The Consequences of Accepting Wisdom or Folly

9:1 Wisdom has built her house;
she has carved out its seven pillars.
9:2 She has prepared her meat, she has mixed her wine;
she also has arranged her table.
9:3 She has sent out her female servants;
she calls out on the highest places of the city.
9:4 “Whoever is naive, let him turn in here,”
she says to those who lack understanding.
9:5 “Come, eat some of my food,
and drink some of the wine I have mixed.
9:6 Abandon your foolish ways so that you may live,
and proceed in the way of understanding.”
9:7 Whoever corrects a mocker is asking for insult;
whoever reproves a wicked person receives abuse.
9:8 Do not reprove a mocker or he will hate you;
reprove a wise person and he will love you.
9:9 Give instruction to a wise person, and he will become wiser still;
teach a righteous person and he will add to his learning.
9:10 The beginning of wisdom is to fear the LORD,
and acknowledging the Holy One is understanding.
9:11 For because of me your days will be many,
and years will be added to your life.
9:12 If you are wise, you are wise to your own advantage,
but if you are a mocker, you alone must bear it.
9:13 The woman called Folly is brash,
she is naive and does not know anything.
9:14 So she sits at the door of her house,
on a seat at the highest point of the city,
9:15 calling out to those who are passing by her in the way,
who go straight on their way.
9:16 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here,”
she says to those who lack understanding.
9:17 “Stolen waters are sweet,
and food obtained in secret is pleasant!”
9:18 But they do not realize that the dead are there,
that her guests are in the depths of the grave.

vv 13-18 – ‘This pithy proverb includes a whole allegory (a story pointing to something other than itself by implicit comparisons) in a few verses. Here folly, the opposite of wise living, is personified as a prostitute trying to entice passersby into her house. The fool is characterized by his fascination with forbidden pleasures (v. 17). But the end result of a life of folly is not long life, success, or happiness—it is death. “Stay away from folly!” is the message of this brief allegory. “Don’t be taken in! Walk right past those temptations [spelled out in various ways in other proverbs] that folly makes seem attractive!” The wise, godly, moral person will choose a life free from the selfishness of folly. Proverbs like this are somewhat like parables in that they express their truth in a symbolic way.’ (Fee & Stuart)

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