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.
Wisdom relates that she received her education or early training in the house of the creator of the universe who was her father and nurse, and one may imply thereby that she learned all she could about the cosmic order by watching her parent at work. As Gods daughter she has inherited His wisdom. She has observed creation (yn) M#) and has been raised by the creator Himself (Nwm) wlc) hyh)w) so she knows everything there is to know about the world. It is her )twqnyd )srg, learning acquired with her mothers milk while nursing. She has learned from experience and through teaching of parent and pedagogue, which are the ways of education recommended in the Book of Proverbs. She is now clever enough to entertain the creator Himself, and is certainly sufficiently smart to give pleasure to human beings.
The question arises now, are any of the other connotations of Nwm) such as advisor or artisan legitimate secondary meanings of significance in Wisdoms speech, intentionally conveyed by the author? A multiple meaning of the word would not be surprising given the genre (wisdom literature) and the statement in Prov 1,6 that the proverbs in the book are intended, among other things, to teach one how to understand riddles (twdyx). Scholars are becoming increasingly aware of wordplay in biblical and ancient near-eastern literature, and it would be surprising if none were found in the Book of Proverbs. The essence of some riddles is wordplay or double-entendre, and Wisdom may be intentionally describing herself in ways subject to several legitimate understandings. This question too must be answered by examination of the context. To answer it positively we must find other words in the pericope that would bolster the secondary meanings.
Can Nwm) also mean "advisor? There is some evidence supporting this possibility. First of all, in v. 4 Wisdom calls to Md) ynb, "human beings", who are mentioned at the very end of her speech as enjoying her delights. This connection unifies the chapter and invites us to take into account the wider context when interpreting Wisdoms autobiography. In the larger pericope, consisting of chapter 8 in its entirety, and in particular vv. 14-16, Wisdom proclaims her usefulness to kings and other rulers. This is a function of advisors. Moreover, since the terms qx, "ordinance", hp rb(, "transgress a command", qqx, "ordain", and Cr) ydswm with the meaning of "rules of nature" (v. 29; see above) introduce concepts of dominion into Wisdoms speech, they create an image of a deity exercising sovereignty in the cosmos. Kings and other potentates employ wise advisors in their service, so it would not be dissonant with the context for Wisdom to play such a role. Two other words which come to mind which could support this secondary interpretation are wkrd in v. 22 and ytksn in v. 23. wkrd, which may mean no more than "His way" or may allude to sexual intercourse or acquired possessions as suggested above, has been associated with Ugaritic drkt, meaning nobility or dominion16. ytksn, for its part, has been taken as a denominative of Kysn, prince, and translated "I became a princess".