On the Wisdom of Solomon


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On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 1: Addressing the Critics

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On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 1: Addressing the Critics

Here we are going to examine an apocryphal book of Scripture which I have often cited in my commentaries on various books of the New Testament, and especially in the recently-completed commentary On the Gospel of John. This book I have always accepted as being canonical in spite of the fact that evidence of its great antiquity is very scant, and no original Hebrew version of the work is known to have existed. But rather than judging the book according to the words and deeds of the world, I have chosen to judge it based on its contents.

This book is the Wisdom of Solomon, which I will often identify simply as Wisdom here. It was accepted as canon in the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches, but it was rejected and relegated to apocryphal status by Protestants, who certainly seem to have followed the Jews in this regard. The Wisdom of Solomon was included alongside the other books of Wisdom of the Old Testament in the 4th century Codices Sinaiticus (א) and Vaticanus (B) and in the 5th century Codex Alexandrinus (A), but it is not found in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

At least one source, an online denominational ministry, has published an article on the Scrolls which claims that fragments of the Wisdom of Solomon were found among the scrolls, citing A Survey of Old Testament Introduction by one Gleason Archer, which was first published in 1974. But I have not yet been able to verify this claim, since it is not supported by the first edition of Archer’s work. In the author’s Appendix 4 there is an Inventory of Biblical Manuscripts from the Dead Sea Caves, as he titled it, which has no reference to Wisdom. But the book was revised and updated in 1996, and I have not yet been able to access that edition, as this information is new to me. [I have already ordered a copy of the book.]

On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 2, The Introduction of Wisdom

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On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 2, the Introduction of Wisdom

In the opening presentation of our commentary on the Wisdom of Solomon, we provided and refuted many of the popular academic opinions of the work and the frequently-repeated criticisms concerning the nature of its text, by which the provenance and veracity of the work have long been challenged. So although we have already provided commentary on the opening verse of the text, which we also hope to continue here, we realized that some of the newer material discussing the Wisdom of Solomon had further-developed criticisms which must also be addressed. So before continuing, we shall do that here.

In the introduction to its own presentation of the Wisdom of Solomon, the New English Translation of the Septuagint (NETS) claims under the subtitle “Character of the Greek” that “There is widespread recognition that the [Wisdom of Solomon] was composed in Greek… The book is an example of a protreptic work (προτρεπτικὸς λόγος), an exhortation to adopt a particular philosophy, and it deploys literary genres familiar from Hellenistic rhetorical texts including the diatribe… the ‘problem’ genre… and the comparison (σύγκρισις…) Correspondingly… the book is written in a good Greek style and shows none of the characteristics of translation Greek.”

Yet it is commonly exhibited that the Book of Proverbs is also “an example of a protreptic work… an exhortation to adopt a particular philosophy”, and further, that the literary diatribe is a common feature of the writings of the Hebrew prophets. Some examples of Classical Greek literature have been recognized as having the attributes of the genre more recently identified as the Problem Play, such as the 5th century work of Euripides titled Alcestis, as are other early works, as well as the Book of Job which is found in the Bible, which we can certainly esteem to date to as early as the 12th or 13th centuries BC, however it definitely predates the Classical Greek period. Lastly, the σύγκρισις, or synkrisis, is a literary form of comparison, and it has been identified as a feature of both the gospel of John and some of the epistles of Paul, especially in the epistle to the Hebrews. But forms of the so-called σύγκρισις are also found in the Hebrew Old Testament. So none of these features of grammar are exclusive to Hellenistic writings, and these charges against the Wisdom of Solomon are meaningless because these things do not prove it to be a product of the Hellenistic period.

On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 3: The Remedy for Sin and Death

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On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 3: The Remedy for Sin and Death

In the first two presentations of this commentary on the Wisdom of Solomon we hope to have refuted many of the criticisms of the work, which set out to prove by its language and vocabulary that it was not written until the first century before Christ, or according to some claims, even later. Those same critics usually repeat the unfounded claim that it must have been written by some Alexandrian Jew. However as we discuss the actual content of the work, we hope to make it evident that such claims are also false.

One avenue of investigation in our answering the critics of Wisdom was left open where earlier we had described a source which claimed that fragments of the Wisdom of Solomon were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. In an article found at an internet ministry this claim was made and a book was cited, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction by one Gleason Archer, which was first published in 1974. We ordered a used copy of that book, which we expected to be the same 1985 edition of the work as was quoted by the article in question, but it was not. Instead we received a “revised and expanded” 1994 printing. This newer printing does not mention the Wisdom of Solomon, and we surmise that the article was citing an appendix to the book, because the pagination is different, which is a catalog of books found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. We may further pursue this, but Wisdom is not listed in the 1994 version of the catalog.

