In various places Proverbs personifies Wisdom as a woman. In one she deviates from teaching to speak about herself. She starts by announcing her "קָנָה" at the beginning:

22 “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old. 23 Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth. 24 When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water. 25 Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth (Proverbs 8:22-25 ESV)

8:22 יהוה קנני ראשית דרכו קדם מפעליו מאז
8:23 מעולם נסכתי מראש מקדמי-ארץ
8:24 באין-תהמות חוללתי באין מעינות נכבדי-מים
8:25 בטרם הרים הטבעו לפני גבעות חוללתי

22 The Lord made me the beginning of his ways for his works. 23 He established me before time in the beginning, before he made the earth: 24 even before he made the depths; before the fountains of water came forth: 25 before the mountains were settled, and before all hills, he begets me. (LXX-Proverbs 8)

22 κύριος ἔκτισέν με ἀρχὴν ὁδῶν αὐτοῦ εἰς ἔργα αὐτοῦ 23 πρὸ τοῦ αἰῶνος ἐθεμελίωσέν με ἐν ἀρχῇ 24 πρὸ τοῦ τὴν γῆν ποιῆσαι καὶ πρὸ τοῦ τὰς ἀβύσσους ποιῆσαι πρὸ τοῦ προελθεῗν τὰς πηγὰς τῶν ὑδάτων 25 πρὸ τοῦ ὄρη ἑδρασθῆναι πρὸ δὲ πάντων βουνῶν γεννᾷ με

"before the mountains were settled, and before all hills, he begets (γεννᾷ) me" is a curious treatment of the Hebrew חוללתי which means to bring forth but not human procreation. For example there is a similar passage in Job:

“Are you the first man who was born? Or were you brought forth before the hills? (Job 15:7 ESV)
הראישון אדם תולד ולפני גבעות חוללת

What! art thou the first man that was born? or wert thou established before the hills? (LXX-Job)
τί γάρ μὴ πρῶτος ἀνθρώπων ἐγενήθης ἢ πρὸ θινῶν ἐπάγης

Here as elsewhere1 it is יָלַד which is translated using γεννάω. As far as I can tell, Proverbs 8:25 is the only instance where the LXX translates חוּל using γεννάω, which, as the passage in Job shows, is misleading if not wrong.

However, by choosing γεννάω, Wisdom's history may be connected to Genesis 4:

To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad fathered Mehujael, and Mehujael fathered Methushael, and Methushael fathered Lamech. (Genesis 4:18 ESV)
ויולד לחנוך את-עירד ועירד ילד את-מחויאל ומחייאל ילד את-מתושאל ומתושאל ילד את-למך

And to Enoch was born Gaidad; and Gaidad begot Maleleel; and Maleleel begot Mathusala; and Mathusala begot Lamech.. (LXX-Genesis 4:18)
ἐγενήθη δὲ τῷ Ενωχ Γαιδαδ καὶ Γαιδαδ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Μαιηλ καὶ Μαιηλ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Μαθουσαλα καὶ Μαθουσαλα ἐγέννησεν τὸν Λαμεχ

γεννάω was first used in describing Cain's descendants. Another connection between Wisdom's history and Genesis is "Cain" sounds like קָנָה , and his birth is the first use of קָנָה:

Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten[a] a man with the help of the LORD.” (Genesis 4:1 ESV)
a. Cain sounds like the Hebrew for gotten

והאדם ידע את-חוה אשתו ותהר ותלד את-קין ותאמר קניתי איש את-יהוה

So the choice to say "begets me" in Proverbs using γεννάω appears to be intentional to connect Wisdom's history back to that of the first man and woman.

Does the LXX make these allusions to imply Wisdom is Eve who was "transformed" after Cain murdered Abel?

1. Deuteronomy 32:18 is a very similar passage


2 Answers 2


It is delusional to read the words of personified Wisdom at Proverbs 8:22-25 as though "she" was a person and had been "made" or "generated".

חוֹלָֽלְתִּי (which, BTW, is repeated exactly at v.24 and 25) is the Pual Perfect 1st person singular of חוּל (Strong's H2342 - chuwl), which has the most ample variety of meanings, and is most certainly not the obvious choice for generation.

Even more groundless is to infer from the LXX Greek verb γεννάω that it has been intentionally used "to connect Wisdom's history back to that of the first man and woman".


The act of "getting" seems to be, in Hebrew at least, not so connected to human procreation, although in Greek, it is the same word--that is, "making" and "birthing." But would Wisdom be incarnate in Eve? If I am not mistaken you suggest this. But there is something to be said for Adam's sleep, in which Eve is birthed, as the beginning of all that is, that is, all that lives. (Her name is later changed in the Greek.) And then the dream of Joseph about Mary being of child with the Holy Spirit. The coming of Wisdom, and the re-creation.


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