Proverbs chapter 9

Solomon contrasts the way of wisdom with the way of folly. He portrays each as a woman giving an invitation to a magnificent meal.

 


 

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THE WAY OF WISDOM

 

VERSE 1. Wisdom has built her house. She has carved out her seven pillars.

has built. This is in the past tense. Lady Wisdom has already built her house.

house. This could also be translated as “temple.”

seven pillars. People try to imagine what these stand for. It is simpler to let them suggest that the house was large and spacious. That is consistent with a theme in the Book of Proverbs that wisdom correlates with wealth.

 

VERSE 2. She has prepared her meat. She has mixed her wine. She has also set her table.

 

VERSE 3. She has sent out her maidens. She cries from the highest places of the city:

sent out her maidens. They are to invite people to attend her banquet:

Luke 14:23. The lord said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.’

from the highest places of the city. This was an elevated spot where many people would hear the invitation. “Madam Folly” also called from such a high point, as we see in verse 14 below.

 

VERSE 4. “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” As for him who is void of understanding, she says to him,

 

VERSE 5. “Come, eat some of my bread, Drink some of the wine which I have mixed!

eat … drink. Wisdom calls us to eat her food and drink her wine. What is the food and wine that wisdom refers to? It is almost certainly the Torah. To eat her food and drink her wine is to study the Torah.

 

VERSE 6. Leave your simple ways, and live. Walk in the way of understanding.”

 

VERSE 7. One who corrects a mocker invites insult. One who reproves a wicked man invites abuse.

NAB translation: He who corrects an arrogant man earns insult; and he who reproves a wicked man incurs opprobrium.

an arrogant man. Hotheaded people turn against anyone who offers them even tiny slivers of godly wisdom. It is not worth it to try, since it will set the hothead off.

earns insult. A hothead will ruin the day of anyone offering the wisdom.

incurs opprobrium. The hothead will bring about extreme disgrace (opprobrium) for the godly person.

Proverbs 9:7. He who corrects an arrogant man earns insult; and he who reproves a wicked man incurs opprobrium. (NAB translation)

Sirach 8:3. Contend not with a man that is full of tongue, And heap not wood upon his fire.

Matthew 7:6. Don’t give that which is holy to the dogs, neither throw your pearls before the pigs, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

 

VERSE 8. Don’t reprove a scoffer, lest he hate you. Reprove a wise person, and he will love you.

 

VERSE 9. Instruct a wise person, and he will be still wiser. Teach a righteous person, and he will increase in learning.

 

VERSE 10. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. The knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

fear of the LORD. This phrase is often misunderstood. It does not mean we should be terrified of God. Rather, it means “reverential fear and respect for God.”

Job 28:28. To man he said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom. To depart from evil is understanding.’

Mark 12:12. They tried to seize him, but they feared the multitude; for they perceived that he spoke the parable against them. They left him, and went away.

 

VERSE 11. For by me your days will be multiplied. The years of your life will be increased.

 

VERSE 12. If you are wise, you are wise for yourself. If you mock, you alone will bear it.

 

THE WAY OF FOLLY

 

VERSE 13. The foolish woman is loud, undisciplined, and knows nothing.

 

VERSE 14. She sits at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city,

sits at the door of her house. Lady Wisdom had searched out her guests. But Madam Folly merely sits at the door and calls out.

in the high places of the city. This was an elevated spot where many people would hear the invitation. “Madam Wisdom” also called from such a high point, as we see in verse 3 above.

 

VERSE 15. to call to those who pass by, who go straight on their ways,

 

VERSE 16. “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here.” As for him who is void of understanding, she says to him,

 

VERSE 17. “Stolen water is sweet. Food eaten in secret is pleasant.”

Stolen water. In the Book of Proverbs, the drinking of water refers to a husband giving his wife cunnilingus, as we saw in our exploration of Proverbs chapter 5:

Proverbs 5:15. Drink water out of your own cistern, running water out of your own well.

In that light, “stolen water” refers to a sexual affair such as we saw in Proverbs chapter 7:

Proverbs 7:18-19. Come, let’s take our fill of loving until the morning. Let’s solace ourselves with loving. 19 For my husband isn’t at home. He has gone on a long journey.

 

VERSE 18. But he doesn’t know that the departed spirits are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.

departed spirits are there. Being in a close relationship with Madame Folly leads to death.

 


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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 Van Natta

I was given a great gift. It is to be passionate about Jesus Christ and the Bible and the spiritual life. I am a Christian believer. I believe in Jesus Christ. I’m in love with Jesus! I believe the Bible. I love the Bible. For decades, I've been reading it cover-to-cover, again and again and again. I’ve memorized a whole lot of Bible verses. Most of all, I want the Bible to help us fall more deeply in love with God the Father, with Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, with other people, and with ourselves. And I've been reading the great writings from the entire Christian heritage for decades. At Explore the Faith, I share what I have discovered.

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