Proverbs 9

The Word Made Fresh

1So, Wisdom has built her house.
She has erected her seven columns.
2She has slaughtered her sacrificial animals,
mixed her wine and set her table.
3She has sent her servants to call out
from the town’s highest places,
4“All of you who want understanding, enter here!”
And to those who want to learn, she says,
5“Come, enjoy my bread
and drink the wine I have prepared.
6Don’t be simpleminded, but live to the fullest
and learn to seek out wisdom.
7Don’t try to correct those who scoff –
you will only win abuse.
And don’t bother to rebuke the wicked;
you will only be abused in return.
8Mockers will only hate you if you try to correct them,
but the wise will respect you if you correct them.
9Teach the wise and they will grow in wisdom;
teach the good and they will grow in learning.
10To learn from the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
for wisdom is to know the Holy One.
11I will multiply your days and add years to your life.
12Remember that your wisdom is yours alone,
but you will drag your mockery with you wherever you go.
13A foolish woman is loud because she is ignorant.
14She sits outside her door,
or at a gathering place in town,
15and calls out to those passing by on their business,
16‘If you’re looking to learn something, come over here!’
And to dullards she says,
17‘Come on over – water that is stolen is sweet!
Bread eaten secretly is better still!’
18But they don’t realize she is surrounded by those who are dying,
and those who gather ‘round her are at the door of death.”


Chapter 9 forms the conclusion to the first part of the book of Proverbs. It may easily be divided into three sections of roughly the same length, the first and last contrasting Lady Wisdom and Madam Folly with an intervening section which repeats much of the teachings found in earlier chapters.

1-6: Lady Wisdom’s house is ready and prepared for her guests. The table is set, the wine is poured, the meat prepared. Her servants are sent out to summon all who wish to come. I am reminded of the parable Jesus told about the King who sent servants out to summon the people to the wedding feast (Matthew 22:1-6).

7-12: A general description is given of the benefits and dangers of practicing wisdom, the beginning of which is the fear of the LORD (compare 1:7).

13-18: By contrast, Madam Folly has also prepared for guests, but her invitation is to the end of life as God meant it to be lived.


To summarize: wisdom is to know the things of God; folly is to focus on anything else.