I am working on something that has turned out to be trickier that I had thought. What is the approximate meaning of Proverbs 8:22-23 on Wisdom. This is not unrelated to my recent post on Gen. 1:1.
The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way,
before his works of old.
I was set up from everlasting,
from the beginning, or ever the earth was. KJV, JPS
The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works,
before his deeds of old;
I was formed long ages ago,
at the very beginning, when the world came to be. TNIV
יְהוָה–קָנָנִי רֵאשִׁית דַּרְכּוֹ:
קֶדֶם מִפְעָלָיו מֵאָז
מֵעוֹלָם נִסַּכְתִּי מֵרֹאשׁ
I have spent considerable time meditating on this text, on the way the English translations do or do not reflect the structure of the Hebrew. Fortunately I can offer the excellent translation of Azzan Yadin in Scripture as Logos page 163,
YHWH created me at the beginning of his course,
As the first of His works of old.
In the distant past was I fashioned,
At the beginning, at the origin of earth….
He comments on the passage from Proverbs 8:22-36,
Wisdom is a divine being that functions as an intermediary that comes to instruct humanity. … Verses 25-31 [23-29] describe Wisdom’s role as the primordial consort of Yahweh and witness to creation.
Yadin later takes up the Christos didaskalos tradition, Christ as teacher. What I particularly like about Yadin’s translation is the way he makes the repetition of “beginning” clear in the English and he keeps the literal sense of derek – “way” or “course.” However, there are intense theological differences in the different versions, especially if a Christological intepretation is in view. Any thoughts?