King Solomon’s Wisdom
Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim
My son, if you accept my words And treasure up my commandments; If you make your ear attentive to wisdom And your mind open to discernment; If you call to understanding And cry aloud to discernment, If you seek it as you do silver and search for it as for treasures, Then you will understand the fear of the Lord and attain knowledge of God. For God gives wisdom, from His lips come knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:1-6)
At age 12, King Solomon ascended to the throne after his father King David passed at age 70. In a prophecy, God asked King Solomon what he wished; he asked for wisdom. God granted that wish. Therefore we must be careful when studying King Solomon’s words which are divinely inspired.
Proverbs 2:4 above says, “If you seek wisdom as you do silver and search for it as for treasures.” The king says we must cultivate 2 attitudes in our search for wisdom. Silver is a known entity; we know what to look for and we know when we have found it. This equates to a search for wisdom where we have direction and an expectation. But another type of valuable is a non-descript buried treasure. We know only that there are great fortunes from shipwrecks, but we don’t know the location or what are the sunken contents of the treasure chests. This equates to times when we study Torah or science, and our bearings are not clear. Despite our uncertainty, wut we must sustain our search due to the knowledge that King Solomon says in verse 6: “For God gives wisdom, from His lips come knowledge and understanding.” King Solomon says 2 things: God is the “source” of wisdom, and further, His articulation—lips—His Torah verses, contain great wisdom in their very formulations. In addition to the content, how God said something offers additional wisdom.
If we develop the appreciation for Torah’s wisdom—by recognizing its Source and also its precise articulation—we will search for it as silver and as buried treasure. Then verse 5 applies: “Then you will understand the fear of the Lord and attain knowledge of God.” God designed Torah and science in layers. We discover ever-growing insights with a deeper and longer search. Einstein said, “It is not that I am smarter, but that I remain with a question longer.” This means that the human mind takes many paths when exploring; it detects many elements when studying Torah or science. We stop and analyze discoveries and insights. We then forge ahead. Duration in exploration is vital to this course of thought and analysis if we are to uncover new truths.