On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 4: Portrait of the Wicked

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On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 4: Portrait of the Wicked

The Wisdom of Solomon is timeless. Its portrayal of the wicked is probably much more relevant today than when it was written.

In our last presentation of this commentary on the Wisdom of Solomon, we already began to introduce the second chapter of the work, and discussed aspects of its opening verses, as they provide a conclusion to ideas which were introduced in chapter 1, as well as an introduction to what is described throughout this chapter. I had also presented and briefly discussed this second chapter of the Wisdom of Solomon in Part 45 of my commentary on the Gospel of John, which was titled Gods and Emperors. That is because this chapter, as a whole, may be seen as a Messianic prophecy, and this first half draws a portrait of the wicked which also very well describes the attitudes and behavior of the men who had opposed Christ during the time of His ministry, and also mentions some of the same sentiments or practices of the wicked for which Christ had rebuked them. Then the later half of this chapter draws a portrait of a just man whom the wicked would persecute for his righteousness, and that also very well describes Christ Himself. Being wrapped in passages which discuss death and resurrection at the beginning of the chapter, and professing that God created man to be immortal at the end of the chapter, it is manifest that the whole of this chapter is indeed a Messianic prophecy.

On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 5: Portrait of the Messiah

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On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 5: Portrait of the Messiah

In the first part of this second chapter of the Wisdom of Solomon, we saw a Portrait of the Wicked, which is actually a timeless description of some of the natural tendencies of wicked men. Now we shall see more of those tendencies described in relation to the attitude of the wicked towards the righteous. They are portrayed as declaring their own concept of righteousness and seeking to uphold it forcibly by the might of their own strength, which is a manifestation of the pagan and humanist phenomenon of “might makes right”, and which in turn is really only the law of the jungle and justifies tyranny. With this attitude, the wicked are portrayed as justifying the oppression of the weak, the elderly, and the righteous in their pursuit to gratify their own fleshly desires.

Yet the truly righteous man is an obstacle to the wicked, because he declares to them their sin and stands firmly in opposition to them on account of their sin. So they are depicted as saying, as we would translate verse 12 of the chapter: “Therefore let us lie in wait for the righteous; because he is intractable to us, and he is opposed to our works: he reproaches us for our transgressions of the law, and imprecates the transgressions of our education.” There we also see that in spite of the fact that they seek to implement their own law, the wicked nevertheless are forced to acknowledge that there is a greater law by which the righteous condemn them, and for that alone they hate the righteous and seek to destroy them.

Perhaps with the exception of the Bolshevik Revolution, of which the actual circumstances were purposely hidden from the people of the West for many decades, nowhere in recent history is this phenomenon of the hatred which the wicked have for the righteous more evident than it is today. God-fearing White Christians are being persecuted for their Christian profession, and are hated merely for being White. Today the righteous are being openly and systematically persecuted for nothing else but speaking out against evil. The so-called “Black Lives Matter” organization, and also the so-called Antifa organization with whom it is partnered, are only fronts for the imposition of global communism, by which the wicked hope to steal the wealth of the righteous and destroy Christianity forever, as well as any concept of a White race. They hate Whites for being Christians, and they hate Whites for upholding the rule of law.

On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 6: In the Hand of God

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On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 6: In the Hand of God

In our last two presentations of this commentary On the Wisdom of Solomon, which discussed chapter 2 of the book, we saw a Portrait of the Wicked, and then a portrayal of a righteous man, which we also identified as a Portrait of the Messiah, since every aspect of Solomon’s portrait of the righteous man, who would be persecuted by the wicked on account of his righteousness, was fully manifest in the life and ministry of Yahshua Christ. But just as significantly, the Gospel of Christ is an announcement to the scattered and sinful children of Israel of the very same message which is found here in chapters 2 and 3 of the Wisdom of Solomon. Therefore it should be evident that there are multiple reasons why we consider this section of Wisdom to be a Messianic prophecy.

First we saw the wicked portrayed as being covetous and lustful men, who would dominate the righteous, the weak and the poor, and rule over them with their own sense of righteousness just so that they themselves can live wantonly in a quest to gratify their own desires. Then we saw a righteous man portrayed as being intractable to the wicked, as rebuking them for their sins, and ultimately as being killed by them, the only way by which they could remove him because he is an obstacle to their quest for gratification. But now we shall see that the righteous have a reward for their righteousness, which the wicked cannot even perceive, and therefore in the end, the wicked shall never succeed. This is revealed at the end of chapter 2, where Solomon had concluded that the Adamic man is indeed immortal, as Yahweh God had originally created him for that purpose, and then in the opening of chapter 3 where he announces the fate of the righteous...

