Wisdom chapter 13

Solomon says if there is a design, there is a designer. That is called that the “Argument from Design. And he points out ironies in worshipping idols.



The Book of Wisdom is recognized as Deuterocanonical Scripture by the Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, and Catholic Churches




SUMMARY: When we see a beautiful watch, we conclude that someone designed it. When we behold this beautiful world, most people conclude that there must be an all-powerful God who designed it. If there is a design, there is a designer. Philosophers call that the “Argument from Design.”

The most famous example of the “Argument from Design” is “The Watchmaker analogy.”


VERSE 1. For truly all men who had no perception of God were vain by nature, and didn’t gain power to know him who exists from the good things that are seen. They didn’t recognize the architect from his works.

Wisdom 13:1. For truly all men who had no perception of God were vain by nature, and didn’t gain power to know him who exists from the good things that are seen. They didn’t recognize the architect from his works.

Sirach 43:1. The pride of the height is the firmament in its clearness, The appearance of heaven, in the spectacle of its glory.

Romans 1:20. For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity, that they may be without excuse.


VERSE 2. But they thought that either fire, or wind, or swift air, or circling stars, or raging water, or luminaries of heaven were gods that rule the world.

they thought … luminaries of heaven were gods. That is, they worshipped with stars.


VERSE 3. If it was through delight in their beauty that they took them to be gods, let them know how much better their Sovereign Lord is than these, for the first author of beauty created them.

delight in their beauty. The physical realities of nature are indeed beautiful.

how much better their Sovereign Lord. The Lord is even more amazing than anything in nature.


VERSE 4. But if it was through astonishment at their power and influence, then let them understand from them how much more powerful he who formed them is.

he who formed them. The physical realities of nature are merely created things. Their Creator is far superior to them.


VERSE 5. For from the greatness of the beauty of created things, mankind forms the corresponding image of their Maker.


VERSE 6. But yet for these men there is but small blame, for they too perhaps go astray while they are seeking God and desiring to find him.


VERSE 7. For they diligently search while living among his works, and they trust their sight that the things that they look at are beautiful.

they trust their sight. Too many people are closed to anything except what they can rationalize within their own mind.


VERSE 8. But again even they are not to be excused.


VERSE 9. For if they had power to know so much, that they should be able to explore the world, how is it that they didn’t find the Sovereign Lord sooner?




VERSE 10. But miserable were they, and in dead things were their hopes, Who called them gods which are works of men’s hands, gold and silver, skillfully made, and likenesses of animals, or a useless stone, the work of an ancient hand.


VERSE 11. Yes and if some woodcutter, having sawn down a tree that is easily moved, skillfully strips away all its bark, and fashioning it in attractive form, makes a useful vessel to serve his life’s needs.


VERSE 12. Burning the scraps from his handiwork to cook his food, he eats his fill.


VERSE 13. Taking a discarded scrap which served no purpose, a crooked piece of wood and full of knots, carves it with the diligence of his idleness, and shapes it by the skill of his idleness. He shapes it in the image of a man,


VERSE 14. or makes it like some paltry animal, smearing it with something red, painting it red, and smearing over every stain in it.


VERSE 15. Having made a worthy chamber for it, he sets it in a wall, securing it with iron.


VERSE 16. He plans for it that it may not fall down, knowing that it is unable to help itself (for truly it is an image, and needs help).

Verses 16 to 19 point out ironies in praying to an idol:

Verse 17  goods  no life
Verse 17 marriage  no life
Verse 17 children  no life
Verse 18 health weak
Verse 18 life dead
Verse 18 aid no experience
Verse 18 good journey can’t move
Verse 19 profit no ability
Verse 19 success no ability


VERSE 17. When he makes his prayer concerning goods and his marriage and children, he is not ashamed to speak to that which has no life.

Ironies in this verse:

  • goods … has no life
  • marriage … has no life
  • children … has no life


VERSE 18. Yes, for health, he calls upon that which is weak. For life, he implores that which is dead. For aid, he supplicates that which has no experience. For a good journey, he asks that which can’t so much as move a step.

Ironies in this verse:

  • health … weak
  • life … death
  • aid … no experience
  • good journey … can’t move


VERSE 19. And for profit in business and good success of his hands, he asks ability from that which has hands with no ability.

Irony in this verse:

  • profit … no ability
  • success … no ability


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


Author: todd

At Explore the Faith, I share insights into the Bible and theological writings. If you like what I write, become my partner by donating. Help me reach the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.