I offer nothing new or novel, but I did want to share some jottings inspired by my reading of the Wisdom of Solomon yesterday. My eyes caught onto mentions of spirit in the text. The author calls upon rulers of the world to “love righteousness,” think of the Lord and seek him, and to do so through wisdom (1.1-4). Then he states that “a holy a disciplined spirit will flee from deceit,” which functions as the first mention of spirit in this text. The second mention of spirit connects to wisdom: “For Wisdom is a benevolent spirit (φιλάνθρωπον γὰρ πνεῦμα σοφία)…” writes the author. This spirit of wisdom does not “free blasphemers from the guilt of their words” because God knows, sees, and hears all things (1.6), “because the spirit of the Lord has filled the world.” The author connects the disciplined spirit of a person with the spirit of Wisdom with the spirit of the Lord in a matter of a few sentences.

The ungodly seem to think that their “spirit will dissolve like empty air (NRSV),” but the author maintains that there will be vindication for the righteous and against the wicked (2.3). The author depicts a judgment when “their sins are reckoned” to them (4.20). At that juncture the wicked will experience “anguish of spirit (διὰ στενοχωρίαν πνεύματος)” groaning with the realization of their deed’s consequences (5.3). Later one of the great rebukes against the wicked will be their failure “to know the one who formed them, and inspired them with active souls (ψυχὴν ἐνεργοῦσαν), and breathed a living spirit (πνεῦμα ζωτικόν) into them (15.11).” The wicked understand themselves as temporal beings, but the author (authors?) of this text suggest that God gives humans spirit, that spirit does not dissipate at death, and that spirit provides means for their being present at judgment.

Later the author uses the voice of King Solomon to speak of the “understanding” that he received from God and the “spirit of Wisdom (πνεῦμα σοφίας)” that came on him (7.7). Wisdom herself has a spirit which the author describes as “intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, clear, unpolluted, distinct, invulnerable, loving the good, keen, irresistible, beneficent, humane, steadfast, sure, free from anxiety, all-powerful, overseeing all, and penetrating through all spirits that are intelligent, pure, and altogether subtle (7.22-23, NRSV).” It is interesting to read the wisdom’s spirit interpenetrates the spirits of the “intelligent, pure, and altogether subtle” or as the author restates it, “she pervades and penetrates all things (7.24).” Lady Wisdom is omnipresent, but most noticeable in those whose spirits manifest wisdom. Wisdom is called “a breath of the power of God,” “a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty,” who is “a reflection of eternal light,” and “a spotless mirror of the working of God,” and “an image of his goodness (7.26-27). Wisdom is depicted using language that Christians would come to use of the Holy Spirit of God and Jesus the Messiah. Wisdom functions as the breath of God. This echoes Genesis 2.7 and Jesus’ act of breathing on his disciples in John 20.22. Wisdom is presented in such a way that she sounds a lot like Jesus as presented in the Epistle to the Colossians.

Later Solomon asks, “Who has learned your counsel, unless you have given Wisdom and sent your holy spirit (τὸ ἅγιόν σου πνεῦμα) from on high (9.17).” Once again, the spirit of God is connected with Wisdom. For one to learn of God they must be given Wisdom as well as (or as one with) the spirit of God.

As with pneumatology in general there exist a tension between language that speaks of the absence of God’s spirit with a need for its impartation and language that speaks of the spirit as being present and sustaining for all people and all things (one can think of the Book of Genesis, several psalms, and so forth). In 12.1 the “immortal spirit (ἄφθαρτόν…πνεῦμά)” of God dwells “in all things (ἐστιν ἐν πᾶσιν).”

There are two random mentions of spirit that do not seem to have the same thematic qualities. In 7.20 Wisdom gives humans the ability to understand many things, including “the powers of spirits.” In 16.14 a wicked person is said to be able to kill another person, but that person is not able to bring back “the departed spirit, or set free the imprisoned soul.”