1Wisdom has built her house,
She has hewn out her seven pillars;
2She has prepared her food, she has mixed her wine;
She has also set her table;
3She has sent out her maidens, she calls
From the tops of the heights of the city:
4"Whoever is naive, let him turn in here!"
To him who lacks understanding she says,
5"Come, eat of my food
And drink of the wine I have mixed.
6"Forsake your folly and live,
And proceed in the way of understanding."
Again (Proverbs 8:1), we see that God desires all men to repent and come to the knowledge of Him (2 Peter 3:9). Wisdom is not something that can be bought or earned or that only the privileged few can have. Wisdom extends her offer to all who pass by her city, and she invites them into her home. She preaches to them concerning understanding, and beckons them to find shelter in Christ. But rather than choosing the food and drink of wisdom, many continue on and pass her by. Yet she keeps calling for sinners to repent and for fools to seek wisdom. If sinners would only forsake their folly and turn from the error of their ways, God stands ready to forgive and to pour out grace and mercy along with understanding.
7He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself,
And he who reproves a wicked man gets insults for himself.
8Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you,
Reprove a wise man and he will love you.
9Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser,
Teach a righteous man and he will increase his learning.
When a righteous person who loves wisdom is corrected for doing something against God’s commands, he learns from it and makes the necessary adjustments. He is grateful for the correction and appreciates the person who had the boldness to tell him of his error. The correction will make a wise man only wiser. But a fool despises instruction, and a scoffer will lash out and insult any who would dare correct his thinking and behavior. Those who want to keep growing will always appreciate hearing wisdom principles from God’s Word, but fools will always scorn the truth.
10The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
11For by me your days will be multiplied,
And years of life will be added to you.
12If you are wise, you are wise for yourself,
And if you scoff, you alone will bear it.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. In other words, one cannot have insight into what life is about and regarding what really matters without coming to know Jesus Christ. John 3:21 says that those who practice the truth will come to the Light. Those who fear God and want to know wisdom will find it in Jesus. Wisdom tends to lead to a longer life on earth as peacemaking is a better life-giving strategy than violence and murder. Wisdom also will bring eternal life as well as rewards from God for faithful living (2 Corinthians 5:10, 1 Corinthians 3:10-15). God holds us accountable for how we ourselves have lived. The righteous will inherit eternal life based upon their faith in Christ, but the wicked will enter eternal punishment on account of their evil deeds. Each will be judged according to their own accounts (Romans 2:6).
13The woman of folly is boisterous,
She is naive and knows nothing.
14She sits at the doorway of her house,
On a seat by the high places of the city,
15Calling to those who pass by,
Who are making their paths straight:
16"Whoever is naive, let him turn in here,"
And to him who lacks understanding she says,
17"Stolen water is sweet;
And bread eaten in secret is pleasant."
18But he does not know that the dead are there,
That her guests are in the depths of Sheol.
The boisterous woman is an allusion to the adulteress mentioned in previous chapters (Proverbs 5-7) who wanders the streets calling out as a sort of anti-wisdom, reaching out to the fools who desire evil instead of good. The anti-wisdom woman is full of folly, she is naïve, and she knows nothing. Sins of all types beckon the righteous, but in Christ we can stand firm and resist the snares of the devil. So on one hand there is the woman of wisdom (Proverbs 8:1, 9:1) calling for people to repent and believe in God’s wisdom. On the other hand, there is the boisterous seductress of sin calling out to take shortcuts, to steal, and to do evil in secret. The anti-wisdom woman claims that her way is pleasant and sweet, but she is wrong. The wise person knows that she lies, but the naïve does not know that destruction and death are her food and drink. The fool doesn’t realize that his eternal destruction fast awaits.