Proverbs 9 Study Notes

9:1-2 Lady Wisdom is preparing a banquet to dedicate her house (cp. 1Kg 8:62-66). The seven pillars, the number of perfection, suggest that it was a large, durable house. Mixed . . . wine contained honey or spices (Ps 75:8; Sg 8:2). Symbolically, she is ready to share her enjoyable and beneficial instruction.

9:3 Through her . . . servants, she calls out; the messengers speak in the name of the sender (Nm 22:5). Her servants are sages, teachers, pastors, and parents. Her invitation is very public (Pr 1:21; 8:1-4).

9:4-6 Enter is literally “turn”; it implies leaving one path in favor of another (3:7; 4:27; 5:7; 11:22; 13:14,19; 14:16,27; 16:6; 22:6). She invites the inexperienced (see note at 1:4), who lacks sense (see note at 6:30-33), to leave his path and pursue her way (see note at 1:15) that leads to life (Jn 6:27,51-58). There is no middle road (see note at Pr 4:25-27); if he does not choose wisdom, he will end up a mocker (1:22).

9:7-9 The teacher is warned to avoid the unteachable (Mt 7:6). Abuse could also be translated “insults” (12:16). Indirectly, this encourages the inexperienced not to become the obstinate, malevolent mocker (1:22) or the hostile wicked person (2:22), but instead the benevolent wise and righteous person who continues to learn more. The wise never reach the point where they cannot become wiser still (1:5; 4:18; 12:1; 13:1; 19:25; 21:11; Mt 13:12).

9:10 The wise are teachable (10:9) because they are humble and they fear . . . the Lord (see note at 1:7).

9:11 These phrases imply both a long life and eternal life (see note at 3:22).

9:12 This verse emphasizes the individual nature of rewards and consequences (see Ezk 18), but a person’s family (Pr 20:7; 23:25) and a leader’s followers (11:10; 29:2,4) are also affected.

9:13 On Folly, see “fool” in note at 1:22; on rowdy, see “loud” in note at 7:11. Lady folly is gullible (the same Hebrew word as “inexperienced”—see note at 1:4—but in her case she has chosen a path) and ignorant of morality and the consequences of choosing against it (v. 18; 4:19; 5:6; 23:35; 28:22).

9:14 While wisdom is industrious (vv. 1-3), folly sits. Chairs were rare in ancient times. Only kings and honored teachers sat (2Sm 19:8; 1Kg 2:12,19; Est 5:1; Ps 29:10; Mt 5:1; 23:2; Lk 4:20)—so her seat (lit “throne”) was her pretentious claim of authority to rule or teach.

9:15-16 The inexperienced person (see note at 1:4) was going straight ahead, but he lacked the resolve and ability to resist the temptation to turn aside (v. 4; 4:10-19,25-27; 1Jn 2:19). Folly tempts vulnerable people (Pr 1:11; Mt 23:14-15).

9:17 Lady wisdom offers a feast (vv. 2,5). Folly offers only water and bread, but her appeal is the attraction that sin has for fallen man (Ps 52:3; Jr 14:10; Mc 3:2; Jn 3:19; 1Pt 4:3).

9:18 Neither folly (v. 13) nor fallen man knows that death is the outcome of this path (4:19; 5:3-5; 8:36; 14:12). On departed spirits, see note at 2:18-19; on Sheol, see note at 1:12-13.

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