On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 7: The End of the Wicked

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On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 7: The End of the Wicked

In our last presentation, In the Hand of God, which was our commentary on the first part of Wisdom chapter 3, we had already begun to speak of the end of the wicked in comparison with the fate of the righteous, where we had cited certain of the Psalms of David that address these same subjects which we see being treated at length by Solomon here. But where we allude to the end of the wicked, we do not mean to state that men of the Adamic race who lived wicked lives will cease to exist, or be destroyed in the figurative Lake of Fire. Rather, the end of a man can refer to his destiny in other ways.

In Wisdom chapter 4, for example, Solomon wrote of the wicked as being “a reproach among the dead for evermore”, and then described them as being called to account for their sins. This evokes a passage in Daniel chapter 12 which we have also already cited, where the prophet describes a resurrection to shame and everlasting contempt, which shall apparently be suffered by certain wicked men. In any event, reproach for evermore and everlasting contempt indicate an eternal existence even if it is a miserable existence when compared to what has been promised to the righteous. As we have seen, the Adamic spirit was created in the image of the eternity of Yahweh God, and God cannot fail.

On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 8: The Reward of the Righteous

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On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 8: The Reward of the Righteous

In the most recent presentation of our commentary on the Wisdom of Solomon we saw The End of the Wicked, which was really a description of the fate of the ungodly, the impious among men who would turn their backs on their people, and on Yahweh their God, in order to pursue worldly or fleshly desires. Making such a choice, they actually take the side of the devil, who had corrupted the Creation of God in the beginning, and ultimately finding unlawful beds, which is a metaphor for committing the sins of fornication and adultery, they also find death because their bastard offspring will never be accepted by Yahweh their God. Being unrepentant, it is evidently these men who find themselves in a resurrection to everlasting contempt. Solomon continues to describe them here, even as he turns once more to discuss the righteous.

Yahweh God had made the law of kind after kind from the beginning, He warned Adam not to eat from the evil tree, and men cannot compel God to accept the fruits of their own sin. It is quite arrogant for them, even hubris, to think that they may persuade Him to change from His Word on account of their sin. True humility is the sincere acceptance of His Word and His Law, voluntarily, and not reluctantly – even though in the end, as He Himself had said in Isaiah chapter 45, “unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.”

On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 9: Everlasting Contempt

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On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 9: Everlasting Contempt

Here, out of necessity, I am going to repeat some concepts which we have already expounded upon to one degree or another earlier in this commentary on Wisdom, and quite often elsewhere in our commentaries at Christogenea, but with the hope that Solomon himself helps to clarify them for us. However we believe that these concepts, having to do with death, resurrection, and the eternal Adamic spirit, are of crucial importance to a proper understanding of our Christian faith.

Since the beginning of Wisdom chapter 2, Solomon has been contrasting the attitudes and actions of the ungodly and their ultimate fate, with the attitudes and actions of the righteous, and their ultimate fate, alternating back and forth between the two as he proceeds. In that process, one prominent feature of his comparison is the attitude of disdain which the ungodly have towards the righteous, and as a result, how the righteous are mistreated and persecuted by them. Another feature is the parallels with the ministry and gospel of Christ, for which we have viewed the righteous man in Solomon’s example as both a type and a prophecy of the Messiah.

On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 10: Who are the World?

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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.

On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 11: The Wisdom of Kings

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On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 11: The Wisdom of Kings

Discussing the latter portion of Wisdom chapter 5 in our last presentation on the Wisdom of Solomon here, which was titled Who are the World?, we had observed that Wisdom describes the promised vengeance of Yahweh God against His enemies in different terms, but in a manner which is completely agreeable in meaning with prophecies of that same vengeance which are found in Micah chapter 4 and Revelation chapter 18. Once we understand what Solomon had meant where he said that Yahweh would “make the creature his weapon for the revenge of his enemies”, as he himself defines the creature, or creation, as the twelve tribes of the children of Israel organized under the law in Wisdom chapter 19, then we can also understand that he was describing that same phenomenon which was prophesied in different terms in Micah chapter 4 as a call to the children of Israel to “arise and thresh”, and in Revelation chapter 18 as a call to the people of God to “come out of her My people” and then to turn and “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.” So all three passages have virtually the same meaning, in the same prophetic context.

