom and in Isaiah are Yahweh God himself, and they are actually closer to one another in meaning, even being expressed in a similar context. But Paul’s subject is Christians in general, and therefore he was not making an exact citation of either Wisdom or Isaiah, although either one or even both of them may have been his inspiration.
Now to finish verse 20, where the subject is Yahweh God having prepared Himself for vengeance:
20… and the world shall fight with him against the unwise.
That word translated as unwise is παράφρονας, a noun formed from the adjective παράφρων, which means wandering from reason or senseless, and in some contexts, out of one's wits or deranged. So it may more accurately be translated “… and the world shall fight with Him against the lunatics [or nutcases].” That certainly describes all of the sinners who have forsaken Christianity in modern times, the Antifa-type communists and sodomites rioting across the West today. Perhaps a man must be out of his wits to have set himself in opposition to God in the first place, and the day of their judgment is coming.
But much more significantly, here we are compelled to seek the definition of the term world, and to do so honestly, we must seek what it was that Solomon himself had understood the term to mean, rather than defining it for ourselves according to what may satisfy our own feelings or opinions. Furthermore, in order for our interpretation of the creature of verse 17 to be correct, it must be consistent with Solomon’s use of the word world here in verse 20. If it is not consistent, then we have failed. That is because where we see the earlier phrase which states that Yahweh God shall “make the creature his weapon for the revenge of his enemies”, it is a parallelism with this statement here that “the world shall fight with him against the unwise.”
In other words, here in this passage of Wisdom, in order to interpret Solomon’s words with consistency so as to truly understand their meanings, the creature of verse 17 must represent something which is consistent with his use of the word world here in verse 20. Both statements are made in the same context, speaking of those men who would be on the side of Yahweh versus those who are in opposition to Him at the time when He decides to take vengeance against them. Neither term can refer to the totality of everything which exists, or to the totality of everything on the planet, because in verse 17 creature is set in opposition to enemies, and here in verse 20 world is set in opposition to the unwise.
The parallelism, as we have often explained, is a common feature in Hebrew literature where the same phenomenon is described successively in different ways. So in a parallelism, for one part of the parallelism to be interpreted in a certain way, if that interpretation is true then the other parts of the parallelism must also be interpreted in a similar way. If the language of each part does not allow interpretations which are similar in meaning, then they must be interpreted anew, because the initial interpretation is wrong. But if they can be interpreted in similar ways, producing a similar meaning, then we can be assured that the interpretation certainly is true.
Here Solomon is saying that the world shall fight with Yahweh God against the unwise. But how could men who are simply unwise not be part of that same world, and instead be found opposed to it? And if Christians are instructed to despise the world, how could the world be found on the side of God? It is Christians who are supposed to be opposed to the world, and not merely to the unwise. Here Solomon also said that the creature, or creation, would fight against the enemies of God. But how could the enemies themselves not be part of the creation? So if we cannot make sense of these two passages with the common understandings of world (the Greek word κόσμος) and creature (the Greek word κτίσις), then the common understandings of those words must be wrong, and they must have alternative meanings in Scripture.
As Yahshua Christ had said in John chapter 17, speaking of His disciples, “16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” In chapter 5 of his first epistle to the Corinthians, Paul continued to warn Christians that “then must ye needs go out of the world.” Likewise the apostle John wrote in his first epistle “4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.” Then also James had written in chapter 4 of his epistle that “the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
However in John 3:16, a favorite passage of denominational Christians, the apostle is interpreted as having written “16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” That is wrongly interpreted to include everybody and everything on the planet, in spite of the fact that many statements of Christ recorded by the same apostle clearly contradict that interpretation. For example, in John chapter 17 Christ had said “9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.” Then a little further on, “14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” Then in John chapter 18, “36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. 37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” So there is a true world and there is a spurious world which cannot hear the truth. Then going back to John chapter 14, “ 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”
Christ is not contradicting Himself, so all of these words of Christ and others which He had spoken serve to prove that there is more than one world being referred to in Scripture. There is the “whole world” which “lieth in wickedness”, as John described it in chapter 5 of his first epistle, and then there is the world which Christ had come to save. They are clearly not the same because the wicked world cannot receive the truth for reason that it had never known God, as Christ Himself had explained. Therefore Solomon must also have meant something different where he used this term world here, and like his use of the term creature, that something is also defined elsewhere here in Wisdom.
The world is not the planet and everything on it. The apostle Peter, in his second epistle, describes the fate of the planet and everything on it in an allegory where he wrote in chapter 3: “10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” That promise of which Peter spoke is found in Isaiah chapters 65 and 66, and is made exclusively for the children of Israel. That is the promise to which Peter refers, and Peter must have meant it in that same context.
