Victor Avigdor Hurowitz, «Nursling, Advisor, Architect? Nwm) and the Role of Wisdom in Proverbs 8,22-31», Vol. 80 (1999) 391-400
Scholars explain Nwm) in Prov 8,30 as nursling, advisor, or architect. Analysis of Prov 8,22-31 shows that Wisdoms autobiography contains exclusively "life cycle" terms relating to gestation, birth, and maturation. Accordingly, the only contextually valid meaning of Nwm) is "nursling". Difficulties perceived in this interpretation are contrived and of no substance. The interpretation defended here is proven decisively by the previously unnoticed existence of "transitive association" indicating a bonded conceptual pairing between Nwm) and My(#(#. Although "nursling" is the only valid primary meaning of Nwm) in this context, it is slightly possible that other interpretations are legitimate secondary meanings, on the level of intentional wordplays and double entendres.
activities took place during the primordial period described above. Wisdom was born before anything else was created. We should point out that lyx is used in reference to seismic or aquatic upheavals as well 11 and this may have conditioned the use of this particular birth-related term at this point.
In light of these birth-related verbs it is possible that wkrd, "His way", has an unnoticed secondary connotation, referring to sexual intercourse as in Prov 30,19, "the way of a man (rbg Krd) in a woman", and 31,3, "give not to women your vigor, or your paths (Kkrdw) to ¼ of kings". wkrd ty#)r, "the first of His Way", would then be comparable with the expression wnw) ty#)r, "the first of his sexual vigor" in which case Wisdom would be Gods eldest child and heir (cf. Deut 21,17; Ps 78,51; 105,36) 12. If the text is not viewed purely metaphorically, this interpretation would entail the corollary assumption that there was a goddess, whereas without it we must assume God to be hermaphrodite and self-impregnating. Neither of these alternatives is incompatible with current scholarly fashion 13.
Afterwards, in v. 27, while God engages in creating the heavens and the horizon Wisdom says she was simply present (yn) M#, "there I was"), perhaps meaning "there on the spot". This statement emphasizes that Wisdom has witnessed the wonders of creation.
Lastly, in a final stage, corresponding with the existence of the world, she says Nwm) wlc) hyh)w, "I was Nwm) alongside him." We will return to this passage later. With a repetition of the verb hyh)w Wisdom goes on to describe herself t( lkb wynpl twqx#m Mwy Mwy My(w#(# hyh)w, "I was His pleasure/delight/entertainment daily, playing before Him constantly", entertaining God with her playfulness. At long last she goes out into the world where she plays and entertains humanity, Gods final creature Md) ynb t) y(#(#w wcr) lbtb tqx#m "playing in the dry land of His earth, pleasing/delighting/entertaining humanity"14. The word My(#(#, used twice, is associated in various places with children, describing their own pleasure when at play (Isa 11,8) as well as the delight they give their parents (Jer 31,20). This is the case as well of tqx#m, "playing" (Zech 8,5; Gen 21,9 with the by-form qxcm) which appears with My(#(# in ab//ba chiastic order.