In the Old Testament, the tool of training is the law but the goal of character training is Wisdom. Many have tried to define wisdom but most definitions beg the question by simply burying the definition in the premise. It is the ability to use knowledge correctly, some say (but what is “correctly”). Or, it is the habit of obeying God (but why not just say Obediance?) The fullest essay on Wisdom is Proverbs, and from that essay we extract this simple definition of wisdom: to see, beyond the Time Gap, the harvest in the seed. Again, because it is so important: wisdom is to see the harvest in the seed.

The wise man has internalized the Law of Creation and sees the earth bristling with seeds of all kinds, like God sees it. He no longer remembers that you reap what you sow, nor does he consciously “believe” it, but he literally sees the harvest in the seed.

The beginning of wisdom is to fear God, the scrupture tells us. Why the fear of God and not the love of God, which is the greatest commandment? Because the wise man literally sees into the future, to the Last Judgment, which is a great and terrible day of reckoning. Any man who sees God as a Judge will tremble with fear. So the beginning of wisdom in the soul is when the day of judgement stares out at the man from every person and thing he passes.

The father watches the son for signs of the fear which is the beginning of wisdom.  We watch for the spark of fear in his heart — that is the sign he is passing from Law into its object. Not the fear of us, as earthly fathers — he should feel that from the beginning — but the fear of reaping corruption. This is the sign he is internalizing our law.

His psychological tension will increase, not decrease, as he grows in wisdom.   The tare of the flesh grows along with the wheat of law in the good man, and the soul feels the tension between these two inner principles.

The culmination of Wisdom is demonstrated in the climax of Proverbs, the prototypical wisdom book.  Proverbs 31 is the culmination of wisdom, as — take notice — the the son chooses an excellent wife!  Yes, work of the law as it relates to character development culminates in a good marriage.

At this point, the father is done. The earthly goal of all that the father does is the betrothment. The son will leave his home and become one flesh with his wife.

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