Proverbs 9:1-6

Proverbs 9:1-6 "Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars: She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table.  She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city, Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled. Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding."
Proverbs 9 is on some level and in some way a summary of chapters 7 and 8.  In the previous two chapters, Solomon described two very different women with two very different intentions with two very different outcomes.  This chapter is a much shorter version of the same thing.  In the contrast of chapters 7 and 8, Wisdom personified as a woman was the suggested alternative to the “strange woman” (7:5).  In this chapter, Wisdom personified as a woman will be the suggested alternative to a “foolish woman” (9:13).  In both cases, there is an obvious lesson for all to learn, but especially for young men to learn.  Despite representing the virtue of wisdom as a woman, Solomon is not necessarily teaching his son to pick the right woman for a mate.  He is teaching his son to avoid the wrong woman by choosing wisdom.  In both cases in chapters 7-9, Solomon was teaching his son that if he doesn’t choose wisdom, he would end up with the wrong woman.

The human heart is wired to love and to be loved.  Human beings are drawn to each other in romance and in relationship.  For these reasons, the majority of people will end up in a romantic relationship of some type at some point in their lives.  Solomon was not worried about opportunities or prospects for his son, especially given his royal status and good looks.  He was not worried about his son finding a woman to love.  He was very concerned however, that if his son didn’t choose wisdom to help with relationship decisions, he would naturally end up with the wrong woman.  Without wisdom, we make bad decisions.  Without wisdom, we choose the wrong people to date, court, marry and love.  Without wisdom, we end up in the bad relationships.
These three chapters are not pictures of good girls contrasted to pictures of bad girls.  These chapters are not necessarily examples of what you should look for in a mate and what you shouldn’t look for in a mate.  These chapters show us what type of individuals you will end up loving if you don’t have wisdom. Therefore, to help his son choose wisdom before ending up in a relationship he shouldn’t be in, Solomon portrayed wisdom as a woman he should choose to love.

In chapters 7 and 8, Solomon started with the “strange woman” and finished with Wisdom.  In this chapter, he will reverse the order and start with Wisdom and finish with the “foolish woman.”

Prov. 9:1 "Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars:"
2 "She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table."
3 "She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city,"
4 "Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,"
5 "Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled."

Solomon portrayed Wisdom as a very competent and accomplished woman.  He painted the picture of a woman who knows how to do a lot and who knows how to get a lot done.  Presented as a woman without a man, she is able to do everything she needs to do without a man.  She is able to cut down trees and chisel out pillars on which to build a house. She is able to build her own house.  She is able to butcher her own animals in the barnyard and then cook those same animals in her own kitchen.  She is able to mingle her own wine with spices and set her own table.  While it isn’t mentioned, it is certainly implied that she has the means to raise livestock as well as manage vineyards.  She has her own staff of maidens that she is able to manage and utilize efficiently as she sends them to run errands and deliver messages.  To have maidens, she obviously has the financial means to employ and compensate employees.  This “woman” by the name of Wisdom has everything and needs nothing.  Yet, she invites the masses to join her for a feast.

Why would Solomon paint the picture of a self-made, self-sufficient woman when trying to convince his son to choose wisdom?

The answer is simple and most practical.  Unlike the strange women in the world, wisdom needs nothing from us and therefore, takes nothing from us.  As we already saw at the end of chapter 7 and as we will see at the end of chapter 9, pleasure from inappropriate romantic relationships takes much from us.  Without wisdom, we choose mates based on personal pleasure.  When we choose romance based on personal pleasure, we are robbed of our purity and a clear conscious is taken from us.  The wrong mate sucks the life out of us – spiritually, emotionally and even physically.  The only thing we lose when we choose wisdom is foolishness and in return, we receive life.

6 "Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding."

In our world, pleasure comes at a cost.  In chapter 7, pleasure for a young man came at a tremendous cost.  At the end of chapter 9, pleasure comes at a cost.  When people in our world offer some form of pleasure, there is always a cost.  Consider this truth in light of the context of these chapters – prostitution takes money from people, fornication takes purity from people and adultery takes marriage from people.  In our world, everyone wants something because in our world, everyone needs something.  In our world, people exchange pleasure for something they need.  We give something ultimately to get something.  Solomon is portraying wisdom as something that doesn’t need anything.  Wisdom doesn’t need anyone or anything.  Therefore, wisdom doesn’t take anything from anyone.  

Wisdom doesn’t take our resources.  It doesn’t take our time – it only maximizes it.  It doesn’t take our money – it only grows it.  It doesn’t suck the life out of us – it only extends it.  It doesn’t take our relationships from us – it only strengthens them.  It doesn’t take our talents – it only refines them.  It doesn’t take our thoughts – it only enlightens them.  It doesn’t take our future – it only brightens it.

Wisdom doesn’t need us but we sure need wisdom.  Wisdom offers a lot of benefits without any burdens.  She doesn’t charge any taxes because she doesn’t need anything.  She doesn’t require any toll because she doesn’t need anything.  The only thing we have to do to feast at her table is “forsake the foolish.”  If we want the benefits of wisdom, we have to walk away from the foolish.  If we want to eat of her bread, we have to stop listening to foolish teachers.  If we want to drink of her wine, we have to stop watching foolish videos.  If we want to sit at her table, we have to stop reading foolish books.  If we want to experience her enlightenment, we have to end foolish relationships.  If we will “forsake the foolish,” she promises us true life.  While the “foolish woman” takes life from her guests (vs. 18), wisdom offers life to hers.

Foolishness takes the best from us and the good out of us.  
Wisdom, on the other hand, leaves the best with us and takes nothing good from us.  

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