*Scripture verses covered in this section's commentary are noted in italics

Proverbs 3:19-20 meaning

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Proverbs 3:19
  • Proverbs 3:20

Wisdom is woven into the fabric of creation. It is an essential element of God’s created order. By embracing wisdom, we embrace the reality of what is.

Throughout Solomon’s introduction to Proverbs, he has alluded to wisdom as a path. The way to live life. A practical perspective that acknowledges reality and aligns us with the heart and character of God. When we adopt wisdom, we are equipped to make good choices, discern judgments, and engage with one another in the way God intended.

In these two verses, Solomon makes an incredible statement about wisdom. He says that the Lord (Yehovah, “The existing one”; see notes on Proverbs 3:5-10) by his wisdom founded the earth. This clearly harkens back to the creation of the world (Genesis 1). The very construction and purpose of our planet and human existence.

What Solomon is saying here is that wisdom is baked into the DNA of existence. It is the undercurrent of all reality. By understanding He established the heavens. The earth and the heavens were both made by God’s wisdom and understanding. God is the source of creation. An instrument of His creating is wisdom and understanding. This is a powerful statement. Solomon is calling his audience into alignment with the created order, to participate in the very wisdom that served to create reality itself.

This applies to both the physical and spiritual realms. God is the creator and created both the tangible and intangible. As we are told in the New Testament, which speaks of Jesus as an agent of creation:

“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.”
(Colossians 1:16)

This verse makes it clear that God, through Jesus, created all matter, all that exists in the spiritual dimension as well as all authorities and dominions. Proverbs adds that this creative event was also accomplished through wisdom and understanding. All are a part of the fabric of Creation, which is an extension of Existence, which is God.

Verse 20 says that by His knowledge the deeps were broken up and the skies drip with dew. In Genesis 1:2, God is hovering over the deep—the same word used here in Proverbs 3:20. This is the preamble to the creation story. There is darkness over the deep and when God says, “Let there be light,” the process of creation begins—breaking the darkness to make room for the light.

So, here Solomon is saying this process was initiated with the same knowledge of God that he is trying to impart to his audience. On Day Two of creation, there is another separation, or breaking up. This time it is “the waters” and on one side is the heavens and the other earth. Effectively, it is atmosphere that is being created, the setting wherein the skies drip with dew.

Solomon has been alluding to the integration of wisdom with all of created reality throughout the first three chapters. The preceding verse (18) talks about wisdom as “a tree of life,” another allusion to creation. In Chapter 1, Lady Wisdom implores the hearers to “return” to the wisdom they were created for.

We were all created by wisdom and for wisdom. Nature and natural law have the undercurrent of wisdom flowing within them. It is the fabric of existence, a fundamental element of reality.

Solomon is calling his audience to understand that wisdom is at the heart of reality and therefore it is in their best interest to align with it. Wisdom was an integral element of the creation of all that is on Day One of human existence. Understanding and a wise perspective are key to unlocking what it means to be human and how to best operate as a person in God’s world. When we accept wisdom and make it the center of our character, we join in harmony with the created order. We participate in reality as it is.

Biblical Text

The Lord by wisdom founded the earth,
By understanding He established the heavens.
20 By His knowledge the deeps were broken up

And the skies drip with dew.

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