🔼The name Hochma: Summary
- From the noun חכמה (hokma), wisdom.
🔼The name Hochma in the Bible
Hochma is generally not recognized as a Biblical name, but perhaps it should be. It's the Hebrew version of Sophia, meaning Wisdom. In Proverbs 1-9 wisdom is personified as a kind of Lady Wisdom (Hochma), contrasted by Lady Folly (Chesiluth; Proverbs 9:13).
The Biblical concept of wisdom is much broader than our modern understanding of wisdom. HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament states that it covers the "whole gamut of human experience". It covers artistic skill (Exodus 28:3), technical skill (Exodus 31:3) and martial skill (Isaiah 10:13). Wisdom is required to lead a nation (Deuteronomy 34:9). It covers cleverness (2 Samuel 20:22), and it counts prudence among its aspects (Psalm 37:30). The book of Proverbs dictates that wisdom begins where the acquisition of wisdom begins (4:5), and also that wisdoms begins at the fear of the YHWH (9:10).
Although wisdom is a broadly recognized concept, it's difficult to establish where it may have come from. Maybe that's why so many ancient writers sought to define it and found that it's as allusive as the evenly difficult concepts of truth and love. In order to determine what's wise and what's not, one would have to know what wisdom wants to achieve. If wisdom wants to achieve self-preservation (isn't that what biologists say?) it wouldn't be an attribute of the Messiah (Isaiah 11:2) who also seeks self-sacrifice (Isaiah 53:6). Perhaps the most fundamental desire of wisdom therefore is not self-preservation but self-application; a death of the self so that the collective might live. Love, then, becomes the expression of wisdom (1 Corinthians 13), as much as love is the fulfilment of Torah (Romans 13:8-10).
🔼Etymology of the name Hochma
The name Hochma is the word חכמה (hokma), meaning Wisdom:
The verb חכם (hakam) means to be wise, which in ancient times meant that you had travelled far and wide to get up to snuff with the latest findings in science and technology. Such as person was at times known as a wizard (a wise-ard), but in later ages these folks became known as doctors, scientists, professors, engineers and so forth.
It's now hard to imagine but back in the day wisdom was just another sect in the grand arena of human competition, and since wisdom depends fully on human networks, the bullies had most of the say-so most of the time. Wisdom only began to win in stature when humanity developed language and script, and reports of superiority based on knowledge and shared skills began to make the rounds.
In the Bible wisdom is always associated with practical abilities and measurable results, never with raw intelligence and certainly not with speculation or anything supernatural.
The adjective חכם (hakam) means skillful or learned and covers disciplines from art to administration. The noun חכמה (hokma) means wisdom.