Solomon’s definition of world is found in Wisdom chapter 18, where speaking of the events of the Exodus and the establishment of the children of Israel as a kingdom under the law of God, he wrote: “24 For in the long garment [the garment of the high priest] was the whole world, and in the four rows of the stones was the glory of the fathers graven, and thy Majesty [the Name of Yahweh] upon the diadem of his head.” Those four rows of stones, described in Exodus chapter 28, represent the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. So it becomes apparent that the children of Israel alone are the world with which Yahweh God is concerned throughout the balance of the Scriptures. That is the world which Christ had come to save, as He Himself declared “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” They are the only world which matters to Yahweh God, and if one is of those twelve tribes, and if one is speaking in reference to them, only then can one justly make the assertion that “we are the world” in reference to Scripture and the promises of Yahweh for His people Israel.
As we have also explained, according to Paul in Romans chapter 8 and Isaiah in chapter 43, the creature of Wisdom 5:17 is the Adamic creation, and more specifically, the children of Israel distinguished from the rest of the race of Adam. So both Paul and Isaiah accord with Solomon in Wisdom chapter 18, the children of Israel are the whole world of Yahweh God’s concern; they are creature which verse 17 describes God as making “his weapon for the revenge of his enemies.”, and they are also the world which will fight with God against the unwise, against all of those who had not kept the wisdom of God. Therefore we see that both parts of our interpretation of the parallelism are true, as each of them agrees with the other in the manner in which Solomon himself defines the terms that he used here in Wisdom where he defined world in 18:24 and creature in 19:6.
When we discussed verse 17 of this chapter of Wisdom, we already cited the words of Paul of Tarsus in chapter 10 of his second epistle to the Corinthians, where he wrote “3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” So it is evident that once the children of Israel turn to obedience in Christ, perfecting their own obedience, then they may rely on the hope of the promise that Yahweh God shall use them to execute revenge against His enemies.
Speaking of the day of vengeance against His enemies in the Revelation of Yahshua Christ, in chapter 18, we read: “1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. 2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” This describes that world which Christians are to despise and separate themselves from, because they, the children of Israel, are the only world for which Yahweh God has concern, and it is they alone for whom Christ had come. Then after it refers to the fornication which the kings of the earth have committed on account of Babylon, we read: “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. 6 Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.”
Comparing Solomon’s description of the children of Israel, who are the creation and the world of which he speaks, professing that they shall join Yahweh their God in the revenge against His enemies, we see that same thing here in the Revelation where it says “Come out of her My people” and “ Reward her even as she rewarded you”, and then we may perceive other parallels where the enemies of Christ are described as devils, foul spirits and unclean birds. These are not merely bad people who refused to conform to the gospel of Christ in the modern age. These are all of the enemies of Yahweh whose origins are found in the original rebellion of the fallen angels, and the reason why a Messiah was needed “before the foundation of the world”, as we read in John chapter 17, and in Revelation chapter 13 where Christ refers to Himself as the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” In the days of Solomon, those are the enemies which he would have had in mind, the Nephilim and Rephaim and all of the bastard races which came of them, such as the Kenites and the Canaanites and others. To Solomon, the ungodly are the children of Israel who follow after them, departing from Yahweh their God, as we also saw in Isaiah chapter 59.
There is another parallel in a prophecy concerning the ancient children of Israel found in Micah chapter 4, which is a promise of the same deliverance, and it says: “10 Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies. 11 Now also many nations are gathered against thee [or every devil, foul spirit and every unclean and hateful bird – every Negro, Asian, Latino, Arab and Jew], that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion. 12 But they know not the thoughts of the LORD, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor. 13 Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the LORD, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.”
So this is that same point at which the children of Israel are called to come out of Babylon, wherein they are called to arise and thresh, and that is when they have their opportunity to avenge all disobedience, as we see in the words of Paul, and as Solomon describes it in different ways here in Wisdom, they shall fight with Yahweh their God against His enemies. That same picture is drawn later in the Revelation, in different ways, in both chapters 19 and 20. Thus we read in Revelation chapter 19: “11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
The language of the Revelation is not necessarily literal, but allegorical. The armies of heaven are the people of Yahweh here on earth who shall be called to “come out of her” and to “arise and thresh”. So Solomon describes the same things here which are also described in Micah, and in the words of Yahshua Christ himself in the Revelation, and in the consistency of our interpretations we can be confident that they are true.
Now another aspect of Wisdom must be noted, which is the use of irony. While there are many different types of irony, it is basically a literary device in which contradictory statements or situations reveal a reality that is different from what appears to be true. In Ecclesiastes, while Solomon in the opening chapters had declared that God Himself had subjected man to vanity, in order to be tried by it, throughout most of the rest of the work he declares all to be vanity, whether it be good or evil. However not until the last chapter do we learn that all is not really vain, because in the end Yahweh God will judge the works of men. So in the end, even vanity is vanity.
