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for wisdom is a shade, money is a shade, but the advantage of the knowledge of wisdom is that it preserves

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the life of those who own it.


because wisdom is a source of protection that is similar in some ways to how money is a protection, but the advantage to those that know wisdom is that it truly does preserve the life of those who possess it.



This word can mean “give life,” or “preserve life.” The latter seems most fitting in this case. This is a comparison and contrast intended to show that wisdom is better than an inheritance. On first glance it appears that the author does not make his point very well because both money and wisdom preserve life. However, he has been saying throughout this book that the accumulation of wealth is not as great as it appears. Although the true intent is veiled, as it often is in Jewish writing, I think the author is saying that we think money serves to preserve life, but it does a poor job of it, for it cannot produce quality life. The contrast is clear, wisdom does a better job than money at producing long life that is worth living.