Proverbs 9

In chapter 7, Solomon portrayed an evil woman (Proverbs 7:7–27). In chapter 8 he portrays wisdom as a refined lady who offers instruction to all who heed her call. Chapter 9 contrasts Lady Wisdom with the evil Woman Folly, who lures the foolish to their ruin. This extended warning about the dangers of rejecting God's wisdom leads into an extended collection of standalone proverbial comments, beginning in chapter 10.
Chapter 9 further highlights the distinction between godly wisdom and worldly foolishness. This returns to prior depictions of wisdom as a woman calling to be heard (Proverbs 8:1–4), and a seductive, sinful woman seeking gullible people as her prey (Proverbs 7:7–27). The chapter can be divided into three sections, each with six verses. The first continues to depict Lady Wisdom, the second contrasts the responses mankind has to wisdom, and the last section presents Folly as an inverted version of Wisdom herself.

After depicting Wisdom in detail in chapter 8, Solomon describes her as preparing a large home and a grand feast. The invitation Wisdom offers is for those who lack sense to improve, by obeying God and seeking truth. Those who accept Wisdom's invitation put themselves on a path to life and success. As with other proverbs, this is an expression of common sense, not an overly literal guarantee. Those who pursue truth and godliness are more likely to thrive and less likely to suffer consequences (Proverbs 9:1–6).

The middle portion of the chapter notes the different reactions mankind has to godly wisdom. Those who sincerely seek truth respond to correction with humility and love. They apply the lessons of wisdom to make themselves wiser. In contrast, those who are arrogant will sneer at godliness, and react with hatred and insults to those who correct them. This passage repeats the fundamental idea that true wisdom can only begin when a person properly respects and reveres God (Proverbs 9:7–12).

The chapter ends by describing a twisted mirror image of Wisdom. This woman, Folly, also invites others to join her. Rather than encouraging godliness, Folly lies and says that illicit pleasures are better than God's creations. Those who fall for her seduction fail to see that her path leads to death (Proverbs 9:13–18).

This concludes Solomon's overall praise of wisdom, begun in the later verses of chapter 1. After this, the book of Proverbs records many of the individual statements of wisdom made by Solomon. Each of these is a proverb in and of itself. Most of the rest of the book of Proverbs is a collection of these discrete, common sense generalities.

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