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.
Before she labored (lyxt) she was delivered;
before her pangs came she bore a son.
Can a land pass through travail (lxwyh) in a single day?
Or is a nation born all at once?
Yet Zion travailed (hlx) and at once bore her children!
Shall I who bring on labor not bring about birth?
Shall I who cause birth shut the womb?
That you may suck from her breast consolation to the full,
That you may draw from her teat glory to your delight
You shall be carried (w)#&nt dc l) on shoulders
and dandled (w(#(#t) upon knees.
As a mother comforts her son
Crucial for understanding Nwm) is Isa 66,12 w(#(#t Mykrb l(w w)#nt dc l( where "dandled upon the knees" is juxtaposed to "carried on the shoulder". This later activity is identical to being carried in the bosom. This is precisely what a child does in the arms of his or her nurse, Nwm), as we find in:
"carry him [wh)#] in your bosom like the nurse [Nmw)] carries the suckling";
"they will bring your sons in the bosom and your daughters will be carried [hn)#nt] on the shoulder"; and kings will be your nurses [Kynm)] and their princesses your wet-nurses";
2 Sam 4,4: "his nurse carried him" (wtnm) wh)#tw).
Moreover, in Isa 60,4 we find:
"Your sons will be brought from afar,
your daughters nursed [hnm)t dc l(] on shoulders".
The expressions h)#nt dc l( and hnm)t dc l( are synonymous and interchangeable. These verses form a "long distance" or "transitive association (a//b; b//c; a//c)" between Nwm) and (w#(#, precisely the combination we find in Prov 8,30, where we find the two terms juxtaposed in the same verse, My(#(# hyh)w // Nwm) wlc) hyh)w. We are no longer dealing with an isolated word with several possible meanings but with a conceptual pair where the second term restricts the semantic possibilities of the first 15. It is not inconceivable that Nwm)//(w#(# is actually a rare word pair, appearing once in parallelism and once in corresponding parts of identical, synonymous phrases. This bonded association eliminates all possibility of interpreting Nwm) as advisor, artisan, or anything outside the realm of child raising. Discovery of this pair permits us to say conclusively that Nwm) in Prov 8,30 means "nursling".