Here in Wisdom, Solomon compares the ungodly and the righteous and contrasts their destinies. Then he uses these words creature and world in his descriptions of the judgment of God against His enemies. But even where they appear later and in other contexts, he does not explain what he means by these terms until the final chapters of the work where he discusses the Exodus and the establishment of Israel under the law. The casual reader of Wisdom may not expect those definitions of the terms, and may even be surprised or offended by them when he finally reads them, if he does not remain oblivious. Perhaps this is why the Wisdom of Solomon was accepted as canon by the earliest Christians, but was rejected by the later universalist Christians who formulated the doctrines of the Roman Church.
Now, using language that evokes the Greek Epic Poets and the writers of Homeric hymns who lived not long after the time of Solomon, he creates his own image of the final triumph of Yahweh God over His enemies:
21 Then shall the right aiming thunderbolts go abroad; and from the clouds, as from a well drawn bow, shall they fly to the mark. 22 And hailstones full of wrath shall be cast as out of a stone bow, and the water of the sea shall rage against them, and the floods shall cruelly drown them.
In the first half of verse 21, the words right aiming may have been translated as well aimed, the word for thunderbolts more literally means arrows of lightning, and the verb rendered as go abroad is more simply go forth. The phrase shall they fly to the mark may more literally be read shall they spring to the target. In verse 22, the word for stone bow is πετροβόλος [a synonym of λιθοβόλος] which is a sort of catapult. Later in the verse there is a wordplay here in Greek, where the word for floods is from the Greek word for river, which is ποταμός, and the word for cruelly is an adverb, ἀποτόμως, from the verb ἀποτέμνω, which is literally to cut off, sever, so while they differ in meaning, they would certainly sound alike. But that does not prove that Wisdom was originally written in Greek.
In Greek mythology, especially in the Epic poetry of Hesiod and Homer, Zeus is described as hurling down thunderbolts from Olympus upon those with whom he is displeased. In art, Zeus was depicted as a man holding a sceptre in one hand, and thunderbolts in another. Therefore skeptics of Wisdom may also read this and imagine it to be merely mimicking the Epic poets and their pagan fantasies. However that is not true. Perhaps it is much more accurate to believe that it was the Epic poets themselves who had mimicked the Scriptures.
It is more likely that here, Solomon was only evoking imagery which was already seen in the accounts of the earlier deliverance of the children of Israel from out of Egypt, and imagining that the future delivery of the children of Israel from the enemies of Yahweh would happen in that same way. Thusly we read in the 78th Psalm: “43 How he had wrought his signs in Egypt, and his wonders in the field of Zoan: 44 And had turned their rivers into blood; and their floods, that they could not drink. 4 5 He sent divers sorts of flies among them, which devoured them; and frogs, which destroyed them. 46 He gave also their increase unto the caterpiller, and their labour unto the locust. 47 He destroyed their vines with hail, and their sycomore trees with frost. 48 He gave up their cattle also to the hail, and their flocks to hot thunderbolts. 49 He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them. 50 He made a way to his anger; he spared not their soul from death, but gave their life over to the pestilence; 51 And smote all the firstborn in Egypt; the chief of their strength in the tabernacles of Ham: 52 But made his own people to go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock. 53 And he led them on safely, so that they feared not: but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.” In turn, Asaph, the author of that Psalm, was referring to Exodus chapter 9, where we read, in part: “23 And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt.”
So in that respect, Solomon concludes and says:
23 Yea, a mighty wind shall stand up against them, and like a storm shall blow them away: thus iniquity shall lay waste the whole earth, and ill dealing shall overthrow the thrones of the mighty.
The word translated as ill dealing is κακοπραγία, which is defined by Liddell & Scott as misadventure, failure, or citing this verse of Wisdom, ill-doing. The word was used in the Iliad and other Classical Greek writings, but perhaps not in the same sense as it is here. The word is a compound of κακός, which in a moral sense is evil, and πρᾶγμα which is a work or a deed. So we would render the clause to say that “evil deeds shall overthrow the thrones of the mighty”.
In the end, Solomon attributes the destruction of the earth, which is the land, to the iniquity, or lawlessness [ἀνομία] of the people who inhabit it, and it becomes evident that natural disasters may be attributed to sin, even if the sinners themselves do not ever come to that realization. This also is not without precedent in Scripture, as the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah appeared to be from natural disaster, but it was indeed the wrath of Yahweh God which had rained down upon the sinful cities of the plains. In the days of Noah, the sinful descendants of Adam were just as ignorant, as Christ Himself had said, as it is recorded in Matthew chapter 24, “38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” So returning again to 2 Peter chapter 3, he describes the end of the ungodly in the same manner in which we see Christ describe of the days of Noah, and also here in Wisdom: “6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”
Now we shall commence with and discuss the opening verses of Wisdom chapter 6. Since we will probably discuss these verses again to some degree along with the rest of chapter 6, in some respects this discussion may be preliminary:
Wisdom 6:1 Hear therefore, O ye kings, and understand; learn, ye that be judges of the ends of the earth. 2 Give ear, ye that rule the people [πλῆθος, multitude], and glory in the multitude [ὄχλος, plural, throngs] of nations.
