Wisdom 2:12-20 - revisited

Before leaving on vacation for my anniversary, I came across an old “closed” post started in December 2007 & closed January 2008. It asked about whether Wisdom 2:12-20 is a prophecy about Jesus:

I thought I would open it back up in lieu of a book I’ve been reading that argues it’s not an actual prophecy about the future, but rather referencing past prophecies written earlier in Jewish history. This is an excerpt from the book:

Psalm 2:7 reads, "I will tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.” This is a clear reference to 2 Samuel 7:14, when God instructed the prophet Nathan to tell David an eternal kingdom will be established on his throne after his death, and “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me.”

Although the immediate context of this passage applied to King David’s son, Solomon, who would build the Temple after King David died, these words had a more profound and prophetic application to the future Messiah. Who would refer to Himself as “the Son of God” (Matthew 27:40,43). Later the writer of Hebrews quoted Psalm 2:7 and 2 Samuel 7:14 to refer specifically to Jesus (Hebrews 1:5), and the apostle Paul even mentioned this quote about Jesus came from “the second Psalm” (Acts 13:33)."

  • source: Why Protestant Bibles Are Smaller [book].

While Wisdom 2:12-20 is used as evidence of a prophetic book in the Old Testament about the future Jewish Messiah fulfilled in Jesus Christ (and therefore belongs in the Old Testament canon), it really seems this passage is referencing back to prophecies about Him in the Psalms & 2 Samuel.

It does both things.

It refers to past events and prophecies the future Messiah.

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Just coincidentally, Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J. in his book Inside the Bible states that evidence seems to indicate that Wisdom was written about 50 B.C. Just in time for…you guessed it!

However, David did not die a shameful death, but had Solomon at his side. Additionally, Jesus is in the line of David, so the prophecy points both back and forward. Our Lord on His cross quoted two of King David’s Psalms (22 and 30) to finalize the connection. As well, there are at least eight New Testament references to our Lord as “Son of David.”

As I read it, the title “Wisdom of Solomon” did not indicate that Solomon wrote it, but that its content was handed on by, in the style of, or consistent with that of Solomon.

Various books of the Old Testament have similar prophecies of Christ. We should expect there to be continuity and consistency throughout.

By the logic of that Protestant book, they are all just referencing whichever one came first chronologically and therefore most are not really prophetic.

Then if it points “backwards” to a previous prophecy from the Hebrew Bible, then it’s not really a “new” prophecy pointing “forwards” to Jesus. So, the earlier references in Psalm 2 & 2 Samuel 7 are the original OT citations the gospels are referencing, rather than the much later written book of Wisdom. And, again, since St. Paul states he quoting from “the second Psalm” (Acts 13:33), this is explicit “Son of God” in the gospels & the NT epistles is referring back to the Psalms, not Wisdom.

I have the book, and the point being made is since St. Paul is explicitly referencing “the second Psalm,” this means “Son of God” is referring back to these earlier texts in the OT (Psalms, which is referencing 2 Samuel), not the later text of Wisdom.

Did anyone say it was a “new” prophecy?
Do you know what the word “prophecy” means?

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So what? I’m not really following why this matters. Repetition does not negate inspiration.

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Don’t over-think it. Pointing back and forward solidifies the connection of Christ to the line of David.

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In context, I’m referring to the Catholic argument for including Wisdom 2:12-20 into the OT canon, because it’s believed to be “prophesying” about Jesus by referring to Him as “the Son of God,” and it’s believed that this term isn’t used in the Hebrew Bible, and therefore a “new prophecy” by using this term for the first time in the OT era. But as I brought up in the OP, Wisdom isn’t “prophesying” forward like Psalm 2 & 2 Samuel 7 are, but rather referring back to these passages where the terms are used in the Hebrew Bible. Therefore, this argument isn’t valid for including Wisdom into the OT canon, since it’s not the first time in a literary passage.

Not saying that mere repetition negates it. My point is that it’s a false apologetic to say that Wisdom is the first time “Son of God” is used in the OT era & not used in the Hebrew Bible. Therefore, it belongs in the OT canon. The concept of the Son of God is found prior to this in books like Psalm 2 & 2 Samuel 7.

While Wisdom does indeed reaffirm previous OT passages that describe the future Messiah as the Son of God & in the line to David, all it is doing is reaffirming those early passages from the Hebrew Bible. The point is that Wisdom is not the “first” time these titles are used to describe the Messiah Jesus prior to the NT texts, and therefore belongs in the OT canon.

What I notice is that (argumentation regarding Isaiah aside), Wisdom provides the most clear, detailed and imminent description of our Lord’s mission and passion - and does so a few short decades before the Incarnation.

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Agreed that it gives a brief, but detailed description. In a sense, a good summary from earlier passages, like Psalm 2, 2 Samuel 7, & others, which I think is really is, rather than a “new” prophecy independent of the Hebrew Bible.

Prophesy has a special meaning in theology. It means, “2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

Thus, if God comes to a man in a dream and says, “to be saved, one must keep the Commandments.” This is a prophecy. This prophecy was repeated over and over and proof of this is in the Scriptures.

I’m referring to the Catholic argument for including Wisdom 2:12-20 into the OT canon

I don’t know where you heard this argument. The only reason that the Catholic Church includes any text in the Catholic Canon, is because she is certain that the text is inspired by God. Any other argument used by Catholic Theologians is merely speculation.


Celebrated on the eighth day of the month of April, in the year 1546.

The sacred and holy, ecumenical, and general Synod of Trent,–…receives and venerates with an equal affection of piety, and reverence, all the books both of the Old and of the New Testament–seeing that one God is the author of both --as also the said traditions, as well those appertaining to faith as to morals, as having been dictated, either by Christ’s own word of mouth, or by the Holy Ghost, and preserved in the Catholic Church by a continuous succession.

And it has thought it meet that a list of the sacred books be inserted in this decree, lest a doubt may arise in any one’s mind, which are the books that are received by this Synod. They are as set down here below: of the Old Testament: the five books of Moses, to wit, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; Josue, Judges, Ruth, …


… two books of the Machabees, the first and the second.

Of the New Testament: the four Gospels, according to Matthew, Mark, …

But if any one receive not, as sacred and canonical, the said books entire with all their parts, as they have been used to be read in the Catholic Church, and as they are contained in the old Latin vulgate edition; and knowingly and deliberately contemn the traditions aforesaid; let him be anathema.

The Church has spoken.

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