#22 Book of the Wisdom of Solomon

  • The Apocryphal book named the ‘Wisdom of Solomon’ ‘was not written by Solomon, but by a learned Jew living in exile in Egypt in the 1st or 2nd century BC.
  • There was one such person who was the correspondant of Judas Maccabeus, to whom he sent 2 Maccabees as a letter containing news from Jerusalem.  The correspondant’s name was Aristobulus and he was a priest and teacher of King Ptolemy.  This letter must have been sent in about 150 BC. 
  • This erudite Jewish priest named Aristobulus may have been the author of the book of Wisdom sometime after 150 BC.
  • The book of Wisdom was written in Greek only. 
  • The book attempts to give a summary of Solomon’s wisdom to the reader.  Wisdom is the perfection of knowledge given to the righteous by God.  A king might be interested in how King Solomon became so great and so want to study this book.
  • Chapter 6 opens with “Listen, O kings, and understand; rulers of the most distant lands, take warning.”  Aristobulus, teacher of  “King Ptolemy” seems a likely candidate to be proclaiming this.
  • “King Ptolemy” could have been Ptolemy Apion.  He never had the title of Pharaoh, but he did become King of Cyrenaica in 116 BC and ruled there until his death in 96 BC.  Ptolemy Apion’s mother came from Cyrene and he was probably born there.  The historian Jason of Cyrene also came from there and wrote five volumes about the Maccabees – thus, there are various links between Cyrenaica and the Maccabees.  Ptolemy Apion did not marry, had no heirs and left his royal estates to the Roman Republic when he died.
  • It is unlikely that “King Ptolemy” would refer to his father, Ptolemy VIII Physcon who reigned from 169 to 116 BC because this Pharaoh was reputed to be cruel, degenerate and married his niece Cleopatra III.  This king is unlikely to have had much interest in being taught wisdom.
  • Genre: Wisdom in the Jewish Hellenized world.

Published by clarevmerry

Christian - Bible - Catholic belief reassessment website. How does Catholic belief relate to the Bible? An even-handed approach by the author who has been a Catholic as long as she has been an Evangelical.

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