Reading these opening verses of chapter 6 superficially, it may be imagined that Solomon is addressing kings of races and nations outside of the children of Israel. But as we shall soon see, that is not true. First, David had already conquered many of the surrounding nations, leaving rulers over them appointed from among the officers of his own people. Furthermore, many of the children of Israel had already migrated abroad, in a process that began in the days before the Exodus and which had continued throughout the period of the Judges, over five hundred years to the time of Solomon. So they had also already established their own separate nations, and had kings ruling over them.
This we see in the very first promises which Yahweh God had made to Abraham, in Genesis chapter 17: “5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. 6 And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.” Then later, in the promises to Jacob, in part, in Genesis chapter 35: “11 And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins…”
This process was well under way by the time of Solomon, although the historical accounts of the Old Testament focus on the history of Israel in Palestine. But nevertheless, we see in 1 Kings chapter 4: “30 And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. 31 For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about.” The names of a couple of these men are seen in the myths and legends concerning the founding of some of the “nations round about” which had already come to exist in Solomon’s time.
However it is also possible that Solomon had interpreted the words of Yahweh concerning the children of Israel given in Exodus chapter 19, where He said “ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation” a little differently than the traditional interpretations of the manuscripts. This is because these words also evoke those of John the apostle in Revelation chapter 1, where he wrote: “4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; 5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
As for judges, it is the children of Israel themselves who are also destined to be the judges of the earth. Where it makes reference to the ends of the earth, the children of Israel were already making colonies in the ends of the earth, as it was prophesied for them to do. That they were to be judges of the earth is is evident in the 82nd Psalm where it says “1 God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.” That term gods may have been translated as judges, and we read in 1 Corinthians chapter 5, in the words of Paul of Tarsus, his admonishment of the Corinthians where he said “ 3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? ” So it is possible, that addressing kings and judges, Solomon was speaking allegorically of the collective of the children of Israel. But it is also evident that the children of Israel had already begun by Solomon’s time to develop into many nations having kings of their own, in fulfillment of the promises to the fathers.
In any event, we see in Genesis chapter 32 that a promise of power given to Israel, where we read in reference to the angel of God: “28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” The name Israel has been interpreted in diverse ways. James Strong originally defined it as “he will rule as God”, that is, in place of God. Gesenius defined it as “soldier of God”. Newer lexicons claim that it means “God prevails”, but when the name was given to Jacob, it is Jacob who was said to have prevailed, so that new-fangled definition must be rejected in spite of the fact that we know that God always prevails. So now Solomon, addressing the kings of the earth, says:
3 For power is given you of the Lord, and sovereignty from the Highest, who shall try your works, and search out your counsels.
We read in the words of David in the 26th Psalm: “1 Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide. 2 Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.” So David himself is the first historical example of Solomon’s words here, that Yahweh would try the works of kings, and search out their counsels, which is, their plans and intentions as they rule.
But Kings are not better than other men, or common men, as Solomon shall describe later. So we read in Jeremiah chapter 17: “9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? 10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. 11 As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool. 12 A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary. ”
And next we see with certainty that Solomon is addressing the children of Israel, whether it be collectively of them all as kings and judges, or whether it be in reference to their own kings and judges, as the leaders of a nation bear a greater responsibility for its keeping, where he says:
4 Because, being ministers of his kingdom, ye have not judged aright, nor kept the law, nor walked after the counsel of God; 5 Horribly and speedily shall he come upon you: for a sharp judgment shall be to them that be in high places.
As the apostle Peter had said in chapter 4 of his first epistle: “17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? 19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”
Those whom Solomon is addressing, he expected to judge rightly, because they had the law and the counsel of God. That behaviour can only be attributed to the children of Israel, as Solomon was counseled by David in all things, and as David had written in the 147th Psalm, speaking of Yahweh: “19 He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. 20 He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD.” Only the children of Israel were to be a “kingdom of priests”, servants of God and ministers of His kingdom.
The book of Joshua establishes the fact that even Abraham’s own fathers were pagans, and in the book of Exodus we see that before Yahweh had given His law to Israel, the law of which Solomon speaks, it was never given to any other nation. That is also evident in the words of Paul of Tarsus in Romans chapter 5. So if only Israel had the law, and if David actually rejoiced because only Israel had the law, we must imagine that addressing kings and judges in reference to the law, Solomon is addressing only kings and judges of the children of Israel.
The only answer to “Who are the World” is that the children of Israel are the world, because that is the will of God. They shall all be saved, and to Yahweh God Himself, nothing else matters.