Saturday, June 27, 2009

Proverbs 9: 13-18

The woman of folly is boisterous,
She is naive and knows nothing.
She sits at the doorway of her house,
On a seat by the high places of the city,
Calling to those who pass by,
Who are making their paths straight:
"Whoever is naive, let him turn in here,"
And to him who lacks understanding she says,
"Stolen water is sweet;
And bread eaten in secret is pleasant."
But he does not know that the dead are there,
That her guests are in the depths of Sheol.

Today's Thought Questions:
  1. Compare and contrast wisdom and folly using verses 1-6 and verses 13-18?
  2. Often a person's true character is seen when adversity strikes. How do you deal with adversity? Read Matthew 7: 24-27 and Proverbs 10:25.

I have to admit wanting to do this post before yesterday's! The side-by-side descriptions between verses 1-6 and 13-18 are so much fun to take apart.

Folly is "boisterous" (vs 13), but Wisdom is not quiet. Remember Proverbs 1:20--Wisdom shouts in the streets. 'Boisterous', however, has a different vibe than shouting; it implies rowdiness, clamoring for attention, which is what Folly or Foolishness tries to accomplish.

Folly sits at her doorway (vs 14). Wisdom has been busily preparing a meal. This almost reads like a "Mary and Martha" situation, except for the focus. Folly is not sitting at the foot of Jesus, waiting to receive His every word. Wisdom is not being busy without cause. Plus, Wisdom doesn't remain at her home; she ventures out into to city to proclaim her invitation (8:2-4). Folly, meantime, is content to yell at passersby, regardless of if they are paying attention to her or not.

The strikingly different verse is 17: "Stolen water is sweet; and bread eaten in secret is pleasant." Spoken like Folly, all right! The adulteress is back. Reading this makes me wonder why folks would choose stolen water and secret bread over a specially prepared meal with the prospect of life and understanding. Makes me want to clean out my ears, because I have obviously missed the finer invitation of Wisdom at certain points in my life.

Those who hear the voice of Folly catch the "sweet" and "pleasant," but because they lack wisdom, and they do not realize where they are headed--"the dead are the depths of Sheol." (vs 18)

Our thought question authors ask us to think about how we deal with adversity. The passage we just read doesn't specifically deal with adversity, but if we think about the blessings of wisdom, it certainly would help us to be wise when life's situations challenge us.

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell--and great was its fall."

--Matthew 7:24-27

Do you remember what we read about Wisdom's house the other day? Wisdom built her house and carved out its seven pillars (seven, the Biblical number of perfection). Solid foundation? You bet! I'm reminded, too, of the post from the other day in which Wisdom takes a stand at the decision points of our lives--standing firm, not swaying. On the rock! We remain strong when we stay with wisdom.

If we do not hear Wisdom calling, if we do not act upon Wisdom's invitation, then we are left to the ways of Folly, and will be "like a foolish man." Says Proverbs 10:25, which we'll visit in a few short days,
"When the whirlwind passes, the wicked is no more, but the righteous has an everlasting foundation."

On Sunday...The beginning of the wise sayings of Solomon!

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Tomorrow's Scripture Focus and Thought Questions:

Proverbs 10: 1-11
  1. Did you realize that God had something to say about laziness? Reread verses 4 and 5.
  2. What proverb in today's passage spoke to you and why? (This will be a daily question.)

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Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation, specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB). I will quote other sources if used in a post.
I also use Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (with notes from the King James Version).


B His Girl said...

I love the picture this passage paints. It makes me think of the word 'choose'. Choose who you will serve...choose life or death. Folly holds the sign of death and wisdom life. I think so many people just go with the flow or the way of the world, not realizing they are making choices every day. Folly is heard calling all the time. It is the noise that will not go away. I want ears that tune in to wisdom. How do I deal with adversity? Hmmm....I seek council with the Lord to find out what is going on. I ask Him what to do. The Lord has also given me a few relationships that I can share my conflict with. They are often a voice of the Lord to me. Sometimes I also kick around stuff own my own...and the Lord reminds me I can do nothing without Him. He interjects if my focus is wrong. I'm thankful for that : ) B

Sue J. said...


I think on this "city" and its hustle and bustle, and the cries of these two over all of that--we do get lost in it all sometimes! We do need to start hearing the differences in the voices, and I believe that when we know the voice of the Spirit within us--when we are awakened to the call of God in our lives--then we can respond more readily to wisdom's voice.

Good thoughts today, and I, too, enjoy that discipline passage from Hebrews--thanks for sharing that, too!

Chatty Kelly said...

I love the way your compared Wisdom & Folly. You really broke it down perfectly.

Have you ever read or seen Pilgram's Progress? I saw it at adult VBS (and then ordered the DVD it was so good!). But this post reminds me of that, as the naive men were taken in by so many things including lust. (men = mankind, not just males.)

Good work as always, Miss Sue!

Sue J. said...


Very long ago in high school, I may have read some of Pilgrim's Progress. I'm sure it wasn't a favorite! Perhaps I might borrow that sometime after Proverbs is over?

As for the comparison/contrast, Solomon pretty much took care of that for us! Can't wait to get into the sayings tomorrow (or....later tonight, actually!)