So in the Wisdom of Solomon we see what Micah had also prophesied, and what Christ Himself confirms in chapter 18 of His Revelation: that the children of Israel themselves shall ultimately be the instruments which are employed by Yahweh God in the execution of His vengeance against His enemies, and that is the day which all true Christians should await with anticipation. Likewise, Paul had told the Corinthians that they should be ready to revenge all disobedience, once their own obedience is fulfilled (2 Corinthians 10:6). Noticing features such as this in Wisdom is an important step to recognizing the veracity of the work. Ultimately, the proof of a prophet is found in the fulfillment of the prophecy. But in this case, the prophecy is still anticipated, so the fulfillment is not yet realized. However if the author of Wisdom prophesied things which are also found in the words of later prophets, and then in the words of Christ Himself, although the language used to describe those things is markedly different, the prophet is nonetheless verified, because the Word of God has confirmed the prophecy for him.

On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 12: The Origin of Wisdom

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On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 12: The Origin of Wisdom

In our last presentation on the Wisdom of Solomon, The Wisdom of Kings, which discussed the first 21 verses of Wisdom chapter 6, we showed how Solomon was actually making an exhortation, although it was expressed as a prescient admonition, that the kings of Israel rule the people righteously by following the counsel and keeping the commandments of God. To Solomon, this was wisdom, and he admonished them that they would suffer trials if they did not heed his warning. He then advised them, according to the commandments of God, to keep holiness holily, that doing so they themselves would be judged holy. Since he was speaking to kings whom he had expected to keep the law, which, as he was writing, can only include the kings of the future children of Israel, then the holiness to which he referred is the separation and distinguishing of Israel that is demanded in the law.

Solomon then advised these kings that if they sought wisdom earnestly, they would find it, that it would not be far from them. Since Solomon was speaking of the wisdom which is from God, his words evoke Paul’s address to the Athenians in Acts chapter 17, where Paul told them that God Himself had given all nations of man, which is properly Adamic man, the opportunity to seek Him, and “27… If surely then they would seek after Him then they would find Him, and indeed He being not far from each one of us.” Then again we read in Hebrews chapter 11: “6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” In like manner, Solomon said in verse 13 of this chapter, as we would translate it, that Wisdom “… comes upon those who desire to know her beforehand.”

On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 13: The Beauty of Wisdom

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On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 13: The Beauty of Wisdom

Making these presentations on the Wisdom of Solomon, we have already presented more than a few arguments in support of our profession that Solomon was indeed the author of this work. However in some of those arguments, it might appear as if we may claim that Wisdom was originally written in Greek, and that is not necessarily true. In earlier portions of this commentary, and namely in Part 2 where we had addressed many criticisms of the work, several times we made references to “the author or translator” of the work. We will not lay claim to know with certainty what was the original language of Wisdom, as there is no definite evidence. But if the original language was indeed Hebrew, it cannot be proven conclusively that the work was not translated by a learned scribe at a time much later than Solomon’s own.

At the end of Wisdom chapter 6, Solomon had promised to disclose the Origin of Wisdom, which he then did here in chapter 7. However first he exhorted his intended readers, who were primarily the future kings of the children of Israel, as to why they should listen to his instruction. Doing that, he then described Wisdom as emanating from God, and began to describe her virtues, depicting Wisdom as a woman to be adored for her beauty. Now here at the end of Wisdom chapter 7, Solomon will continue to profess that the wisdom of which he speaks is indeed the wisdom of God, and continues with an anthropomorphism describing the beauty of Wisdom.

On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 14: The Rewards of Wisdom

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On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 14: The Rewards of Wisdom

In these last few chapters of Wisdom, Solomon has explained that the wisdom of which he speaks is the wisdom which comes from God, and he related it explicitly to the commandments of God. Doing that he had also explained that such is the wisdom by which kings should justly rule, specifically speaking of the future kings of Israel who would be expected to have the commandments of God. Having characterized that wisdom as a woman, he then described her beauty, and now, proceeding with Wisdom chapter 8, he continues by describing her rewards.

Discussing his description of The Beauty of Wisdom, we left off with Wisdom chapter 8 at verse 9 where Solomon had written that on account of that beauty, “Therefore I purposed to take her to me to live with me, knowing that she would be a counsellor of good things, and a comfort in cares and grief.” However in Ecclesiastes chapter 1, Solomon seemed to have sought to justify his purposeful venture into folly by stating “18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.” On the surface, one may suspect a conflict in the two statements, although it is evident that both statements are indeed true. In much wisdom there is much sorrow, as one perceives all of the evil around him. However in wisdom there is also comfort in spite of the grief which it causes, as Solomon had ended Ecclesiastes with an assurance that God will indeed judge men for their works.

On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 15: The Prayer for Wisdom

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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.