The subject in Proverbs 3:13-18 is wisdom. In this passage, she is epitomized as a woman. The sacred writer sees no need to explain why. Perhaps men instinctively know that there is wisdom in women that runs deeper than it could in any male. This passage makes no demands, it only recommends. The clear teaching of this passage is that wisdom is incomparable.
“Happy” means “blessed.” The Hebrew term “findeth” means “to have permanent possession of.” Wisdom is your best investment. Verse 13 reminds us of Jesus’ parable of the pearl of great price in Matthew 13:45. Precious stones may dazzle the eye, but wisdom illuminates the mind.
“The merchandise of it” refers to the gain or profit that comes from trading. The writer points to the great value of wisdom by contrasting it with fine gold. The Hebrew word for “fine gold” here is kharuts and depicts its brilliancy. Wisdom is worth more than its weight in gold or pearls! We must be willing to part with everything to get wisdom. Cease to search for precious metals, jewels, or playing the lotto and obtain God’s wisdom at all costs. Gold can be traded for material things, but wisdom is a treasure in herself (remember that wisdom is seen as feminine). Wisdom is pure, satisfying and leads to longevity. Wisdom tends toward health, helps us avoid diseases and leads you to God via His peaceful path of righteousness. Wisdom points us toward the enjoyment of life in the fullest, spiritual sense. Only the wise hold these values as precious things.
Wisdom is more precious than anything you might hold dear in this life. Like Solomon at Gibeon in I Kings 3, when it is all before us, and we can have whatever we want, we should choose wisdom, as he did.
“Longevity” comes from her, for you are more likely to live a long life if you are wise in God’s Word. Wisdom is personified as a woman, dispensing from her right hand power and blessing, all that is worth having in life. (Matthew 22:24).
The thought here of “riches and honor” is that wisdom holds these blessings in her hands, ready to give to everyone who will take them.
Now that you know this, how diligently will you seek God’s wisdom? Proverbs has 31 chapters. You can read a chapter a day for a month and the value of God’s wisdom will be evident.
The “ways of pleasantness” bespeaks peace, tranquility, serenity and rest. Her paths always lead peacefully to even greater peace. We often fear the unknown, but godly wisdom tends to dispel our fears by helping us to trust the Lord.
Wisdom is compared to the “tree of life” and symbolizes all that is desirable in life. Adam was not to eat of it, for it involved the blessing of immortality. To find wisdom is compared to eating the fruit of the tree of wisdom. Jesus has made it possible for you and me to partake of this “tree” freely. Wisdom is life-giving for all who partake. (Note the related passages concerning the tree of life in Revelation 2:7 and 22:2.)
“To all who lay hold of her” means “to fasten upon something; to seize it firmly.” Note that the blessing of wisdom does not come without effort.
“Happy is every one that retaineth her” is a promise to those who hold on to wisdom perseveringly. We are to feast on God’s wisdom continually.
How anxious are you to hold on firmly to the wisdom God is offering you?