Proverbs 9:1-6 Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars.
2 She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine; she has also set her table.
3 She has sent out her young women to call from the highest places in the town,
4 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” To him who lacks sense she says,
5 “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed.
6 Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight.”
Chapter 9 opens with the proclamation and presence of Wisdom. She is very real and is inviting all who will heed her instruction.
It is the simple and the lazy that stay in their ignorance and limited understanding. Wisdom says, “Come and eat and drink and live and walk in the way of insight.” This may seem somewhat trivial, but I encourage you to not overlook how central this need is for many of us. All too many days we opt for routines that do not grow us or mature our faith. We just punch the time card of life and do not make time to hear wisdom’s call. God has blessed us so much with this holy and life changing word. Let it be our great source for wisdom and a light in this dark world. Let us now settle for a half lit, dim room to live in but the light that makes all things new and helps us walk in a manor worthy of our holy God.
Sin vs. Wisdom
Proverbs 9:7-16 Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
8 Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
11 For by me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life.
12 If you are wise, you are wise for yourself; if you scoff, you alone will bear it.
It is amazing to see the blindness of the unrepentant sinner. He is so blind and foolish that he will literally turn away helpful rebuke and wise counsel. In contrast, the wise man loves reproof and instruction. The righteous man who is the Lord’s will desire to increase in learning and sound doctrine. We must have a right fear of the Lord and not just accept any man’s teaching in the name of Jesus but check it against the Scriptures and sound doctrine. We must be diligent to test the words of even angels. Paul says for if they bring another gospel it is not the true gospel, and they are accursed (Gal 1:8).
We must hold fast to God’s word so we are matured in wisdom and faith, that “we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes” (Eph 4:14). Instead, God’s people, the righteous, will pursued godly wisdom, and they will be blessed.
The Woman Folly
Proverbs 9:13-16 The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing.
14 She sits at the door of her house; she takes a seat on the highest places of the town,
15 calling to those who pass by, who are going straight on their way,
16 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” And to him who lacks sense she says,
In Proverbs 8 and the beginning of 9, Wisdom is famously personified as a lady who calls out for the simple to sit at her feet and learn from her righteous words. But as wisdom has an enemy which is foolishness, Lady Wisdom is also shown to have a personified antagonist, and her name is Folly; we meet her here in Proverbs 9:13–18.
She is loud! This is no surprise, because all too often the ignorant or foolish are good at running their mouths!
Often people who love to talk are limited in what they know because they are so busy talking that they are slow to listen and learn. In chapter 10 we will meet the “babbling fool” and the destruction that he brings (10:8). Fools, we read, love to flaunt their folly (13:16). This is the picture that Proverbs 9 paints of Woman Folly, giving us the image of one who says a lot but has very little to offer that is good.
As the negative counterpart to Lady Wisdom, Woman Folly also calls out for men and women to heed her. But Woman Folly is guilty of manipulating her audience; we see signs of this in her positioning herself at the “highest places of the town” (9:14). She is selling something that is empty. It is a lie. Who will fall into her trap? Who will embrace the way of the fool? The one who is all talk and no lasting action for anything good.
We were made by God to live by divine wisdom, but in Adam (the federal head of mankind), we forfeited our precious birthright and enslaved ourselves to the sin of foolishness. Only true and lasting wisdom—Jesus Christ Himself—can set us free.
1 Corinthians 1:30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,
Proverbs 9:17-18 “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”
18 But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.
In these last verses, the Woman Folly is paired with sexual immorality. The description of stolen water and bread eaten in secret are images of inappropriate sexual relations. Forbidden relationships seem to tap into the hope of love and companionship, but they bring destruction, death, and demise. The consequence for this kind of endeavor is false promises and death. Only Lady Wisdom, the personification of what God has revealed as truth, is right and will bring us life.
What we have to see is that in our sin, we are all prone to chase after folly, because our flesh believes its false promises. Let us take care to guard our hearts and seek God’s truths and biblical wisdom. May we find our identity, hope, and standing in Christ alone.