… the Bride-groom is King Solomon himself, it naturally follows that the fair Shulamite is she of whom he wrote: ‘I loved her and sought her out for my youth: I desired to make her my spouse, and I was a lover of her beauty.’ These words are addressed to the personification of “Wisdom,” a word that has nowadays lost its true meaning, and unfortunately fails to convey its original significance. Among the ancients “Wisdom” implied Love and Knowledge blended in perfect and equal proportions. Our English word Truth personifies what is perhaps the nearest approach to the original conception; but “Wisdom” meant more than Truth.

It was used to personify the Celestial Influence which at the later was described as the “Holy Spirit.” ‘Wisdom, which is the worker of all good things,’ says Solomon ‘taught me: for in her is an understanding spirit, holy, one only, manifold, subtil, lively, clear, undefiled, plain, not subject to hurt, loving the thing that is good, quick, which cannot be letted, ready to do good. Kind to man, steadfast, sure, free from care, having all power, overseeing all things, and going through all understanding, pure, and most subtil spirits.’

In Egypt Wisdom was personified by Isis, a manifold goddess of whom it was inscribed: ‘I am that which is, has been, and shall be, and no man has lifted my veil.’ Similarly of “Wisdom” the Hebrews wrote: ‘The first man knew her not perfectly, no more shall the last find her out. For her thoughts are more than the sea and her counsels profounder than the Great Deep.’ It is noteworthy that the writer of The Song of Solomon is himself perplexed at the complex character of his own heroin. …he leaves unanswered his own query, ‘Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?’

Harold Bayley

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