719: The Beginning of Wisdom

The Hebrew word for “beginning” is reshit (H7225), which is best known for being part of the very first word of Scripture, b’reshit, in Genesis 1:1. That word is also the Hebrew name for the whole book of Genesis, which is therefore sometimes called the Book of Beginnings. It’s also the name of the first portion of Scripture in the Jewish cycle of annual readings, read on the Sabbath following the last Holy Day after the Feast of Tabernacles (which was yesterday). While the year “begins” in a civil sense on the Feast of Trumpets and in a religious sense at Passover, the time after the fall feast season ends is a new beginning in the sense of a time to begin applying the wisdom learned during the Holy Days.

There are two places in Scripture that contain the exact phrase, “the beginning of wisdom”: Psalm 111:10 and Proverbs 9:10. Both of these are the tenth verse in their chapter. Psalm 111:10 says in full, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.” The verse doesn’t directly mention the commandments; it’s just a way in English to fill in the grammatical phrase. But the emphasis is on actively doing, which is the main theme of the tenth letter (yod). In other words, the idea is that wisdom is not just something one knows, but something one does.

The Greek equivalent for “beginning” is the word arche (G0746), which first occurs in Luke 20:20, but one very interesting occurrence is in John 1:2, which says, “The same was in the beginning with God.” The context is the Word who became the Messiah existing with God the Father before the beginning of all things. The value of arche by itself is 709, but with the iota subscript, as in this verse, its value is 719, which is a prime number. The value of the entire verse, however, is 2876, which is exactly 4 x 719. There are five other verses with this total verse value, but this is the only one that is an exact multiple of one of its words like this.

In addition, there is exactly one verse that has a total verse value of 719 itself, Proverbs 15:20, which says, “A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother.” It’s another verse about wisdom, although the word is not the same one used in the “beginning of wisdom” verses mentioned previously. Besides the literal meaning, children of God who seek wisdom make their Heavenly Father glad because they will fear Him.

There’s another verse that is connected numerically, because it has a total value of 7190, or 10 x 719. That verse is James 4:10: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” Not only is the verse value a multiple of ten, but it too is the tenth verse in its chapter. While this verse is about humility rather than wisdom, there is still a connection. Proverbs 22:4 says, “By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.” This verse brings the subject full circle back to the fear of the Lord. Ultimately, all wisdom and humility come from properly fearing and revering the Father of all and the Messiah.