PROVERBS CHAPTER 9.
Wisdom Contrasted with Folly.
THE BANQUET OF WISDOM. — V. 1. Wisdom, the divine and true wisdom, as it is exercised and exhibited here on earth among men, hath builded her house, to dwell in the midst of men. She hath hewn out her seven pillars, the reference being to the pillars of the inner court, which bear the upper stories, the number seven referring to the chief attributes of wisdom, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, Is. 11, 2. V. 2. She hath killed her beasts, slaughtering them in preparation for the great feast which she had planned; she hath mingled her wine, by adding spices of various kinds to enhance the flavor; she hath also furnished her table, set the table for the banquet. V. 3. She hath sent forth her maidens, bearing the invitations; she crieth upon the highest places of the city, so that the calls of invitation may be heard by all inhabitants and visitors. The message, as proclaimed by the messengers in the name of wisdom, is now given: v. 4. Whoso is simple, inexperienced, not yet acquainted with the dangers and temptations of life, let him turn in hither, to partake of wisdom’s banquet; as for him that wanteth understanding, that is, who lacks the proper insight, she saith to him, v. 5. Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine which I have mingled, the gifts which she freely offers. V. 6. Forsake the foolish and live, because the leaving of the company of fools and scorners is the first step in the right direction on the road to life, and go In the way of understanding, moving straight ahead on the way by which men obtain true knowledge. This demand, to abandon intercourse with the enemies of wisdom, is now further substantiated. V. 7. He that reproveth a scorner, trying to correct him, getteth to himself shame, his efforts are met with insults and mocking rejection, and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot, that is, his labor of love has the reward of bringing him into discredit with men, of heaping disgrace upon him. V. 8. Reprove not a scorner, the warning being not to attempt instruction and correction while the scorner is in his mood of opposition, lest he hate thee; rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee, his willingness to accept a deserved correction showing the soundness of his wisdom. Only a fool is always in the right; a wise man knows that to err is human. V. 9. Give instruction to a wise man, for he is willing to learn, and every correction serves for his further training, and he will be yet wiser; teach a just man, showing him how he may make still further progress in righteousness of life, and he will increase in learning, he will add to his store of knowledge and make proper use of it. V. 10. The fear of the Lord Is the beginning of wisdom, the basis and source of all true wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy, of Him who is the essence of holiness, is understanding, since it acts as a spur to ever greater efforts in holiness of life. V. 11. For by me, through the knowledge and strength given by true wisdom, thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased, a long and happy life being the reward of the use of true wisdom. V. 12. If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself, he who makes use of wisdom having the greatest benefit therefrom himself; but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it, for the foolish must pay the price of their folly, sooner or later. It pays to learn the wisdom of the Word of God and be guided by it in every vicissitude of life.
THE BANQUET OF FOLLY. — V. 13. A foolish woman is clamorous, literally, “A simple, noisy woman is folly,” devoid of sense, but raising all the more clamor, boisterous, excited, and wanton; she is simple and knoweth nothing, utter ignorance being characteristic of folly. V. 14. For she sitteth at the door of her house, like a harlot watching for passers-by, Gen. 38, 14, on a seat In the high places of the city, the lofty throne of the city being named in irony to show what measures are adopted by folly to gain adherents for herself, v. 15. to call passengers who go right on their ways, unwary travelers who are using the highways, intent upon their business: v. 16. Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither, to partake of the banquet of her folly, to be steeped ever more thoroughly in foolishness; and as for him that wanteth understanding, lacking in this essential part of a proper life, she saith to him, v. 17. Stolen waters are sweet, that is, forbidden pleasures, as praised by folly, especially in the form of immoral acts, illicit intercourse, seem pleasant enough for the time being, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant, literally, “bread of secrecy,” because both the unjust gain and the forbidden enjoyment are emphasized, Cp. chap. 3, 15-20. V. 18. But he, the person who hearkens to the invitation of folly, knoweth not that the dead are there, the children of death, who are moving forward to the horrors of the realm of death and everlasting destruction, and that her guests are in the depths of hell. That is the end of folly and of all who accept her invitation, while the faithful, who follow the call of wisdom, will attain to true prosperity and live a life of true usefulness and happiness in the world.