Translation commentary on Wisdom 10:1

Wisdom protected the first-formed father of the world, when he alone had been created: First-formed was used of Adam in 7.1. Father of the world refers to Adam as the male ancestor of “the human race” (Contemporary English Version). When he alone had been created is a problem, and interpreted in different ways. Some have said that Adam alone was “created,” and all other people have been “born.” But Eve was not exactly “born.” Others say it refers to Adam before the creation of Eve, but the next line talks about his sin, which came after Eve was on the scene. Others think of Adam being alone on earth as God is alone in heaven. Others suggest that alone has the force of “unprotected.” Adam was alone, needing the special assistance of Wisdom. For this line we could say “Wisdom protected the first man to be created, the father of all humanity, when he was still all alone in the world” or “Wisdom protected the father of the human race, when he was still alone in the world. He was the first person whom God created,” or even “Wisdom protected the father of the human race, before God had created any other person.” This still raises the problem of calling Adam alone when Eve is there, but there may be another approach. See the comments on the next line.

She delivered him from his transgression may be rendered “When he sinned, she saved him from it.” Nothing is said here or elsewhere in Scripture about how Wisdom did this. The ancient Jewish and Christian writers believed that Adam was wise enough to repent of his sin.

There is another way to view this: while Adam was still alone, before Eve was created, Wisdom protected him from eating the forbidden fruit. It is not the most natural way to interpret the verb translated delivered, but it is possible. This helps explain the unexpected expression “a transgression of his own” (which is the literal Greek text for his transgression). The reference to the man ruling all creation in the next verse is paralleled in the Genesis narrative in Adam naming the animals, which occurs before Eve is created. Perhaps Eve is not referred to because the author wants to connect Wisdom with the first human to be created, but to pay him this compliment he has to focus on what the man did—or did not do—before Eve came along, before they joined each other in eating the forbidden fruit. So we could translate this verse as follows:

• Wisdom protected the father of the human race. As long as he was alone in the world, she protected him from committing sin.

Quoted with permission from Bullard, Roger A. and Hatton, Howard A. A Handbook on The Wisdom of Solomon. (UBS Helps for Translators). New York: UBS, 2004. For this and other handbooks for translators see here.