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As you walk here and there, she will lead you;
when you lie down, she will watch over you,
and when you wake up, she will speak with you. Bible

“she will lead…she will watch…she will speak.” The Hebrew text uses the feminine singular pronoun “she,” instead of “they” which seems to refer to both the father’s commandment (“commandment” is a feminine noun) and the mother’s teaching, her “Torah” (“Torah” is a feminine noun) as one body of teaching (cp. Prov. 6:20, 23). This may be because the commandment is part of the Torah, or because they are both part of Wisdom. The active verb has the commandment and Torah (or Wisdom) doing the leading, watching, and speaking, which is the figure of speech personification.

It is possible that the commandment and Torah are just other names for Wisdom, or they could also be separate personifications, as if Wisdom had other female friends that helped her bless and protect believers. Because there always has to be gender agreement between the noun and pronoun in languages that ascribe a gender to nouns, we might think that the “she” should be an “it” (which is the way it is translated in many versions). The “it” makes the verse easier to understand for most English readers, and still retains the personification. However, we think God was really trying to drive the personification home to the reader and even went out of His way to pick nouns that are feminine and would be joined with the pronoun “she.” The words, “Wisdom” (#02451), “Torah” (#08451), “commandment” (#04687), “understanding” (#0998), “prudence” (#06195) and “discernment” (#08394) are all feminine nouns.

There are a number of lessons that seem to be subtly embedded in the feminine personifications. One would be that if the man is attracted to women, then wisdom, Torah, and understanding are much better choices than a strange woman, an adulteress. Another may be the value of wise counsel. We all need wise counsel and wise friends to give it, and Wisdom is not doing everything by herself, she has female friends to help her watch over people.


Commentary for: Proverbs 6:22