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Wisdom Gives a Long Life Now and Eventually Eternal Life
Proverbs 3:18 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
18 She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;
those who hold her fast are called happy.
She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her: Maybe taken from the tree of life in Eden (Gen. 2:9; 3:22; cf Rev 2:7 and 22:2), the phrase “tree[s] of life” occurs numerous additional times in the Scriptures, always in a figurative, or symbolic, sense. We see here in our verse under consideration that “she [wisdom] is a tree of life.” “Wisdom” (ASV), “Good sense” (ESV), “insight” (CSB), “understanding” NASB) “is a fountain of life to one who has it,” in that wisdom will supply us with that which we require, not only to enjoy our present life but also to obtain eternal life (John 3:16; 17:3), that is, accurate knowledge of God and the insight and good sense to be obedient to his commands. (Prov. 3:18; 16:22) The Hebrew verb for “lay hold of” (חָזַק chazaq) has the sense of to seize or grasp, to hold firmly with the mind, which must be gotten down into the heart.
Those who hold her fast are called happy: Hold … fast renders another Hebrew verb (תָּמַךְ tamak), which is very similar in meaning to lay hold of in 3:18a, and here has the sense of sticking firmly be it in a physical or abstract. Repeating this thought twice helps emphasize the idea of seizing or holding firmly to wisdom. Called happy in the Hebrew (אָשַׁר ashar) is literally “are blessed,” “happy,” or “fortunate.” Wisdom gives a long life now and eventually eternal life to those who stick firmly to her.
Happy, blessed: (אָשֵׁרִי Asheri; μακάριος makarios) Asre occurs 11 times in the Hebrew Old Testament and makarios 50 times in the Greek New Testament. Happiness and being highly favored by God characterize this joy. It is speaking of a person who is content, full of joy. This is not to be confused with the Hebrew word barak which means, “to bless,” as in a divine blessing. The Hebrew barak and the Greek eulogeo is the act of being blessed, while the Hebrew asre and Greek makarios are the state or condition of the person who is being blessed, who is a highly favored one. – 1 Ki 10:8; Ps 1:1; 119:1-2; Pro. 14:21; 16:20; Matt. 5:3-11; 11:6; 13:16; Lu 1:45; John 13:17; 20:29; Ac 20:35; Rom. 4:7-8 to mention just a few.