Wisdom, Love, and Fear of the Lord

I am inspired today (3/21/19) by a fourth century St. Hilary of Poitiers essay on the meaning of “the fear of the Lord,” a subject we have discussed in the MPG. The essay is included in the Office of Readings and in the Morning Prayer (Enlarged Form) in the Universalis APP, an iPad screen shot of the page below.

The phrase “fear of the lord” appears 49 times in Sacred Scripture (NAB) distributed as follows:

And here, for meditation and consideration, are all 49 (although I dislike pulling verses out of context.) With that in mind, since 10 of the instances are in Sirach 1, it is probably worth beginning by reading that entire beautiful and inspiring chapter. “Wisdom,” mentioned several times, also has been a recent topic of MPG discussion.

NAB Sirach 1:1-29 – All wisdom comes from the LORD and with him it remains forever.
2 The sand of the seashore, the drops of rain, the days of eternity: who can number these?
3 Heaven’s height, earth’s breadth, the depths of the abyss: who can explore these?
4 Before all things else wisdom was created; and prudent understanding, from eternity.
5 To whom has wisdom’s root been revealed? Who knows her subtleties?
6 There is but one, wise and truly awe-inspiring, seated upon his throne:
7 It is the LORD; he created her, has seen her and taken note of her.
8 He has poured her forth upon all his works, upon every living thing according to his bounty; he has lavished her upon his friends.
9 Fear of the LORD is glory and splendor, gladness and a festive crown.
10 Fear of the LORD warms the heart, giving gladness and joy and length of days.
11 He who fears the LORD will have a happy end; even on the day of his death he will be blessed.
12 The beginning of wisdom is fear of the LORD, which is formed with the faithful in the womb.
13 With devoted men was she created from of old, and with their children her beneficence abides.
14 Fullness of wisdom is fear of the LORD; she inebriates men with her fruits.
15 Her entire house she fills with choice foods, her granaries with her harvest.
16 Wisdom’s garland is fear of the LORD, with blossoms of peace and perfect health.
17 Knowledge and full understanding she showers down; she heightens the glory of those who possess her.
18 The root of wisdom is fear of the LORD; her branches are length of days.
19 One cannot justify unjust anger; anger plunges a man to his downfall.
20 A patient man need stand firm but for a time, and then contentment comes back to him.
21 For a while he holds back his words, then the lips of many herald his wisdom.
22 Among wisdom’s treasures is the paragon of prudence; but fear of the LORD is an abomination to the sinner.
23 If you desire wisdom, keep the commandments, and the LORD will bestow her upon you;
24 For fear of the LORD is wisdom and culture; loyal humility is his delight.
25 Be not faithless to the fear of the LORD, nor approach it with duplicity of heart.
26 Play not the hypocrite before men; over your lips keep watch.
27 Exalt not yourself lest you fall and bring upon you dishonor;
28 For then the LORD will reveal your secrets and publicly cast you down,
29 Because you approached the fear of the LORD with your heart full of guile.

And here are all forty nine verses (NAB) containing the phrase “fear of the Lord.” I’m sure it is worth looking up the context for all 49, but I haven’t done it yet.

NAB Deuteronomy 6:24 Therefore, the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes in fear of the LORD, our God, that we may always have as prosperous and happy a life as we have today;

NAB 2 Chronicles 14:13 Then the Judahites conquered all the cities around Gerar, for the fear of the LORD was upon them; they despoiled all the cities, for there was much booty in them.
NAB 2 Chronicles 17:10 Now the fear of the LORD was upon all the kingdoms of the countries surrounding Judah, so that they did not war against Jehoshaphat.
NAB 2 Chronicles 19:7 And now, let the fear of the LORD be upon you. Act carefully, for with the LORD, our God there is no injustice, no partiality, no bribe-taking.”
9 He gave them this command: “You shall act faithfully and wholeheartedly in the fear of the LORD.

NAB Job 28:28 And to man he said: Behold, the fear of the LORD is wisdom; and avoiding evil is understanding.

