Original post date: Friday, May 25, 2007
In English: Wiser than Solomon.
Given that I've been posting proverbs about wisdom, sapientia, it made sense to choose this saying about the wise King Solomon. Just as Croesus was the proverbial rich man, King Solomon was the proverbial wise man. To be wiser than Solomon would be very wise indeed. There is a fascinating story in the Bible, I Kings 3, about Solomon and God's gift of wisdom. Here is the Latin, along with the King James English version:
5 Apparuit autem Dominus Salomoni per somnium nocte, dicens: Postula quod vis ut dem tibi. In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.A dream? Or not? I've always found that a tantalizing story.
6 Et ait Salomon: Tu fecisti cum servo tuo David patre meo misericordiam magnam, sicut ambulavit in conspectu tuo in veritate et justitia, et recto corde tecum: custodisti ei misericordiam tuam grandem, et dedisti ei filium sedentem super thronum ejus, sicut est hodie. And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.
7 Et nunc Domine Deus, tu regnare fecisti servum tuum pro David patre meo: ego autem sum puer parvulus, et ignorans egressum et introitum meum. And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.
8 Et servus tuus in medio est populi quem elegisti, populi infiniti, qui numerari et supputari non potest præ multitudine. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.
9 Dabis ergo servo tuo cor docile, ut populum tuum judicare possit, et discernere inter bonum et malum. Quis enim poterit judicare populum istum, populum tuum hunc multum? Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?
10 Placuit ergo sermo coram Domino, quod Salomon postulasset hujuscemodi rem. And the speech pleased the LORD, that Solomon had asked this thing.
11 Et dixit Dominus Salomoni: Quia postulasti verbum hoc, et non petisti tibi dies multos, nec divitias, aut animas inimicorum tuorum, sed postulasti tibi sapientiam ad discernendum judicium: And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment;
12 ecce feci tibi secundum sermones tuos, et dedi tibi cor sapiens et intelligens, in tantum ut nullus ante te similis tui fuerit, nec post te surrecturus sit. Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.
13 Sed et hæc quæ non postulasti, dedi tibi: divitias scilicet, et gloriam, ut nemo fuerit similis tui in regibus cunctis retro diebus. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days.
14 Si autem ambulaveris in viis meis, et custodieris præcepta mea et mandata mea, sicut ambulavit pater tuus, longos faciam dies tuos. And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.
15 Igitur evigilavit Salomon, et intellexit quod esset somnium And Solomon awoke; and, behold, it was a dream.
Meanwhile, there is a book of the Bible called "The Wisdom of Solomon." It forms part of the Catholic and Orthodox Bibles, but it is assigned to the apocryphal books in King James and other Protestant Bibles, and it does not form part of the Hebrew Bible. You can read the Latin and Greek texts of the book at the Sacred Texts website. That book is written as if by Solomon in the first person. If you are interested in learning more about it, I've written up some information at the Religious Reading blog. Meanwhile, wishing you all the wisdom of Solomon, here is today's proverb read out loud:
648. Salomone sapientior.
The number here is the number for this proverb in Latin Via Proverbs: 4000 Proverbs, Mottoes and Sayings for Students of Latin.
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