NAB Psalm 19:10 The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The statutes of the LORD are true, all of them just;
NAB Psalm 34:12 Come, children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
NAB Psalm 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; prudent are all who live by it. Your praise endures forever.

NAB Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; wisdom and instruction fools despise.
29 Because they hated knowledge, and chose not the fear of the LORD;
NAB Proverbs 2:5 Then will you understand the fear of the LORD; the knowledge of God you will find;
NAB Proverbs 8:13 (The fear of the LORD is to hate evil;) Pride, arrogance, the evil way, and the perverse mouth I hate.
NAB Proverbs 9:10 The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the LORD, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
NAB Proverbs 10:27 The fear of the LORD prolongs life, but the years of the wicked are brief.
NAB Proverbs 14:26 In the fear of the LORD is a strong defense; even for one’s children he will be a refuge.
27 The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that a man may avoid the snares of death.
NAB Proverbs 15:16 Better a little with fear of the LORD than a great fortune with anxiety.
33 The fear of the LORD is training for wisdom, and humility goes before honors.
NAB Proverbs 16:6 By kindness and piety guilt is expiated, and by the fear of the LORD man avoids evil.
NAB Proverbs 19:23 The fear of the LORD is an aid to life; one eats and sleeps without being visited by misfortune.
NAB Proverbs 22:4 The reward of humility and fear of the LORD is riches, honor and life.
NAB Proverbs 23:17 Let not your heart emulate sinners, but be zealous for the fear of the LORD always;

NAB Sirach 1:9 Fear of the LORD is glory and splendor, gladness and a festive crown.
10 Fear of the LORD warms the heart, giving gladness and joy and length of days.
12 The beginning of wisdom is fear of the LORD, which is formed with the faithful in the womb.
14 Fullness of wisdom is fear of the LORD; she inebriates men with her fruits.
16 Wisdom’s garland is fear of the LORD, with blossoms of peace and perfect health.
18 The root of wisdom is fear of the LORD; her branches are length of days.
22 Among wisdom’s treasures is the paragon of prudence; but fear of the LORD is an abomination to the sinner.
24 For fear of the LORD is wisdom and culture; loyal humility is his delight.
25 Be not faithless to the fear of the LORD, nor approach it with duplicity of heart.
29 Because you approached the fear of the LORD with your heart full of guile.
NAB Sirach 10:21 Be it tenant or wayfarer, alien or pauper, his glory is the fear of the LORD.
NAB Sirach 16:2 Many though they be, exult not in them if they have not the fear of the LORD.
NAB Sirach 19:17 All wisdom is fear of the LORD; perfect wisdom is the fulfillment of the law.
NAB Sirach 21:11 He who keeps the law controls his impulses; he who is perfect in fear of the LORD has wisdom.
NAB Sirach 23:27 Thus all who dwell on the earth shall know, and all who inhabit the world shall understand, That nothing is better than the fear of the LORD, nothing more salutary than to obey his commandments.
NAB Sirach 25:6 The crown of old men is wide experience; their glory, the fear of the LORD.
11 Fear of the LORD surpasses all else. its possessor is beyond compare.
NAB Sirach 27:3 Unless you earnestly hold fast to the fear of the LORD, suddenly your house will be thrown down.
NAB Sirach 40:26 Wealth and vigor build up confidence, but better than either, fear of God. Fear of the LORD leaves nothing wanting; he who has it need seek no other support:
NAB Sirach 50:29 If he puts them into practice, he can cope with anything, for the fear of the LORD is his lamp.

NAB Isaiah 11:2 The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, A spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,
3 and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD. Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide,
NAB Isaiah 33:6 That which makes her seasons lasting, the riches that save her, are wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is her treasure.

NAB Jonah 1:16 Struck with great fear of the LORD, the men offered sacrifice and made vows to him.

NAB Acts 9:31 The church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria was at peace. It was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord, and with the consolation of the holy Spirit it grew in numbers.

NAB 2 Corinthians 5:11 Therefore, since we know the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others; but we are clearly apparent to God, and I hope we are also apparent to your consciousness.

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